A couple of years ago, I went through a fierce phase of Thai food. Every Saturday it seemed, I either had a green or red curry on the go, tom yum soup was practically a nightly occurrence and the first time I tried pad Thai noodles, I almost died from happiness. I was practically drinking the fish sauce out of the bottle.
It was that melange of hot, sour, spicy, sweet and salty in Thai food that reeled the gluttonous me in every time. And then, as with all good things, my relationship with Thai came to an end. The worst thing had happened, I’d sickened myself. I almost didn’t notice this happening but one day, I woke up and the first thing I didn’t think about was fish sauce. I’d given Thai food its P45.
The years passed, time turned the page and here we are in the year of Our Lord 2017 and I am happy to report: Thai food is back in my life! And what a comeback. If you can suspend disbelief for one moment, imagine me and Thai food running down a sandy beach towards one another before we clash together and I swing Thai food around and bury my face in her neck.
On Saturday night past, at the insistent behest of Herself, I went back to Thai curry. And what a curry. If I hadn’t been wearing sandals at the time my socks would have been blown clean off – gone. As it was, I polished off my pork and peanut Thai red curry off with a big stupid grin on my face, then I liked the plate. Then I finished Herself’s portion. Then I licked her plate. Then I went to bed. Then I ate another portion for breakfast… I realise I’m on my way to sickening myself with Thai food once again but I don’t care. I’m savouring it while it lasts.
I’ve never been to Thailand. One day I hope to sip Chang beer under swaying palm trees before retiring to a restaurant for a sumptuous feast of Tom Yam Goong. Until then, I’ll make do with what I can make at home. But I’ll tell you one thing: If Thai food in Thailand is better than this pork and peanut red curry, I certainly will die from happiness.
Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients here. You can put this whole thing together in under half an hour, start to finish.
(serves three to four or just two, if I’m at the table)
4 spring onions, chopped (white bits only)
Dash of vegetable oil
Bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves
1 red chilli, sliced
3 tbsps of smooth peanut butter (one with no added sugar)
4 tbsps of red curry paste (if you’re making your own, fair play)
1 tin of light coconut milk (400ml)
Dash of water
1 tbsp of sugar
1 pork fillet, sliced into rounds
1 tbsp of soy sauce
Pack of baby corn (around 200g or so)
Handful of salted peanuts, crushed
The juice of 1 lime
Start by trimming the pork fillet of any extra membrane or fat, then slice into rounds.
Pick off the leaves from your small bunch of coriander and then finely chop the stalks. Set the leaves aside.
In a large pan with a lid, fry the stalks with the spring onions and the sliced chilli in the vegetable oil for about a minute, just to take the rawness away.
Add the pork and stir fry for or a few minutes until the meat starts to take on a little golden colour.
Dump in the curry paste and fry for another minute, then add the peanut butter, the sugar, soy and coconut milk. Add a dash of water and stir it all up.
Bring the curry to a simmer, then stick a lid on and turn the heat down to its lowest setting. Let it rip for seven minutes, giving it the odd stir and then add the baby corns. Keep the lid off and let it bubble for another six or seven minutes. After that, the sauce will have thickened and it should be done. Finally, add the juice of the lime and stir through.
Worth noting: The longer you cook pork fillet the tougher it gets, so you want it just cooked and no more. If you’re unsure, cut one of the medallions in half and if it’s cooked all the way through, happy days. If it’s still a little pink, return the pan to the heat for another few minutes. The thicker the medallions, the longer they’ll take to cook through.
Once the pork is cooked, serve the curry in deep bowls with rice and then top with a few coriander leaves and some of those crushed peanuts.
Thai is back.
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