Irresistible Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry Recipe

Are you craving something tangy, sweet, and savory? Look no further than this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry recipe – it’s the perfect balance of flavors that will have your taste buds singing with joy. As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I was inspired to create this recipe by the bold and unique ingredient that is tamarind paste. This versatile ingredient pairs perfectly with boneless pork loin to create a mouthwatering stir-fry that will become a staple in your dinner rotation.

Not only is this dish delicious, but it is also incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and a hot skillet, you can create a complete meal in under 30 minutes. And don’t worry if you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand – I’ll also provide substitutions and variations to make this recipe work for you.

So go ahead, grab some fresh mint and pineapple, chop up some green onions, and let’s get cooking! With this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry recipe in your arsenal, you’ll have a vibrant and flavorful dinner on the table tonight.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry
Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry

Attention all foodies and stir-fry fanatics out there! You absolutely have to try out this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry recipe. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also packed with flavor and loaded with nutritious ingredients.

If you’re looking for a dish that’s going to tantalize your taste buds, then look no further. The tangy tamarind sauce complements the savory pork and pairs perfectly with the colorful array of vegetables in the stir-fry. Every bite is a mouthful of juicy meat, fresh veggies, and zesty seasonings.

This recipe is also incredibly versatile. You can substitute in different proteins like chicken or tofu, or switch up the veggies to use whatever you have on hand. Plus, the tamarind sauce can be used as a marinade or dipping sauce for other dishes too.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its unique combination of sweet and sour flavors – a hallmark of Vietnamese cuisine. The tamarind paste supplies a natural sweetness that’s balanced by the acidic element of the fish sauce. When you add in the ginger, garlic, and shallots, you have a medley of aromas that will fill your kitchen with an irresistible fragrance.

So if you’re looking for a dish that’s both delicious and nutritious, with an exotic twist to take your taste buds on a journey, then give this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry recipe a try. Trust me – once you try it, you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

 Sweet and sour flavors meld together in this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry
Sweet and sour flavors meld together in this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry

Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this sumptuous Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Boneless pork loin: ¼-inch slices of boneless pork loin work best for this recipe.

  • Fresh ginger: you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and minced.

  • Garlic: minced garlic adds aroma and flavor. You’ll need 4 cloves of garlic.

  • Shallots: these add sweetness and depth to the dish. You’ll need 1 finely chopped small shallot.

  • Red bell pepper: sliced red bell peppers add crunch and color to the dish.

  • Green onions: thinly sliced green onions add a subtle oniony flavor and a nice pop of color.

  • Fresh pineapple: you can use fresh or canned pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks. The sweetness of pineapple perfectly balances the tanginess of tamarind in this dish.

  • Fish sauce: this is a staple ingredient in Vietnamese cooking and it adds umami flavor to the dish.

  • Anchovy fillet: an optional ingredient, but adding an anchovy fillet would infuse more umami goodness into the sauce.

  • Tamarind paste: this is the star of the dish, giving it its signature sweet and sour flavor. You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste.

  • Sugar: brown sugar is recommended but white sugar will work, too.

  • Soy sauce: soy sauce adds a depth of flavor to the dish that plain salt cannot offer.

Keep all these ingredients close by as we move on to the recipe how-to.

The Recipe How-To

 Perfectly seared, tender pieces of pork mingle with colorful veggies in a sizzling wok
Perfectly seared, tender pieces of pork mingle with colorful veggies in a sizzling wok

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients for this Vietnamese tamarind pork stir-fry, it’s time to cook up a storm! Trust me, this recipe is easier than it sounds, and the results will be more than worth it.

Step 1: Prepare the Pork

First things first, we need to cut our boneless pork loin into thin strips. Then, in a mixing bowl, add pork strips, 1 tsp of minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon chopped shallot. Mix well and set aside.

Step 2: The Tamarind Sauce

In another mixing bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Mix well until sugar fully dissolves.

Step 3: Stir-Frying

Heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl around to coat the bottom. Next, add marinated pork strips and quickly stir-fry until they are browned and cooked through.

Remove the cooked pork from the pan and set it aside in a clean bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil into the pan along with 1 teaspoon minced ginger and sauté for about 10 seconds.

Now add in sliced green onions, sliced red bell pepper, and sauté them for about a minute. Add in one anchovy fillet if available or leave it if not.

Add back cooked pork to pan/wok followed by tamarind sauce that we made earlier. Keep stirring on medium-high heat till the sauce thickens enough for pork to be fully coated.

Step 4: Garnish

You can garnish with some chopped cilantro and/or fresh mint leaves as per your preference but I like adding fresh pineapple chunks as it provides relief from sweetness of pineapple when you bite into it.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Your delicious Vietnamese tamarind pork stir-fry is now ready to be served! Add a side of rice, and chopped fresh herbs or an herb salad if available. This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but it’s also a great option the next time you’re hosting friends or family over for dinner.

Substitutions and Variations

 The thick, tangy tamarind sauce coats each and every bite, making this dish impossible to resist
The thick, tangy tamarind sauce coats each and every bite, making this dish impossible to resist

One of the best things about cooking is that you can always experiment with different ingredients to create a dish that suits your taste. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try to give this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry recipe a bit of a twist:

1. Meat: Instead of boneless pork loin, you can use chicken, beef or shrimp. You can also mix different types of meat for a colorful and flavorful combination.

2. Vegetables: The recipe calls for red bell pepper and green onions but feel free to add other vegetables too, such as broccoli, carrots or sugar snap peas.

3. Spices: This recipe already contains fresh ginger and garlic, but if you want to elevate the flavors, consider adding lemongrass, thai basil or cilantro.

4. Tamarind paste: If you can’t find tamarind paste in your local grocery store or Asian market, you may use molasses or lime juice instead. Just keep in mind that it will change the taste of the dish.

5. Sweetness: If you’re not a fan of brown sugar or want to cut back on sugar intake, substitute it with honey or stevia.

6. Pineapple: While this recipe calls for fresh pineapple chunks, you may also use canned pineapple if it’s more accessible in your area. Additionally, you may substitute the fruit for other tropical varieties like mango or papaya.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and mix up flavors to suit your preferences!

Serving and Pairing

 Bring Vietnam to your kitchen with this easy and delicious stir-fry
Bring Vietnam to your kitchen with this easy and delicious stir-fry

Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry is a showstopper that deserves to be showcased! This dish goes exceptionally well with jasmine rice or steamed noodles, which are perfect to pair with its fantastic flavors. The tamarind paste’s tangy and sour notes cut through the rich fatty pork, giving it a balanced taste. The fried shallots sprinkled over the top add a satisfying crunch, providing textural interest.

I recommend serving this dish with an Elephant ear salad or green beans sautéed with fresh garlic. The crispiness of the elephant ear is perfect for mopping up the juices from the stir-fry. Alternatively, you can add some Fresh Pineapple or Mango to the side, which will help to complement the pork’s flavors while adding freshness to the plate.

Suppose you’re looking for something more substantial to serve alongside the tamarind pork stir-fry. In that case, my vote goes to some lemongrass pork mince or fried chicken wings that provide much-needed flavors and textures. However, make sure not to overdo it as this dish has plenty of flavor on its own.

Regarding drinks, I recommend going for something light and refreshing, such as a Vietnamese iced coffee or jasmine tea. If you prefer alcoholic beverages, a light beer like Vietnamese 333 brewed by Sai Gon Beer is always popular.

In conclusion, this Vietnamese tamarind pork stir-fry is special and deserves to stand out. With the right pairings and careful thought put into presentation, you’ll have a meal that will impress anyone who tries it!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Fresh herbs, including Thai basil and cilantro, add a pop of flavor and color to the dish
Fresh herbs, including Thai basil and cilantro, add a pop of flavor and color to the dish

This Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry Recipe can be made ahead of time, which is perfect if you want to save time during the week. You can make the pork and store it in the fridge for up to two days before using it for a stir-fry.

To store the pork, allow it to cool down to room temperature before keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to use the pork, reheat it in a pan or microwave until hot, then continue with the stir-fry as directed in the recipe.

If you have leftovers from this dish, they will keep well in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, simply microwave or heat in a pan on low heat until hot. You might need to add a splash of water or oil to prevent the pork from becoming dry.

To freeze this dish, cool the cooked pork down completely before placing it into an airtight freezer-safe container. The pork can be frozen for up to two months. When you’re ready to eat, allow the pork to defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating as directed above.

I recommend storing any leftover stir-fry separately from any rice or noodles as this will help them keep their texture better when reheated.

Overall, this Vietnamese tamarind pork stir-fry is a fantastic dish that is easy to make and stores well making it perfect for those busy weeknights when you still want a delicious and satisfying meal.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Quick, healthy and full of authentic Vietnamese flavors
Quick, healthy and full of authentic Vietnamese flavors

To ensure that your Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry is a success, I’ve compiled some tips to help you achieve perfect results.

Firstly, when cooking the pork, don’t overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the pan traps moisture and can cause your pork to stew instead of sear. Instead, cook the pork in batches and set it aside while you cook the rest of the ingredients.

Secondly, make sure that all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. This recipe requires a bit of multitasking, so having everything ready ahead of time will make it easier to stay on track.

Thirdly, control the heat. You want a nice hot pan for searing the pork and vegetables, but be careful not to burn them. If your ingredients are sticking to the pan, turn down the heat or add a bit more oil or water.

Fourthly, don’t be afraid to taste along the way. Adjust seasoning as needed by adding more tamarind paste or sugar if desired, but do it gradually so that you don’t overpower the other flavors.

Fifthly, let the pork rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute in the meat and ensures that it stays juicy and tender.

Lastly, don’t be shy with garnishes! Top your stir-fry with plenty of fresh mint leaves, green onions, and even some fresh pineapple chunks for an extra burst of flavor.

By following these tips and using high-quality ingredients, you’ll have a delicious Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry on your dinner table in no time!


Now, let’s move on to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section where I’ll address some of the most common queries that you might have while trying this recipe. With any new recipe, it’s normal to have some concerns or questions about the ingredients or cooking process. By answering these questions, I hope to alleviate any doubts and ensure that you get the perfect results with this Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry Recipe. So, let’s get started!

Is Tamarind used in Vietnamese cooking?

Vietnamese cuisine boasts of its many mouth-watering flavors that come from unique ingredients such as tamarind, fish sauce, and shrimp paste.

What cut of pork for stir fry?

When it comes to stir-frying, it’s important to consider the cut of meat that you’ll be using. I highly recommend using either fillet, loin or leg, as they all work well in a stir-fry dish. Make sure to cut your meat across the grain, and dice, mince, or slice it into small strips before cooking. Before getting started, be sure to preheat your wok to a high temperature to ensure it’s hot enough for stir-frying.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry Recipe is the perfect dish that hits all the right notes: sweet, savory, sour, and umami. By using fresh ingredients and the right combination of sauces and spices, this pork stir-fry recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s easy to prepare and can be customized according to your taste preference.

Whether you’re making it for a weeknight dinner or for special occasions, this recipe is sure to impress. It’s not just a meal but an experience that takes you on a culinary journey through Vietnamese cooking traditions. The flavors are a feast for your taste buds that make you feel like you’re in Vietnam enjoying the street food with every bite.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different proteins or vegetables; this recipe is flexible and can be modified to your liking without losing its essence. For example, you can substitute pork with chicken or beef or add more hot sauce if you want it spicier.

In my opinion, one of the best things about this dish is pairing it with fresh herbs and veggies such as mint leaves, green beans, red bell pepper strips, and even fresh pineapple cubes. It elevates the flavors of the stir-fry and makes it a complete meal that satisfies not just your hunger but your craving for good food.

So what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest Asian grocery store, grab some tamarind paste, fish sauce, pork loin and start cooking! This recipe will surely become one of your favorite go-to meals that will impress anyone who tries it.

Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry

Vietnamese Tamarind Pork Stir-Fry Recipe

This is a recipe I found in my "The Complete Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, posting (untried by me) for the ZWT event.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 412.6 kcal


  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot (or green onions)
  • 1 whole anchovy fillet, mashed to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 8 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced (or canned)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped of fresh mint, for garnish


  • Flavor Step - Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and toss the pork strips in the marinade until they are well coated. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a wok or heavy skillet over the highest heat. Stir-fry the red bell peppers for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade, saving the marinade.
  • Add the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons oil and the meat to the pan and stir-fry until the strips are just cooked through and no longer pink inside, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the reserved marinade, the fish sauce, green onions or scallions, pineapple, and the peppers and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce coats the pork, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Spoon the meat and sauce into a bowl, sprinkle with the chopped mint, and serve.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 184gCalories: 412.6kcalCarbohydrates: 9.6gProtein: 35.7gFat: 25.1gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 1189.3mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 5.9g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Asian, Easy, Meat, Pork, Vietnamese
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