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Lemongrass Pork with Pickled Carrots

This pork is deliciously spicy, sweet and sticky. Charles Phan serves it with rice vermicelli and plenty of fresh garnishes, like bean sprouts, mint and chopped peanuts.

slideshow More Fast Asian Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 fresh Thai bird or serrano chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 3 large shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner bulb only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, sliced cucumber, mint and chopped roasted peanuts, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar with the granulated sugar and the salt until they dissolve. Add the carrots and let stand until just softened, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar with the fish sauce. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is thick, about 4 minutes. Pour the sauce into a small bowl.
  3. In a very large skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add half of the pork and cook over high heat until browned in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a platter. Repeat with the remaining pork.
  4. Add the chiles, garlic, shallots, lemongrass and ginger to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Add the brown-sugar sauce and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Cut the pork into 2-inch strips. Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the skillet and cook until the meat is coated with sauce, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plates. Drain the carrots, sprinkle over the pork and serve at once with the rice noodles, bean sprouts, sliced cucumber, mint and chopped peanuts.

Make Ahead

The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Suggested Pairing

The spicy and sweet flavors of Vietnamese cuisine pair very well with off-dry (slightly sweet) Rieslings—their citrus flavors balance the sweetness of the food, while the wine's own sweetness cuts the spice.

Contributed By Published September 2008

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