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I had 2 recipes chosen from this month’s Cookbook of the Month that I was deciding between for this week’s recipe. And the funny part was that I realized that one had mint in it, and the other had sage. If you’ve been reading my blog for the past few weeks, you’ll know that those are 2 of the herbs from my garden this year that I have been looking for recipes for!! It was a win-win situation, but I am horrible at making decisions. My husband texted me at work yesterday, saying that I didn’t need to worry about dinner for him because he just wanted cereal. (This happens on a weekly basis, so I’m used to it!) Every time that happens, I jokingly make a comment about how he doesn’t like my cooking. I know that he does, but it is all in fun. Since I would be cooking for one, I decided to make a recipe for pasta in a brown butter and sage sauce, since I knew this wouldn’t be something my husband would be crazy about. But just before I left work, I got another text, this time saying that he had decided that he did want “real”food for dinner, so he would be eating with me. I knew this pork dish would go over better with him, so a stop at the grocery store was made.

These are the times I wish we had a good Asian grocer in the neighborhood. I had never used lemongrass before, but I had seen pictures of it online. All that my grocery store had was what looked like the stalks of the lemongrass? It was labeled as lemongrass, so I decided to go with it. And the recipe in the book calls for mung bean vermicelli noodles, but my selection of Asian noodles is slim to none, so I settled for some rice vermicelli noodles.

Everything went together quite easily except for one step that I should have accounted for. In the recipe, it says the noodles will take about 5 minutes in the boiling water to be done. Well, the rice noodles that I purchased were still very hard after 5 minutes. Then I decided to look on the package, and these particular noodles are supposed to soak for 30-45 minutes! So dinner took a little longer than anticipated, but it all came together in the end.

I thought this recipe was delicious. It was a bit salty for my tastes, probably because I’m guessing my grocer added salt into the pork, and the fish sauce is quite salty. I’d probably cut down on the quantity of fish sauce if I were to make it again. But I loved that I got to use 2 ingredients that I had never used before – lemongrass and rice noodles. Overall, it was a hit!

Thai Pork with Noodles
adapted from Modern Classics Book 1

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
1-2 red chilies, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces mung bean vermicelli noodles or rice vermicelli noodles
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup mint leaves
lettuce, for serving

Break noodles into short lengths and place into a heat proof bowl. Prepare according to package directions. Drain noodles.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add ground pork and cook until cooked through. Turn off heat and add lemongrass, chili and onion.

Mix the fish sauce with the lime juice and sugar until well combined. Pour over the pork mixture. Mix in the noodles and the mint. Serve with the lettuce leaves.

Serves 4

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28 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Recipe – Thai Pork with Noodles

  1. elliek says:

    This looks great. I went to a culinary class on Wednesday at our local Whole Foods and we did a dish that used fish sauce and lemongrass. The chef suggested that when using fish sauce there is no need to add any additional salt. Also she gave us a trick for cutting up lemongrass. She used the back side of her knife and pounded it down in a “chopping” motion and then went back with the sharp side of the blade and it was much easier to cut after that.

  2. Colloquial Cook says:

    Cool recipe! I have never used lemongrass myself, it looks rather bewildering!And a silly question: does fish sauce taste fishy?

  3. Deborah says:

    Colloquial cook – when I was adding the fish sauce, it smelled pretty fishy. But the dish didn’t taste fishy at all!

  4. Katerina says:

    Looks good. My experience with lemongrass is that it is really a stalk and not very grass like at all. I think that is pretty accurate as we have lots of good Asian grocers in Vancouver.

  5. Patsyk says:

    I like to plan dishes I know my husband won’t like for nights when he’s working later or on poker night… then it’s all about ME! :)

    Can’t wait to read about the dish you would’ve made! This one looks delicious!

  6. Jenny says:

    Mmmm, this looks so tasty. I am so wanting this for lunch!

  7. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    This looks really good, I just love stuff like this! Such great flavors!I am thrilled you found such a lovely use for your plethora of herbs!

  8. glamah16 says:

    I just used lemongrass for the first time this summer and lovedit. Asian noodles can be tricky. Some just require a quick soak and then some frying, amd some like these require longer. Either way it looks wonderful.

  9. sliceofsueshe says:

    This sounds delicious. I love asian noodle dishes!

  10. Ryley says:

    Deb,
    Don’t know exactly where you live, but there is this asian market that looks HUGE in Sandy. On like 90th… and lets say 200 west. Behind Arby’s. My sister in law went there on a whim looking for something and said it was sooo cool!! I haven’t been yet.. but i really really want too!! :)

  11. Deborah says:

    Yeah, I live in Utah County. If gas wasn’t so expensive, I’d drive up that way to the “cool” stores, but we don’t have that much down here!

  12. Grace says:

    just wants cereal?!?! pshaw. what is it with guys–my brothers are the same way. i’ll go with your choice. :)

  13. kat says:

    Sounds like a dish that would be right up my husband’s alley

  14. jb says:

    I’m pretty lucky, living here in Saint Paul- good asian grocery stores outnumber Starbucks by about 6:1 (and that’s before any possible Starbucks closings)! Plus, in Minneapolis there’s United Noodle, the largest asian grocery store in the Midwest! (Rachel Ray did a spot on it on one of her travel shows.)

  15. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    I’m a huge Thai food fan and I know I would absolutely love this dish! It looks wonderful! Kudos for busting out and using new ingredients. That is one of the most fun things for me.

  16. Deb says:

    Thai is one of my most favourite types of food. I *have* to make this. We would eat Thai at least twice a week and thankfully my hubby never wants cereal lol. Or maybe that would be a good thing…there would be more for me to eat!

  17. noble pig says:

    Oh I bet the lemongrass and fish sauce was a greta combo, nice dinner dish for summer too.

  18. Paula says:

    Ohhhh, I love the cereal text msg thing! I bet this was a hit! I love the rice vermicelli noodles. How cool you got to try those new ingredients. Um, can I join you for dinner if I send a text msg??

  19. KJ says:

    Sounds delicious Deborah. I love Thai flavours, they are really fresh.

  20. RecipeGirl says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever used those rice noodles either, but don’t you hate it when you don’t read the directions and then you find out something like that? I’m horrible at reading recipe directions ahead of time.

    This looks like a great recipe. I did chicken lettuce wraps recently that were disappointingly average. Yours look much better!

  21. Mary says:

    Your dinner looks delicious! I’ve never used lemongrass before and I’ve always been curious about it. I’m bookmarking this recipe.

  22. Maria says:

    we have been eating cereal for dinner because of the move etc. It works but I am ready for real food. Slc has some great Asian stores we are lucky! I will have to try this one.

  23. Prudy says:

    Lovely dinner dish. That looks like just the refreshing yet filling dinner that you crave on a late summer night.

  24. Claire says:

    I love Thai foods! One of the things I want to try is spring rolls (the ones with rice paper). BTW, I’m giving you an award…check out my post today.

  25. Sylvie says:

    What a lovely, fresh looking meal.

  26. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    This looks like a terrific dinner. I have only seen lemongrass as the really long stalks. I hear it’s super easy to grow. A good addition for next year’s garden?

  27. kellypea says:

    Hahahaha. My husband likes cereal at night once in a while, too. But he usually has it after dinner right before he’s going to bed. Go figure. These wraps sound yummy. I’ve been wanting some lately. As far as the lemongrass goes, I’ve purchased it before since I saw it, then realized I wasn’t sure about what to do with it. It became yet another science experiment. On the saltiness — 3 T of fish sauce (which I LOVE) would put that saltiness in the dish, wouldn’t it?

  28. Kevin says:

    Those lettuce wraps look nice and tasty!

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