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This is a dish that very much surprised me, in a good way. In addition, it was pleasing to photograph, as the vibrant colours of the dish really come through. Lots of greenery tends to work well in pictures, I find. It’s a recipe that we hunted down to utilise a nice piece of pork fillet that we had in the freezer. It certainly did it justice, and strangely for us, it didn’t have a sauce – well, not a thick sauce as we would normally choose. It was more of a dressing.

The dish is made up of marinated, griddled pork, some stir-fried greens and a lovely caramel sauce that we dribbled over everything at the end. Not something we usually make at home, it was a big hit and fabulous to try something different. It’s also the first plate we have cooked up from my new Bill Granger book ‘Bill’s Everyday Asian’. The book itself is filled with tasty, oriental food ideas that are fresh and fairly easy to make. Certainly worth a read (inspiring food photography too).

To make this dish (serves two/three) you will need:
– 600g (whole) pork fillet
– Sunflower/light flavoured oil
– One tablespoon of fish sauce
– One teaspoon of caster sugar
– Two garlic cloves (crushed)
– Vietnamese caramel sauce (see below)
– A handful of coriander leaves

Method:
– Prepare the pork fillet by cutting it in half crossways.
– Make the marinade by combining the fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a small dish. Add the pork and leave to marinate in the fridge for ten minutes.
– Lightly oil a griddle pan and heat to a medium high temperature. Cook the pork for three to four minutes on each of the four sides or until just cooked.
– Leave to rest for five minutes before cutting it into thick slices.
– Dress with the caramel sauce and sprinkle over the leaves.
– Serve with plain boiled rice.

To make the Vietnamese caramel sauce:
– Two tablespoons of soft brown sugar
– Two tablespoons of caster sugar
– Two tablespoons of light flavoured oil
– One and a half tablespoons of fish sauce
– One and a half tablespoons of lime juice
– One long red chilli (finely sliced)

Method:
– Place the sugars and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over a low heat and cook until the sugars have dissolved.
– Raise the heat to medium and cook for two minutes or until reduced.
– Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool. Next add in the oil, fish sauce, lime juice and chilli.
– Stir well to combine thoroughly.

To make the stir-fried Asian greens you will need:
– One tablespoon of light flavoured oil
– 3cm piece of fresh ginger (peeled/finely sliced)
– Three heads of bok choy (quartered lengthways)
– One tablespoon of mirin
– 45ml of chicken stock
– Half a teaspoon of granulated sugar
– One teaspoon of sesame oil

Method:
– Heat a wok over a high heat and add in the oil. Once it has come up to temperature, stir-fry the ginger until fragrant.
– Add in the bok choy and cook for a couple of minutes, or until the leaves start to wilt. Add in the mirin, chicken stock and sugar. Season to taste with sea salt.
– Stir-fry for another minute and then transfer to a serving plate. Pour over the cooking juices and drizzle with sesame oil to serve.

The crunchy greens on the side really help to make this meal into something that is highly enjoyable to eat, along with the sweet and more-ish sauce that seeps nicely into the rice. I also liked the bite of the chilli and the freshness that the coriander provides at the end. Thinking about it now, a thicker sauce would have only served to take away the fabulous lightness of this dish. Light, yet highly textured and flavoured. One for the keepers list.

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