Vietnamese Grilled Pork (Thit Nuong)
Since a big grilling holiday weekend is upon us, I thought I'd share this recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork (Thit Nuong) for those who'd like to try something different.
This sweetsavory pork is most often served with steamed jasmine rice and a side salad dressed with a little nuoc cham or as the main attraction of one of my favorite dishes ever, Bun Thit Nuong.
And much like Bulgogi is for Korean cuisine, it's a great gateway dish to Vietnamese cuisine for the uninitiated.
Vietnamese Grilled Pork
Serves 4 to 6
Time: 15 to 20 minutes to season, 30 minutes and up to 2 days to marinate, 30 minutes to cook
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, thinly sliced or cut into 1/2-inch thick steaks to be cut into smaller pieces after cooking
- 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1.5 Tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon lime zest or 1 Tablespoon very finely minced lemongrass (the latter is preferable, but not widely available)
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 large green onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days, before cooking.
Meat generally cooks best and retains the most juice and flavor at room temp. Bring the meat up to room temp by taking it out of the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes before cooking. Also, chargrilled or charbroiled cooking is best for this dish, as the char is part of its signature flavor, but you can also pan fry or saute/stir fry if that works best for you.
Saute/Stir fry: Cook in three equal batches in a medium high preheated and well oiled (about 2 teaspoons oil per batch) saute pan or fry pan or wok. If you want to ramp up the char factor with this method, you can turn the heat up a little bit higher and use about a teaspoon more oil for each batch. I won't lie - it's messy. But sometimes, you gotta put up with a little mess to make something really delicious.
Broiler: Preheat broiler. Spread in a single layer on a broiler pan and place about 4 inches under the broiler for 10 to 12 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and some of the fatty bits are charred.
Grill: If you're cutting the meat into small pieces, you'll need a grill basket to keep them from falling through the slats. Spread the pork in a single layer and cook over medium high heat (and at least 5 inches above the coals or gas element) until the meat is cooked through and the fatty bits are charred. 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the cut and grill heat.