Friday, August 14, 2009
Thai Lemon Grass Pork
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is one of the hundred or so dishes in my permanent recipe rotation. I've made it for years because it's fast, easy and a bit elegant. We had this at least once a month when I was working and it's still one of my go-to recipes when my world starts to wobble and threatens to leave orbit. The ingredients are no longer hard to find and you should be able to pick them up in a any well-stocked grocery store. In the unlikely event that you're in an outpost on the Sahara desert, you may feel the need to find a substitute for lemon grass. Many suggest the zest of one lemon mixed with several sprigs of cilantro will do the trick. Please don't be fooled. Lemon zest mixed with cilantro tastes like what it is and bares no resemblance to the real thing. While it won't hurt most recipes, it won't help them either. You can try frozen or reconstituted dried lemon grass, but they, too, are lacking in flavor. The closest I've come to an adequate substitute follows the recipe below, but because it requires forethought I don't use it often. If I don't have fresh lemon grass I usually bypass it and move on to the next ingredient. One drawback to this dish is the color of quickly cooked pork. It can, however, be overcome. Your meat will have better color if you sprinkle it with a quick-blending flour before browning. Served with quick cooking rice noodles, this makes a wonderful meal for the end of a hectic day.
Thai Lemon Grass Pork...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1-1/2 pounds (2 small) pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 lemon grass stalks, finely chopped
4 scallions (white and tender green), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns, coarsely cracked
Quick-blending flour (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Cilantro for garnish
1) Slice pork, crosswise, into 1-inch pieces. Place pork in a bowl with lemon grass, scallions, salt and crushed pepper corns. Toss to mix well. Cover with clear wrap; marinate for 30 minutes before continuing.
2) Remove pork and sprinkle medallions wit flour if using. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. When almost smoking, add pork and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3) Add garlic and pepper flakes; saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Continue cooking for 6 minutes more, turning once, until pork is done. Season with pepper to taste. Garnish with peanuts and coarsely torn cilantro. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Lemon Grass Substitute
6-8 mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
Squeeze lime juice in a bowl; add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add chopped ginger and finely chopped mint leaves. Mix well.
This recipe is being linked to Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday