This is one of my most favourite dishes of all time. Whenever I want some asian comfort food I go to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant and order their pork combination plate. This is a simplified version which I must say, was extremely close in taste. An amazingly fragrant, tender pork steak married perfectly with the crunchy salad and perfectly cooked fried egg to top it off! Vietnamese perfection! I am not kidding, this was yummy!
INGREDIENTS: serves 2
2 pork steaks (flattened with meat hammer) or buy one large pork schnitzel and half it.
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 lemon grass stalks (white parts only)
1 hot Thai chilli (chopped)
4 cups Chinese cabbage (shredded)
1 carrot (very fine matchsticks)
2 spring onions (chopped)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup fresh coriander (chopped)
4 tablespoons unsalted peanuts (dry fried in a pan until browned – lightly crushed)
100ml freshly boiled water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 small garlic clove (very finely chopped)
1 small Thai chilli (very finely chopped)
To make the marinade: In a food processor, finely chop the lemon grass and chilli until very fine. Mix in the other ingredients then pour over the pork into a bowl and rub into all parts of the meat. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 2 hour or overnight for the best results.
To make the dressing: Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small bowl then stir in all the other dressing ingredients and leave to come to room temperature.
To make the pork: Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium/high heat until just smoking hot. Add the pork steaks and let them sizzle for 3-4 minutes each side until nicely charred. Remove from the pan and let them rest for 1 minute.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and just before serving, pour over half the dressing and toss well.
I served my pork chops with some freshly boiled jasmine rice (if you can find Vietnamese broken rice this is great with this dish), and as a special treat – I added my favourite Asian addition of a fried egg with a soft yolk, which I mix into the rice myself! To make the egg authentic, fry it in quite a lot of hot vegetable oil so that the edges become really crisp and crunchy and the yolk still soft. Heaven!
Serve the remaining dressing on the side, so you can pour over the egg, rice or pork as you see fit.