The week after Thanksgiving is always hard for me. This year, I ate four standard-sized Thanksgiving meals over the course of exactly one week. That’s four meals of a lot of really heavy, starchy, carby foods — and now I’m trying to reteach my body that it doesn’t need a 2500+ calorie dinner every other day. It’s hard; I’ve been hungry a lot this week.
This was the perfect time to hit this part of the list, though. Gui Cuon and Pho (coming up soon) are probably the two lightest foods on this list. Marinated, grilled pork and lots of green veggies served up with a bowl of Hoisin? Count me in, sounds delicious.
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to give this one a solid “Meh…” on the delicious scale. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. In fact, it’s something that I wouldn’t be opposed to having again. I just don’t think it’s in the top 50 (let alone the top 30) of all food — ever.
I worked off of this recipe, improvising as needed to make up for missing ingredients. I also completely left out the bean sprouts because neither the Mrs. or I like them.
The marinade for the pork chops is pretty standard. I have this weird thing about fish sauce, though… the smell creeps me out, but the flavor it adds after it cooks is fantastic.
I let the two chops marinate in the fridge for about a half hour — just enough time to get the dipping sauce ready. I just whisked together the hoisin and peanut butter (and forgot to take any pictures! I’m sorry!) and a few dribbles of red wine vinegar. It turned out okay, but the hoisin was very salty. Nothing I could do about it.
The recipe told me to grill the pork, but there were a couple of reasons why I didn’t:
1. It was already dark outside by the time I got home from work.
2. It’s the last day of November… In Kansas City, that means it’s too cold to grill (unless it’s right before a football game… which was not the case this time).
So, I pulled out a little skillet and cooked the pork on the stove. It still turned out just fine!
After letting the pork chops rest for a few minutes, I cut them into very thin slices… to make it that much easier to roll (I needed all the help I could get… they were pretty ugly).
I had never worked with rice wrappers like this before. The texture before you soak them is very papery, and then after they set, they’re very sticky and almost gooey. What they don’t tell you is that there’s not a lot of time between those two states. Getting everything rolled into the wrapper was an adventure, especially the first couple that I did… It probably wouldn’t have passed as Gui Cuon to anyone that actually knows what they’re looking for… but it got the job done. They were just a little ugly.
I did figure out that it’s much easier to make enclosed rolls (think… burritos) than open rolls like a lot of the photos I saw showed. Either way, it was a lot of effort for something I wasn’t exactly blown away by. Next time, I’ll just eat the pork chop with a salad.