Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Rice Noodle Salad

Serves: 6
3/4 cup water
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce) or more to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (6-ounce) package rice vermicelli
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce) or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Cooking spray (if grilling on an outdoor grill)
2 cups thinly sliced red leaf lettuce
1 cup matchstick-cut peeled English cucumber
1 cup matchstick-cut carrot
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

Additional Sriracha for serving

To prepare dressing, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or just until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool.
To prepare salad, place vermicelli in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain.
Cut tenderloin in half lengthwise. Cut each piece in half crosswise. Place each pork piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Combine 2 teaspoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon Sriracha; drizzle over pork. Sprinkle evenly with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pat brown sugar onto pork.
Place pork on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 12 minutes or until slightly pink in center, turning pieces occasionally to prevent burning. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across grain into very thin slices.
Combine vermicelli, lettuce, and next 6 ingredients (through mint) in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss well. Top with pork and nuts. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha on the side as an optional garnish for the salad.


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