THESE BOWLS! (caps necessary)

30 minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry I

I want to dive inside and eat my way out.

We are talking caramel – like semi-legit, sort of half-assed caramel (think lots of brown sugar and flavor) AND pork.

Oh hello two favorite things. I can pretty much die happy.

Seriously can not even stand this. It’s like THEE easiest dish evah and you will want to make it thirteen times this week. (breakfast counts.)

Remember that week when I sort of binged on pork recipes? That was this week. It was a good week but a week I will have to tell you about in the near future because it’s sort of hilarious. And pork filled. I spent a lot of time in the car. I also binged on Mean Girls last night and please tell me that you did too. In honor of their tenth anniversary. I just have a lot of feelings. And still totally flinch when Regina gets hit by the bus.

30 minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry I

So If there was ever a meal that I could eat everyday forever and ever (or, er, for at least the next two weeks until I find my next favorite – so basic), this would be it. I spied it in a recent issue of Cooking Light and totally died. And then I made it almost immediately because I was still all #omgcaramelpork in my head and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

30 minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry I

It’s just so freaking fantastic. I KNOW. Broken record. I can’t stop. The pork tenderloin cooks quickly (whereas I’m used to destroying pork tenderloins in the oven after waiting for an hour and 25 minutes), the sauce is delicious and the toppings are even better: my favorite napa cabbage, peanuts, tons of cilantro and lime.

Cilantro haters, don’t punch me. This isn’t a pork soap bowl. Leave it out if you aren’t into it!

It will take you less than 30 minutes. Make some brown jasmine rice – you can do it beforehand too because that stuff is so super high maintenance. Things I am terrible at: cooking rice.

Things I have had two of and never used and then gave away: rice cookers.

Thing I will probably buy on amazon in three seconds: rice cooker.

Halp me.

I feel like my photos don’t even do this justice because seared pork is not that stunning to photograph and, well… I was hungry.

So I ate.

It all.

30 minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry I


Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry

Yield: serves 4 appropriately, 2 obnoxiously

Total Time: 25 minutes


1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 head napa cabbage, sliced
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 cups cooked brown jasmine rice, for serving


Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Season the pork with the salt and pepper. Add the oil to the skillet and once it's hot, add the pork. Cook until seared and golden brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pork from the wok and place it aside in a bowl. Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the skillet, stirring to toss. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, vinegar and pepper flakes. Pour it into the skillet and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pork and red pepper into the wok, tossing to coat and cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve immediately over brown jasmine rice. Top with the cabbage, peanuts, cilantro and a spritz of lime.

[slightly adapted from cooking light]

30 minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry I

The end.

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84 Responses to “30-Minute Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry.”

  1. #
    aress — July 4, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

    Where does the brown sugar come in to play?


  2. #
    aress — July 4, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

    oops I see now. I’ve also cooked this another way where you caramelize the sugar in the pan with oil then toss in the pork. Recipe sounds delish :)


  3. #
    Jen P — July 11, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

    Made this tonite….awesome!! It has everything:sweet-salty-fresh-tangy-with a kick! Adding this to regular dinner rotation. The fresh crunchy toppings are so fun, we added cucumber and green onion. Thanks for making me look good!


  4. #
    Sue, Skokie Illinois — November 12, 2014 @ 12:40 am

    This really was freaking fantastic! I loved the toppings and the sauce. I was lucky enough to borrow you new cookbook from the library on Saturday. So for, I have made you’re mom’s romano chicken, the parmesan ranch dressing and the crispy black bean tacos with mango salsa. All of them were A++


  5. #
    Katie+Unger — December 9, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

    I had this recipe saved foreeever, and finally got to make it last night. So easy and so good…we gobbled it all up. Thank you, lady.

    (also, thinking of you constantly as you’re down to the wire with that belly of yours. Sooo excited for youuuuuu.)


  6. #
    Mary — February 23, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

    This dish was super fantastic. All three of my children loved this meal! My husband has requested that I add this to our regular menu rotation. Thank you!



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