Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Chops (Suon Nuong)

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Chops (Suon Nuong)
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.Todd Coleman

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.

Vietnamese Pork Chops (Suon Nuong)
Three of these ultra-thin 1/4"-thick pork chops for this dish, flavored with a caramel-lemongrass marinade, can be cut from one hefty American-style pork chop.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 12 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 13 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 14 cup thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 12 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

Instructions

  1. Heat 12 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 14 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.
  2. 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.