We love the contrast between the crispy caramelized pork and fresh cucumber and herbs in this rice salad. A sweet and tangy shallot and lime dressing take this over the top!
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For the Cilantro Peanut Rice:
- 3 cups U.S.-grown long grain white rice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 small English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges
- 1 cup mix of fresh cilantro, mint, and basil
Combine rice, lime juice, and salt in a large serving bowl; set aside
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot rings and cook, until brown and crisped, about 5-7 minutes. Strain the shallots and let cool (and continue to crisp) onto a paper towel.
Return pan to medium-low heat and add peanuts. Cook, stirring, until peanuts turn a medium shade of brown and become fragrant, 5–8 minutes. Add peanuts, shallots and cilantro to rice and toss together.
Taste and add more salt and lime juice, if needed. Set aside
For the Lime Fish Sauce:
- 1 small shallot, sliced into thin rings
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/ 4 cup lime juice, (2 to 3 limes)
- 1/ 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/ 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together shallots, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chile flakes, and scallions. Set aside
For the Crispy Caramelized Pork:
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, or other neutral oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons caramel sauce, (1 tsp molasses + 1 tsp water)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork, breaking it up into small pieces for 3-4 pieces until no longer pink. Add the fish sauce, caramel sauce and sugar, stirring to combine.
Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5 minutes until deeply browned. Keep stirring and spreading out the pork to cover the bottom of the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring to avoid burning.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the green onions.
Using a slotted spoon, add the crispy caramelized pork to the cilantro peanut rice. Top with cucumbers, cilantro, mint and basil and serve with lime wedges and the lime fish sauce.