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Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Lemongrass Pork Rice Plate

Lemongrass Pork Rice Plate

Vietnamese rice plates are hands-down my favourite dinner. They are filling, easy to make, and bursting with a variety of flavour – the warm rice, grilled protein, pickled carrots, fresh cucumbers, creamy egg yolk from the fried egg and tangy prepared fish sauce. This particular plate got two thumbs up from the husband, so it’s definitely a substantial enough meal for a growing man!

As I have mentioned before in previous posts, I prefer lean cuts of meat so I used a boneless pork rib roast for this plate. I think the piece I bought was about 2 lbs, costing just over $7, and I used half of it for our dinner for two. I froze the other half and will use it again to make the same plate again whenever I’m craving a hearty rice dish.

Most of the ingredients for this recipe should be pantry staples and/or easy to find, except for maybe the lemongrass. Lemongrass is a stalky plant with a lemon scent, commonly used in Asian cooking.  I always buy my lemongrass from Ngoy Hoa, the Asian grocery store in Regina. I have never found it at Sobeys or Co-op, but Superstore might have it.

Lemongrass

The fresh vegetables added to the rice plate make it a healthy, well-rounded meal. I prefer to keep it simple with just the pickled carrots that I make with my prepared fish sauce, and fresh cucumbers. However, feel free to add whatever vegetables you want. I’ve seen other Vietnamese rice plates built with tomatoes, shredded lettuce and fresh herbs as well.

The recipe below is for the preparation of the grilled pork. The pork is best prepared on a barbecue or a grill. We currently don’t have a barbecue right now as we are still building our backyard deck. I ended up grilling the pork in a cast iron pan, constantly flipping the meat on both sides to build a nice char, and it worked out fine.

Build your plate with the pork, hot jasmine rice, fresh vegetables, and a fried egg, and dress it with prepared fish sauce. This dish is best served with a cold, light beer (says the husband!).

Lemongrass Grilled Pork

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of lean pork (I used a boneless pork rib roast), sliced
  • 1 tbsp of minced lemon grass (just the white portion, discard the tough leaves at the top)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp of pure fish sauce
  • 1 English cucumber, julienned
  • Fried eggs
  • jasmine rice
  • pickled carrots
  • prepared fish sauce

Instructions

1

Marinate the pork with the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, soy sauce, brown sugar, and fish sauce. The longer you can marinate it, the more flavourful the meat will be. I marinated mine for about 2 hours.

2

Prepare your rice.

3

Prepare the vegetables that you will be including in your plate.

4

Grill the pork slices on a grill or barbecue until nicely charred.

5

Fry up an egg or two.

6

Build a plate to your preference, dress it with your prepared fish sauce, and enjoy!

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs Braised in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Thit Kho Trung is the ultimate frugal Vietnamese comfort food. Ask any of your Vietnamese friends and they will be familiar with this dish. Thit Kho Trung is basically pork and hardboiled eggs, braised in a caramelized fish sauce, best served with white rice. My mom typically uses a fattier cut of pork, like a pork shoulder or pork butt, but I don’t like fatty meats. There’s just something off-putting about the texture of fatty meats. I typically use a lean pork roast for my Thit Kho Trung. Don’t tell my mom though because she would be appalled – fat is flavour in Vietnamese cuisine and I am committing a major faux pas by using a leaner cut of meat!

On the “Moving Pieces” scale, this is a 1. It’s so easy and so cheap to make. Just a few eggs, a cut of pork that you can typically get for under $10, a few inexpensive ingredients to build the flavour and some rice, and you have yourself a hearty, traditional Vietnamese meal.

The recipe calls for one can of Coco Rico, and that’s one ingredient that most people might not be familiar with. Coco Rico is a coconut flavoured soda, and you can find it at any Asian food store (Ngoy Hoa, the Asian food store on 1580 Albert St is the place to go if you’re from Regina). It looks like this:

Coco Rico

 

It may be available at Superstore as well, but I’ve never looked there. It is definitely not sold at Sobeys, Safeway, or Co-op.

Give this Vietnamese comfort dish a try and let me know what you think!

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs Braised in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • A pork roast (around 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 can of Coco Rico

Instructions

1

Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes.

2

Marinade the pork with the minced shallot, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, a pinch of black pepper (I just do a couple grinds on the pepper grinder), and the onion powder. Let the pork marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (I usually marinade it the night before).

3

Heat up a pot on medium heat.

4

Once the pot is hot, add 2 tbsp of sugar. Let the sugar melt and caramelize into a rich brown caramel colour. Be careful not to burn the sugar though! Lower the heat if you think it's getting scorchy.

5

Once you've achieved the caramel colour, add the pork into the pot, marinade and all. Incorporate the pork into the caramelized sugar, coating the pieces of pork.

6

Pour the can of Coco Rico into the pot to cover most of the pork. If there's not enough soda to cover the pork, I usually add another half a can of water into it. Leave the pork to braise in the sauce on medium-low heat.

7

Now prepare the eggs. The eggs need to be a little on the medium-boiled side, because we will be adding it to the pork for some additional braising. This is how I do it: I put my eggs in a pot, cover them with water, put a lid on it, and put it on the stove on high heat. When you hear the water at a steady boil underneath the lid, turn the stove off and leave it for ten minutes. After ten minutes, rinse the eggs with really cold water and peel them.

8

Add the eggs to the pork, making sure to dunk them in the sauce (we want the eggs to absorb the sauce and turn a light golden brown).

9

Add 1 more tbsp of fish sauce into the pot and continue to simmer the pork and eggs on medium-low heat until the meat is nice and tender, about 30-40 minutes. There might be some foam on top from the carbonation of the Coco Rico - just skim the foam off the top.

10

Serve with fluffy jasmine rice.