Let’s cut to the chase. It’s peak season; the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets are bursting with (almost) everything you need to make a great dinner for your family.
Here’s one of the tastier ones, adapted from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, “Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey through Southeast Asia” by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid.
Aromatic Minced Pork, Shan Style
6–8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons minced lemongrass
2 tablespoons chopped galangal
2–6 Thai red chiles
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup chopped shallots
¾ pound ground pork
1/3 to ½ cup chopped scallion greens
½ cup coarsely chopped coriander
¼ cup fresh mint
Before I dive into the instructions, I should note we don’t often have lemongrass and galangal in our markets, and it’s a bit early for shallots. Ask our veggie vendors if they have any, but you can easily substitute ginger for galangal and onions (or a 3/4 onion, 1/4 garlic mix) for shallots. There’s no good substitute for lemongrass, which most grocers now carry; I keep a supply of frozen lemongrass, which you can find at most Eat Street grocers, so I don’t always have to run to the store.
You can find the ground pork at Braucher’s Meats, which is at both markets. Don’t get the pork sausage, though it is very tasty on its own!
1. Heat a big, heavy skilled on medium-high. Roast the garlic cloves — skin on — until the skin has brown or black spots. Your goal is to roast the cloves; peel off the skin.
2. After you remove the garlic cloves from the pan, toast the sesame seeds. Watch ’em closely and stir often; they can burn quickly. When done, let them cool on a paper plate or some container that is pourable.
3. Using a food processor or mortar, blend the roasted garlic cloves with the galangal/ginger, chiles and salt to form a paste. Add the sesame seeds.
4. Turn the pan heat to high. Add the oil, swirl to coat, then turn down the heat to medium and fry the onions until tender and golden brown.
5. Add the paste mixture and stir to break it up while you are exposing it to the heat.
6. Add the pork and stir so the clumps break up and you combine with the paste in thoroughly. The pork should change color, and cook for 2 minutes beyond that.
7. Stir in scallion greens, coriander and half the chopped mint.
8. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the remaining mint.
I serve this over rice in bowls, though the authors suggest using lettuce or cabbage to scoop it up, adding sliced cucumber.
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