Vietnamese Caramelized Pork – The combination of flavors is over the top tasty! Tender pieces of pork are tossed in a sticky caramel garlic ginger sauce and served over a bed of rice. Topped with fresh cilantro, mint leaves and quick and easy pickled carrots. Ready in under 30 minutes with simple ingredients you can find at your local grocery store.
I couldn’t wait to get home to leftovers of this easy Vietnamese Caramel Pork. I don’t even really like leftovers usually, but all day I was dreaming about this deliciousness waiting for me in my refrigerator! I beelined it straight to the fridge, not even stopping to change out of my business clothes or even kick off my shoes. I had to use every ounce of self-restraint not to “Hoover” through the entire pan.
No complicated or specialty ingredients needed. You’ll find everything you need to make this quick and easy Vietnamese Caramel Pork at your local grocery store.
Now can we talk sauce? Because…this …sauce! It’s a combination of garlic, ginger, shallots, brown sugar and a touch of sriracha for a subtle kick of heat. Simmering the sauce down for a few minutes lets it become thick and sticky so that it perfectly coats the pork pieces.
I made some quick pickled carrots to serve with the Vietnamese Caramel Pork. I think the combination of sweet/sour really works with this dish.
Making the pickled carrots is super easy. Just marinate julienned/shredded carrots in a combination of vinegar and a pinch of sugar and salt for a minimum of 20 minutes. Or, if you prefer you can make the pickled carrots ahead of time (like the night before) and leave them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the pork.
Serve the pork over rice or cauliflower rice. Make a sandwich on a fresh baguette or serve in lettuce cups.
However you decide to enjoy this Vietnamese Caramelized Pork , I highly recommend serving with lots of fresh cilantro and fresh mint leaves! The flavor combo is INSANE! please, please don’t leave out the cilantro and mint!
Vietnamese Caramelized Pork
For the Pork
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 lb. pork shoulder or pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger finely grated/chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped (or minced)
- 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or fish sauce
- Sriracha or Thai chili deseeded and finely chopped to taste ( optional- use if you would like an extra kick)
- 2 tsp corn starch
- ¾ cup water
- fresh cilantro leaves
- fresh mint leaves
- Chopped unsalted roasted peanuts garnish (optional)
- Serve over cooked jasmine rice or cauliflower rice
For the Quick Pickled Carrots
- 2 large carrots peeled & julienned or shredded
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- Prepare quick pickled carrots by placing rice vinegar in a medium bowl or in a mason jar) stir in sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Add julienned carrots and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let carrots marinate at least 20 min. at room temperature. (or refrigerated for anywhere from 1 hr. – overnight)
- Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; cooking until browned on all sides (approx. 6-8 min.). Remove pork from pan and set a side.
- Return pan to heat ( add a splash of sesame oil if necessary). Add shallot, ginger and garlic. Cook , stirring occasionally until slightly softened ( about 2 min.). Add brown sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, 3/4 cup water and corn starch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer until sugar dissolves and sauce starts to thicken (about 4 min.). Return pork to the pan, stirring to coat and let cook an additional 1-2 min.
- Serve pork over cooked rice or cauliflower rice and generously top each serving with fresh cilantro, fresh mint, pickled carrots and chopped peanuts.