The Thai take

Mar­i­nated pork neck with nam jim

The Guardian - Feast - - Yotam Ottolenghi -

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.

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