The combination of marinade and hot-sour sauce for this recipe came from Rachael Ray’s show, “Week in a Day”.  She used it to flavor chicken legs and pork ribs, but I went on a slightly different route and applied it to butterflied pork tenderloin.  The marinade is superb, but what made the dish ultra-special was the sauce to be served alongside.  Heads up:  the sauce starts with a ginger-infused simple syrup that must cool down before the other ingredients are added. Start early… 😉

(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day)

1 pork tenderloin, butterflied, lightly pounded to even thickness

for marinade:
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup  soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 stalk lemongrass, white part chopped
1 lime, sliced

for sweet and sour chili sauce:
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced

For the marinade: Combine the cilantro, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, chile peppers, ginger and the white part of the lemongrass in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. It will be fairly thick.

Place the butterflied pork inside a plastic bag or a pyrex baking dish, and pour the marinade all over it, massaging the pork to coat well. Add the lime slices, close the bag or cover the dish with plastic film. Place in the fridge for 1 to 4 hours, the longer the better.

While the meat marinades, make the sweet and sour sauce. Combine 1/2 cup water, the sugar and ginger in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook gently for a couple of minutes to infuse the syrup with the ginger. Pour the syrup into a small bowl and let completely cool. Remove the ginger, then stir in the vinegar, cilantro, mint, Sriracha, fish sauce,  and lime juice.

Remove the meat from the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.  Heat the grill on high. Right before grilling, brush off most of the marinade, and cook the meat to your liking (about 12 minutes total, flipping the meat halfway through the cooking time).   Let it sit tented with aluminum foil for 10 minutes before slicing at an angle.

Serve with the sauce alongside.


to print the recipe, click here

This recipe was a big winner, it crossed the finish line like Usain Bolt , leaving all other recipes behind! Intense flavor all around, I swear I could eat that sweet and sour sauce by the spoonful, it is addictive.  Thick, sweet, gooey, spicy, hot, I could not stop pouring it over the meat… Phil at some point asked “would you like some meat with your sauce?”    😉   I blame the Sriracha. It gets me every single time.  I hope you try this recipe, don’t let the number of ingredients scare you, once you get the marinade and the sauce ready, it’s pretty much a done dinner deal.

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