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Chopstick Grilled Lemongrass Pork with Black Pepper Caramel, Viet-Herbs and Roasted Peanuts

Chopstick Grilled Lemongrass Pork with Black Pepper Caramel, Viet-Herbs and Roasted Peanuts

From: Chef Robert Danhi. Yield: 20-30 bites.

Marinated Pork in Chopsticks:
1 lb. pork leg cut into wafers about 1” x 1 ½”
8 oz. pork fat, cut into strips, ½” x 1 ½” and 1/8” thick
1 Tbsp. rendered pork fat or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. grated light brown palm sugar
2 Tbsp. pounded or minced shallots
1 Tbsp. pounded or minced garlic
¼ cup minced lemongrass
10 bamboo chopsticks, beginning at small end split lengthwise 75%
12” square banana leaf, blanched, pulled into ¼” wide strips

Black Pepper Caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar, combined with ½ cup water
2 tsp. coarsely grated black pepper
¼ cup water
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp. fish sauce

as needed for garnish, crushed pan-roasted peanuts
as needed for garnish, parilla herb, fine chiffonade
as needed for garnish, thinly sliced cilantro stems

For marinated pork: Massage all ingredients into pork. Marinate at least 1 hour. Slip pork in between split skewers, alternating meat and fat. Tie end with banana leaf, securing tightly, and tying knot to secure.

For black pepper caramel: In a small saucepan, heat sugar/water mixture over medium heat until a deep caramel is formed. Sugar will be about 365°F. Add black pepper, then add water carefully (it will boil vigorously and release lots of steam). Remove from heat and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce.

For final assembly: Grill chopsticks of pork, fanning constantly over a roaring fire until brown and cooked through. Pull off meat and fat. Arrange a piece on a mini-skewer or serving spoon. Drizzle with black pepper caramel. Dust with crushed pan-roasted peanuts, fine chiffonade of parilla herb and thinly sliced cilantro stems.

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