Grilled Lemongrass Pork

, from Issue #27. September, 2015
Photography by Vanessa Wu.
Grilled Lemongrass Pork

If you keep a good store-cupboard of Asian ingredients along with a mortar and pestle, this type of recipe is simple to put together. (See Cook’s Tips for hints on ingredients marked with *).

Serves: 4-6


650 grams skinned pork loin, sliced 1 cm thick (I used free-range)
24 thin wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
1⁄2 cup coconut cream

1 stalk of lemongrass*
2 tablespoons chopped coriander root, well washed*
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons each kecap manis and fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Dipping sauce
1 stalk of lemongrass*
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce


Marinade: Put the lemongrass, coriander, garlic, palm sugar, peanuts and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine paste. Tip into a shallow dish and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add the pork and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours if not using immediately.

Dipping sauce: Put the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and palm sugar in a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine paste. Scoop into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the flavours, adding more sugar or lime juice as needed.

To cook: Thread two skewers through each piece of meat so they lie flat. Cook over a medium heat on a barbecue or in a sauté pan, brushing with coconut cream as they cook. Serve with the dipping sauce and Radish, Tomato and Cashew Nut Salad.

Cook's tips:

Lemongrass: Look for fat stalks of lemongrass. Trim off the tough stem, leaving you with the bulb and about 6 cm of stem. Pull off the woody outside leaves. Very finely chop the lemongrass before adding to the mortar, as it is very fibrous and difficult to break down if the pieces are too large.

Coriander: If your coriander only has a tiny root, chop up enough stalk to give the measurement required.