Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Fresh Herbs served with Pickled Daikon and Carrot Salad

6 04 2009
Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Fresh Herbs served with Pickled Daikon and Carrot Salad

Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Fresh Herbs served with Pickled Daikon and Carrot Salad

This is a dinner with a story to it. The short version is I got all the stuff to make this last week including thawing out the frozen pork chops I had in the freezer (go midwest roots!).  Than two things happened: 1) I found out I had to marinade the pork for at least 1 hour (hopefully over night) and 2) I got cooking ambitious and ran out of energy to cook and clean all night, every night.  So it was Sunday (my day of menu ratifying for the week. sort of.) and it still hadn’t been made.  I decided to grill with some friends and thought I’d just go ahead and use the pork I have, make a mint marinade for it, and use the rest of the veggies in a raw salad.  Use the food I have in a way that is easier to prep so I’ll use it before it goes bad and waste it. Good plan. Until I got home. This next part goes I ended up making the entire original dish though it was a stepwise evolution from using the marinade, to cutting the pork into strips, to I should make the dipping sauce, to I should just do this all the way. So I did.

So this is an intense cooking dish time wise.  The pork has to be cut up and marinaded for at least an hour. Both cutting the pork and making a marinade out of lemongrass didn’t take to long but some time.  The dipping sauce which you can’t see in the photo because I just poured it on, didn’t take to long with the hardest part being cutting up the Thai chili.  But on top of those the Pickled Daikon and Carrot Salad had to be made. Which again wasn’t hard as we just had to shred the carrots and daikon, mix up a brine, and soak them in it. Again for at least an hour.  Than all the veggies for the noodle bowl had to be cut up too. Each one of these steps wasn’t THAT long but string them together and they took awhile. Especially since my kitchen is tiny, started out messy, and we had to clean before I could really cook and then in the middle of the process as well.  Than after all that is done I had to take the pork and put it in the skewers and get them ready to grill.  So how did it go?

Let’s start with my deviations from the recipe.  First off the marinade called for sweetened condensed milk which I opted to not put in because I only needed a few tablespoons and I had a whole can. At the time I was still just doing the chops so I was going to save the can for when I do the recipe the full way.  So instead I put a few more table spoons of coconut milk in instead.  Secondly, I didn’t use any cilantro as the herbs along side the mint because it went bad over the course of the week.  And lastly, I didn’t grill the pork as I tried to do it on a flat griddle and it just was burning the sides and not cooking the center of the pork.  And since I still had fiddlehead ferns to cook (see last post) I kinda opted for the known cooking way and removed all the pork from the skewers I spent 15 minutes putting them on and just pan fried them instead.

So how’d it turn out? Excellent! The dish was great for the spring day it was because of how light it was. Which is probably why it looked so good the week before when I was meaning to cook it.  The pork was very tender and had some nice subtle flavor to it but I think if I had left it marinade longer it would have been better. Also, I am lemongrass confused. I know I need to remove the outside of the lemongrass stalk but I never know quite how much.  If you ger ride of everything that could be considered tough than there isn’t much there.  So in the end this recipe called for 3 stalks which should yield about 1/3 c diced lemongrass.  I used 4 stalks and got there.  In the end the marinade had a fair amount of fiber in it but I didn’t even notice it in the dish so I think succeeded.

The rest of the elements in this dish I didn’t really taste individually but together they tasted great. I was really surprised how much the mint brought the whole dish together. When each part was eaten without the mint there were distinct flavors but once the mint was introduced it all blended together quite well! The sous chef particularly liked the Daikon and Carrot Salad on its own accord.  I also really liked how the herbs were a part of the dish and not just garnish to look pretty. The way it sits on the dish the mint is lovely looking but I can’t imagine eating it without it.  That’s unusual in my opinion.

The only thing that was really noticeable was that the dipping sauce was a bit strong. Which would have been fine had I tried it and not poured it all over the dish BEFORE trying it and using as it was intended: to dip. So that was my own fault in the eating process. In the end it was excellent and we will do it again. Although probably not on a night when we are also preparing fiddlehead ferns. Boy was I glad to fall asleep last night and get off my feet from being at the farmer’s market for 3 hours and then standing in the kitchen.

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One response

23 04 2009
sara

arg omg i want to eat this again

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