Diving Into Vietnamese Cuisine

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Years ago I worked in a donut shop where I could eat all the free donuts I wanted. Side note: When they tell you that you’ll get tired of donuts working at a donut shop, they lie. The shop was owned by a Vietnamese family and they introduced me to the world of Vietnamese cuisine.

Typical dishes are very flavorful and almost always have pops of color from the spices and garnishes. Each plate is served with a little bowl of vinegar soaked cucumber, daikon radish and carrot slices. The carrot slices were the excitement of the dish since each place had their own version of flowers, animals, and cute little shapes.

The usual proteins in most Vietnamese main courses are pork and beef. Depending on the cut of meat, the fat content can vary greatly. Pork loin and pork chops are pretty safe bets to keep the fat lower. In keeping with the international flair of a lot of my meals, I decided to make a version of Vietnamese pork chops.

These are so easy to make and take about 2 minutes more than plain old pork chops. Just enough time to mix the rub and smear it on, yet the flavor is so much better than the plain version. Most grocery stores carry thin cut pork chops, bone-in pork chops, butterfly chops.

Check the nutrition label on the package so you know what you’re getting. Many times these are just different cuts of the same piece of meat. I aim for the 130 calorie per serving and just choose the cut based on what is on sale that week.

Vietnamese Pork ChopsVietnamese Pork Chops

  • 1 lb boneless pork chops
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger from a jar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat your grill or broiler on your oven. Mix everything but the pork chops in a small bowl. The spices will combine with the ginger and garlic and make a paste. Rub both sides of the pork chops with the spice paste until evenly coated. You can use a spoon, but I just used my fingers.

Grill or broil the chops for approximately 5 – 6 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove from heat and serve with veggies and other side items of choice. Makes 4 servings at approximately 136 calories each – 23g protein, 1g carbs, and 4.5g fat.

If you’re dying to be creative, you can use fresh garlic and ginger. I’m all about speed so I opt for the jarred versions of both. Plus it takes a lot longer for the jarred versions to go bad. You can use more or less cayenne pepper depending on your taste.

You can use the leftover chops to top salads or make sandwich wraps. Try not to drool too much smelling the chops cooking. They smelled wonderful!

Is there any food that someone said you’d eventually get tired of but didn’t? 

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