Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vietnamese Pork Chops

Believe it or not, although I'm Vietnamese-American, I've never actually made a Vietnamese dish before. I've always thought of them as complex and time-consuming, but this one was neither. Pork chops served with rice and sometimes a fried egg is a standard Vietnamese meal. It's nothing fancy, yet so flavorful and fulfilling. I prepared the pork chops a few hours ahead of time to let the marinade soak in and when it was dinnertime, all I had to do was simply fry them up. Easy!

4 pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup green onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
green onion oil (optional - recipe found below)
"nuoc mam" - prepared fish sauce (recipe found below)
1. Combine sugar, minced garlic, green onions, lime juice, fish sauce and salt. The consistency will be thick and syrupy at first, but after a while the sugar will liquefy and it will be more watery.

In case you've never purchased fish sauce before, I recommend this brand. It can be found at most asian grocers.

I bought pork loin chops from Costco. They were about two inches thick, so I sliced them in half to make two thinner pork chops. Ideally, slice them when they are still frozen and you can cut them in thirds for more evenly and faster cooked pork chops.

2.Put pork chops in a ziploc bag with the marinade and let it refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight at most. While it's marinating, this is a good time to make your green onion oil and nuoc mam (recipes found separately below).

3.Pan fry or grill the pork chops until the center is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove from heat and brush with the green onion oil. Serve with rice, a fried egg and nuoc mam for dipping. You can also brush the green onion oil over your rice and egg.

cooking oil, such as canola or vegetable
green onions or scallions
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.

2.Add chopped green onions.

3.Stir occasionally, allowing the oil to be infused with the green onion flavor. The onions should appear wilted after a few minutes, not crispy. Remove from heat.

4.The oil will have a greenish tint to it. Use this oil to brush on the cooked pork chops, or the rice and fried egg. The flavor is subtle, but delicious!

nuoc mam (prepared fish sauce)
lime juice (about 3 limes)
minced garlic
1-3 minced red or green Vietnamese chili pepper
fish sauce
1. Combine lime juice, sugar and a few tablespoons of water. I added a lot of sugar to mine, because I like my nuoc mam on the sweeter side. At this point, your sauce should taste like a very sweet (almost syrupy) limeade.
2. Add minced garlic and Vietnamese chili pepper. The peppers are very hot, so use sparingly. They can be omitted if you can don't like spiciness at all, however I don't recommend it.
3. Finally, add fish sauce sparingly, in drops. Continue tasting your sauce as you add fish sauce and stop when it reaches it's desired saltiness. This nuoc mam is a must-have with the Vietnamese pork chops. Serve in a small bowl on the side. I drizzle it over everything, but you can also just dip your pork chops into it while eating.


  1. Can you eat these porkchops with appleshauch?

    - Peter Brady