Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Vietnamese Caramelized Ground Pork #WeAreHestan #HestanNanoBond

"Product in this post was provided by Hestan, but no compensation was given. All opinions expressed are my own."

"Vietnamese Caramelized Ground Pork is addicting. Perfect for topping a rice or noodle bowl, making lettuce wraps, or even stuffing between a bun, this garlic, peppery, sweet and sourish pork is beyond tantalizing."

I guess by now you've figured out that I like to cook. LOL! I like to cook a variety of food, from simple to exotic, from Mexican to Asian and everywhere in between. I love to bake. I love to grill. I love to stir fry.  It truly is hard to summarize This is How I Cook, because sometimes I feel like I'm all over the map. Literally. Any suggestions on how you would describe my blog would be greatly appreciated, because summarizing and telling visitors what my blog is about is really quite challenging.

I started cooking in college. I found that great conversation was made around chile con queso, chips and beer. Sometimes I switched things up with artichoke dip. I learned to make lasagna and spaghetti and cookies. I did all this with garage sale pots and pans, until I splurged and bought a set of pans from a traveling salesman for a whopping $30. The set  came with a Dutch oven and three different sized pots and two skillets. It was a gorgeous set of faded out brown that chipped quite easily. It travelled a long time with me and I fondly remember having to always screw on the handles and hoping they didn't fall off when I lifted a pot. I think I had that Dutch oven until a few years ago, when my mom gave me a Le Creuset and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I believe that lightweight brown Dutch oven is now packed away in Alex's box, awaiting the day he returns to the states.

When I got married I invested in some Calphalon until my mom parted with her All Clad pots that I still have. I do use two cast iron skillets and I have one large non stick saute pan with a lid that I use a lot, too. Besides two good stock pots, a small saute pan, a Chinese wok and a hidden paella pan, I think that is the extent of my cooking collection. I'm certainly not a collector of cooking ware but I do adore GOOD cooking ware. After all, it doesn't go away easily. I did finally part with a few good pans that unfortunately were banged upon once too often with utensils of wood and metal, on many New Year's eves when some well meaning kids welcomed midnight. I got tired of them wobbling on my cook top.

Which brings me to my latest addition. She's a beauty, isn't she?

Hestan cookware contacted me about trying some of their new nanobond technology and I heartily agreed. In the 1970's Hestan's founder pioneered hard-anodized aluminum cookware, which led to the non-stick cookware that many of us use today. Today Hestan is used at The French Laundry, so by cooking in this pan I'm probably about as close to Thomas Keller as I may ever get! This beautiful skillet is manufactured in Italy, has an aluminum core, and is totally surrounded by stainless steel. It is highly scratch resistant, easily cleaned and has 5x the lifespan of normal stainless/aluminum-clad cookware with 20% more cooking surface. Basically, I'm sitting on an heirloom! Get ready to fight over this, kids!

So what the heck is nanobond technology? Well those 2,000 special layers of alloys and titanium protect the stainless steel by creating a dense, impenetrable layer so the stainless steel can cover the aluminum, which conducts the heat really well. Enough technology. Where can you get this incredible skillet? Learn more at Hestan Nanobond and check out the Hestan NanoBond #TitaniumTour!

Welcoming a new skillet is a bit like getting a new car. One has to learn how to come to terms with it. In this case I actually read the driving manual use and care guide! It is not recommended to use high heat so I turned the knob down to medium high and then to medium and realized that this baby conducts heat quite differently than my other pans. I thought I'd test out this beauty with this Vietnamese Caramelized Ground Pork. I've been making this recipe over a year now but have always used a non-stick skillet. Testing anything with sugar is a challenge because we all know that sugar can stick and burn quite easily. My pork caramelized as always and with a lot less energy. Additionally, this pan cleaned up like a dream. In other words - it still looks brand new. I did use the Professional Stainless Steel Cleaner and no one was the wiser.

And now back to this awesome pork-or chicken. Your choice. I love this dish. My photos show it in a rice bowl, but notice those lettuce leaves hanging out? You got it. This pork would be the perfect filler for lettuce wraps, if by chance you don't want it over rice or noodles or in a bun. A perfect anytime dinner, this is one that will make everyone happy.

A few more to try:

     Larb (Thai Chicken Salad)                Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Bowl               Ma Po Tofu


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Yield: 4 servings   Print Recipe

Vietnamese Caramelized Ground Pork

Vietnamese Caramelized Ground Pork is addicting. Perfect for topping a rice or noodle bowl or even stuffing between a bun, this garlic, peppery, sweet and sourish pork is beyond tantalizing.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 25 mins


  • 1 long European cucumber
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 t of sugar
  • 1 t lemon grass paste (from a tube)
  • 1 lb ground pork or chicken
  • 2 T peanut or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin slivers
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 t ground black pepper or more (You want to taste the contrast of garlic, sweet and pepper.)
  • Garnishes: Mint, Basil, Cilantro, Chopped Peanuts, Sriracha, Lime quarters
  • Steamed Rice for 4


  1. Slice cucumber into thin rounds. Combine rice vinegar, salt, sugar and lemon grass in a bowl. Add sliced cucumbers and set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or large skillet until a drop of water dances on the surface and disappears. Add 2 T peanut or canola oil and toss in the onion and minced garlic.
  3. As soon as it is fragrant, add the ground pork and 1 T of sugar. Stir fry, tossing every few minutes for 10-15 minutes, until the pork has crisped into crispy browned bits.
  4. Take the wok or skillet off the heat and stir in fish sauce until completely absorbed. Stir in black pepper. Use a lot!
  5. Mix the cucumbers with liquid into the pork. Spoon over 1 cup of rice. Serve with garnishes and create your own favorite bowl.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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  1. What a gorgeous pan! I bought my first set of pans in college from a traveling saleman also but there were A LOT more than $30. Took me a long time to pay for them in installments ;) I still have and use them and they're in great shape so that's the good news. What a delicious recipe once again, Abbe! I sure wish I had a bowl of this in front of me now.

    1. That is good news and how lucky for you! Mine even might have been $19.99, but I'm not sure! However they were cheap, but it felt like I was spending a lot! This is a great recipe Susan! Thanks!

  2. I don't know Hestan cookware -- sounds nice, though. Particularly if it'd make me cook like Thomas Keller. :-) Anyway, such a nice dish -- loaded with flavor, and pretty healthy. Winner! Thanks so much.

    1. Hestan is actually sold at Williams Sonoma. It is definitely a pricey line but from what I can tell, they are worth it!

  3. We get so excited about new cook ware and trust me we are LONG overdue as our pans are on their last leg. We would love a bowl of this delicious Vietnamese ground pork, love the addition of fresh herbs. Sharing, of course

    1. I totally understand! This is a great bowl and I know you would enjoy! Lots of flavor an thank you to the sharing queen!

  4. Just gorgeous! Not the pan, your dish. But the pan is pretty too!

    1. Thanks Mimi! They both are pretty, aren't they?

  5. The rice bowl with caramelized ground pork looks mouthwatering, Abbe. My husband is a huge fan of anything ground meat, I am very sure he will love this too.

  6. I remember having that artichoke dip for the first time just out of college--one of my girlfriends made it for a party. Guess I hung out with foodies even back then :) Gorgeous pan and fabulous Asian pork, too!!!

  7. A great new skillet is everything!!! I love my old stuff too - and saved it for years and years for my children. They didn't want any of it. Goodwill is my friend. Love these wraps and the caramelized method sounds fantastic! Happy Mother's Day Abbe!

  8. I have never heard of Hestan cookware...thanks for introducing me to sure sounds very good.
    The caramelized ground pork looks so tasty...and I am loving the lemongrass in it.
    Thanks for the recipe Abbe...I hope you are having a nice week :)

  9. I love everything Vietnamese. This sound so delicious. Perfect dish for warm spring weather.

  10. This dish looks delicious! We adore Asian foods like this, especially as the weather warms up.

  11. I love this one! So easy to make and is burst with flavors. I have sound ground turkey in the fridge and can't wait to try it out :) Pinned and saved!