If you’re in any way an aficionado of Thai cuisine, I think you could categorize my recipe this month as midway between a Lap and a Phla Mu. But whichever you may decide upon, this Thai-inspired pork salad — despite a lack of nightshades — packs a feisty punch indeed.
To enjoy it to the fullest, stir-fry the pork until it shows tinges of brown around the edges. Then you start to add the flavorings and by the time you’re done, that meat will be borderline crispy. Don’t be miserly with the ginger, you need a good chunk to satisfy the spice police and the same goes for both the fish sauce and coconut aminos — they’re going to help ramp up some flavor and inject a dose of umami and vitality. By the time the lime zest and juice has amplified the intensity, the result is mind-blowing. Gah! Who needs chillis anyway?!
A worthy note: It’s important to have everything ready and waiting before you pick up your skillet. This happens pretty fast!
- 1 tbsp lard or other solid fat
- 1 lb ground pork
- 11/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 large lime
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- ½ packed cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ packed cup thai basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ packed cup mint leaves, chopped
- Extra lime wedges to serve
- Heat the fat on a fairly high heat in a large skillet or wok and tip in the pork.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until the liquid has all but evaporated and the pork is beginning to brown.
- Whilst this is happening, break down the ground meat's tendency to clump with a long handled wooden fork or spoon.
- Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring very frequently. You want the pork to crisp up but not burn on the bottom of the pan so keep that fork/spoon moving.
- Now stir in the lime zest and juice, together with the green onions, and cook a further minute.
- Tip in the fish sauce and coconut aminos and cook one minute more, scraping the sediment off the bottom of the pan all the while.
- Remove from the heat, throw in the herbs, give it all a good mix and serve with a decent wedge of lime on the side.
With noodles included, this recipe serves three.