For dinner tonight we’re eating an asian-influenced meal. Pork chops were marinated in a mixture of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sambal, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil before being grilled to a juicy medium. The chops were accompanied by a rice noodle salad dressed with some of the reserved marinade and tossed with grilled red bell pepper, onions, avocado, and cilantro.
T: This pork and rice-noodle salad was awesome. It had a different kind of flavor than you normally give to your grilled goods… and, I must say, it was awfully tender Miss Amanda.
A: why thank you mista tylah! i was going for asian-ish flavors… you know, with the rice noodles and all. the pork was definitely super tender. mainly because it wasn’t over cooked.
T: It had a really fun asian-y flavor, for sure. Chinese-y to be specific. Although it tasted very little like anything that I’ve actually had in a chinese restaurant before.
A: yeah, i’m not chinese, nor have i lived in china or worked in a chinese restaurant so really what i go for is fusion-y dishes that use the flavors common in certain ethnicities and twist them into something i’m more familiar with… like grilled pork chops! mmmm!
T: Yeah, I love how you use ingredient combinations that are not at all American, and then use them in what would be fairly typical American meals. Kind of like last night’s roasted chicken, which was Mexican-y but not Mexican.
A: exactly. lately i’ve been having to cook so much pure classic american food at work that i need an ethnic outlet. man, let me tell you how tired i am of cooked grilled chicken and asparagus. not that what i’ve been making is too far removed, but hey! what ever. this was a really quick and quite tasty meal. what more can a girl ask for when returning from a hard day at work?
T: I’m not a girl so I can’t accurately answer that question… but I can imagine a thing or two 😉 But I wonder if your boss would enjoy some of these more adventurous meals…? What do you think? I mean, this was unusual, but it wasn’t too spicy or fatty.
A: but it did have a lot of onions and red bell pepper. both of which he doesn’t like. i could take it in a different direction and he would probably like it. what american doesn’t like chinese-american food?!? even my picky grandmother likes it!
T: I’m sure most americans would enjoy this meal… but let’s not confuse the kind of chinese-american food that you get in typical American chinese restaurants with what you made tonight. This was way different. It was much closer to american-american food than you find in those chinese restaurants, and I’d be willing to bet that your grandmother has never had anything quite like this. Would you not agree?
A: absolutely! my grandmother would never eat pork cooked medium. only burnt dried out food for her!
T: It will be interesting to see how far you can go from a “typical” american style without your boss thinking it’s weird. Hell, I bet he would love some of your more unique creations.
A: we’ll find out. there’s only so long i can continue cooking what i’ve been cooking without going mad! so let’s refocus. before eating this meal, you said something about how there was almost no chance it could stand up against last night’s roasted chicken meal. what’s the verdict after having eaten dinner? still no chance?
T: It was not as good as last night’s roasted chicken for me. And I think a great roasted chicken will beat a great grilled pork chop for me every time. Not to say this wasn’t a top-notch chop, but… it wasn’t roasted chicken. It really didn’t have much of a chance with me.
A: i kind of agree. i really really dug tonights meal, for what it was. i love some grilled meat… but there is just something about a roasted chicken that is so comforting and tasty. do you have a rating for tonights dinner?
T: I give it a 4.68/5. It was super-duper tasty, and was unique and well-cooked. As usual I could have gone for a bit of fresh jalapeno or something like that, but regardless it was quite nice. You?
A: i’m gonna have to give it a 4.44/5. it was great. i really like the marinade with the pork. i did put some chile paste (sambal) into the marinade and sauce, but i, too, could have gone for some more heat. I also wasn’t all that keen on the grilled avocado. it was good. just not great, you know. i could see some crisp grilled zucchini substituting nicely in the avocado’s place.
T: or maybe some bamboo shoots? Me likey bamboo shoots.
A: hehehe me didn’t know that you likey bamboo shoots…. maybe next time we eaty bamboo shoots.
T: what kind of a freak show doesn’t like bamboo shoots?
2 pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and quartered
1 small yellow onion, in 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 avocado, pitted and peeled
juice from 1/2 lime
3oz rice noodles
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
cool to room temperature water
2 tbsp canola oil
kosher salt and black pepper
For the marinade/sauce:
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sambal oelek
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Make the marinade: Add all of the ingredients for the marinade into a mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients until thoroughly blended. Reserve half of the marinade for later, then pour the other half of the marinade into a medium sized ziploc bag.
Add the pork chops to the ziploc bag with the marinade, then seal the bag, making sure to get out as much air as possible. Once the bag is sealed, toss the chops in the marinade, making sure all surfaces are coated. Marinate the chops for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
15 minutes before removing the chops from the marinade, place the rice noodles in a large mixing bowl, and cover with lots of room temperature water, they will absorb and expand as they soak. Toss the peeled avocado with lime juice to prevent oxidation. Add the avocado, bell pepper, and onion to a bowl. Drizzle with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Remove the pork chops from the marinade. Season both sides of the chops with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Grill the pork chops over medium high heat for 4 minutes on the first side, rotating the chop a quarter turn after after the first two minutes to achieve cross hatching. Flip the chop and cook the other side for another 4 minutes, or until the pork chop is medium inside, again rotating after two minutes.
After initially placing the chops onto the grill, add the onions, bell peppers, and avocado to the grill. Grill the veggies over medium high heat for about 3 minutes per side or until grill marks appear and they veggies become nice and tender.
Remove the chops and veggies from the grill. Allow the chops to rest for at least 5-10 before cutting or serving. While the chops are resting, drain all the water off of the rice noodles, then return the noodle to the mixing bowl. Chop the grilled veggies into bite-sized pieces then add the veggies, cilantro, and reserved marinade to the bowl. Toss all the ingredients together until all the noodles and veggies are thoroughly coated with the marinade. Serve the grilled pork chops, either sliced or whole, on a bed of noodles and veggies. Serve warm. Enjoy!