Vietnamese Pork Tenderloin

Memorial Day was kind of a bust as far as the weather went, wasn’t it?  Too bad.  Too chilly and damp to have any fun at the lake on Monday, although my girls are crazy and decided it wasn’t too cold to go tubing both Saturday and Sunday.  The husband was happy to pull them around (he’s also crazy).   They had the entire lake to themselves because no one else had the desire to die from hypothermia over summer’s first holiday weekend.  Good grief.  With goose bumps, blue lips and chattering teeth, they asked for hot chocolate afterward (uh, hello – who keeps such an ingredient at a summer cottage?) but had to settle for hot showers instead.   At least they have a story to tell.

All three were quiet as little church mice and spent the gloomy Memorial Day studying for exams.  I spent the afternoon deciding what to talk about here today, and here’s what I chose.  If you’re a fan of southeast Asian flavors, you will absolutely love this dish — what a fantastic prep for pork tenderloin.

Don’t shy away from the seemingly long list of ingredients; it really doesn’t take all that long to pull together.  You can mix up the marinade and let the pork take a swim while you’re off doing whatever you do by day.  Recruit some minions to help spin the lettuce and herbs … you won’t be sorry you made this dish.  : )

Have a great week. 

SOURCE:  Raichlen, Steven.  “Summer Party Grilling”.  Cooking Light Magazine, July 2012: p. 98. 

2 T. sugar
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, halved
1 – 4″ piece fresh lemongrass, halved**
1 – 1″ piece peeled ginger, cut into quarters
1 T. soy sauce
2 1/2 T. fish sauce, divided (find this in the Ethnic Aisle near the Asian sauces)
1 T. canola oil

1 – 1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4″ slices (Sendik’s Natural Pork Tenderloin Value Packs are on sale)

1/3 c. grated carrot
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 t. minced garlic
1 Thai or Serrano chile, thinly sliced (to taste; leave out if you’re worried about the heat)

2 oz. rice vermicelli**

16 Bibb lettuce or red leaf lettuce leaves
1 c. cilantro leaves
1 c. sliced English cucumber
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/3 c. finely chopped dry roasted peanuts (Fisher Gold Roast Peanuts are on sale)
16 basil leaves
16 mint leaves
2 Thai chiles, sliced

Combine first 6 ingredients in a mini food processor; pulse until coarsely ground.  With processor on, add soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and oil; process until blended.  Combine mixture and pork in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Combine carrot and sugar in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes.  Add lemon juice, vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, minced garlic, and sliced chile; stir until sugar dissolves.

Cook noodles according to package directions; omitting salt and fat.  Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well.

Preheat grill to high heat.  Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade.  Thread pork evenly onto 6 (12 – inch) skewers.  Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred.

Top each lettuce leaf evenly with pork, noodles, and remaining ingredients.  Serve with dipping sauce.


** I had a lemon on hand and used a 4″ slice of its zest instead of lemongrass, but lemongrass is easy to find in the produce department at Sendik’s.  If you have trouble locating it, just ask a produce employee and he/she will take you right to it.
** My kids don’t really care that much for rice noodles; I made them for the purpose of the photo, but we actually had jasmine rice on the side instead.
** Sometimes when I’m in a hurry, I skip the carrot dipping sauce and do this sauce instead: in a small bowl I blend about a 3:1 ratio of mayonnaise to Sriracha, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and a splash of soy.  Serve this on the side.  Yum.


Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous, News | May 28th, 2013