Com Suon Nuong (Grilled Pork Chips with Rice) is probably one of the most popular and recognizable Vietnamese dishes.
This Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops recipe has been in my family as far back as I can remember. As early as 7 years old, I was out back grilling pork chops for my family for one of our favorite feasts, Com Suon Nuong.
WHAT IS IN THE COM SUON NUONG MARINADE?
The base of the marinade is a simple, 4 ingredients (fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and oil). The ingredient that makes it classic Vietnamese is the fish sauce. It adds tons of umami and richness. When cooked, the sugars caramelize with the fish sauce, creating a distinct Vietnamese flavor. You can use this same marinade on chicken (wings anyone?) or beef, both work well.
In addition to the base ingredients, a few aromatics go in with the pork chops; garlic, shallots and lemongrass. The fragrant lemongrass combined with the sweet and savory marinade is the perfect complement to each other. If you order pork chops at a Vietnamese restaurant, they very rarely include lemongrass. To me, it is a must add ingredient if you are able to find it in your area.
Even if you have never used lemongrass before, I’m sure you have tasted it. Thai Tom Yum soups is simmered with a stalk of lemongrass, as is many South East Asian soups and curries. Although you don’t eat the lemongrass when it comes in soup, the flavor is very apparent.
Lemon grass is a plant with a thick fibrous stalk. It is very tough and not edible unless it is finely minced. When minced, the lemongrass releases a wonderful aroma. When added to soup, it imparts a fresh citrusy flavor.
Once you have the it marinated, fire up your grill or even cook in on the stove. I have included instructions for both methods. Hope you enjoy my Vietnamese Pork Chop recipe as much as we do.
- 5-7 bone in pork chops
- 2-3 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- 4 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon high smoke point oil, canola, grapeseed, avocado...
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Place the pork chops in a large bowl or zip lock bag and pour in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the pork, be sure every piece well coated.
- Add the lemongrass, garlic and shallots to the bag. Using you hands, massage the bag unit the aromatics are well coated with marinade.
- Allow to marinate at least overnight. If my pork chops are thick, I let it go 2 or 3 nights.
- The traditional method is using a charcoal grill, propane work fine too! First sear both sides over high heat.
- Reduce the temperature and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145° F.
- Sometimes the weather doesn't allow you to grill. This method works great too, it's what I did for this meal. I like to use a cast iron pan, but any pan will work. Heat pan on high heat, then add a generous amount of oil to the pan, enough to fully coat the bottom.
- Sear both sides of the chops. As you're searing, lightly press down on the chops to make sure you have as much contact with the pan as possible.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.