Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Night Fire - The Range Kitchen Does Thai

I love most southeast Asian dishes, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean.  But finding the ingredients can be a little daunting in some areas. This Range take on Pad Prik which normally uses a specialty curry paste and kaffir lime leaves (not easy to find in small town Hoosierville) turned out pretty  good.  Good old Srirachi Thai Chili sauce is the secret.  (the most common brand seen in stores, made by Hoy Fung foods is made in the USA, including the bottles). Oh, and there's something called "fish sauce".

Don't turn up your nose at "fish sauce".  Outside of fresh caught salmon (and I mean Big Bro caught it that morning and grilled it, stuffed with lemon and onion wrapped in bacon and drizzled with teriyaki) and occasional beer battered Irish Pub fish and chips, I'm not a fish fan. (Team BACON!)  But I use fish sauce a lot in southeast Asian and Chinese dishes.  There's a reason it's a staple in Southeast Asian cultures. If you love Caesar salad, you've eaten one of the main ingredients in the dressing.  Anchovies.  For fish sauce, anchovies  caught from clear waters and  with salt, are fermented in wooden barrels and then VERY slowly pressed to product this savory liquid  Like Tinks, I'd not recommend putting your nose to the bottle for a big whiff, but just a small  amount can add a deep richness and depth  to a dish (with no "fishy" taste).
If you can, look for Red Boat Fish sauce on the internet, (just google it)  because most of the ones in the grocery are full of additives, wheat protein, chemicals and MSG.  Red Boat Fish sauce is paleo friendly and gluten free and is  really tasty.
For the marinade
2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS light oil peanut or vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon honey (or light brown sugar)
1 Tablspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground coriander  (you might try ginger if you can't find coriander)
1/2  tsp white pepper
For the stir fry sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons  fish sauce
1/4  cup plus 2 Tablespoons cup rice vinegar
1/4  plus 2 Tablespoons water
3 TBS  light brown sugar or honey
3 TBS  Sriracha
 For the stir-fry
1 and 1/2 pounds pork
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tablespoons of  peanut or vegetable oil
2 Thai, serrano, or red  jalapeño peppers, minced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 cups green beans
1/2 cup basil finely chopped only slightly.
1 lime- cut into quarters
1 Tablespoons chive chopped for rice garnish (photo op optional)
Mix the marinade ingredients together  and mix with meat that you've cut into fairly small, thinner pieces in a gallon zip lock bag, and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Mince the garlic and mix it with 1 tsp of oil.  Set it aside.

Halve the peppers, scraping the seeds out for mild to medium thai hot (Midwest Chick will be leaving her seeds in and raising me a thai pepper).  Slice the red bell pepper into long, fairly  thin strips. 

Clean the green beans and place in a bowl with the finely diced chilis and your red pepper.
Heat up your skillet or wok in which you've drizzled a couple of teaspoons of vegetable or peanut oil.  Plan on cooking your meat in three batches after you've removed it from the marinade (which is discarded).  This ensures it stays nice and brown instead of getting pale and limp from overcrowding, which teams to end up steaming the meat, not stir frying it (something I learned from Mr. B. )

When the oil is shimmering and a drop of water sizzles on it and evaporates, you're ready to cook your meat.   The meat will cook very quickly and don't be tempted to constantly maneuver it around with your spatula.  Put the pieces in there, and let cook two minutes to sear them on one side, then move them around the pan stir fry fashion until they're cooked through (about another minute)

Remove the meat to a bowl when cooked through and cook the remaining batches.

Do NOT be tempted to cook it all at once.  It takes just as long and your meat will not be nearly as good.

Add 2 tsp. more oil to the skillet and when shimmering, add the green beans and chilis/bell pepper  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.  Clear out a little space in the center and add the garlic/oil mixture, pressing down for 10-15 seconds, then stir it in with the veggies and add the sauce.
Increase heat to high and cook for about a half a minute, until it thickens slightly (but not too long so you have some liquid left)  Add your meat, stir in the basil and remove the pan from the heat. 

Serve with steamed rice if you are so inclined and a wedge of lime. 


  1. There are several H Mart locations out near you on The Range. They may have your fish sauce, but, even if they don't stock it, the chain's stores are generally fun to explore.

    Uwajimaya here in PDX is also worth a look the next time you are out to stock the freezer.

  2. Nuc Mom is NOT your friend if you take a big whiff, or if you use too much... Just sayin... :-)

  3. Not a fish or seafood kinda guy. But, based on your recommendation i MIGHT try fish sauce.

    I DO loves me some A-1 Steak Sauce!


  4. might haveta try that recipie.

    Glad I could teach you something!

  5. This recipe is definitely going to be attempted this week. Looks great.

  6. Thanks for this recipe, Brigid. This is something I could have !

  7. Should probably go without saying, but for a dish like this I find it helpful to use a 12" cast iron pan that's been preheated in the oven...

  8. I know you've said you have a book of some sort in the works. What I REALLY want to know is when are you publishing all these recipes as a cookbook??!!


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