This dish, a favorite of mine from northeastern Thailand, pairs well with cold beer or whiskey. It's also a brilliant bar snack.
• 1 six- to seven-ounce (200 gram) piece of pork from the loin or jowl
• 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 5 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
• small handful mint
• 3 spring onions, chopped
• 10 stalks coriander, chopped
For the dressing:
• juice of ½ to 1 lime (2 to 4 tablespoons)
• about 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon freshly roasted and ground chili (buy dried, red Asian chilies, and roast according to the instructions in story. Then grind.)
• 1 to 2 tablespoons ground toasted glutinous rice powder (also story).
Rub pork with salt and soy sauce and let marinate for 20 minutes. In this time, light a charcoal fire or gas grill (a very hot pan with some oil will also suffice). Grill pork until medium or medium well, and set aside to rest.
Now, make the dressing by combining two tablespoons lime juice and two tablespoons fish sauce. Then, add chili, about half to one tablespoons according to taste. Finally, add the ground rice. Stir and taste. The sour, salt, toastiness, and spice should be in equal proportions. If not, adjust accordingly. If too sour, add a little sugar.
Slice the pork across the grain in thin strips, and toss with coriander, spring onions and dressing. Top with handful of chopped mint and sprinkle with another teaspoon of rice powder.
Serve with rice or sticky rice, and cold beer or something else refreshing. It's spicy.
To read Jarrett Wrisley's post about cooking the Isaan way, click here.