These juicy and tender Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops are probably the one thing you are missing in your life. The chops are marinated in a fresh and punchy sauce made with lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce and garlic. They are then air fried and served on a nice bed of hot jasmine rice. This recipe is about as simple as they come which makes it perfect for anyone who wants something very easy that tastes delicious.
A Little Announcement…
Good news everyone… we had our baby girl!!! Her name is Harper and she is well and healthy. But more importantly, all the evidence so far indicates she’s gonna be a SLEEPER! Thank you baby Jesus!!!
But knowing my luck, I have undoubtedly jinxed us by writing this and our next announcement will be “how the tables have turned.” But until then, we are rejoicing!
Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops
This recipe is a result of me experimenting with my air fryer. Most recipes call for the traditional method of grilling the chops over a hot bed of coals or on the BBQ. Unfortunately for me, I don’t own a grill or a BBQ. So I created this recipe for those in the same situation or those who just prefer using the air fryer!
Choosing a Cut of Pork
The best cuts of pork for this recipe should have a decent amount of fat and be roughly 1.5 cm or 2/3 in thick. Leaner cuts without much marbling will be dry and tough. This is why I avoid using the typical pork loin chop or sirloin steaks for this recipe.
In my opinion, the best cuts of pork are:
- Pork forequarter chops – has a bit of bone, decent amount of fat and they’re cheap. My favourite.
- Pork collar butt / pork neck / pork scotch fillet – no bone but has a good amount of fat. My mum’s favourite.
Preparing the Pork Chops
The first thing I do when preparing pork chops is rinse them under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. This is to remove any small bone fragments or muck that may be on your chop.
I then use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to make 1 – 2 cm cuts into the edges of the pork to sever the sinew / fat. This prevents the chop from buckling when it contracts while cooking.
Marinating the Pork Chops
Truth be told, I don’t normally marinate meat because I can’t be bothered. This recipe however is one where you definitely need to. I strongly suggest you marinate for about 24 hours (don’t go too much more). Some recipes will say go for 3 hours or not at all. This is a mistake. My logic is if you’re going to put in the effort to make a marinade then go all the way.
So be organised and prepare the meat the day before and have it ready by the time you need it the next day. Trust me, this is the only way to get the full flavour and experience of Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops!
Air Frying the Pork Chop
This is my cooking method of choice since I pretty much do everything in the air fryer! It is passive cooking, convenient and cleanup up afterwards is so easy. Sold.
However, the main issue with the air fryer is that you are limited in space. I usually manage to fit 3 to 4 chops at once which could be a problem if you are serving for 4 adults.
The way I get around this is to cut the meat up after it rests and distribute the 3 pork chops evenly among four people. Then put in more pork chops in the air fryer and they should be ready if anyone wants seconds!
The general consensus for “cooked” pork chops is 63 C / 145 F internal temperature which leaves the pork still a bit pink. I am perfectly fine with this if I was cooking for myself.
However, I am very hesitant serving pink pork to family and friends just in case they are uncomfortable with it. So, my rationale is why put people in that position and just cook it well done so there is nothing to worry about. My opinion only!
Here’s how I air fry my Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops:
- Take the pork chops out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes to remove the chill.
- Pre-heat the air fryer to 200°C / 400°F.
- Spray the rack with oil then place the pork chops on the rack.
- Spray the top of the pork chops with some oil.
- Cook for 10 – 12 minutes on the presentation side. Extra cook time is required on this side to ensure good caramelisation and a little char for aesthetics.
- Flip the chop and cook for a further 5 – 7 minutes.
- Check the chops for colour and doneness. If you want more caramelisation and char then cook in the air fryer for 1-3 minutes longer with the presentation side face up.
- Let the chops rest for 5 minutes.
Grilling the Pork Chop
The traditional method for cooking these pork chops is to grill them. You will get a beautiful sear on the meat and all the benefits of a flame grilled piece of meat.
To do this:
- Take the pork chops out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Heat the grill to medium high.
- Spray a little oil on both sides of the meat.
- Cook on the grill for 5 minutes on one side.
- Flip the chop and cook for a further 3 – 5 minutes.
- Check the cook on the chops. Cook further if still raw or until desired doneness.
- Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Pan Frying the Chop
I personally do not recommend pan frying these chops because it usually does not turn out well for me. I have given up on it since I find the other methods far superior. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking of giving it a go on the fry pan:
- There is a lot of sugar and loose bits that can burn very easy. After cooking a batch, your next batch will be likely cooked on a layer of burnt residue. So use a little more oil then you would normally and clean out the pan after each batch.
- Using the fry pan runs the risk of boiling the chops. When you overcrowd the pan, the temperature drops too much and isn’t hot enough to sear the meat. The meat will start to sweat then boil in its own juices. You can tell this has happened when the chops look greyish and the texture is stringy and dry. So try to use a cast iron fry pan or one that holds heat well and do not overcrowd.
- Some people like to add a lot more oil and shallow fry the pork chops. The issue with this is once the marinade covered pork chop hits the oil, it will most likely explode. So if you want to do this, be very careful and make sure you use a lid to cover the pan while its going nuts.
- Getting the meat to room temperature is very important when pan frying. So do not skip this step and let it come to temperature for 45 minutes.
How to Serve Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops
The most popular way Vietnamese people have these chops is with jasmine rice or rice vermicelli noodles. You can also serve it as part of a collection of BBQ meats or slice it thinly as the protein for a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).
Here is how our family usually serves it up as a rice dish:
- Jasmine rice
- Fried egg, sunny side up
- Pickled carrots – Make at least one day before for the flavours to develop.
- Spring onions in oil – Add 3 chopped spring onions and a neutral oil (e.g. canola oil or sunflower oil) in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
- Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc mam) – Make at least one day before for the flavours to develop.
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced tomatoes
Helpful Tips and Considerations
- Not all air fryers are the same. You may need to tweak the recipe cooking times to suit your air fryer.
- If you have thinner cuts of pork, then you will need to reduce the cooking time and vice versa for thicker cuts of pork.
- My cooking times are based on “well done.” Adjust to 14 – 15 minutes total cooking time if you like the pork pink. Please make sure the internal temperature of the chop is at least 63°C / 145°F.
- It is very important to cut the lemongrass very finely. Large chunks of lemongrass will burn and are not pleasant to bite into.
- If you want to go that extra mile, you can use a chef’s blow torch and create more caramelisation and colour on your chops without cooking the meat further. This is purely for looks only!
- This marinade works well with beef and chicken.
Other Vietnamese / Air Fryer Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Crispy Pork Belly in Air Fryer
- Sticky Fish Sauce Wings in Air Fryer
- Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowls
- Vietnamese Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
Hope you guys enjoyed this recipe post! If you guys do make this recipe, please tag us at #scruffandsteph on Instagram and Facebook.
Scruff and Steph
Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chop
- Air Fryer
- 1.2 kg pork forequarter chops (approx 1.5 cm / 0.6 in thick)
- canola oil spray
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp lemongrass, very finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ small brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp pork bouillon powder or MSG (optional)
Preparing the Pork – The Day Before
- Prepare all marinade ingredients and combine well in a bowl.
- Rinse each piece pork chop under a tap and pat dry.
- With a pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, make 1 – 2 cm cuts into the edges of the chop.
- In a zip lock bag or a large bowl, combine the pork chops and the marinade. Mix well and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1 day. Turn the chops over now and again to redistribute the marinade.
Air Frying the Pork
- Take out the pork chops from the fridge and let it sit for 30 – 45 minutes at room temperature.
- Pre heat the air fryer to 200°C / 400°F for a few minutes.
- Spray the racks / bottom of air fryer with a little oil.
- Take out the pork and lay them on the rack without stacking. Give the top of the pork chop a spray with oil.
- Cook the pork chops for 12 minutes at 200°C / 400 F.
- Flip the pork chops with tongs and cook for a further 7 minutes.
- After 19 minutes flip the pork over one more time and check the colour and doneness. If it still needs a little more colour, let it cook for 1-3 more minutes. If its still raw then cook until done.
- Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Add 3 chopped spring onions and a neutral oil (e.g. canola oil or sunflower oil) in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute