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The northeast region of Thailand, bordered with Laos in the north and Cambodia in the east, is a rough land to work. Issan, as it known in Thai, suffers droughts and deficiencies, the land gets really dry and unforgiving making in some area the digging for mineral salt a better business than agriculture.
Issan food is made from bricks of simplicity. It reflects its people coarse life and is in general pungent and hot. Eaten with sticky rice, only very little is required to flavor the rice in the hands of the entire family. I love the rustic Issan food and I own a sincere admiration to their culinary ingenuity.
Today I am bringing to the spotlights a menu of grilled pork, marinated in a paste of the three kings – garlic, coriander and white pepper – before grilled to be tender and moist.
To accompany, I serve a very spicy, sour-salty and sweet tomato relish that is loaded with chilies. I know, I tend to spend my chilies supply quit fast, but you can tune down the chilies and might just discover a new trick to impress your friends the next time you will fire up that BBQ…
Grilled Pork Marinated in Garlic, Coriander and Pepper Served with Spicy Hot and Sour Tomato Relish Recipe
- 1/2kg Pork
For the marinade
- 2 Coriander roots
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 1 tbs white pepper corns
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs oyster sauce
For the tomato relish
- 10 shallots
- 10 garlic cloves
- 3 red peppers
- 3 long red peppers
- 10 bird’s eye chilies
- 1 banana pepper
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 tbs tamarind paste
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1/2 tbs palm sugar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Preparations – Grilled pork:
- In a pestle and mortar, work the coriander roots, garlic and peppercorns with the sugar and salt as abrasives, until smooth.
- Mix in the oyster sauce and light soy sauce.
- Rub the pork with the marinade and let rest of at least 20 minutes before grilling or BBQ.
Preparations – Tomato relish:
- In an iron cast wok, on very low heat roast the garlic, shallots, chilies and tomatoes. Mix from time to time until the shallots are soft, garlic bit charred and the tomato caramelized.
- Remove from heat.
- Separate the tomatoes from the rest of the ingredients.
- In a pestle and mortar, work the roasted garlic, shallots and chilies to a smooth paste.
- Add tomatoes and gently squeeze them with the pestle.
- Season the relish with tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar and white pepper.
- Taste and adjust flavors. It should be sour-salty and bit sweet