Four pork loin chops prepared with garlic, sugar and the classic Vietnamese flavours of lemongrass and nam pla, a fish sauce. Courtesy of Ontario Pork.
In a medium bowl, combine lemongrass, sugar, nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and the juice from half the lime. Place chops in a dish and pour marinade over; turn a couple of times to coat evenly for up to one hour.
Grilling: Pre-heat grill to medium, about 6 minutes per side. Remove chops from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chops for about 12 minutes, turning twice, depending on their thickness.
Pan-frying: Heat a tablespoon (15 mL) oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry chops on both sides until golden brown and just cooked, about 12 minutes total. Thicker chops can be finished in the oven at 325°F (160°C).
Allow chops to rest for a few minutes; serve with a simply dressed salad of grated carrot and cucumber. Add some Thai basil or cilantro leaves to garnish if desired.
Tip: Substitute soy sauce for nam pla, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon zest for the lemongrass if you can’t locate these ingredients. Nam pla is now available in lager supermarkets in the “Asian” section.
Tip: Thicker chops (over ¾-inches/2 cm) are a good choice; they look great on the plate and stay moist and juicy longer than thinner chops or steaks.