Think of this refreshing salad as a deconstructed spring roll: cool rice noodles, crisp vegetables, and a sweet-and-spicy vinaigrette instead of a dipping sauce. Top it all off with savory stir-fried pork.
4 ounces thin brown rice noodles (such as Annie Chun's)
1 cup sliced red onion
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 ounces baby spinach (about 7 cups)
1 1/4 cups matchstick-cut carrots (4 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons canola oil
How to Make It
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook 3 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water. Drain.
Place onion in a bowl of ice water; let stand 10 minutes. Drain. Combine 2 tablespoons juice, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and black pepper. Add pork; toss.
Combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup hot water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add remaining 3 tablespoons juice, remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and crushed red pepper. Add noodles, onion, spinach, carrot, and cilantro; toss.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add oil; swirl. Add pork mixture; stir-fry 4 minutes. Divide spinach mixture among 6 plates; top evenly with pork.
The fish sauce should say divided in the ingredient list. Would have been easier to follow if the 'dressing' portion of the recipe had been broken out in the ingredient list actually. I'm a fast cook and I think 25 minutes or less is stretching it for the multiple steps involved. I substituted a small head of napa cabbage for the spinach and enjoyed the extra crunch. Overall it seemed a little bland to me and I adjusted the flavors with some rice vinegar, salt and a sprinkling of a sesame seed seasoning blend.
This was pulled from an article "25-minutes-or-less" -- can't see any possible way for one person to prep & cook & plate in that time. We followed directions except cut the pork into medallions then into strips. Used regular leaf spinach torn into smaller pieces. Great combo of flavors, colors & textures. If we were to make again, would prep an extra portion of sauce (from step #3) to serve at the table, for those who might like a little more.
Outstanding recipe! I agree with a previous comment...hands on time is longer than 22 minutes, even with two people sharing the preparation. First, the recipe would leave dinner guests hungry if you planned on serving 6 people...4 would be adequate. I cubed the pork also...rather than cut in 1" pieces...an excellent summer evening supper on the porch!! Step #2 could be rewritten to separate the onion prep from the sauce-pork mix.