Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vietnamese Dinner Part 3: Grilled Marinated Pork with Stir Fried Spicy Broccolini

Like we really needed an entree after all of the soup and spring rolls!

Dad's Birthday Dinner - The Menu

Third course: Marinated pork chops, stir fried spicy broccolini
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We originally planned on making a Vietnamese pork chop dish of caramelized sugar and shallots, mixed with fish sauce and a few other ingredients, and then grilled. But after opening the jar of fish sauce, I didn't think I could cook with it. So we quickly did some research on Vietnamese marinades and sauces. We didn't find one that worked with the ingredients we had on hand, so we pulled a few ideas together and came up with the following marinade (for 6 pork chops):
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin
  • 1 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

We only had about 3 hours to marinate the chops, but this flavor really penetrated them! Unfortunately I was out of natural light by the time we got to the entree, but here is a pic of the chops:

To go with the chops I made a stir fried broccolini dish, an Epicurious recipe. I made a few minor changes, noted in italics below.


  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil or corn oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccolini, bottom 1 inch of stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small dried red chiles (such as chiles de árbol), seeded, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (I didn't use this)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat.
  • Add broccolini; sauté 1 minute.
  • Add 1/4 cup water; cook, turning with tongs, until broccolini is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add chiles and garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/4 cup water, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper.
  • Return broccolini to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Broccolini is the perfect mix of broccoli and broccoli rabe - it is the shape of broccoli rabe but without the bitter taste. I loved this dish, and it couldn't have been easier.

So that's a wrap on my dad's birthday dinner this year! It's going to be tough to top next year!

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  1. Aw, you should really try fish sauce sometime. It's definitely an acquired taste but Vietnamese food isn't very Vietnamese without it! If the pure stuff is too strong, you can use nuoc cham, which is regular fish sauce with sugar, lime (or vinegar), and water (so more diluted) which on its own is a critical part of many Vietnamese dishes. It makes Thai food a lot better too :).

  2. I totally agree with Andi. Fish sauce is potent, but it adds the best flavor to dishes (and it is a major ingredient in flavoring Pho.) The only suggestion when cooking with it...just make sure to ventilate your house well! :-) But your food will be SO delicious. Great job on the spring roll wrapping.

  3. As the official tester for this meal, it was fabulous. From the Pho to the Spring rolls to the main course, was ass very authentic, the only thing missing was the hustle and bustle of Saigon, Hue and Ha Noi. The Pho 24 franchises have competition with the Pho, The DMZ cafe in Hue have competition now with the Spring Rolls. Thanks to Mary Ellen for bringing a little of Vietnam to the U S. :) And thanks to all 3 of my girls for making my birthday memorable !

  4. Thanks for the suggestions about the fish sauce. I don't eat seafood so the smell and flavor really don't agree with me, but next time I make it I'll use the fish sauce for my guests!

  5. I made this and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing this wonderful and easy recipe!