Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vietnamese-Style Pork Chops with Noodles and Bok Choy

Vietnamese cuisine is loaded with flavor combinations. Here, the marinade—which becomes the sauce—is spicy, sweet, pungent, and sour all at once, adding up to a bold, tasty complement for tender pork chops. 

I typically discard marinades, especially for chicken or other poultry, but in this recipe, the marinade is boiled for a long time until it’s reduced to a thickened, syrupy sauce. Perfectly safe. And delicious.

A simple side dish of rice noodles and stir-fried baby bok choy rounds out this inviting Southeast Asian-inspired dinner that cooks quickly once the marinating is done.

Serves 4


For the Pork Chops
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 bone-in center-cut pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick
  • peanut oil, for brushing
  • sea salt
Marinade Ingredients 
Center-Cut, Bone-In Chops
For the Noodles and Bok Choy
  • 6 oz Thai rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks baby bok choy, coarsely chopped (including leaves)
Side Dish Ingredients

For the Pork Chops
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Pierce the chops a few times with a fork and place in a heavy, sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade, seal, and turn a few times to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 5.
Marinade for the Chops
Chops in the Marinade
Marinated Pork Chops
  1. Transfer the chops from the marinade to a plate, letting all excess drip back into the bag. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Boiling Marinade
  1. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat and brush with peanut oil.
  2. Season the chops with salt and grill until charred and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and let rest 3 minutes.
Pork Chops Beginning to Grill
Chops after Turning 
Grilled Pork Chops
To serve, place 1 chop on each of 4 plates and drizzle with the cooked marinade. Serve the noodles and bok choy (recipe follows) alongside.

For the Noodles and Bok Choy
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the noodles to the hot water and submerge completely. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, until the noodles are soft but still firm. Drain.
  2. Combine the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or deep skillet over medium heat and add the peanut oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry 1 minute.
  4. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 3 minutes.
Bok Choy Beginning to Stir-Fry
  1. Add the drained noodles and soy-sesame mixture and toss until the noodles are hot throughout, 2 minutes. Divide alongside the pork chops and serve right away.
Bok Choy and Noodles

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