With the Los Angeles perpetual summer continuing its rampage, I have been running out of non-soup based recipes to show you. After some discussion and a recent purchase of four pounds of beautifully trimmed pork shoulder, Generoso, upon seeing pictures, asked if I could make the pork chops served with Com Tam.
Com Tam is a blanket term for rich dishes served with crushed jasmine rice and a small bowl of nuoc mam to pour over all of the treats on the plate. There are many variations on Com Tam, which contain different types of meats and preparations, but my favorite has always been the version with Suon Nuong, and that is what I decided to modify.
First, in my version, I use molasses as my source of color and caramelization to the meat. You can certainly use brown sugar if you would like! I also use pork without the bone; again, this is a preference. I also serve the pork with brown rice, which is a bit healthier, and this dish needs all of the help it can get when it comes to health. In addition, I serve my Com Tam without nuoc mam (the signature lime and fish sauce based dipping sauce); I let the pork marinade shine on its own but balance the richness of the dish with pickled carrots. Lastly, I pan fry my pork, whereas most preparations call for grilling or broiling. I like the texture of the pan fry myself, but you are welcome to broil or grill the Suon Nuong!
Please note: In the opening ingredient introduction, I forgot to mention fish sauce. There’s almost no savory Vietnamese recipe that does not have fish sauce! Make sure that you always have it on hand when you’re making Vietnamese food! 🙂
Enjoy! Please do share your results and variations of Suon Nuong!