Thai Northern Style Pork and Tomato Relish (nam phrik aawng ; nam prik ong ; น้ำพริกอ่อง)
This dish traces its origins to the “Tai Yai” minority (ไทยใหญ่ Shan people) and is traditionally made with a local variety of grape tomatoes ( บะเขือส้ม; ba kheuua sohm) and fermented soybeans cakes (Tua Nao ; ถั่วเน่า).
Start preparing the chili paste by pounding in a mortar and pestle the dry chilies with the salt as abrasive. Pound it very fine.
On an open flame lightly roast the Tua Nao until fragrant.
Add roasted Tua Nao to the mortar and pound it fine.
Add chopped lemongrass to the mortar and keep pounding until the lemongrass is well incorporated.
Add shallots, garlic, and pound together until you get a smooth and homogeneous paste.
Add fermented shrimp paste and mix well. Set aside.
In a mortar and pestle pound the chili paste, minced pork and tomatoes until the chili paste is well incorporated into the pork.
Set a wide frying pan with the oil on a medium heat and lightly fry the garlic until light golden.
Add the chili paste, tomatoes and pork mixture and fry while constantly mixing until the pork is done. The pork will release its juices into the pan, keep frying until all the pork liquids evaporates and you can hear again the sizzling frying sounds.
In a mortar and pestle roughly bruise the remaining tomatoes to release their juices.
Add the tomatoes to the frying pan and keep frying on a medium low heat until the tomatoes soften and releases most of their juices.
Season flavors with salt and sugar and add bit of water if too dry.
Serve with an assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables.
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