Vietnamese Pork Chops
and salad with nuoc nam dressing
Like many of our favorite Vietnamese meals, this one is fresh and light with a balance of sour and sweet flavors. If the weather is warm where you are, feel free to fire up the grill and cook the pork that way. Served with a refreshing salad on the side, this would be a great dinner to enjoy outdoors if the weather cooperates.
Vietnamese Pork Chops:
- Garlic - 1 clove , chopped
- Vinegar, rice - 1 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Bragg's / coconut aminos - 2 Tbsp
- Pork chops, boneless - 1 lb
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Honey - 2 Tbsp
- Fish sauce - 2 Tbsp (Red Boat brand has the fewest additives)
- Lime juice - 2 Tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - to taste
Vietnamese Salad with Cashews:
- Bell peppers, red - 1/2 , thinly sliced
- Carrots - 6 oz , shredded (look for pre-shredded)
- Green lettuce - 1 head , chopped (sub any crisp variety of lettuce)
- Tomatoes, medium - 1 , chopped
- Basil, fresh - 1/4 cup , chiffonade
- Cashews, roasted and unsalted - 1/3 cup
- Bell peppers / Carrots (if not pre-shredded) / Garlic (for pork and dressing) - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Marinate pork - Combine garlic (the portion for the pork), aminos and vinegar. Add pork and turn to coat in marinade. Marinate at least 20 minutes and up to 2 days. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Make nuoc nam dressing - Combine water and honey and boil (or heat in a microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until water is bubbling). Mix with remaining dressing ingredients and season to taste with hot sauce. Adjust taste as needed - use fish sauce for more savory, more lime juice for tartness, more honey for sweetness. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Heat a skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add pork chops to heated oil (discard marinade) and sear on each side for ~3 minutes. For thin pork chops, this should be enough heat to cook them through. If you're using thicker pork chops, lower heat and cover with a piece of foil until pork reaches 145F / 63C degrees. When done, let pork rest for ~5 minutes.
- While pork rests, chop lettuce and tomatoes. Chiffonade basil. In a large mixing bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, carrots and cashews. Add nouc nam dressing until salad is dressed to your liking, tossing to coat all ingredients in dressing.
- Slice pork and serve with salad on the side. (Note: nuoc nam is a light, oil-free dressing so it will gather at the bottom of the bowl. Gently toss the salad right before serving to make sure everything is combined.) If you have extra nuoc nam, you can dip pork slices in the dressing. Enjoy!