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Vietnamese Green Mango Noodle Salad with Grilled Pork

Notes: 

Prep time: 40 minutes + 20 minutes marinating time
Cook time: 5 to 10 minutes stove or grill time
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 8 as part of a larger menu
Cook to Cook: An easy way to get long thin sticks of mango is to peel the fruit, then make long cuts from the top to the bottom of the fruit, right to its wide flat pit in the center. Then just slice the fruit the other way, parallel to the pit, and you're done.

Cook with lemongrass by first stripping away the long outer leaves of the stalks (save them for tea or to flavor dishes) down to the firm 2 to 3 inches or so of the base. The heart of this base is what is minced.

The assembled salad can wait in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, while the noodle prep and dipping sauce can be done hours ahead.
Wine: A lighter-style wine with just a hint of sweetness, served nicely chilled is the ticket for this dish. Try a Chenin Blanc such as Vouvray, an unwooded Chardonnay or an off-dry Riesling.

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Ingredients: 

The Noodle Salad:
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch by 3-inch sticks
Salt
12 ounces cellophane noodles, also called bean thread, or mung bean noodles
1 large unripe mango, peeled, and cut like the cucumber (see above)
4 Napa cabbage leaves, cut on the diagonal into long thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch by 3-inch sticks
6 whole scallions, cut on the diagonal into long thin strips
1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles, or hotter, smaller Thai chiles, thinly sliced lengthwise into long thin strips
1/3 tightly packed cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 tightly packed cup Vietnamese coriander leaves, (also called rau ram) (optional)
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, or regular basil, torn
The Pork:
2 to 3 tablespoons minced lemongrass (from 2 to 3 lemongrass stalks)
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 packed tablespoon light brown sugar
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large shallots, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 pound pork tenderloin, untrimmed, cut across the grain into thin slices (about 2 inches wide by 4 inches long and 1/8-inch thick)
12 to 18 (8-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
Lemon Ginger Dipping Sauce:
4 garlic cloves, minced
4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (4 to 5 tablespoons)
2 to 3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
The Garnish:
1 cup toasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped


 

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