Friday, April 30, 2010

Lemongrass Pork Chops (Suong Nuong Xa)

This recipe is one of my mom’s specialties. As I was growing up, I’m embarrassed to say that because my mom never distinguished the difference between Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, I spent a large portion of my life believing that the Vietnamese dishes that she cooked, were actually Chinese. Imagine my surprise when I finally realized it on my own later on in life. I am however very glad to have had the Vietnamese influence in the foods that I ate growing up, particularly because of their use of fresh and tangy ingredients.

I would have liked to have pounded the pork chops so they were a little thinner, but alas…I didn’t even realize we had a meat tenderizer until hubby and my mother in law told me that it was hidden in the oven drawer when we were already eating. My mom generally pounds them until they are extremely thin, and therefore, the flavors of all the marinade ingredients seem to be even more infused in the chops. I guess I will know for next time.


1 lb Pork Chops (approximately 4 slices, bone out)
2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Sugar
2 stalks of fresh Lemongrass (minced, or use 2 tbsp. of already minced Lemongrass)
1 Shallot (minced)
2 cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 tbsp. Oil


½ cup Water
2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
2 tbsp. of Lime juice or the juice of 1-2 Limes (Vinegar can be used in a pinch)
2 cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 tbsp. Sugar
2 Bird’s Eye Chilies (finely chopped) (Optional)


Pound pork chops with a meat tenderizer until they are very thin. In a large bowl, marinate pork with fish sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, lemongrass, shallot, garlic and oil. Marinate pork for at least a couple of hours (preferably overnight).

These pork chops are probably best cooked on a barbecue grill, however, a pan will also do the trick.

Served preferably with broken rice, Cơm tấm (you can either buy broken rice or break your own rice by allowing the rice to soak a little while, and then crushing by hand before cooking in the rice cooker), pickled vegetables and a fried egg. Drizzle generously with Vietnamese dipping sauce before eating.

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