There are days where we cannot decide if we want something light to eat, or something that is heavy on the stomach, calories and pleasure index. It is natural as a food lover to have this dilemma every now and then. Although it is human nature to sometimes be in a perplexed and confused stage, it can be very annoying at times. Especially if you are a sufferer of the condition known as “hangriness”. In which anger is strongly experienced during moments of hunger and dissatisfaction.
For moments like these, look no further than trying out this life saving Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli dish. Light and refreshing due to the vermicelli, vinegar and vegetables with a dash of heavy sinfulness from the pork and caramel. It is the perfect dish to partake in, while deciding whether the rest of your day, or at least your next meal will be spent on healthy eating, or a full-fledged heart attack/ diabetes food mode.
This vermicelli dish is easy to prepare, balanced in nature and loaded with flavour and aroma. Word of advice, take your time and slowly consume this dish for maximum satisfaction. Sit back, relax and enjoy the splendour of Vietnamese cuisine without ever having to leave the house.
Of course it will be more ideal to travel to Vietnam for a full-on original feast. But then again, it is not always possible to find the time and money for that. When this happens, this pork vermicelli makes the next best option.
Caramel sauce –
5 tbsp sugar
½ cup (140 ml) water
300 g pork shoulder / butt – slice thinly against the grain
4 tbsp caramel sauce (see above)
3 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic – minced finely
3 shallots – minced finely
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
¾ cup water
2 tsp chopped garlic
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Serves 3 – 4
Recipe source: Ricenflour
Prepare caramel sauce by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Cook over high heat and bring to boil. It is not necessary to stir the mixture.
Allow the mixture to bubble over high heat and reduce to medium heat when the mixture starts to thicken. It should take about 5 – 7 mins.
Continue to cook until the mixture becomes amber and quickly turn off heat.
Standing slightly away from the saucepan, carefully add in 2 tbsp water into the hot caramel.
The mixture will bubble up violently so please be mindful not to burn yourself.
Stir and allow to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, combine the sliced pork, minced garlic, shallot, sauces and vegetable oil together. Mix well.
To test the taste of the meat, cook a few pieces in a pan and taste. Adjust with more seasoning if needed. *Do note as the meat marinate in the fridge, the flavor will develop further so be mindful to start with lesser seasoning and adjust with more.
Cover with cling wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the dipping sauce by combing the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve and bring to boil.
Lower the heat and add in chopped garlic and black pepper. Taste and adjust with more fish sauce or sugar if needed. The flavor profile should be sweet and salty with a slight tinge of tanginess.
Allow the meat to thaw at room temperature for 15 – 30 mins before cooking.
Prepare the rice vermicelli by boiling them according to the package.
Drain and rinse under cold water to keep them from sticking.
In 2 – 3 batches, add the pork to a frying pan or griddle pan and cook over medium high heat for 2 mins.
Do not overcrowd the pan or there will be too much moisture. Do not cook the meat for too long or they’ll dry out.
To serve, place desired amount of vermicelli in a bowl, follow by grilled pork, carrots, cucumber and coriander. Drizzle some of the dipping sauce.