Caramelized Lemongrass Pork with Vermicelli Noodles

   

Lemongrass is a bright aromatic herb with a subtle citrus flavor native to India and tropical Asia. Here it, was used in a Thai-Vietnamese inspired dish to marinate pork giving it a lemony zingy taste. The stir fried pork was then served with a light salad of rice vermicelli (extra thin noodles), cucumber and carrot with mint and cilantro.

 

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 stalk lemongrass

1 shallot

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup (50 ml) fish sauce

2 – 3 teaspoons soy sauce  

2 tablespoons  brown sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

12 ounces (360 grams) pork tenderloin or Two 4 oz Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Chop, thinly sliced

8 ounces (240 grams) rice vermicelli noodles

Salt, to taste

6 cups (1L)  water

1/2  English cucumber

1 small bunch of mint

1 small bunch of cilantro

2 carrots

 

 

Directions:

To  Make Marinade

Rinse all fresh produce. Trim and discard lemongrass root and outer layer. Thinly slice stalk. Peel shallot and mince. Mince garlic. In a large resealable plastic bag (or a bowl), combine lemongrass, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  If using a pork tenderloin, remove from the packaging and  rinse pork  with water and pat dry with paper towel. Cut crosswise into  1/2 inch (0.5cm) slices. Add pork to marinade in bag and shake to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or overnight in fridge.  

 

To Cook the  Vermicelli

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a medium pot (or kettle) over high heat. Place vermicelli in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Soak until tender, about 6 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Set aside in a large bowl.  

 

Preparing  the Vegetables

Cut cucumber lengthwise into 1/2 inch ( 0.5cm ) slices, then juilienne each slice. Peel the carrots and cut lengthwise into  1/2 inch ( 0.5cm ) slices, then juilienne  Pick mint leaves discarding stems. Pick cilantro leaves discarding stems.  

 

To Cook the Pork

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade, allowing excess to drip off and reserving marinade. When oil is shimmering, add pork, season lightly with salt, and cook until browned on bottom, 1 minute. Flip, season with salt, and add marinade to pan. Cook until pork is cooked through, 1 minute more.  

 

Season Vermicelli

Add cucumbers and shredded carrots to vermicelli in bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt.  

 

To Plate the Dish

Divide vermicelli and vegetables evenly between 2 bowls. Top with pork, spooning over sauce from pan. Garnish with mint and cilantro. Enjoy!  

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Chilean Sea Bass with Shiitake Mushroom Broth

 

 

This dish is the kind that, with a little experience, many good home cooks could assemble from scratch, without consulting a recipe. The aromatic triumvirate of garlic, ginger and scallions is matched with soy sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce. Shiitake mushrooms give substance and flavor, cornstarch thickens and sesame oil adds a taste of toasty richness.

You can spoon the sauce over the poached fish, but it will also work just as well with grilled, pan-seared or broiled fish, or on stir-fried strips of chicken breast, slivers of pork or beef, shrimp or scallops. Steamed rice could help soak up the sauce as well.

 

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ⅓ pounds sea bass or gray sole fillets
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, or snipped chives (Optional)

 

 

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 175 o F. Place chicken stock in a wok or skillet, and bring to a simmer. Cut fish into pieces about 3 inches square, place in stock, and simmer until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Use spatula to transfer to heatproof platter, cover loosely with foil, and place in oven. Drain and strain stock, and reserve. Wipe out pan with a clean paper towel.

 

Heat peanut oil in pan. Add garlic, ginger and scallions. Sauté briefly, and add mushrooms. Sauté until wilted. Add soy sauce, vinegar and fish sauce. Cook 30 seconds, then add reserved stock. Bring to a simmer. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water, and add, stirring. Simmer until sauce has thickened. Add sesame oil.

 

To serve, transfer fish to a shallow bowl and spoon mushroom sauce over the fish. Gransih with a scattering of with cilantro or chives. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

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This  main dish is an addictive take on ga kho gung, a spicy Vietnamese caramelized chicken with ginger and fish sauce, that is sweetened with onions, carrots, garlic, and light brown sugar.

Adapted from LAURA REGE
Food & Wine Magazine
January 2018

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 whole chicken legs (2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
I medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 whole Vietnamese Red Bird Chilies
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or scallions, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a deep 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and brown other side, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the oil out of the skillet and discard.

Return skillet to moderate heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger powder; cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, and 1/2 cup water to skillet. Bring to a boil, and return chicken to skillet, skin side down. Simmer over moderate heat, occasionally basting the chicken, 8 minutes. Turn chicken and continue basting, adding water by tablespoonfuls if sauce thickens too rapidly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 165° and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the jalapeño, and toss to coat in sauce.

To serve, transfer chicken to a platter, and drizzle sauce over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro or scallions, if desired.

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