Aarti Sequeira Combines Southern Staples for Her Sweet Tea Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin Recipe

“This dish doesn’t involve a long marination, which makes it ideal for manic Mondays or easy meal planning," says the Food Network star

<p>Fred Hardy II</p> Aarti Sequeira

Fred Hardy II

Aarti Sequeira's Sweet Tea Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Food Network star Aarti Sequeira's pork dish was inspired by her new home in North Carolina.

"When it was just too hot to do anything, my friend's grandmother would call off all the chores and shoo everyone to the rocking chairs for a glass of ice cold sweet tea," says the author of the new Unwind cookbook, who moved to Raleigh, N.C. with her family in 2020 from Los Angeles. "And since this is the also the land of whole hog BBQ, I wondered how I could marry sweet tea with pork."

The unlikely combination turned out to be a match made in heaven. “The fresh aromas of ginger and garlic paired with the tiniest bit of bitterness remind me of a glass of sweet tea,” she says.

Best of all, the complex flavors don't take a long time to cultivate, Sequeira adds. “This dish doesn’t involve a long marination, which makes it ideal for manic Mondays or easy meal planning.”

Just make sure to buy tenderloins that are the same weight, thickness and length if you can. “That way, both pieces will cook at the same speed," say Sequeira.

Aarti Sequeira’s Sweet Tea Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

4 tsp. grated ginger (from 1 [2-in.] piece fresh ginger)

4 small garlic cloves, grated

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ cup sake (or rice vinegar), divided

2 (1-lb.) pork tenderloins

2 cups water

4 regular-size black tea bags

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup rice vinegar

2 tsp. soy sauce

Toasted sesame seeds, for serving

Sliced scallions, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, and set a wire rack on top.

2. Whisk together avocado oil, ginger, garlic, salt and ¼ cup sake (or vinegar) in a small bowl until combined. Pour into a large ziplock plastic bag, and add pork tenderloins. Seal bag, and rub marinade all over the pork. Let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place water and tea bags in a small saucepan over medium high; bring to a boil. Turn heat off, and steep tea for 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags, squeezing out any excess liquid. Add sugar, and return to a boil over medium high; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by a quarter, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce and ¼ cup sake. Return to a boil; cook until reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high until just smoking. Remove pork from marinade, wipe off, and discard any excess. Transfer pork to hot skillet; cook, turning occasionally to brown all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; brush all sides evenly with teriyaki sauce.

5. Bake until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 140°, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board; let stand 15 minutes. Slice, and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce; sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with remaining teriyaki sauce.

Serves: 6
Active time:
 35 minutes
Total time:
 1 hour, 25 minutes

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