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Chiang Mai Pork & Sweet Potato Curry

Rose (Michelle is my middle name, and what I go by.) Jones from United States

Serves
4
Preparation
30 minutes
Cooks in
1.5 - 2 hours
Country of origin
Thailand

Back when I thought I knew more than I know now, I renovated a dilapidated café in a tumultuous neighborhood in Winter Park, Florida. One “little” monumental mistake cost me everything. I lost my restaurant, my relationship, my life savings, and my dream. I couldn’t experience pleasure; food had lost its flavor.
Someone briefly bumped into my life that reminded me how to love, laugh, sing, and eat. He roused my inspiration with a parting gift of a photo that he had taken of a random street in South East Asia. A year later, I began my rite of passage to backpack alone through Thailand and Cambodia to find that street.
My time near Chiang Mai was spent mostly trekking the Burmese Mountains. This was a physical and mental challenge for which I trained, but was unknowingly unprepared. I’d requested a “high-difficulty” experience, which I instantly regretted. The first day, some had to turn back. As the steepness increased, I questioned my decision to continue. I crawled the last ascent of the day and lay in dirt, clutching my inhaler, in a moment of asthmatic vulnerability. Somehow I wheezed my way through.
On our last night, we cooked. We plucked onions and carrots near a river and combined them with soft sweet potato. A simple pot of rice boiled, while creamy curry melted into the meat from a roast pig, and the vegetables assimilated themselves. The capsicums cleansed and the coconut milk soothed, with bitter and bright attributes peeking through. That dish represents the indomitable spirit.
But, my greatest realization occurred just as my trip began. We landed at dawn in Bangkok. On the way to my randomly chosen hotel, my taxi flew down an off ramp. As I squinted towards the rising sun, I looked up at the boulevard sign and recognized exactly where we were. I began gasping and tears flooded my face. I knew my life would never be the same, because I had decided to travel eight thousand miles around the world just to find that very street.

Ingredients

  • For the Curry Paste Base (Nam Prik Baeng Ped) There will be left overs to save.)
  • 1/2 cup medium chopped onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 12 dried red jalapeno chilies
  • 4 thin slices fresh galangal
  • 3 medium stalks chopped lemon grass
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro root/coriander root/ or
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons veg oil
  • For the Main:
  • 2 large sweet potaotes
  • 1,75 Lb Pork Shoulder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of the finished red cury paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • cilantro, scalion, & lime to taste
  • 2 medium sweet potaoes
  • 2 cups rice of choice

Method

  • For the Rice:
  • Bring four cups water to a boil/season to taste like the sea
  • add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  • For the Curry Paste:
  • Place all the ingredients into a blender to process into a thick paste. Heat a non -stick pan with 2 table spoons of oil, gently fry the paste to open up the aromatics.Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for future use. It keeps for at least 2 weeks.
  • For the sweet potaoes:
  • Cut into medium dice, place into salted pot with enought water to cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 -12 mintes and drain.
  • For the Main:
  • Trim and chop pork into 1 inch cubes and turn heat on high for a hard sear.
  • In a medium pot combine the curry, turmeric powder, three heaping tablespoons curry base, cocunut milk and the pork. Simmer until the pork falls apart and the sauce is creamy and thick.
  • If you prefer spicy, add more paste, and if needed during the reduction add more cocount milk.

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