Servings: 4 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 15 mins Total: 30 mins
I used to live in a part of Seattle called “Fremont“, about 15 years ago. I’d bet over 10,000 people lived in the fun little neighborhood. There were pizza places, greek food restaurants, ice cream establishments, etc. However, it was undeniable that Thai restaurants were the big presence in a town billing itself as “The Center of the Universe”. At that time, there were roughly 27 Thai restaurants. I just drove through it the other day. Looks like maybe 28!
Thai restaurants and Thai food have become almond ubiquitous on the restaurant landscape. They are everywhere! Yet, somehow, the food still manages to hold a level of mystique in homes.
I remember taking classes on Asian cuisine in cooking school. The teacher was an adorable and quick talking little Chinese woman, who would CONSTANTLY say, “GGS!” Everything Chinese, it would seem, begins with “GGS!” (Ginger, Garlic, Scallion). Don’t get me wrong, Chinese food is AMAZING and possibly the richest of all culinary lore (Sorry, France!), but I tend to believe certain corners of the Chinese cuisine have been brought into most Western homes … in the form of stir-frys, fried rice, ginger-soy marinades on meat, etc.
Thai, with what feels just as strong of a grasp in the restaurant scene, doesn’t feel to have made as many inroads in the Western home kitchen. It’s a shame, too! So many amazing flavors! Let’s start cooking with these ingredients, folks. Some AMAZING flavors to be had, here!
What follows is my interpretation of a Pork Curry recipe that I would get at a favorite Thai haunt just up the street from my battered old San Francisco apartment, in the Lower Haight district. It’s thick and gloppy, while being RICH with flavors, dense with coconut milk, spicy and complicated. It’s also little more than a quick stir fry. If you have the stuff, the actual CURRY is mere minutes away. Go get the stuff!
Thai Red Pork CurryPrint Rate
- 1 each pork tenderloin roast cut into thin bite-sized strips
- 4 each garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh galangal minced (substitution = 1 tbsp. ginger)
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1/4 tsp cloves ground
- 1/4 cup fresh red curry paste (substitution = 2 tbsp store bought)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large japanese eggplant cut into cubes
- 1 small red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 16 leaves thai basil hand torn (substitution = regular basil)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix together your pork, garlic, galangal, cinnamon, cloves, curry paste and a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat your largest sauté pan (or wok, if you have one!) over high heat. When the pan is hot, add your coconut oil and swirl around to coat the pan. Immediately add your red pepper peppers with a bit of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 1 minute.
- Add your eggplant to the pan and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Toss the two ingredients together, then let the mixture sit on the high heat and "sear" for a minute or two. Flip it around and let sit for one more minute.
- Sort of slide all the ingredients to one side of the pan, so about 2/3rds of the pan is totally empty. Evenly sprinkle your pork in this area and allow it to sear for about 1 minute. Toss the whole pan together and allow the ingredients to cook, sear and pick up some color (caramelize, or "turn brown") from the heat of the pan. This whole process is hot, fast and smoky, while being fun and smelling AMAZING.
- After about 2 minutes, add your coconut milk. The mixture SHOULD immediately boil rapidly. Turn the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 4 to 8 minutes. The mixture should thicken, like a stew. Toss in the fresh thai basil, at the last moment. Taste and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
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