Thursday, April 22, 2010
Curried minced pork with vegetables, Thai-style
This meal has become standard fall-back fare at my house. If I haven't planned ahead and need to come up with a quick, satisfying meal that everyone will eat, this dish tops the list. It is also simple enough and tasty enough that I will prepare it for guests when I don't want to be preoccupied by a complicated menu.
An essential ingredient to this one-dish meal is Prik Khing curry paste. I'm lucky enough to have a great local Asian food store that carries a wide assortment of Thai curry pastes, but I have noticed that the ethnic food section of our grocery store also carries a small selection (but with a heftier price tag). For this dish you will only use about a tablespoon of curry paste but the rest will keep well in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. I have also frozen it, spooning it directly from the freezer to the wok.
In addition to the curry paste, you will need:
1.5 lbs ground pork (or beef) (or so)
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 quarter size slices ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Large bell pepper (red adds a nice color), sliced
green beans (a couple handfuls), sliced lengthwise
** Optional: Thai basil, 2 cups (or so) cubed pineapple
Cook ground meat, mincing as you go. Set aside when fully cooked.
Add a tablespoon or so of the vegetable oil to your wok. When it is very hot, add the onion and cook until tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the ginger is golden brown. Add about a tablespoon of the curry paste and mix well, frying it with the onion for about a minute. Add the sugar, soy sauce and vinegar. Return the ground meat to the wok and mix well. Add the pepper and green beans, cook until they are tender but still retain some of their crunch. Remove from heat.
If you have Thai basil and some cubed pineapple, toss this with the ground meat and vegetables.
Don't be afraid to add more sugar, soy sauce and vinegar to your taste. The final dish should be a nice balance of sweet, salty, spicy and sour.
Serve over steamed jasmine rice.
A note about spicy foods: sugar counteracts the heat of spicy ingredients in Thai food. If you find that you've added too much curry paste, go ahead and slowly add in small measurements of sugar until the heat is more easily tolerated.