Peanut Powered Recipes

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Tenderloin with Peanuts and Cilantro

Yield: 6 portions

  • 1¼ cup Peanuts, raw, whole, skin-on, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, or whole roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup, plus additional water, boiling
  • 1½ Tbsp. Peanut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. Shallots, sliced
  • 1½ lb. Pork tenderloin or butt, boneless, cut into slices about 2½” x 1” x ¾” thick
  • 3 Tbsp. Fish sauce, to taste
  • Water, as needed
  • 4 ea. Eggs, hard boiled, peeled (optional)
  • 1 ea. Yellow onion, cut into thin wedges, small
  • 5-6 ea. Red chiles, dried, whole
  • Cilantro for garnish, as needed


  1. If using raw peanuts, boil them over medium heat until they are tender, about 30 minutes. Strain and set aside. If using roasted peanuts, skip this process.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over moderately high heat. Cook undisturbed until the sugar starts to melt and turn black, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir several times. Carefully add boiling water to the pan. Remove the caramel sauce from the heat. It should be watery and not thick.
  3. In another medium saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the pork then stir for about 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce, 3 tablespoons of caramel sauce, the remaining sugar, and enough water to cover the pork by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. If necessary, add the water so the pork is submerged in the liquid and skim any foam that rises to the top. Add the hard boiled eggs, if using, onions, chiles, and peanuts, and continue simmering until the onions are tender, another 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.
  4. Note: The hard boiled eggs can be cut with a spoon into 2 or 4 pieces when serving.

Recipe credit: Mai Pham. All rights reserved