In the context of Siamese samrub meal planning, this thick chuu chee of pork and shrimp with a reddish coconut-based, curry-like sauce is considered a side dish (ของจาน; khaawng jaan). It consists of small, equal-sized slices of pork meat and shrimp fried in coconut cream together with a phrik khing curry paste. With no other vegetables or herbs, the dish is seasoned using fish sauce and palm sugar to a salty and only slightly sweet profile. Finally, it is glazed with shrimp tomalley poured on top and left unstirred, then cooked covered with the lid on, until the tomalley is baked-cooked. When serving, garnish with hair-thin juliennes of kaffir lime leaves and hand-picked coriander leaves.
The rich, fatty, full-bodied shrimp tomalley consists of the animal’s life-supporting and reproductive organs. Thus it is alleged to contain an immeasurable amount of magical energy that instills the dish with a pleasing vibrancy. The tomalley gives this chuu chee a regal aspect despite its simple appearance and its peripheral position on the menu.
This dish was inspired by a recipe by Princess Jancharoensiri Ratchanee (หม่อมเจ้าจันทร์เจริญศิริ รัชนี) (1901-1975). Princess Jancharoensiri was a prolific cookbook writer who published numerous books between the 1950s and 1970s under the pen name of J.J.R (จ.จ.ร; jor jor lor). The princess, born in 1901, was the great-granddaughter of Somdej Pra Pinklao, who, with his brother King Rama IV, ruled Siam as co-monarchs with equal titles and ranks. However, in 1938 J.J.R was expelled from the Royal Family and stripped of her titles for marrying a commoner without royal permission. She passed away as a commoner in 1975.
J.J.R starts by preparing a phrik khing curry paste from which she omits the kaffir lime zest and coriander roots, and adds no spices. She chooses dried red long chilies, which she de-seeds and rehydrates for their bright color and taste. She peels the shrimp, collects the tomalley, and slices the de-veined shrimp into bite-size pieces. Next, she cuts the pork into thin slices equal in size to the shrimp. Then, after the coconut cream is pressed fresh and all the ingredients are ready, J.J.R places a wok over medium heat and adds coconut cream. Constantly stirring, when the cream thickens and fat appears, she fries the phrik khing paste until fragrant. She then adds the sliced pork and shrimp and continues frying them until the meats are cooked.
Next, J.J.R seasons the dish to a salty leading and sweet follow flavor profile with fish sauce and palm sugar. After adding the sugar, she allows a brief frying, to produce a caramelization that makes the dish shimmer with a bright transparency.
J.J.R then scrambles the shrimp tomalley and pours it over the mixture in the wok. Without stirring this mixture, she covers the wok with a lid and lets the tomalley bake-cook into a glaze that adds richness, fantastic flavor bounty, and a touch of heart. Before serving the dish, J.J.R garnishes the chuu chee with thin juliennes of kaffir lime leaves and coriander leaves.
|Kaffir lime zest|
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- 150 g pork neck meat (สันคอหมู) or
- 150 g shrimp (กุ้ง) cleaned and sliced
- shrimp tomalley (มันกุ้ง)
- 1/2 cup coconut cream (หัวกะทิ)
- 4 pieces kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด) hand-torn
For the curry paste:
- 7 pieces dried 'bang-chang' red long chili (พริกบางช้างแห้ง) de-seeded and rehydrated
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (เกลือทะเล)
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass (ตะไคร้) thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoons galangal (ข่า) thinly sliced
- 1/4 tablespoon Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย) thinly sliced
- 1/3 tablespoon shallots (หอมแดง) thinly sliced
- 1/4 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (kapi)(กะปิย่างไฟ) grilled
- 1 part fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
- 1/2 part palm sugar (น้ำตาลมะพร้าว)
- kaffir lime leaves (ใบมะกรูด) sliced into hair-thin juliennes
Prepare the shrimp and pork:
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp and cut them into small bite-size pieces. Wash the sliced shrimp meat; pat dry.
- Squeeze the shrimp tomalley from the heads. Using a fork, beat it. Set aside.
- Slice the pork into thin slices equal in size to the shrimp.
Prepare the curry paste:
- An overview of the curry paste ingredients.
- De-seed and rehydrate the dried chilies.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the chilies with salt into a fine paste.
- Gradually add the other ingredients, from the driest to the wet. Pound the paste until it is smooth with a rounded aroma.
- Remove the chuu chee curry paste and set it aside. Wash the mortar and pestle with about one cup of plain water and reserve the liquids.
Cook the chuu chee:
- In a brass wok, heat the coconut cream until it thickens and oil appears.
- When the paste is cooked and loses its rawness, add the pork meat.
- Add the shrimp and continue frying until the pork and shrimp are thoroughly cooked.
- Stop the frying with the liquids collected from cleaning the pestle and mortar.
- Start by seasoning the salty element using fish sauce.
- When you are satisfied with the saltiness, add palm sugar at the ratio indicated.
Adding the shrimp tomalley:
- When the meats are cooked and well-seasoned, lower the heat and pour the tomalley on top of the mixture.
- Cover and allow the steam to cook the tomalley.