Yeah this is a problem. I’ve eaten so much rice in the past few days.
All right, this recipe is from Buzzfeed’s 17 Healthy Grain Bowls You Should Make for Dinner, called Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Bowls. The recipe is pretty cheap; the fish sauce is probably the most expensive ingredient, but you don’t use much of it. It’s also quick – think 30 minutes. It’s just…it’s good. I was honestly very surprised.
However, I do have a couple things to note. First of all, use medium-high heat instead of high so things actually have a chance to caramelize. The instructions say to add the ginger and garlic with the onion and pepper and then cook 2 minutes, but I would recommend cooking the onion for 1 minute and then adding the ginger, pepper, and garlic. This will help keep these ingredients from burning, especially since they don’t have a lot of liquid in them, unlike the onions. Another point is that the food will smell really really weird right after you add the fish sauce and brown sugar. Don’t worry about it, because the weird smell will go away and transition into a delicious smell. And about step 4: I’m not sure what exactly the “repeat twice more” phrase is in reference to. I took it as “cook for 2 minutes, stir, cook for 30 seconds, stir” times 2, but this was not correct. I didn’t use the last 30 seconds because the brown sugar was starting to burn. It was probably done after the first repetition (5 minutes total) or thereabouts. At that point, the meat looked really nice, but I wanted to follow the instructions (as I interpreted them because they were unclear). I served the meat over rice with shredded cabbage and minced shallot. The shallot added a surprisingly fresh taste. I was afraid it would be too much, since it was just raw chopped shallot, but it actually went really well with the dish. I didn’t bother with Sriracha, since there was the Thai chile in the recipe already. The chile wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be; I could barely taste the spiciness once the meat was cooked, but then again, I love spicy food and probably have built up a tolerance to spicy. That being said, I’ve eaten Thai chiles raw in a different dish and they were very spicy like that, so maybe cooking them cooked out some of the spicy…? Unknown.
Well I thought I only had a couple things to note but clearly that was wrong. Anyway, here’s my finished dish!
This recipe was surprisingly easy! Just chop a few easy items, grate some ginger, and you’re ready to go. It’s also nice that the recipe has some “rest” steps while the meat caramelizes, even though they’re not very long. No special techniques, no special equipment (except a microplane if you want to do the ginger that way). It was ready relatively quickly; I think this is one of those few recipes that could say how long they take to make and not be that far off. Ease of making: 2/10
This recipe was also surprisingly tasty, especially with how simple it is. Huh, I just realized right now that I never added salt – oh wait there’s salt in the fish sauce never mind. Well, anyway, I didn’t need to add any additional salt. There’s a good balance of sweet and salty, although I might reduce the amount of brown sugar for next time; 5 tablespoons is kind of a lot. That’s really my only beef with this recipe. Oh, and I’d also try adding more side veggies. The recipe writer lady suggests cucumber and carrots, so I’ll give that a shot. Yum factor: 9/10
I can’t wait to make this again! I’m looking forward to trying some variations to see if I can make it tastier 🙂