Vietnamese Noodle Salad With Caramelized Pork
A classic Vietnamese noodle salad is a delectable blend of flavors, textures and temperatures and quite possibly one of my favorite foods of all time. It is made from simple, fresh, pungent ingredients that maintain their individuality while still producing a medley of sweet, salty and spicy flavors. This version may not be quite authentic, but the ingredients are easy enough to find.
- 1 Garlic, Ginger And Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin (or 1 lb boneless cooked pork)
- 2 cups Nuoc Cham (see recipe below)
- 8 to 10 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 6 cups butter lettuce leaves, torn
- 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sriracha (Asian hot sauce)
- 1/2 cup crushed, unsalted roasted peanuts
Prepare the Nuoc Cham (see recipe below) and set aside.
Cook the rice vermicelli in a large pot of boiling water until just tender - cooking times may vary, so test frequently. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Mound the noodles in the center of 4 plates or large, shallow serving bowls.
Place the lettuce, cucumber, basil, cilantro and mint in a large bowl and toss to combine. Arrange a serving of the lettuce mixture around each of the noodle mounds.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and turns golden brown. Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and sriracha and combine thoroughly. Cook over low heat until the garlic softens and mellows, stirring frequently to prevent the sugar from burning. Add the pork to warm, tossing to coat with the caramel sauce.
Place a portion of the caramelized pork on top of each mound of noodles and top with crushed peanuts. Each diner can add the Nuoc Cham to taste.
Makes 4 servings
- Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoons shredded carrots
Combine water and sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and sriracha. Transfer to serving bowl, top with shredded carrot.
Definitely add some fresh bean sprouts if they are available - just cut back a bit on the lettuce if you do. Also, the sriracha in both the caramel sauce and the nuoc cham can be replaced with fresh, finely chopped Thai chilies if you prefer.
This is an original recipe created & tested by the editors of MyGourmetConnection