Monday, December 28, 2015

Sweet Cultural Convergence

I have been pretty blessed in the friend "department," especially so online. I've made some great friends over the last 11 (almost 12!) years of my blogging, and two of those friends are Kevin over at BigHominid's Hairy Chasms, and Justin of C. Buddha's Hasty Musings.

Kevin is Korean-American and living (and teaching) abroad in South Korea, and Justin is Japanese-American, living (and teaching) abroad in Thailand.  What I plan on preparing for dinner tonight could almost be construed as an homage to my two friends, given I am going to make a Thai inspired dish, which also involves/includes Korean red pepper paste, gochujang.

Sometime last week, I marinated a hunk (perhaps boneless shoulder with some nice fat and skin attached) pork in this combination:

2T Thai red curry paste
2 T Gochujang
2 T honey
2 T soy sauce

I don't recall if I added anything else to this. I jammed everything into a gallon size zip lock bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a few days to marinate.

I then put it into a DRY crock pot and slow cooked it for four hours. I then shredded the pork up a bit, then boiled the pot liqueur down to reduce and covered the pork.

So tonight is going to be the EPIC stir fry. Perhaps Justin can ring in and let me know if my plan is even remotely authentic, but the plan is to stir fry the pork with some onion and a shit-ton of garlic, add more soy sauce, then add cubed fresh pineapple and a fuck-load of (Taiwanese) basil (as Thai basil or any other kind of basil was not to be found at any of my usual grocers).

Last night I set up a green papaya salad to "go with," and might even consider making some glutinous rice (and throw a few dried pandan leaves in to the water just for kicks--also? I've never used pandan leaves before--so I question if this even a good application?

I will be updating this particular blog post with photos--and look forward to any and all commentary from my friends regarding this most important matter! Until then--SWINE IS DIVINE! 
FINALLY! I finally managed to upload a photo of the plated pork in question! Lovely photo, isn't it? I plated it along with some sticky rice seasoned with pandan leaves, and a nice green papaya salad. I feel that this stands alone, and I would do well to mix up a little minced red onion and cuke w/rice vinegar, nam pla and a smidge of palm sugar to have on the side. In lieu of that, I managed to find a not-too dessicated lime in the veggie bin and gave a good squirt of that to cut the fattiness of the pork.

Now, what did I do to the pork?

First, I put a neutral oil in a skillet, and while that heated up, I took the tub of porkiness out of the fridge and popped it in the microwave for about 2.5 minutes to get it up to temp. 

I then dumped a mass of diced white onion and about 10 sliced garlic cloves to the oil and started getting that stirring. I then added the pork, and cooked that down a bit more, continuing to mash and shred what chunks remained. 

As the sugars in the marinade started to caramelize on the bottom of the pan, I'd add a bit of water and soy sauce to deglaze. The whole process, probably was 5-10 minutes total. 

Once the garlic was no longer raw and the juices started to caramelize again, I got the tub of cubed pineapple out of the fridge, and dumped the little bit of juice in the bottom of the tub into the pan, and diced up the pineapple and dumped that in. I tossed it around for a bit thoroughly heating the pineapple but not cooking it down until it was soft. 

I then turned off the heat and added a LOT of fresh Taiwanese basil to this, ripping the leaves in half. I'm not sure how much basil--I bought a package of it, and this might be the only dish I manage to use it in before the basil starts to get wilty, so I was generous. 

I managed to stifle the urge to "gild the lily" further by adding my old standby: Sriracha. Not everything Thai demands Sriracha. And sadly last night when I set up my green papaya salad, I didn't have the forethought to set up a bit of red onion/cuke/vinegar/nam pla sauce (I don't even know what this saucey thing is called--all I know is it exists and serves a great purpose.)  

When plating everything up, I gave everything a modest squeeze of fresh lime juice.

My green papaya salad ingredients are:

Shred green papaya
Shred carrot (because I like carrot in this! I also like bean sprouts--but lacked them on this go-around, and I also suspect jicama could work very nicely in this too)
Fresh minced garlic
Grape tomatoes
2 Serrano chilies minced fine
Palm sugar/jaggery
Nam pla
Cilantro stems minced fine
Chopped roasted peanuts