Vietnamese cuisine is known for its healthy and flavorful dishes, and grilled Vietnamese pork or Thit Nuong is no exception. This dish is a perfect blend of sweet, salty, and sour flavors that will surely tickle your taste buds. Thit Nuong is traditionally made with pork shoulder or loin, marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and soy sauce, and then grilled to perfection. This article will guide you through the steps to make the perfect Thit Nuong, along with some serving suggestions and variations.
Ingredients for Thit Nuong
To make Thit Nuong, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 pound of pork shoulder or loin, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
Making the Thit Nuong Marinade
In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, honey, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, vegetable oil, and black pepper. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved and the marinade is smooth. You can adjust the sweetness or saltiness according to your preference.
Marinating the Pork for Grilling
Add the sliced pork to the marinade and mix well, making sure that each slice is coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. The longer you marinate the pork, the more flavorful it will be.
Preparing the Grill for Cooking
Heat your grill to medium-high heat. If you’re using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are ashed over before grilling. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it for about 10-15 minutes before cooking.
Grilling the Thit Nuong
Thread the marinated pork slices onto skewers, making sure that they’re not too crowded. Grill the pork for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they’re slightly charred and cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the pork, or it will become tough and dry.
Serving Suggestions for Thit Nuong
Serve the grilled Thit Nuong with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, and pickled vegetables like carrots and daikon. You can also wrap the pork in lettuce leaves and dip it into Vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe below).
Variations on the Thit Nuong Recipe
You can substitute the pork with beef, chicken, or even tofu. You can also add lemongrass, ginger, or chili to the marinade for an extra kick. Some people like to add a splash of lime juice to the marinade for a tangy flavor.
Tips for Grilling Perfect Thit Nuong
Make sure that you slice the pork thinly and against the grain, so that it becomes tender and juicy after grilling. Don’t overcrowd the skewers to allow the pork to cook evenly. And finally, don’t forget to let the pork rest for a few minutes before serving, to allow the juices to redistribute.
Health Benefits of Vietnamese Pork
Pork is a good source of protein, vitamin B6, and niacin. Vietnamese cuisine is also known for its use of fresh herbs and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins and minerals. However, Thit Nuong is high in sodium due to the use of fish sauce and soy sauce, so it’s best to consume it in moderation.
Conclusion: Enjoying Thit Nuong
Grilled Vietnamese pork or Thit Nuong is a delicious and healthy dish that’s perfect for summer grilling or any time of the year. It’s easy to make, and you can customize the marinade to suit your taste. Serve it with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and pickled vegetables for a complete meal. Don’t forget to try the Vietnamese dipping sauce for an extra burst of flavor.
Bonus Recipe: Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
To make Vietnamese dipping sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1/4 cup of fish sauce
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 chili pepper, sliced (optional)
In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, water, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and chili pepper. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth. Adjust the sweetness or sourness to your preference. Serve the dipping sauce alongside the grilled Thit Nuong.