This Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Bowls recipe is absolutely amazing! It tastes delicious, is so easy to make, quick, and affordable! This stir-fried pork mince is the perfect dinner meal for any weeknight! You can serve this as a main dish or an appetizer.
This Vietnamese Caramelized Pork is a great stir fry minced pork recipe that you should try. It’s so flavorful, and can be done at your dinner table in less than 30 minutes. It’s definitely tastier and faster than any Asian take-out.
The ground pork is stir-fried and cooked perfectly in a homemade Asian sauce. The sauce has the perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, tanginess, and with the right amount of heat! The caramelized sauce really makes the meat tender and flavorful. So yummy!
Minced pork is an affordable protein choice. It also takes a little time to cook. If you just purchased some ground pork and are looking for recipes for pork mince, try this Vietnamese Caramelized Pork!
Please note that this stir-fried minced pork has a very mild spicy level. Feel free to skip the red chili to make it becomes less spicy and more kid-friendly so that everyone leaving the dinner table happy.
Now let’s talk about the ingredients, preparation, and the cooking process.
Pork mince is a ground meat that is usually made from pork shoulder, aka pork butt or Boston butt. Unlike ground beef, pork mince is usually sold pre-packaged or in bulk without the fat and will often show the lean fat percentage content amount.
This recipe works well with pork mince or a combination of pork mince and ground beef. And, if you are not a big fan of pork mince, feel free to use ground beef, chicken, or turkey as a replacement ingredient.
The Asian Caramel Sauce:
To make the sauce, you will need some fresh garlic, ginger, shallots, Vietnamese fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, pepper, red Jalapeno or Serrano or any red chilies, lime zest, and lime juice.
This recipe requires simple preparation. It involves chopping and zesting only! Basically, you need to mince the garlic and ginger, slicing the shallots and the red chilies, then zesting the lime.
Vietnamese Fish Sauce:
Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish, such as anchovy extract that has been coated in salt and sugar, and naturally fermented for up to two years.
It is used as a staple seasoning in East and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Please note that not all fish sauce products/brands are created equal and they usually have different sodium levels (ex: Thai fish sauce has a lower sodium content than Vietnamese fish sauce).
To add saltiness to the dish, just add a small amount of salt. Do not go overboard with fish sauce or all you’ll taste is fish sauce.
CHECK OUT MORE ASIAN RECIPES:
- TWICE-COOKED PORK BELLY – (SZECHUAN HUI GUO ROU)
- CHICKEN IN BLACK BEAN SAUCE
- SPICY SICHUAN NOODLES
- SWEET AND SOUR FISH
- HUNAN BEEF WITH CUMIN
- INSTANT POT MONGOLIAN BEEF
- SINGAPORE NOODLES (XING ZHOU MI FEN)
- GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN (SWEET AND SAVORY DEEP-FRIED CHICKEN)
- VEGETABLE STIR FRY WITH TOFU
- BEST PORK TENDERLOIN STIR FRY
- ASIAN GROUND BEEF STIR FRY
- THAI SALAD DRESSING
- MINCED PORK NOODLES WITH HOISIN SAUCE
- CHINESE EGGPLANT WITH MINCED PORK
- SHRIMP AND GREEN PEAS STIR FRY
- SESAME NOODLES (MA JIANG MIAN)
Cooking Vietnamese Caramelized Pork
And now for the cooking part!
This recipe requires a two-step cooking but it can be done in one skillet and doesn’t require any cooking skill. The only important rule of this recipe is to cook the meat in the sauce on high heat.
Here are some important cooking steps to follow to make this flavorful Asian meat dish:
- First, brown the ground pork and remove the excess fat and liquid (if any) to make it more “lean”, less greasy, and keep the meat 🥩 staying crisp after cooking. Afterwards set it aside. Please note that at this point, you only need to brown the pork, don’t worry about getting the meat crisp because we are going to do that on the next step.
- Second, stir in the caramelized Vietnamese stir fry sauce into the skillet, then put the brown pork back and cook it until crisp and caramelized!
- Lastly, about 30 seconds before the cooking process is finished, add the lime zest, scallion, and lime juice.
For a fattier and less crispy result, you may skip the first step and instead cook the meat and the sauce all at once in one step.
I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe. Don’t forget to come back and rate this recipe if you like it!
Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Bowls
- 1 pound pork mince (ground pork)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil (divided)
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 large fresh red chili pepper (such as Jalapeno or Serrano) – seeded and diced
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallots (lightly packed)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (or add more for a sweeter taste and according to your liking)
- 2 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
- zest from 1 lime
- ⅛ lime (freshly squeezed) – use more according to your liking and more for serving
- 3 scallions (white and green part – thinly sliced)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Brown the Pork Mince:
- Heat 1½ tbsp of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add pork and cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then cook for 4 minutes or until brown. Transfer the pork to a colander to remove the excess liquid and fat. Drain and set aside.Please note that at this point, you only need to brown the pork, don't worry about getting the meat crisp or fully cooked because we are going to do that on the next step.
Caramelize the Pork with Sauce:
- Heat 1½ tbsp of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and cook for about 1 minute, then add ginger and chili and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for about 15 seconds. Keep stirring.
- Add the browned pork back into the pot and stir.
- Add fish sauce, and brown sugar, give a quick stir, and let it cook undisturbed to caramelized for about 1 minute. Then stir again for a few seconds and let it cook undisturbed for another 1 minute. Repeat this process if necessary or until you reach the desired consistency or crispiness. The pork meat should turn into a golden brown with rich, complex caramelized flavors and fully-cooked. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary
- About 30 seconds before the cooking process is done, add chopped scallions, lime zest, and lime juice. Give it a quick stir for about 20-30 seconds, then turn off the heat.
- Serve with white rice or lettuce! Enjoy!
- The Nutrition is for the caramelized minced pork only. It doesn’t include white rice or lettuce.
- Other Meat Besides Pork: ground beef, turkey, or chicken.
- Vietnamese Fish Sauce: I used Viet Huong Fish Sauce (also known as Three Crabs Fish Sauce). You can find them at Target, Ralph’s, or any Asian grocers for around $4-$6 per big bottle. Please note that not all fish sauce products/brands are created equal and they usually have different sodium levels (ex: Thai fish sauce has a lower sodium content than Vietnamese fish sauce). To add saltiness to the dish, just add a small amount of salt. Do not go overboard with fish sauce or all you’ll taste is fish sauce.