When I think of Montreal (Canada), I think of family, French and…amazing Vietnamese food. I have very fond memories of eating in tiny family-run Vietnamese restaurants that serve nothing but pho - a tantalizingly aromatic soup seasoned with star anise and caramelized onion and filled with rice noodles, mint, basil and a tasty assortment of beef cuts. I love pho, but try as I might, I’ve never been able to achieve that tasty flavour that seems specific to Montreal. So, you’re not getting that recipe, unfortunately.
However, another of my favourite food memories from Montreal includes other Vietnamese classics: banh mi (a sandwich) and noodle salad bowls – both of which use sliced lemongrass pork (this is a recipe which I’ll gladly share). This pork recipe is great for sandwiches and salads, but it is equally nice on its own with rice and a side of steamed vegetables, making it an easy weekday meal – which is perfect for me, especially now that I’m discovering all the joys of being a new mum. (Oh yeah, that’s my other big news – we have a son who is almost 5 months old!)
Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork
(adapted from Viet World Kitchen)
- 5-6 pork steaks (about 2 pounds, preferably shoulder, sliced thinly)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 4 shallots (or 1 white onion), finely minced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil
Mix all of the ingredients except the pork in a shallow dish (approximately 9 inches by 9 inches).
Put the pork steaks into the dish and turn them in the marinade with your hands, carefully massaging the marinade into the meat. Cover the meat and let sit for at least one hour (or marinate in the refrigerator overnight and let sit for 1 hour before cooking).
Heat a BBQ or grill pan until hot. Place the steaks on the grill, but do not crowd them or they will not brown well. You may have to grill in batches.
Grill the pork until both sides are darkly caramelized. Transfer to a heat-proof plate.
Serve the pork as steaks with rice and steamed pak choi (other other vegetable).
Or slice the pork thinly for sandwiches or salad.
My favourite way to eat lemongrass pork? Sliced in a Vietnamese noodle salad – that recipe is coming soon!