These Vietnamese Pork Chops are packed with flavor and so tender! They make a great midweek meal served with rice, a side of sliced cucumber, and an easy pan sauce. The marinade for these pork chops does triple duty here. First, it adds so much flavor to the pork, it also makes it super tender and juicy, and then it is turned into an easy delicious sauce for the pork. This recipe will make you feel like you are sitting in a Vietnamese restaurant! Authentic flavors in your own home!
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For the marinade
¼cupbrown sugar, packed- see note 1
¼cupsoy sauce- see note 2
2tablespoonfish sauce- see note 3
4tablespoonsfresh lemongrass, finely chopped - see note 4
2shallots, finely chopped - see note 5
½teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper- see note 6
For the pork
4bone-in pork chops, 2.5cm inch thick- see note 7
Fresh mint - to garnish
Fresh cilantro - to garnish
chopped chilli - to garnishoptional
Marinating the Pork
Combine the water with the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, minced garlic, chopped shallot, and black pepper in a ziplock bag or lidded container. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.¼ cup brown sugar ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup cold water 2 tablespoons fish sauce 4 tablespoons chopped lemon grass 4 minced garlic cloves 2 finely chopped shallots ½ teaspoon black pepper
Trim your pork chops to remove any rind; you can remove some fat, but leave some fat around the chop.4 bone-in pork chops
Add the pork chops, ensure they are all coated in the marinade. Then leave to marinate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Cooking the Pork
When you are ready to cook, remove the pork chops from the marinade, ensuring you brush off any bits of shallot, garlic, or lemongrass. Keep the marinade.
Place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat; once the skillet is hot, add the oil and cook the chops on one side for 4 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan, tent with foil, and allow to rest.1 tablespoon oil 4 marinated pork chops
Pour the reserved marinade into the skillet. Add the boiling water and bring everything to a boil as you whisk. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened.reserved marinade ¼ cup boiling water
Serve the pork chop, sprinkled with the chopped fresh herbs, and a little sauce drizzled over. The chili is optional.fresh mint fresh cilantro chopped chili (optional)
The brown adds sweetness to balance the other salty ingredients. You can use honey as a substitute, but the flavor won't be as authentic. (Palm sugar would be the most accurate)
You can use a low sodium soy sauce or just a regular soy sauce. The darker the sauce, the more intense the color will be on your cooked pork.
Fish sauce is available in larger grocery stores, Asian supermarkets, and very easily online. It adds a unique quintessential Vietnamese flavor to your food. I use the Squid brand, which seems to be available all over the world. You might be put off using it if you smell or taste it (although I love the pungent smell!), but I promise the flavor it adds isn't anything like the smell!
If you can find it, use fresh lemongrass; if not, you can often buy lemongrass paste. To prepare lemongrass, discard the darker green section and the outer leaves. You want to use the bulb and the white/light green part only. If you can't find lemongrass, use the zest of 2 lemons and the zest from one lime.
If you can't get shallot, you can sub in 2 green onions or ½ a finely minced small white onion.
Use freshly ground/cracked black pepper if you can. It has so much more aromatics in it. The recipe uses ½ a teaspoon. If you want some extra heat, then you can increase this to taste.
You can use thicker or thinner chops, but the cooking time will vary. Ideally, use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the pork is at 140ºF/60ºC when removing it from the pan.