The Thai take
Marinated pork neck with nam jim
Prep Marinate Cook Serves 20 min 4 hr 40 min 4
100ml whisky 125ml fish sauce 150g soft light brown sugar 5 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, then finely chopped
9cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 1kg pork neck fillet 1½ tbsp vegetable oil, for grilling
1 lime, quartered
For the nam jim 80ml freshly squeezed orange juice (ie, from 2 oranges)
½ tbsp basmati rice ¾ tbsp pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes) (or half that amount normal chilli flakes), gently toasted
20g tamarind paste 40ml fish sauce 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
5g coriander leaves, finely chopped
For the herb salad 150g red cabbage, or white cabbage, sliced radish or cucumber, finely shredded
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
5g mint leaves, roughly torn
5g coriander leaves
Pork neck fillet (which is also known as collar) is a very forgiving cut that has plenty of fat running through it (if you can’t get hold of neck, use shoulder instead). The meat will really benefit if you can leave it in its marinade for two days, but four hours is the bare minimum. This is perfect served with boiled rice to soak up the sweet, sharp sauce.
Put the whisky, fish sauce and sugar in a medium pan on a medium-high heat and gently warm for a few minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemongrass and ginger, turn off the heat and leave to cool completely.
Cut the pork against the grain into four 12cm-long and 6cm-wide pieces, then cut away and discard any silverskin. Transfer the meat to a non-reactive container that is just big enough to hold all the pieces in one layer, then pour over the cooled marinade and make sure the pork is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Lift the pork from its container and dry well with kitchen towel (don’t discard the marinade; it can be frozen and used again for marinating; alternatively, cook it down and, once reduced, use to glaze, say, chicken drumsticks). Brush each piece with a little oil and set aside. Ventilate the kitchen and put a griddle pan on a mediumhigh heat. Once the pan is smoking hot, lay in the pork pieces (in batches if need be) and cook for four to five minutes on each side, until golden brown and nicely marked with char lines (turn down the heat a little if it looks like the meat is starting to burn).
Put the browned meat on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, and roast for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through, then remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
While the meat is cooking and resting, make the nam jim. Put the orange juice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat and simmer for about four minutes, until it’s reduced to about 60ml, then leave to cool a little.
At the same time, toast the rice in a small saucepan on a mediumhigh heat for four to five minutes, until it starts to colour and smell nutty. Transfer the toasted rice to a spice grinder or mortar, add the chilli and blitz or pound to a coarse powder. Combine this with all the remaining ingredients for the nam jim and set aside.
Gently toss all the ingredients for the salad. Cut each piece of meat widthways into five, and serve warm with the herb salad, the nam jim poured over both of them and a lime wedge alongside.