I don’t have all of Bill Granger’s cook books but I do have a few of them, especially some of his older ones. The ones that I do have, I brought with me to Singapore. That’s a pretty good sign of their quality as I had limited space to bring my books.
What I love about Bill’s recipes is that they are really quite simple but always have plenty of flavour and interest.
This recipe for pork fillet with Vietnamese caramel sauce is from Bill’s Everyday Asian. It was pretty easy to put together and served with some rice and Asian greens, it made a really easy and tasty weeknight meal.
There is also a recipe for stir fried chicken with basil in this book which has inspired me to make san choy bow for dinner tonight and I’d also like to try his duck soup recipe which is studded with fresh pineapple…yum!
The Vietnamese caramel sauce was what drew me to the recipe in the first place and I will definitely be making it again. I’d like to use as a base for other sauces and I might even think of a way to make it into a salad dressing.
I could only get really small pork fillets so I used two which worked fine, but a bigger one would probably be better.
The marinade has some similar elements to the one I use when making my banh mi, so I immediately felt at ease with the recipe.
I normally don’t like doing anything with sugar when you can’t stir it. I always worry I’m going to overcook it or it will just end up a syrup. This caramel was pretty fool proof though and the leftovers didn’t set rock hard in the pan so washing the pot wasn’t an issue.
Pork fillet is definitely something that you don’t want to overcook or it will be dry. In saying that though, while a tiny hint of pink in the middle is fine, it does need to be done at least medium well in my opinion. If cooked to medium well and let rest, you will end up with lovely juicy meat.
Bill’s recipe actually called for the pork to be cooked on a BBQ which would be delicious. We don’t have one though, so I used my trusty griddle pan.
The final step of the caramel is to mix in the lime juice, oil, chilli and fish sauce. It is definitely a sweet sauce but it also has a really good balance of salty and sour.
Bill Granger’s Pork Fillet with Vietnamese Caramel Sauce – From Bill’s Everyday Asian
Ingredients – serves 2 as a main with rice
For the marinade
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 400g pork fillet – I used 2 x 200g pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
For the Vietnamese caramel sauce
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 2 tbs white sugar
- 2 tbs neutral oil
- 1½ tbs fish sauce
- 1½ tbs lime juice
- 1 long red chilli, sliced
- To make the marinade, mix together the sugar and fish sauce in a medium non-reactive bowl. Stir just until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
- Slice the pork fillets in half crossways and then add the pieces to the bowl with the garlic.
- Stir together well so the pork is coated and then marinade for 20 minutes out of the fridge.
- While the meat is marinating, start making the caramel sauce by putting the sugars into a small saucepan with 2 tbs water.
- Heat over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the sugar instead swirl the pan occasionally.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes or until the caramel has bubbled up, reduced and thickened slightly.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and set aside in the saucepan to cool slightly.
- Once you are ready to cook the meat, heat a griddle over high to medium heat and brush it lightly with a neutral oil.
- Cook the pork fillet pieces for 2-3 minutes on all sides or until the meat has good char marks on it and it cooked to medium well.
- Remove the meat from the heat and rest it while you finish off the caramel sauce.
- To complete the caramel sauce, mix together the slightly cooled caramel, which should be quite thick now, with the oil, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli and a small pinch of salt. Stir together until it is a thinner consistency and well combined.
- To serve, slice the pork thickly and serve on rice with the Vietnamese caramel sauce poured over it. Also great garnished with coriander and served with steamed Asian greens as a side.