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Possibly one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Made with thin noodles, lots of vegetables and a grilled pork that’s to die for.
Start by marinating your meat in the garlic. Add the sliced pork into a large Ziplock bag. Toss in the garlic, seal the bag, and massage that garlic into the pork. Set in the refrigerator until the following day.
The next day add the fish sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, green onions, cilantro, sugar, and lemongrass to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add the pork into the bowl, and give it another good mix, making sure you coat all of the pork. Set this aside and let it rest for about 45 minutes. During this time, make the sauce that you will pour over the noodles.
Make the chili sauce. Add all of the chili sauce ingredients into a large skillet or saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring from time to time. You want all of the sugar to dissolve. Once dissolved, remove pan from the burner, and set it aside to cool. The sauce will have reduced a bit as well.
Now cook your noodles until they are cooked al dente. Once cooked, drain, and set them aside.
Make your pickled carrots by adding the vinegar, sugar, salt and water to a skillet. Bring to a boil, making sure you dissolve all of the sugar. Then add the carrots into a jar that is large enough to fit them and the liquid, and pour the pickling liquid over the carrots. Set these to the side until you are ready to plate.
OK, now fire up your grill. I’m a big believer in grilling over coal, but if you have a gas grill, go ahead and use that. No big deal.
Once your coals are hot, begin laying down the pork strips onto the grates. You will probably need to do these in batches, and you will not want to walk away from it as pork shoulder has some fat on it and well, the sugar in the marinade …. you get it, there are going to be flare-ups.
Cooking the pork will go rather quickly, and probably only take a few minutes per side. You will see how the pork caramelizes. It just needs to be nice and caramelized on each side.
Resist eating the cooked pork at this time. Remember, this pork is the star of the dish and it will have to make it into the bowls. It’s hard to resist, trust me.
When pork is done remove it from the grill onto a plate.
Put your noodles into serving bowls. Drizzle some of the chili sauce over the noodles. Add pork, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, green onions, cucumber, pickled carrots, and crushed peanuts to the bowl. Drizzle more of the chili sauce over the top. Give it a good mix, and dig in.
The dish is huge in flavortown. With the sweetness of the mixture, along with the pickled carrots, and a mild heat from the chili sauce, this dish has everything you would ever want in a great Vietnamese dish. Let’s just say my oldest, and somewhat pickiest of eaters, had three servings. It’s just that good.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!