To fully enjoy this Asian dish, be sure to give the sugar plenty of time to caramelize; it will take on a dark, intense color and flavor that pull the sauce together. The pickled bean sprouts add a pleasurable tang.
4 cups warm water
1/3 cup white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup (1 1/2-inch) julienne-cut green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 (2-pound) boned pork loin roast
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cups thinly sliced shallots
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
5 (1/8-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
How to Make It
To prepare sprouts, combine first 3 ingredients. Add sprouts and onions; toss well. Cover and refrigerate 90 minutes. Drain well. Toss with cilantro and oil.
Immerse top and bottom of a 3-quart clay cooking pot in water for 10 minutes. Empty and drain well.
To prepare pork, trim fat from pork; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Set aside. Place the sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring as needed to dissolve the sugar evenly. Cook until golden and foamy (for about 5 minutes). Remove from heat; carefully stir in fish sauce (mixture will splatter). Stir in the shallots and pepper. Place pan over low heat; cook 5 minutes or until shallots are soft.
Pour into a large bowl. Add the pork, broth, ginger, and garlic, tossing to coat. Place pork mixture in prepared clay pot. Place clay pot in cold oven, and set to 450°. Bake 1 hour. Carefully remove clay pot from oven; remove top. Stir the pork mixture. Cover, return to oven, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Place pork on a serving platter; drizzle caramel sauce over pork. Serve with sprouts and rice.
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