We’ve made it – our 1,000th recipe since we started Eat Your Books just under three years ago. I’ll give you a few hints about what it was. Features meat. Took less than 10 minutes to make after getting the mise en place together. Complex spice profile. Eaten with your hands. Neither carbs nor dairy. A main dish but more easily an appetizer.
The recipe came from one of our favorite cookbooks: Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alfred and Naomi Duguid. The book features recipes from Southeast Asia, where cuisine – particularly in Thailand – aims for the perfect balance between those four flavors. Matt was lucky enough to get a copy online that a library was getting rid of for less than half the cover price.
Okay, I’ve delayed enough. Our 1,000th recipe is…Aromatic minced pork, Shan style. You may have had Thai laab or PF Chang’s chicken version. This is similar to both but the meat is pork and is fried rather than steamed. It’s got intense flavors – lots of scallion and Thai chilis and galangal. We followed the recommendation in the cookbook to serve it with some simple steamed veggies – we used a sweet winter squash and carrots – but also added lettuce cups as a serving mechanism and some rice because, well, we like rice. Matt and I thought it could use just a bit more heat but Squirms was rather overwhelmed by it.
Sound good to you? Here’s the recipe. Assuming you can get your hands on the few specialty ingredients, it’s quick and easy to make for a weeknight meal or for guests.
Aromatic Minced Pork, Shan Style
Adapted from Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia, Jeffre Alford and Naomi Duguid
6 to 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tbl minced lemongrass
2 tbl chopped galangal (can substitute ginger)
6 dried Thai chilis (use 4 if you don’t want serious heat)
1 tsp salt
2 tbl vegetable oil (or other neutral high-temp oil)
1/2 cu chopped shallots
3/4 lb ground pork
1/3 cu chopped scallion greens
1/2 cu coarsely chopped coriander (cilantro)
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
Brown the unpeeled garlic gloves in a cast iron or other heavy pan. Wait for them to cool then peel.
Combine the lemongrass, galangal, chilis, and salt using a food processor.
Using a wok over high heat, cook the shallots in vegetable oil until translucent (takes 3-4 minutes).
Add the mixture from the food processor.
Add the pork and cook until slightly browned, then simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and herbs.
Serve in lettuce cups, using the leaves to scoop up portions.