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Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Grilled Pork

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Many years ago, my Mother-in-Law gave my husband and me a subscription to Cuisine at Home, a simple, elegant cooking magazine which comes every other month.  Perhaps the greatest characteristic of Cuisine at Home is that it does not have advertisements.  It’s a thin (but not cheap thin) publication which is literally 100% filled with recipes and cooking tips.  It’s almost more like receiving a mini cookbook in the mail every other month.  It comes three hole punched as if begging to be added to a three ring binder and never thrown out!  My entire family receives this magazine and it’s not uncommon for my sister-in-law and I to compare notes on what we are going to make from the current issue (we have similar palates so we are typically eyeballing the same recipes).  When the Cuisine at Home May/June 2013 issue arrived not long ago, I got unusually excited about the “Vietnamese Noodle Salad.”  So get this…..of all things that I could have chosen to do for dinner on Mother’s Day, I chose to prepared my version of this dish with my wonderful sous chef and grill master hubby.  Two thumbs up…..this dish made me one happy Mom on Mother’s Day!

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Grilled Pork (Serves 4-6)

This dish has three major parts and calls for a little prep ahead of time.  Here is your timeline…

1. The night before, marinate pork

2. A few hours before or night before:  Cook noodles, prepare dressing, pour half of dressing on noodles, toss and chill.

3. Chop and prep all of the toppings for the noodle bowl.

Pork Marinade:

1/4 cup diced scallions

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro

3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

zest of two limes

2-2.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder or loin, thinly sliced (put in freezer for an hour or two before slicing so it is firm enough to slice).

Combine all ingredients.  Toss to coat the thinly sliced pork in zip lock bag and marinate for up to 2 days.

Noodles and Dressing:

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp finely shredded carrot

1 tsp minced garlic

4 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp red pepper flakes

8 oz. brown rice noodles

Cook noodles according the package directions.  Drain and rinse.  Heat the water, sugar, soy, vinegar, carrot and garlic until sugar dissolves.  Off heat, add lime juice and red pepper flakes.  Add half of the dressing to the noodles.  Toss and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

The Noodle Bowl:

bean sprouts

cilantro

mint leaves

scallions

English cucumber

shredded carrots

chopped dry roasted peanuts

Preheat grill to 400 degress. Brush grate with oil.  Grill pork until charred, 2-3 minutes per side.  To serve, divide noodles among bowls.  Top with pork and all other toppings.  Or let guests choose their toppings.  Serve with remaining dressing on side and wedges of lime.