Thin-Cut Coconut Pork Chops with Pickled Vegetables
4 to 6 servings
50 to 55 minutes, plus chilling time
In Cambodia, there’s a popular breakfast dish called bai sach chrouk, traditionally prepared over charcoal fires by roadside vendors. It’s served with rice and a bird’s nest of pickled shredded vegetables, and stands at the intersection of sweet, sour, savory, and spicy. This takes you there, any time of day.
You can use this recipe with pork sirloin steaks, too. I also like to use this marinade for pork kebabs and boneless chicken. And chopped leftover pickles are delicious on burgers or stirred into tuna salad.
3 ⁄ 4 cup rice vinegar
1 ⁄ 4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 4-inch piece daikon radish, peeled 2 Kirby or other small cucumbers
1 carrot, peeled
1 ⁄ 2 to 1 jalapeño or other hot green or red chile, to taste, seeded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger cut into thin julienne
1 ⁄ 2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste
1 1 ⁄ 2 to 2 pounds thin-cut bone-in pork chops
1. Put the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat; let cool completely.
2. Cut the daikon, cucumber, carrot, and jalapeño into thin strips about 2 inches long. Put them in a bowl, add the ginger, and toss to combine. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors develop. If storing longer, transfer to an airtight container. The pickles will keep their crunch for 4 to 5 days.
3. Put the coconut milk, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Put the pork chops in a zipper bag or large baking dish, pour the marinade over, and turn the chops until completely coated. Refrigerate until you’re ready to grill, for up to several hours.
4. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for hot direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
5. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and put on the grill directly over the fire. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (Nick with a small knife to peek inside.) Transfer to a platter and serve with the pickled vegetables on the side.
Hot and Sweet Coconut- Pineapple Pork Chops
Substitute 1⁄4 cup pineapple juice for the honey and add 1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot sauce.
Braised-and-Grilled Coconut Baby Backs or Spareribs
Fantastic make-ahead party food: Substitute 3–4 pounds baby back ribs or spareribs, cut into individual ribs, for the pork chops. Put the marinade in a baking dish large enough to hold the ribs in a single layer. Add the ribs and cook in a 350°F oven until a knife slides easily through the meat, about 1 hour. Transfer the ribs to a platter. Or refrigerate them for up to 24 hours. Grill as directed over a medium- high direct fire until browned and crisp in places and heated through, 3 to 7 minutes per side.
Sweet Soy Pork Chops with Garlic and Ginger
Omit the coconut milk and lime juice, increase the soy sauce and fish sauce to 1⁄4 cup each, and substitute 1⁄4 cup sugar for the honey. Add 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger. Stir the marinade until the sugar dissolves.