Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Chops (Suon Nuong)
Three of these ultra-thin ¼”-thick pork chops for this dish, flavored with a caramel-lemongrass marinade, can be cut from one hefty American-style pork chop. This recipe first appeared in the 2012 SAVEUR 100, with the story Vietnamese Pork Chops.
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄3 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1⁄4 cup thinly sliced lemongrass
- 2 tbsp. peanut oil
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. fish sauce (available at Red Boat)
- 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lb. 1/4″-thick pork blade chops, pounded thin
- Cooked white rice and nuoc cham (Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce), for serving
- Heat 1⁄2 cup of sugar in a 1-qt. heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling pan often, until sugar dissolves and turns to liquid caramel. Remove from heat; add 1⁄4 cup boiling water. Return pan to heat; cook, swirling pan gently, until caramel dissolves in water. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a food processor along with remaining sugar, shallots, lemongrass, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic; purée until smooth. Place pork chops in a 9″ × 13″ baking dish and pour over purée; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Heat a 12″ cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Working in batches, add chops; cook, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with rice and nuoc cham.