- 4 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 3 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, sliced crosswise
- 2 large shallots, thickly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 pound rice vermicelli
- 4 medium garlic cloves, quartered
- 3 Thai chiles or 1 large jalapeño, thickly sliced
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 large cucumbers—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
- Carrot and Daikon Pickles, for serving
- In a food processor, finely chop the garlic, lemongrass and shallots. Add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil and soy sauce and process to a paste. In a large shallow dish, coat the pork with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, cover the rice vermicelli with cold water and let soak until pliable, about 20 minutes.
- In a mortar, using a pestle, pound the garlic cloves to a paste with the chiles and sugar. Stir in the fish sauce, cilantro, mint, lime juice and water.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Drain the rice vermicelli and add it to the boiling water. Cook, stirring, until barely tender, about 1 minute. Drain the vermicelli. Rinse the vermicelli in cold water and drain thoroughly. Transfer the vermicelli to a large bowl, add the cilantro-and-mint dressing and toss well. Scatter the sliced cucumbers over the rice-vermicelli salad.
- Light a grill. Lift the pork slices from the marinade, leaving on some of the flavorings. Grill the pork over a hot fire until nicely charred, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to plates and serve with the rice-vermicelli salad. Pass the Carrot and Daikon Pickles at the table.
The marinated pork and the dressing for the rice-vermicelli salad can be refrigerated overnight.
This dish is sweet, tangy, fragrant and spicy all at oncea tough combination for most grape varieties, but ideal for an aromatic, off-dry (i.e., slightly sweet) Riesling. Though New Zealand is primarily known for Sauvignon Blanc, it's also an up-and-coming Riesling producer.