This Thai pork sauce is phenomenal. The flavors are so punchy, and it has the perfect amount of heat and funk. It's reminiscent of a bolognese, built on a base of ground pork and tomatoes, with an addictive shrimp paste and fish sauce underbelly. The dish is pretty easy to put together if you have all of the ingredients. It simmers for a while, but that’s all hands-off. Because it's so flavorful and salty, the key is to serve it with steamed or raw vegetables to cut the richness. Steamed wedges of kabocha squash and cabbage are classic, as are cucumbers sliced on the diagonal. The cabbage and cucumber acts like a spoon! Big thanks to Chris Rabilwongse for the recipe.
Active Time: 15 minutes | Inactive Time: 50 minutes | Difficulty: Moderate | 4 servings
1 tablespoon neutral oil (avocado, sunflower, or canola oil, for example)
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons sour yellow curry paste
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chile garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 packages (20 ounces) Umi Organic fresh ramen noodles
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Chopped cilantro and/or crushed pork rinds (optional)
Serve with: shredded cabbage, steamed green beans, steamed kabocha squash, sliced cucumber (optional but recommended)
1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, curry paste, shrimp paste, and ½ cup water, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until tomatoes break down and sauce is concentrated, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce, chile garlic sauce, chile flakes, and sugar.
2. While sauce simmers, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Gently pull apart and fluff noodles. Add noodles to water and boil 3 minutes, stirring often. Drain well.
3. Divide noodles between 4 plates, top with pork mixture, and toss. Garnish with green onion and, if desired, cilantro and pork rinds. Place cabbage, green beans, squash, and cucumber on a plate for sharing.
Photo by Zak Margolis.