I was a little shocked to realize this is the first Vietnamese recipe I’ll be posting. I guess since I cook Vietnamese all the time I’m not as fascinated by it, even though I absolutely love the food and enjoy both cooking and eating it. It makes me wonder if Tom Brady ever gets tired of coming home to Giselle. Like, “Ugh, if I have to see her try on one more negligee I’m going to gouge my damned eyes out!”
Anyways, this dish is as good a Vietnamese starter as any. It has the very common combo of fish sauce, sugar and onions combined with one of our favorite meats: pork. Vietnamese fish sauce (most are actually made in Thailand) is available at many American stores now, but go to an Asian market if you want to find some good brands to choose from. I use Phu Quoc for marinating/cooking and the more refined Viet Huong (Three Crabs) to eat straight or mixed into dipping sauces. If you want to learn more, Wandering Chopsticks has a great thesis on fish sauce on her blog.Ingredients
6 Bamboo Skewers
3 Tbsp. Yellow Onion, minced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
2.5 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
1 lb. Pork Top Loin Roast or similar cut, sliced into thin(1/8″) medallions, about 1″ x 2″ in size
- Whisk together all ingredients except pork in a medium sized-bowl. Transfer to a non-reactive container, toss pork in marinade and let marinate covered in fridge for at least 2 and up to 6 hours.
- Soak skewers for 15 minutes in water, then remove, dry with paper towel and brush with a little olive oil (otherwise the sugar from the marinade will caramelize and might make it hard to remove the meat).
- If grilling, start your BBQ now. If using broiler, turn broiler on to High setting.
- Put meat onto skewers.
- Grilling: Once coals are ready, brush the grill lightly with olive oil and place skewers over direct heat and cover When meat is nicely caramelized, about 3 or 4 minutes, flip and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Broiling: Line a roasting tray with foil, then place an oven-safe rack on the tray. Brush rack lightly with olive oil and place skewers on rack. Broil until evenly caramelized, about 10 minutes or less Flip skewers and continue broiling until caramelized, about another 6 to 8 minutes.
Ideas for meals using Thiṭ Nướng/marinade:
- With jasmine white rice (brown rice for us under the new healthier diet) and a cucumber salad. Best served with a fish sauce dipping sauce.
- My favorite way to eat this is rolled with greens. Serve with sticky rice and nuoc cham, then lay out a spread of mint, cilantro, bean sprouts and Chinese mustard greens. Tear off a mustard green leaf about 6 inches long and fill it with rice, Thiṭ Nướng and the rest of the veggies. Roll up and dip in nuoc cham with each bite. Healthy and delicious!
- In Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) – I find the Thiṭ Nướng in most store-bought banh mi to be rather bland. If you make your own banh mi with this stuff, you’ll find it way more satisfying. Pat yourself on the back.
- In Bun Thiṭ Nướng (Vietnamese Pork Over Rice Noodles) – Fill a bowl with cooked, drained and cooled rice vermicelli noodles. Add cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped green lettuce, mint, cilantro, and Thiṭ Nướng. Spoon in 1/2 cup of light mixed fish sauce (recipe will be in a later post), toss and enjoy. Light and refreshing, this is a great warm weather food.
- Vietnamese Pork Chops – double the marinade recipe and add two stalks of chopped green onion. In a Ziploc bag, marinate 4 regular cut pork chops (thick cut chops won’t work well) overnight. Grill on a BBQ as you would any pork chop, uncovered over direct heat, then covered on indirect heat. This is great with rice, salad and a nuoc mam dipping sauce.