Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Garlic Pork with Sprouts & Noodles - a great recipe for summer

On hot, humid evenings such as those we've been having this Melbourne summer, I want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. This dish is one I enjoy making on such nights. It's light and tasty as well as being a doddle to make. The noodles can be softened in cold water, the vegetables are crushed or chopped, quickly stir fried and stirred through the dish and cooking the pork is the most arduous task, you could even cook it outdoors on the BBQ if you liked. By using rice noodles and bean sprouts this dish is light yet surprisingly satisfying and the dressing provides a bit of zing and freshness.

The recipe comes from
Easy Vietnamese Style Cookery (1995), from the Australian Women's Weekly cook book series, before they went all glossy and food pornish. I love the older books in the AWW series. I think many Gen Xers learnt to cook from these. I know I certainly did. The Italian Cooking Class Cookbook was one of my first 'adult' cookbooks, received as a gift when I was a teenager. I still have that cookbook, a bit battered and stained from use. I always return to these books when I want a recipe that is 'do-able' - clear instructions with ingredients I am likely to already have in the pantry or fridge. Did you know that Bill Granger taught himself to cook from the AWW cookbooks? Perhaps that is why his books are so well loved.

200g rice vermicelli noodles
2 tbls peanut oil
450g pork fillets
5 cloves of crushed garlic
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon grass
3 cups (250g) bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped Thai basil (I sometimes substitute regular basil)

1 1/2 tbls sugar
2 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 small fresh red chilli, seeded & sliced

Cook the noodles according to packet directions or alternatively place them in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and stand for 5 minutes. Rinse noodles under hot water and drain well.

Heat half the oil in a griddle or frying pan, add the pork and cook until browned all over and cooked as preferred, turning occasionally. Remove from the pan and cool, then slice thinly.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok or pan, add the garlic, shallots, lemon grass and sprouts, stir-fry until fragrant. Remove from the wok and cool. Combine noodles, pork, bean sprout mixture in a bowl and mix well.

For the dressing, combine the all the ingredients in a jar and shake well. Stir through the salad.

Serves 4.


  1. Oh, you're a better person than I! It's been swelteringly horrible here in Canberra, and all I can bear to do is make smoothies and eat sunflower seed butter by the spoonful ;)

  2. I love vietnamese food, but have always found the recipes complicated. This recipe looks pretty straightforward though:) Thanks for sharing:) I might just get an AWW cookbook too!

  3. Kayla, the AWW Vietnamese cookbook is great, you definitely should try and track one down.