Northern Thai Pork & Tomato Dipping Sauce ready to eat
This Northern Thai style pork and tomato dipping sauce is a popular dish that is served with fresh sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, green beans and cabbage. It is often served with steamed sticky rice but can also be served on a sliced baguette “bruschetta” style or even on pasta as a sort of distant Thai culinary cousin to Bolognese sauce - sort of “East Meets West” for dinner. I learned this recipe in Chiang Mai from my buddy “Chef Jeep” when I should have been doing my Thai language school homework.
I recorded an instructional video on www.youtube.com under the cheftummycooks page for one version of this recipe – please take a look.
The Thai name is “Naam Phrik Ong” or น้ำพริกอ่อง
Ingredients for the dish including vegetables to help you eat it
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- Pork, minced, 14 ounces / 400 grams or about 2 cups
- Tomato, 3 to 4 large, seeds removed and the tomato flesh chopped into small pieces, about 12 ounces / 350 grams or 2 packed cups
- Garlic, minced, about 5 cloves, or about 2 tablespoons / enough to fill a 30 ml measuring spoon
- Shallot or red onion, minced, about 2 tablespoons / enough to fill a 30 ml measuring spoon
- Vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons / 45 ml
- Red chillie paste, 1 tablespoon or enough to fill a 15 ml measuring spoon
- Water, 4 tablespoons / 60 ml
- Fish sauce, 2 tablespoons / 30 ml
- White cane sugar, 1 teaspoon / enough to fill a 5 ml measuring spoon
- Coriander, one sprig to add as a garnish (optional but it adds a little color contrast to the red tomatoes)
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SIDE VEGETABLES
- one large cucumber, skin removed and cut into diagonal slices (a diagonal slice helps give more surface area for scooping up the food).
- green beans, broken into 3 inch / 8 cm pieces
You can slice cucumbers, green beans, cabbage or lettuce to scoop the dipping sauce into your mouth. The vegetables help cool the spice from the red chillie paste, as does serving this dish with sticky rice. This dish is also served with sticky rice and pork cracklings.
As you can see from the final dish display photo in this recipe and the ingredients photo, I took the skin off a cucumber and used a fun Thai serrated cutter to make a cucumber slice for using as vessel for eating the finished dish. I also used some fresh green beans – you could try lettuce leaves or cabbage as well.
Step 1: Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or saucepan over low to medium heat and swirl the oil in the pan to coat the inside of the pan. Add the minced garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots and garlic are softened, about 1 minute.
Step 2: Add the red chillie paste and saute it with the shallots and garlic until the aroma is released, about 15 seconds. Don’t let the chillie paste or shallots and garlic burn – you can always turn down the heat or just remove the cooking pan from the heat if the pan gets too hot. Since every stove and pan are different, be watchful to not let the ingredients get too hot.
Step 3: Add the minced pork to the cooking pan and stir it well with the chillie paste, shallots and garlic. Add the water and fish sauce to help disperse the other ingredients and keep pressing and flipping the ingredients in the pan so they cook evenly for about a minute.
Step 4: Add the tomatoes and sugar and continue stirring until the pork cooks through and the tomatoes become soft. Depending on the thickness of your pan and the heat on your stove, this will take five to seven minutes.
Step 5: Give the dish a taste; if it is too spicy, you can add more sugar to reduce the spice in the dish.
Step 6: Once you are satisfied that the pork is fully cooked, remove from the heat and place into a bowl for serving. Add some coriander leaves as a garnish if you like.
You can also place on the table a bowl with the cucumber slices and other vegetables. Thai cooks often add some ice to the bowl with the vegetables to keep them crisp and cool.
THAI COOKING TOOLS
Inexpensive Thai kitchen tools for slicing vegetables
These inexpensive kitchen tools can give your dishes a Thai touch. Thai cooking supply stores offer a number of cooking tools for making decorative shapes and designs for Thai food. The photo shows a blue peeler that makes cute serrated edges when peeling a cucumber and the red handled cutter makes ridged slices – a fun thing to bring home from a trip to Thailand. These items are also available for home delivery from the various Thai food import firms.
EAST MEETS WEST FOR DINNER
East meets West for dinner - the Thai dipping sauce on pasta
This dish vaguely resembles Italian Bolognese sauce in that meat is cooked with tomatoes. True Bolognese sauce uses veal or pork with tomatoes or tomato paste and is served on pasta. So I decided to boil some pasta until it was al dente and it tasted pretty good, although much more spicy than the traditional Italian Bolognese!