Day Seventeen: Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Grilled Pork

16 Jan

On our way down to the SF Bay Area for Christmas, we stopped in Davis for lunch. Christian was insistent on finding a banh mi sandwich, something he’s never tried but needed to have. So I brought up Yelp on my phone and found a little Vietnamese place in downtown Davis with great reviews for their banh mi. I must also note here that the sandwiches were only $2.50 each, so you could really have quite a banh mi feast there. Apparently they were fantastic.

Since  I can’t eat them, I ended up ordering a gigantic noodle bowl with beef. Really, nothing is better than a bowl of rice noodles combined with super fresh vegetables and herbs, along with tender meat and sweet but sour and spicy nuoc cham sauce. So good. I don’t think that is a dish I will ever get sick of. I love digging into the bowl with my chopsticks, uncovering all the great treats hidden below the noodles.

In honor of the fabulous Vietnamese noodle bowl, and continuing with my light Asian-inspired track, I made up my version of this dish. The pork shoulder was cut into thin strips and then pounded out to tenderize and make the slices even thinner. This way, the pork would get nice and crispy…..and it was. Because it is winter, I opted to broil the pork, but I imagine this would be fabulous grilled in the summer. The flavors were fresh and subtle, but tasted great, and the crispness of the pork was a nice contrast to the soft noodles. The noodle bowl was very easy to put together in a short period of time.

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Grilled Pork

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced thin and divided
  • 1 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 carrot, sliced into strips
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz thin rice noodles
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Cut the pork into thin strips and pound, using a tenderizer. Place in bowl and add 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp sugar, the lemongrass, 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 garlic clove and 1/2 of the pepper. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To make the sauce, add the lime juice, shredded carrots, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 garlic clove and the remaining pepper to a bowl. Set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and when hot, fry the shallots. When done, drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Preheat the broiler and place pork strips on a baking pan. Broil, turning the pork twice, until browned and crispy. When done, remove and chop the pork into small pieces.

Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package instructions.

On a plate or bowl, add the cabbage, remaining pepper, carrot and cucumber. Top with the rice noodles and toss with the sauce, then add the pork and herbs.


2 Responses to “Day Seventeen: Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Grilled Pork”

  1. Caitlin January 18, 2011 at 9:54 AM #

    it was delicious. I loved that you thinned out the pork and made it crispy!

    • Kristina January 20, 2011 at 10:44 AM #

      Thanks Caitlin! Glad you guys liked it! It gave you some energy for your long walk home later, I guess.

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