I love happy accidents, don’t you?
My favorite salad is a Vietnamese vermicelli salad. I mean, I LOVE this salad. Generally, I make mine with curry chicken (or tofu), but the other day I was craving pork. Having never made a pork version I wasn’t really sure what to do so I googled, and googled, and googled. Finally landing on a recipe that had what seemed like clear instructions, and they probably were, but I fucked them up. Bad.
Luckily, the pork Gods were on my side when I started to cook the pork, because it turned out perfect.
Please note, this is a long process, but it is so worth it! It’s become my meditation of sorts, and bonus is that all of the ingredients are the same as summer rolls so you can make both!
For the marinade :
1/4 cup sugar
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic microplane
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 lb pork tenderloin
Mix your marinade up and add it to a ziplock bag with the pork. Refrigerate overnight.
For the salad:
Head of iceberg lettuce (I know judge me, but it doesn’t mess with all of the other flavors)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and julienne
1 carrot, peeled and julienne
Pickled daikon and carrots*
2 green onions, sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
8 oz vermicelli noodles, cooked and drained
For the dressing:
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a lime
splash of soy sauce
pinch of sugar and salt
1 clove garlic, microplane
1/4 tsp ginger, microplane
chunk of finely grated carrot
chunk of finely chopped green onion
Thai chili to taste (we have some really hot ones so I used just a tip of one)
I usually do all of this one to taste. You can always use the extra for salad the next day or even for your summer rolls.
Cook the meat:
So this is where I about messed up my pork but found this method was awesome! get your skillet and put some oil in there. A little more than you think you need. Maybe 2 tbsp. Let that get hot over a med high heat and add your meat. It will get watery but let it keep cooking. Discard your marinade. Eventually it all cooks down and the meat will start to turn all sticky and golden brown. PERFECT!
For the assembly:
This is the easy part, I promise! Layer your bowl starting with lettuce, then noodles, then carrots and cucumbers, then pickled goodies, next the meat. I like to finish with cilantro and peanuts.
*another step here is to pickle your own daikon and carrots.