I picked up a jar of Korean BBQ sauce while on a mission for some other ingredients at my Asian market, mostly because a kind stockist told me in his best English that it was, in fact, the number one. I was, as you might suspect, leery of consuming an exorbitant amount of sodium and msg but decided to go for it. My intention was to use it as a marinade, not to eat spoonfuls. And there you have it. The sugar in the sauce gives the pork a great caramelization and the spice adds to the depth of flavor. It turned out to be the number one.
As for the pickled cabbage, it is similar to kimchi without all of the fermentation. I won't pretend that this hits the same flavor scale or lusciousness but it does result in a nice, quick crunchy-yummy condiment.
One last thing I will encourage is to please try this with some forbidden rice. The color alone adds such drama to your plate. For those of you who are not familiar with the rice, it has a somewhat sticky texture and nice nutty flavor. More importantly, it is packed with a ton of nutrients, amino acids, iron and anthocyanins, same as blueberries. It's name is pretty straightforward. Because of it's recognized health benefits, everyone but the emperors in ancient China where forbidden to eat it.
grilled pork tenderloin with sesame-mango dressing and pickled cabbage
two pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 lb total
1 jar of Korean BBQ sauce
Place the pork in a zip lock bag and pour in the BBQ sauce. Seal it, shake it and let marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Let the meat come to room temperature before you grill it. Cook the pork over a med-high flame until done. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before you cut it. To plate, pull a mound of sprouts the length of your serving dish, slice the pork and dab it with a little of the sesame-mango dressing.
for the cabbage:
1/2 head savory cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2-3" piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2-4 bird chilies, thinly sliced
3 pieces of star anise
2 c rice vinegar
1 T fish sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 c sugar
Return to a boil. Take off the heat, let cool slightly and then pour the contents into a large glass jar. Let cool completely on your counter. When cool, cover the jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. You can make this a day or three ahead of time.
for the dressing:
adapted from Bon Appetit
3/4 c olive oil
3/4 c mango chutney
8 T rice vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
6 T soy sauce
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
1 bird chili
Whiz all of the above together in a blender. Make up to a week ahead. The dressing is also great on grilled chicken, for a noodle salad, etc etc.
for the rice:
1 c forbidden rice, rinsed
1 1/4 c water
If your are not using a rice cooker, bring rice and water to boil in a saucepan. Turn heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until tender. Because the rice is a little sticky, it's fun to use a mold (any small bowl or measuring cup will do) to plate the rice. The rice reheats nicely, so feel free to make a day ahead.