THAI HERBS AND PORK SALAD

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I’m determined to get a life during this Labour Day long weekend so let me quickly leave you with this.  Best.  Damn.  “Salad”.  You’ll.  Ever.  Have.  Period.  Period.

HOW COULD IT BE?  OH WAIT, IT’S THE PORK.

It’s a recipe I developed for Food52’s column “Half Way to Dinner“, and initially I didn’t write any measurements down because I wasn’t sure how open you guys would be towards a “ground pork salad”.  But it turned out, a few request for it came in and so I made it again the other night… and again… and again…

I was incandescently happy being lost in a sea of gushing green that I got confused for a moment.  How could be?  What’s happened to me?  The flavour between a few thinly sliced shallots, splashes of fish sauce and lime juice is practically addictive no matter what you mix it with, but still… am I a “salad” person now?  Oh wait… there’s the ground pork… lots of it.  Actually.  Well forget what I said then.

Best.  Damn.  “Meat salad”.  Ever.  Period.

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Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 10.6 oz (300 grams) of ground pork-shoulder
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp of chopped lemongrass
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, with the mid-stems removed
  • 2 ~ 3 small shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 small red chilis, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped scallion
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp of finely chopped mint
  • 2 tsp of grated ginger
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper

This is a highly adaptable recipe with a few key-ingredients as a failsafe “foundation” to build on which are:  Thinly sliced shallots, fish sauce and lime juice.  Everything else is changeable to your liking.  Ground pork can be shredded chicken, where as lemongrass/lime leaves/scallion/cilantro/mint, can be basil/chives/parsley/etc.  Just remember the ratio between protein and herbs should be 1:1.

Mix ground pork-shoulder with 1 tsp of fish sauce and cornstarch until even.  Heat up a non-stick skillet with 2 tsp of oil over medium-high heat, and sauté while breaking up the pork with a wooden spoon until it’s slightly browned.  Let the pork cool completely over a fine sieve to eliminate excess oil.  In a mortar, or spice-grinder or food-processor, grind the chopped lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves (use only the leaf-part without the mid-stem) until finely bashed up.  Transfer to a large bowl, and add finely sliced shallots, chilis, scallion, cilantro, mint, grated ginger and lime zest (if you’re using small Asian limes with thin skin, 4~5 very thin slices added to the salad can bring refreshing zing).  Add the cooled ground pork-shoulder, lime juice, fish sauce and ground white pepper.  Toss the mixture until evenly combined.  Re-season with more fish sauce if need be.

Serve with white steamed rice, or rice paper.

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17 Comments

  • Here’s to making eating a block of meat more lady like; or making salad more attractive. I might not need to eat salad for the “summer” figure but I sure could forgo a heavy dinner for this.

  • Call me crazy, but I feel like this salad would make a killer dumpling filling. I’ve never had dumplings with mint and lemongrass! Might have to try it outtttt.

    http://thatumamilife.wordpress.com

  • Reply May 2, 2014

    Ali

    This looks so unbelievably good. Is this kind of like larb? I’ve always wanted to make larb at home. Ain’t no shame in being a salad person!

  • Reply May 2, 2014

    cheri

    This is my kind of salad, kind of reminds me of larb but with pork. Love all the components! Pinned!

  • Reply May 2, 2014

    Linda

    Perfect recipe. Should be good in a lettuce wrap. I just bought a kaffir lime tree for my garden. Excellent !

    • CHERI and LINDA: Yeah! It’s a variation on larb, with more herbs in ratio to meat than most recipes. Very close to the ones I’ve had in Phuket.

  • Reply May 3, 2014

    Nik@ABrownTable

    I love ground pork, I wish it was cooked more. Love the salad and larb inspiration behind it.

  • Reply May 3, 2014

    Nik@ABrownTable

    I meant to say “cooked more often”

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Lynna

    Umm, I totally and always willing to consume a pork salad. Never heard of it, but thank goodness you taught my such a beauty. I wish more people around like eating pork!! I forgot to mention it in an earlier comment, but I love the new “format” for these posts!

  • Reply May 5, 2014

    Jason

    As the only person who has actually had this creation, I can safely say that this is one of the most delicious use of minced meat!

  • Reply May 6, 2014

    Christina C

    I made this recipe and subbed crumbled and fried tofu, it was awesome. I thought I would get to eat most of it, but my husband started hoarding the bowl next to him. I normally don’t eat meat, but my friend just gave me some homemade Lao sausages, which means we will be doing this again. Thanks for sharing, love your site.

  • Reply May 12, 2014

    Collie

    Man, this was good. I usually adjust the ratio of stuff:meat in recipes, but I didn’t need to here (aside from adding a couple of torn-up leaves of lettuce, since my partner was a little overwhelmed by all the strong flavors). This is going into the regular lineup for sure.

  • Reply June 26, 2014

    Sean Ball

    Hello, in the picture with the raw pork, it looks like an egg getting ready to go into the mixture. It’s not in the recipe but is it supposed to be?

    I made this the other day and it was awesome!

  • Reply July 15, 2014

    herbshealth

    I will definitely give a try on these tips. I enjoy learning something new. Please keep

    doing these articles. Thank you.

  • Reply July 16, 2014

    Dawn

    Made this tonight and everyone loved it. Really delicious.

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