Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls – a fast way to transform humble ground pork (mince) into something super tasty that will please the kids AND the grown ups!
With just a handful of ingredients you probably already have, this Vietnamese pork recipe is sweet, salty, beautifully caramelised and absolutely irresistible. It’s the quick and easy version of Vietnamese Caramel Pork, a famous Vietnamese food speciality!
Caramelised Vietnamese Pork – a quick dinner!
Ground meat – which we call “mince” here in Australia – is extremely good value.
It’s also just about the least sexy protein I know. Don’t you think? A dry aged piece of New York strip is sexy. Quail is gourmet. Oysters are….well, we’ve all heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac, right? 😉
Mince is…well, it just isn’t fancy. And yet, it makes it into my shopping trolley every single week because it’s such good value and so versatile. Sure, there are the usual suspects you can make with mince. Bolognese, meatballs, burgers, Meatloaf, Shepherds Pie – to name a few of the more common ones.
But sometimes, it’s nice to do something a little different. Like this Vietnamese pork stir fry.
The crazy thing about this is that the ingredients list is so short. Chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and fish sauce. That’s it. Seriously!
Can I make this with chicken or beef?
Yes! This is fabulous made with chicken, beef and turkey!
“This is a terrific ground pork recipe that tastes and sounds so exotic…. yet it’s so easy!”
The secret to this recipe is the caramelisation. It is rare to see recipes made with ground meat that are cooked this way so the meat is caramelised. But those golden brown bits you see – they are the crowning glory in this recipe that takes it from a rather unappetising pale brown-grey colour to a golden brown pile of deliciousness that you will want to eat with a spoon straight out of the skillet. (Go on – you deserve it – cook’s privileges!)
Authentic Vietnamese roots
I am not 1000% sure that this is strictly authentic Vietnamese but the combination of ingredients I use most certainly are and it is my replica of dishes I have tried at Vietnamese restaurants here in Australia. It is an adaptation of the marinade I use in my Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl and essentially the quick version of Vietnamese Caramel Pork, a famous Vietnamese food speciality.
How to serve it
I like to serve it over rice and I eat it with a spoon with a fresh side salad like this Asian Slaw.
Or add a side of shredded lettuce, cucumber and carrots which makes it more like the classic Vietnamese Noodle Bowls. You could also make up some Nuoc Cham (the Vietnamese Sauce that’s literally used for everything!!) and serve that for extra juiciness – use the recipe in the Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl.
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
Get your Vietnamese fix!
- Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs (Noodle Bowl)
- Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
- Vietnamese Caramel Pork – and the Chicken version!
- Lemongrass Chicken – one of my favourite things to grill!
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Browse all Vietnamese recipes
Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls
- 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil (I use peanut oil)
- 1/2 onion , finely diced (brown, white or yellow) (~1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp grated ginger (preferably fresh)
- 2 large garlic cloves , crushed (~2 tsp)
- 1 birds eye or Thai chili , deseeded and finely chopped (Note 1)
- 1 lb / 500g ground pork (mince) (or chicken or turkey)
- 5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 shallot/scallion stem , finely sliced (Note 2)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chili and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the pork mince and cook for 3 minutes or so until white all over, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon (Note 3).
- Add the sugar and fish sauce. Stir, then leave it to cook without touching until all the juices cook out and the pork starts caramelised - about 2 minutes. Then stir it and leave it again, without stirring, for around 30 seconds to get more caramelisation. Repeat twice more until caramelised to your taste.
- Serve over rice or vermicelli noodles, garnished with sliced scallions/shallots. I like to have shredded iceberg lettuce, cucumber and carrots on the side which is a classic way of making Vietnamese bowls.