Pork Carnitas Summer Rolls with Cara Cara & Arbol Chile Nuoc Mam

Source: Sophina Uong, Mestiza Taqueria

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on February 26, 2017.

Makes 12 rolls and 2 cups hot sauce


1½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
3-4 cups orange juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
1 tablespoon canola oil

Spaghetti Squash
1 small spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cara Cara Orange Nuoc Mam
3 Cara Cara oranges, zested with a microplane and juiced
1 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 clove garlic, smashed
¼ cup sugar
1tablespoon toasted and ground Arbol chilies
2 tablespoons roasted and ground peanuts

Summer Rolls
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 rice paper rounds, 8.5 inch size (rice and tapioca flour combination preferred)
2 medium apples, julienned
1 bunch kale, julienned
1 small red onion, thinly julienned
½ bunch cilantro, leaves only
½ bunch mint, leaves only
8oz queso fresco, crumbled
Kosher salt to taste
Sour cream or guacamole, if desired (see below)


To prepare the carnitas: Combine the pork with the orange juice and spices in a container deep enough to submerge the pork in the liquid. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Transfer the marinade to a Dutch oven, deep skillet or deep roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Sear the pork on all sides, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook in batches if necessary. Place the seared pork back in the marinade, add 1 cup water, and cover with parchment and foil. Roast for 1 hour or so, until tender enough to pull apart. Allow to cool completely before shredding with forks or pulling apart with your fingers.

To prepare the spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle squash flesh with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

To prepare the nuoc mam: Bring vinegar, sugar, and smashed garlic clove to a boil, remove from heat. Add fish sauce, arbol chiles, Cara Cara juice, and zest. Let cool completely and stir in peanuts before serving. The sauce should be tangy, sweet, and spicy. It will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator without the peanuts.

For the summer rolls: Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle some canola oil into the pan and add the carnitas, allowing it to crisp lightly. Set aside. Meanwhile, scoop the spaghetti squash out of the shell with a fork and set aside.

Lightly dampen one of the rice paper sheets in two cups of hot water and lay it on a flat surface. Add a few pieces each of the onion, apple, kale, a small spoonful each of spaghetti squash & pork carnitas, a few leaves each of mint & cilantro, and crumble some queso fresco over the ingredients, centering everything in the middle of the rice paper round. Season with salt. Fold the bottom of the circle of rice paper up over the filling, tuck in the sides, and use the bottom edge (which you folded up over the ingredients) to pull the vegetable mix in to make a tight roll and continue to roll like a burrito. Set the finished roll aside on a plate and cover with a moistened towel to keep it from drying out. Repeat until all rolls are filled.

Cut the rolls into cylinders like sushi, garnish with sour cream or guacamole, if desired, and serve with the Cara Cara nuoc mam. The rolls are best eaten the same day.

Farmers Market Ingredients