Living in London, as I do, it’s pretty easy to find good Vietnamese food. From Deptford to Dalston, there seem to be new Vietnamese restaurants springing up every week and Banh Mi sandwiches are this year’s burrito in terms of food trends. Despite this, I still love to cook Vietnamese food at home as not only is it incredibly tasty, it’s also very quick and easy and so ideal for a midweek meal.
I’ve always adored the way the the savoury and slightly fatty taste of pork is balanced with fresh, cleansing flavours in Asian cuisine and this recipe is no exception. The heavy use of lemongrass in this dish really give a freshness to it which, when combined with the sweet and savoury tastes of the sugar and soy make for a beautifully balanced meal. The recipe below takes its inspiration from one on the fabulous Viet World Kitchen blog but I’ve made the flavourings more robust and used pork loin instead of shoulder because, well, I like it like that. The recipe follows.
Jon’s Lemongrass Pork
300g pork loin, cut into steaks.
6 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemongrass,
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp dark soy
1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp roughly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Vietnamese 7 spice powder
1/2 tsp msg
Toasted crushed peanuts
Take all of your ingredients except the pork and blitz them in a food processor or a mini chopper until you have a rough paste. This won’t look like the most appetising thing in the world at this stage but trust me, it’ll taste amazing.
Coat the pork steaks thoroughly in the marinade and set aside to marinade in the fridge for at least two hours but the longer the better. If you can leave the pork marinading for 24 hours or so then so much the better.
Take the marinated pork out of the fridge and let it return to room temperature. In the meantime, chop your spring onions and toast the peanuts over a medium heat using a large, dry frying pan.
Remove the toasted peanuts from the pan and sweep out any remaining crumbs. Add a dash of oil to the pan and bring back up to the heat.
Remove your pork loin from the marinade and fry until the sugar has caramelised and the steaks are a rich golden brown colour. This should take 10 – 12 minutes but don’t worry if it takes a little longer. You don’t want to cook them for too long though as loin can dry out if you’re not careful.
Remove your pork loins from the pan and rest them for five minutes or so before slicing them thinly across the steak. Top with some roast peanuts and spring onions and serve. I served this with stir fried broccoli, steamed rice and a basic dipping sauce. A delicious, quick, and simple midweek meal.