Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vietnamese pork chops

pork chops

Everyone should thank my mom for showing me how to make this awesome caramel-y pork chops. Not to boast about my mom or anything, but seriously, dude, they are my favorite pork chops in the world!

Let's start with mincing up 4 cloves of garlic. What's a pork chop without the garlic?


Then put the minced garlic and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce in a large bowl.

garlic and soy sauce

Throw in a tablespoon of finely minced lemon grass. What you see below are the frozen lemon grass that my mom gave me. Every winter, she would harvest like two buckets of lemon grass stalks and use a food processor to mince them. They are mixed with some chili pepper (it's the red stuff in the tub) and then frozen for use through out the year. If your family doesn't grow lemon grass like mine do, you can purchased them frozen in the Asian markets.

lemon grass

Also throw in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. I used brown sugar because I love brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Then add the pork chops.

marinade pork chops

Flip them around a couple of times to make sure that they are marinaded evenly. Let the whole thing sit and soak for about 30 minutes.

marinade pork chops turn

Heat a frying pan with some vegetable oil. Add the pork chops and cook on one side on medium high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Save the marinade!

fry pork chops

Then flip it over and pour the remaining marinade into the pan. Lower the heat to medium. This will keep the pork from burning and gives the pork a slight coat of caramel. Yummsss...

turn pork chops

Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Flip the chops over once more so that the previously cooked side also get a bit of the caramel action. Leave it on the pan just enough for it to get the caramel stuck to it without about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and serve with rice!

Day 56 Tuesday 4/6/2010

One tip on eating these: We usually take the pork pieces and sorta wipe them on the rice so that the rice would get some caramel actions, too. Another thing to do is that throw the cooked rice into the pan and stir it around so that it can soak up the flavors.

You can eat them with pickled daikon and carrots or pickled water spinach. Enjoy!

Vietnamese pork chops


4 small pork chops
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of finely minced lemon grass
4 cloves of garlic - minced
vegetable oil for frying


Combine soy sauce, sugar, lemon grass, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Add pork chops and marinade for 30 minutes. Remember to flip the chops over so they get maximum marinade coverage.

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add the chops and fry for 3 minutes on medium high heat.
Flip the chops and add the remaining marinade. Fry the other side for another 3 minutes.
Flip the chops back for 30 seconds so both sides get the caramel mixture.

Remove from heat and serve!


  1. A few questions because I am a nub:
    1. Does it matter if you use dark soy sauce / light soy sauce? Which one does your mom prefer?
    2. In a lot of recipes, you can replace lemon grass with lime. Is that an acceptable alternative?
    3. What if you added lime to it (along with the lemon grass)? Will that be weird?
    4. Any tips on keeping the pork chops juicy instead of dry?
    5. What is your mom's favorite cut of pork for this?
    6. I think you should list "chili pepper" in your condensed ingredients list. :) Because it's in your lemon grass!
    7. Would your mom like to cook you extra food? And can I steal some?

  2. Also, that mushroom madness that you served with it... that doesn't look Vietnamese... or does it?!

  3. .

    1. We prefer dark soy sauce, please.
    2. We have never use lime instead of lemon grass before, so I'm guessing the answer is no. Also, the lemon grass provides texturesssss.
    3. You can try adding lime. I think it's weird, but you might discover something awesome and make money off of it.
    4. Cover the pork while cooking with a lid and do not overcook. My mom would sometimes add in a bit of water while it's cooking (with the lid closed) to give it a steaming action. Do not overcook.
    5. She usually uses pork loin and slice it pretty thin (1/4" thick pieces) and cook it very fast.
    6. I'll add chili pepper as an optional item.
    7. You have to be ninja about it.
    8. I cooked the mushrooms and onions in the leftover pork juice/marinade. It's not a Vietnamese thing to do.

  4. so i made this the other night, and i marinated it for like 24 hours, and that is a bad idea! It gets too salty!

  5. haha. i just talked to dave. he already ate four of the 6 pork chops left. so i guess it is a success! :D