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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fish Sauce Caramel

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP: 10 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes

Not like the caramel you put on ice cream—a savory Vietnamese sauce that reminds me of Japanese teriyaki.

Pork tenderloin is a quick-cooking, affordable, nice and neutral base for any flavors. And in this case, that flavor is fish sauce caramel. CARAMEL?! Yes, you read that right. But it's not like the caramel you put on ice cream—it's a savory Vietnamese sauce that is kind of like Japanese teriyaki, popularized in the U.S. by Chef Charles Phan of The Slanted Door in San Francisco, who makes fish sauce caramel chicken. It's a little spicy, salty-sweet, and has lots of umami. Make extra fish sauce caramel to use in stir-fries, glazing other meats like chicken or shrimp, or in all the noodles!

  • ½

    cup packed brown sugar

  • ¼

    cup fish sauce, preferably Red Boat brand

  • 3

    tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar 

  • ¼

    cup water 

  • 1

    tablespoon grated garlic

  • 2

    teaspoons grated ginger

  • 1

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

  • 2

    Thai chiles or serrano chiles, thinly sliced 

  • 1

    tablespoon canola oil 

  • 1

    to 1 ½-pound piece pork tenderloin

  • 2

    medium shallots, thinly sliced 

  • 6

    cilantro sprigs, for garnish

  • +

    cooked white rice, for serving

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