I wrote a post about ten lunch ideas for those of us with kids who aren't picky and who like to take a hot lunch to school. In order to put my money where my mouth is, I realized that I couldn't make his very first lunch for his very first day of high school a boring old smoked meat sandwich like I was kind of wanting to do. Instead I practiced what I preach and I made Vietnamese BBQ for dinner the night before so he could take it for lunch the next day. Okay, so I also made it because i LOVE to eat it myself but still, If I am going to get back into the swing of things, that is going to have include not only cooking dinner every night but doing that with an eye towards The Kid's lunch the next day.
This is a regular staple around here and I have published this recipe before on my old blog, NoReEats. I have been combing the archives over there more lately and I am going to regularly start reposting the recipes that stuck that I am still making now a couple of years later on. Just the fact that I am still actually cooking after spending a year of never repeating a recipe is a testament to my love of food, frankly. It is a kissing cousin to my Vietnamese Pork Meatballs and a similar version with chicken - it's all about meat with sticky, sugary outsides and lemongrassy insides.
Because I also had a dozen beautiful stalks of Ontario sweet corn, I made a charred corn salsa to go with our pork instead of the more traditional pickled carrot and daikon and it was a perfect match.
|you don't need to do the corn/scallion thing all the time of course, it's tasty on it's own|
Although I really like chinese bbq pork, nothing beats vietnamese bbq for me and I order a side of it almost every time I go out for pho. It's like pork candy. Whenever I go for pho, I try to get a side order of bbq to bring home with me but sometime's it's nice to make it myself. This recipe isn't quite as sweet and sticky as the restaurant pork but it's also probably a bit healthier and it's just as tasty, just not quite as crack like.
If I can't actually cook in outside, it's still really good made on the grill pan indoors. Because we have a charcoal grill only, we don't bbq much at all in the dead of winter and, let's be honest, Shack is the BBQ man so when he is not here, it really takes a huge effort for me to go to the trouble of starting a charcoal fire and grilling just for The Kid and I. I wanted to get the corn nice and charred anyway so it was totally worth it to fire up the Q.
Vietnamese BBQ Lemongrass Pork With Corn/Scallion Salsaadapted from the ravenous couple
2 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup minced lemongrass
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbls fish sauce
few grinds of black pepper
3 cloves garlic
3 tbls sesame oil
1 tbls kecap manis ( i am not sure what thick soy sauce is but this is what I use)
3 tbls toasted sesame seeds (optional)
chopped dry roasted peanuts as garnish optional
Grilled Corn/Scallion Salsa
for each serving:
1 cob grilled corn
pinch kosher salt
juice from 1/2 lime
approx 1 tbls chopped cilantro
I chopped up 3" of lemongrass stalk and then whizzed it up in the bullet - do enough that you end up with 1/4 cup of the minced lemongrass.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the sesame seeds, to your food processor or blender or bullet and whiz it up until its completely blended.
Slice the pork into thin slices, probably about 1/4" or so and then pour the marinade all over the pork, mix it well making sure that every inch of each piece of pork is coated. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least an hour up to 24 hrs.
If you are grilling the meat on the bbq, thread the meat onto skewers (either metal or presoaked wooden) and lay out on a platter and sprinkle the sesame seeds over them if you are using them. I love sesame seeds but it is great without them too if they aren't your thing. Get your grill nice and hot and cook the skewers for about 3 minutes per side.
You can heat a grill pan (or just a heavy sauté pan if you don't have a grill pan) over medium high heat and grill the pork for a couple of minutes per side. You could also broil it. If you want charred bits but want to cook it on the stove top you can just throw it under a really hot broiler for a minute before you serve it. Again, if you are using the sesame seeds, sprinkle them over the top side of the pork after you lay them out on the hot grill pan. Cook for about 3 minutes per side.
For last night's dinner, I also grilled corn on the cob. If the corn is really young and fresh, you don't need to do anything but remove the husk and throw the naked corn cob right on a hot grill until you get some nice brown spots and take it back off. Young corn is so tender that you can basically eat it raw so there is no need to par boil or cook in the husks or anything. I cut the kernels from the cob and tossed them with sliced scallion, a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt and some cilantro and sprinkled that over the pork.
We eat it with rice, over vermacelli noodles and it's great in a bahn mi style sandwich.