complimentary recipe: chargrilled pork neck with vermicelli noodles

CHARGRILLED PORK NECK.jpg

Chargrilled Pork Neck With Vermicelli Noodles

This is a very popular dish throughout southern Vietnam. You can serve it all mixed up in a noodle bowl, or you could arrange the ingredients on a platter and let diners wrap the ingredients in fresh lettuce leaves or rice paper sheets. My favourite street vendor who serves this dish is found in my parents’ old neighbourhood in District­ 1, called Cau Ong Lanh.

Serves 4 -6

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced and pounded to a paste using a mortar and pestle, plus some sliced green ends to garnish

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

500g pork neck, thinly cut across the grain into slices 3 mm thick

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

12 bamboo skewers

250g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions

5 mint leaves, roughly sliced

5 perilla leaves, roughly sliced

5 vietnamese mint leaves, roughly sliced

1 lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways and

2 handfuls bean sprouts

125ml Nuoc mam cham dipping sauce

4 tablespoons Spring onion oil

4 tablespoons Fried red Asian shallots

4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed

METHOD

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, honey and pepper. Mix until the sugar has dissolved, then add the bashed spring onion, garlic and pork.

Toss to coat the pork well, then pour the vegetable oil over the top. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight for an even tastier result.

When you’re nearly ready to cook, soak the skewers in water for 20 ­minutes to prevent scorching. Thread the pork onto the skewers, discarding the remaining­ marinade.

Chargrill the skewers over medium–high heat for 1–2 minutes on each side, or­until cooked through and nicely browned.

Divide the noodles among serving bowls. Top with the herbs, cucumber and bean sprouts, then sit the pork skewers on top.

Drizzle each bowl with the nuoc mam cham and spring onion oil. Sprinkle with the fried shallots, crushed peanuts and green spring onion slices and serve.

Phuong Nguyen