Vietnamese caramel pork and cashew stir-fry with udon noodles

Caramelised pork and cashew stir-fry.
Caramelised pork and cashew stir-fry. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Kid-friendly

The key here is not to panic. The pork will go through a phase of looking anaemic, but time is your friend. As it cooks, the caramelisation magic will happen, and you will achieve that dark golden, deeply tanned hue. And if a packet of prawn crackers should accidently fall on this stir-fry like a hailstorm, I wouldn't judge, I would applaud your ingenuity.

Ingredients

½ cup brown sugar

500g pork mince

½ cup cashew nuts

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)

juice and zest of 1 lime

500g udon noodles, cooked to packet instructions

½ cup Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)

½ cup coriander leaves

½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves (or regular mint)

Method

1. Place the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a large frypan or wok and place over high heat. Cook until sugar dissolves and is starting to colour.

2. Add the pork and cashews and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent catching. Continue to cook until the pork is cooked through, sticky and coated thoroughly in the dark caramel. Add the garlic, ginger and fish sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with lime juice and zest.

3. At this point you could add the noodles to your pan or alternatively, plate the udon noodles and top with the pork mixture. Scatter with herbs and serve.