Inspired by flavors from Thailand and South East Asia, this hearty salad will have you obsessed! Warm, caramelized ground pork is tossed with golden, crispy rice, cucumber, herbs and a zippy fish sauce and lime vinaigrette!
The combination of warm, fatty pork, crispy rice and cool, crunchy cucumber and herbs gives this salad a bright hit of flavor and a wonderful blend of textures.
Crisping up the rice in a pan creates a wonderful crunch. The tangy lime juice and fish sauce dressing soaks into the pork, complimenting it’s fattiness and infusing it with flavor.
In lieu of lettuce, this salad is packed with fresh, leafy herbs. I advise a mix of fresh cilantro, mint and/or basil. You don’t have to run out and buy all three, one or two would be just fine, but if you happen to have them all on hand…the more the merrier!
This salad works great as an entire meal for two, but could also be served in smaller portions alongside dishes like Coconut Thai Green Chicken Curry, Spicy Pork and Peanut Noodles, Chili Crisp Cucumber Salad, or Sautéed Cabbage with Garlic, Ginger and Chili Oil.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything you need to make this recipe: ground pork or pork sausage, long grain rice (leftover cooked rice works too!) cucumber, fresh mint, cilantro and/or basil, red onion or shallot, cucumber, green chilis like Serrano or Jalapeño, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and toasted peanuts (optional).
Check out the recipe card for ingredient notes and substitution recommendations.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Brown the Pork
Sauté the pork in a large skillet, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Each piece should be nicely caramelized with crispy, craggily edges. Transfer the cooked pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving any rendered fat in the pan to cook the rice in next.
Step 2. Crisp the Rice
In the same skillet, add a few tablespoons of oil, just enough to coat the surface in a thin, even layer then add the rice, pressing it firmly into the bottom of pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes, without stirring, to allow the rice to get crispy and golden.
Step 3. Make the Dressing
While the rice is cooking, add all of the dressing ingredients to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and give it a good shake. Pour the dressing over the pork along with the sliced red onion. Let the pork, onions and dressing marinate for a few minutes while the rice finishes crisping. This step will infuse the pork with flavor and soften the sharpness of the onion.
Step 4. Assemble
Add the crispy rice to the bowl with pork and dressing followed by the rest of the salad ingredients. Toss everything together until thoroughly combined. Divide the salad between bowls and serve right away!
Check Out More *Delicious* Recipes:
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Pork and Crispy Rice Salad
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/4 small red onion or shallot thinly sliced
- 2 small persian cucumbers thinly sliced
- 2 heaping cups fresh mint, cilantro and/or basil roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts (optional) roughly chopped
- 1 cup uncooked, long grain rice jasmine or basmati
- 3 tbsp neutral oil grapeseed or avocado
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1/2 tsp minced green chili Thai, Serrano or Jalapeño
- 4 tbsp lime juice about 2 juicy limes
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh sieve until water runs clear then transfer to a medium saucepan; add a pinch of salt and 1 1/4 cups water. Stir well, then bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook, undisturbed, 12 minutes then turn off the heat and let stand (with the lid on) for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the lid, and fluff rice with a fork. While the rice is cooking get started on the pork…
- Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of oil to the pan, just enough to lightly coat the surface, then add the pork and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté for 8-10 minutes until brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon.
- While the pork is cooking, make the dressing... Add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and give it a good shake. Set aside.
- Once the pork is fully cooked remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sliced red onion and dressing over top to marinate while you crisp up the rice.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, then add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the same pan used to cooked the pork. Next, add in the rice. Using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, press the rice evenly across the bottom of the pan. Let cook, undisturbed, until the rice begins to turn golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer the crispy rice to the bowl with the pork, onion and dressing. Add in the rest of the salad ingredients and toss to coat. Divide between bowls and serve right away!
- Rice: Long grain rice like jasmine or basmati is ideal, though any rice will work really. If you plan to substitute brown rice be sure to cook it according to the directions on the package. This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover rice from the previous night’s take out. You will need about two cups of cooked rice.
- Ground Pork: A simple ground pork sausage (like a mild Italian) will also work for this recipe. Ground chicken or turkey will also work just fine but will be more lean, you make need to up the oil a bit to compensate.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh mint, cilantro and basil are all great in this salad. You can use all three if you have them on hand or just 1-2.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Serve chilled or room temperature.