Vietnamese food is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and they get this reputation from the use of all the fresh ingredients and their minimal use of oil. This recipe will transport you straight to Vietnam. It is super delicious and also very healthy; it is jam packed with lots of fresh herbs and the pork is cooked in coconut water.
Succulent slow cooked pork, fresh coriander and mint, a sprinkle of peanuts, served on a bed of rice noodles with a sweet and salty coleslaw, who could want more.
It is also so easy to make. Depending on how much time you have, you can cook it while you’re at home in about 2 and a half hours, or place the pork in the slow cooker in the morning and then come home to the aromas of pork wafting through your home.
Preparation: 30 minutes: Cooking: 2-2 ½ hours or 6-8 hours in the slow cooker
Ingredients for pork and noodles:
- 5cm piece ginger
- 1-2 litres of coconut water
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 6 star anise
- 3 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 8 cloves
- 1 bulb garlic, halved crosswise
- 75g raw sugar
- 150ml-200ml fish sauce
- 2kg pork shoulder (if doing the quicker method than its preferred to have quartered the pork or use 4x 500g pieces skinless pork shoulder)
- 1kg rice noodle sheets or rice noodles
- 3 cups mixed herbs, such as mint, thai basil, coriander, Vietnamese mint
- 2-3 red birds eye chillies, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped salted, roasted peanuts
- Char the ginger and shallots on a naked flame, turning until blackened. Alternatively, put on a baking tray then grill in the oven until blackened.
- Peel and discard the skins then coarsely chop the ginger and shallots.
- Put in a saucepan or slow cooker with coconut water, spices, garlic, sugar and 150ml fish sauce.
- Add the pork, ensuring it’s fully submerged, 1L of coconut water was sufficient to cover the pork in my slow cooker.
- If you are using a saucepan cover the saucepan with a circle of baking paper, place over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until the pork is tender and falling apart.
- Alternatively, if you are using a slow cooker, cook on high until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours. Or you can cook on low heat for 10 to 12 hours.
- Remove the pork to a bowl. Strain the liquid through a sieve, discarding the solids, then return the liquid to the pan and set over high heat. Boil for 30 minutes to reduce to 740 ml (3 cups). Add more fish sauce to taste if you like. Alternatively, pour the liquid back into the slow cooker and allow it to keep cooking away.
- Pull the pork apart into small pieces with two forks then return to the pan with the liquid over very low heat and keep warm or add back into the slow cooker.
- To serve blanch the rice noodles according to packet directions. Drain and, if using sheets, tear into large pieces. Put the noodles on a platter, top with the pork meat and sauce, and garnish with the herbs, chillies and nuts. Serve with a side of coleslaw.
Ingredients for coleslaw:
- ½ chinese cabbage, thinly sliced (normal cabbage will work if you can’t find the chinese)
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks or grated
- 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- 2 celery sticks, very thinly sliced diagonally
- 200g snow peas, thinly sliced diagonally (optional)
- 4 spring onions, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2/3 cup bought fried shallots (this makes it)
- 4 ripe avocados, mashed (optional)
- Combine the cabbage, carrot, fennel, celery, snow peas and spring onions in a large bowl.
- In another bowel, whisk together the fish sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
- Drizzle the dressing over the vegetable and toss well to combine.
- Spread the avocado over a platter and top with coleslaw.
- Garnish with shallots to serve.