This warming rich curry is from David Thompson’s Thai Food. David attended a function with Thai Prime Minister, Mrs Yingluck Shihawata, on the weekend at the Shangri-la, Sydney, to promote Thai Food Week at the hotel. Together they made the popular Thai green papaya salad (som dtam) in front of an audience of visiting and local Thai dignitaries.
He explains that this curry comes from northern Thailand, and is sometimes called a Burmese curry. Similar in complexity to a mussaman, (also an imported curry), this thick and oily dish is redolent of spices that suggest an Indian origin, not far from the borders of Myamar.
This is a curry which keeps well and improves on keeping, so always make more than necessary.
- pork belly - 200g
- pork ribs - 200g
- rendered pork fat or oil - 3 tablespoons
- red shallots - 12, peeled
- ginger - 3 cups coarsely shredded
- pickled garlic - 1 cup - peeled and heads cut in half
- pickled garlic syrup - 1 cup
- roasted peanuts - ½ cup
- palm sugar - 3 tablespoons
- fish sauce - 4 tablespoons
- tamarind water - 4 tablespoons
- stock or water - 1 – 2 cups
- Curry paste
- dried long red chillies, - 10 - deseeded, soaked and drained
- salt - large pinch
- chopped galangal - 1 tablespoon
- chopped lemongrass - 6 tablespoons
- chopped ginger - 2 tablespoons
- chopped fresh turmeric - 1 tablespoon
- chopped red shallots - 8 tablespoons
- chopped garlic - 6 tablespoons
- coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon - roasted and ground
- cumin seeds, roasted and ground - 2 teaspoons
- star anise - 3 - roasted and ground
- cassia bark - 2cm piece, roasted and ground
- cloves - 5, roasted and ground (optional)
- Thai cardamom pods - 2, roasted and seeds ground (optional)
- Garlic and ginger paste
- garlic cloves - 4, peeled
- salt - ½ teaspoon
- ginger - 2cm piece, peeled
Serves 4, as part of a Thai meal with rice and a few accompaniments such as deep-fried fish, crispy fried pork and deep fried fried pork skin. David suggests you make more than necessary as it keeps well - and improves on keeping.
First, make the curry paste – it’s easier to do this in a blender but you can use a pestle and mortar, if liked. Puree half the ingredients at a time in the blender, adding a little water if needed and using a spatula to loosen the paste from the sides. Press or strain the first batch to extract as much liquid as possible and then add this liquid to the second batch before pureeing – this will ensure the paste is less dilute and will cook more successfully. Combine the batches well.
Make the garlic and ginger paste by pounding the ingredients using a pestle and mortar.
Blanch the pork belly and ribs twice from a cold water start. Refresh, and when cool, cut pork belly into 2cm cubes.
Heat fat or oil, and fry garlic and ginger paste until golden. Add curry paste and pork and simmer for several minutes, stirring regularly. Add shallots, ginger, pickled garlic, pickled garlic syrup and peanuts. Season with palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water. Cover with stock or water and simmer for one hour, or until pork is tender.
Check seasoning: it should be salty, sweet and sour, with flavours of ginger and star anise.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice. David suggests accompaniments such as deep-fried fish, crispy fried pork and deep-fried pork skin.