Passion for Pork

Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Ground Pork, Mint and Cilantro

Mijune - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pure Leaf Tea New York Event 05

I had the pleasure of attending a Pure Leaf tea event featuring a cooking demonstration from culinary expert and Top Chef judge, Gail Simmons. The original recipe used shrimp or optional chicken, but of course I decided to try it with pork, and guess what? It worked beautifully! I ended up using ground pork, but any cut of pork would work, like pork belly or pork butt, if you want to go a bit richer. To keep things healthy and light as a cold summer salad I used lean ground pork, but feel free to go for regular ground pork if you want more flavour. I still kept the prawns for a bit of “surf and turf” action and it was delicious served hot as well. It was almost like a Pad Thai meets a Thai larb salad made with minced pork. If you want to make this a bit fancier you can also do bacon wrapped prawns.

Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Ground Pork, Mint and Cilantro

By Gail Simmons

Serves 4

1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided

8 oz vermicelli rice noodles

4 ¼ cups Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea, divided

4 cups water

1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped

¼ cup cilantro leaves, 10 stems reserved

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped

2 small Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped or ½ teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline

6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandoline

¼ cup mint, coarsely chopped

¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed

1 pound cooked lean ground pork


Heat canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry shallots in oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with ½ teaspoon salt.

In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups Iced Tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and remaining teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.

For dressing, combine reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining ¼ cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

Place noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and cooked ground pork in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.

Note: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.