On our crazy busy weeknights, getting a healthy meal on the table quickly is a big deal, and we get the boys in the kitchen to help. Each one has a job, and they rotate the jobs among themselves. One helps with food preparation, one helps with setting the table, one helps with cleaning up at the end. This Vietnamese caramel pork is one meal that the kids love to help with because the vegetable prep is pretty easy; they just need to thinly slice the napa cabbage, and chop onions and carrots. All four of my guys really like this, and I make a double batch, which is enough to feed the family and have some leftovers. They like the crunch of the cabbage and cashews, and the drizzle of lime juice helps balance the sweetness of the sauce.
The May edition of Cooking Light features fast recipes, with the plan to get dinner on the table in 25 minutes or less. To keep this Vietnamese Caramel Pork dish under the 25 minute window, the original recipe calls for packaged precooked rice, and you can certainly do that. We just happen to prefer homemade rice, so I turn the rice cooker on first to get things moving. One other time-saving trick is to make a big batch of rice once a week and reheat the leftovers for other meals. We always have some kind of rice ready in the refrigerator, and it works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
For safety, make sure an adult or teenager works with the hot wok. And check out more recipes your whole family can make together at my Cooking With Kids page.
You can use pork chops or chicken breast instead of the pork tenderloin.
The original recipe uses just sesame oil, but I add a little peanut oil with the sesame oil for my seasoned carbon steel wok, which helps keep the sesame oil from burning.
Vietnamese Caramel Pork (The Kids Cook Monday)
- medium bowl
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut or sunflower oil
- 1 pound pork tenderloin (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
- 1 cup chopped carrot (about 3 large)
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- prepared brown jasmine rice
- thinly sliced napa (Chinese cabbage, about 1 leaf per person)
- chopped unsalted roasted peanuts or cashews
- cilantro leaves
- lime wedges
- Heat the wok over high heat. Add oil ands swirl to coat. Add the pork and stir-fry 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add the onion, carrot, ginger, and garlic to the wok and stir-fry 2 minutes.
- Combine stock, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and crushed red pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add stock mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbly. Return pork to the work and cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Serve with suggested accompaniments.
More Meals to Make with Your Family
Visit our Cooking with Kids page for more recipes the whole family can cook together!
More Easy Asian Recipes From Other Blogs
- Monica Bhide – Monica’s Indian Express: Chicken Vadouvan Curry
- The Perfect Pantry – Egg Curry
- The Roasted Root – Moo Shu Vegetable Bowls
- Omnivore’s Cookbook – Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad
[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers' Connection.]
kristy @ the wicked noodle says
Holy cow, A!! This dish looks FANTASTIC. And the photos are stunning!!
Thanks Kristy! The boys had a good time helping me make it.
Huge hit with my husband! I think i added too many red pepper flakes for my kids so next time I'll add less. I will be making this again! Thank you!
Thanks Callie, so glad you enjoyed it! It's one of my boys' favorites.