Growing up, the extent of the 'cultural' food that my family ate was take-out Chinese. I didn't have my first lick of Vietnamese food until the end of elementary school and even now, in my mid-twenties, my knowledge of cultural foods is lacking. Zach likes asian food. A lot. On one of our first dates, he had me over and cooked a dish that he'd learned on a trip to Thailand. He's cooked me many more of those dishes since then, and I'm hooked.

Vietnamese take-out is one of favorites in a pinch, mainly because there is a great little restaurant right around the corner from our apartment. For some reason, I got it in my mind that making my own vermicelli dish would be a good idea—it's my favorite off the menu, while Zach prefers a Bahn Mi. This recipe is an amalgamation of numerous recipes I scouted on the web. I wanted to sweeten up the meat, making sure to use an alternative sweetener. I neglected cilantro, which is a personal choice. Feel free to add it if it's something you enjoy.
Vermicelli with Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Spring Rolls
Serves 4

650 grams pork shoulder
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP sesame oil
2 stalks lemongrass, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP sriracha
1 package vermicelli
1 cucumber, julienned
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
3 TBSP peanuts, roasted
Store-bought spring rolls
Hoisin, if desired

Slice pork into very thin strips. Combine honey, fish sauce, sesame oil, minced lemongrass, minced garlic, and sriracha to make a marinade. Combine with pork and let marinade for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Pan-fry pork until cooked through. Cook vermicelli and spring rolls according to package instructions. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, beginning with vermicelli and finishing with cucumber, carrots, pork, spring rolls, and peanuts. Serve with hoisin and more sriracha, if desired.


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