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Studded with small green peppercorns that burst with a mild peppery pungency, this relish is not as spicy as one might expect from a Thai chili relish – nor does the sour taste serve as a noticeable flavor pillar. Instead, a warmer and softer peppery bite, coupled with the aroma of young pepper, delivers a complex kick. The peppercorns, together with the flavorful yellow chilies, wrap the pork’s natural umami and fatty characters and enhance its natural sweetness; this sweetness, despite being placed far in the back and only appearing at the end of each bite, is nicely layered by the use of shrimp meat and palm sugar.
The relish can be served either as a dip with an assortment of leaves and vegetables, with a Thai omelet or soft boiled eggs, or just mixed with rice for a delicious meal.
This recipe is attributed to Morm Luang Klong Chaiyan (Sanitwong) (หม่อมหลวงคลอง ไชยันต์) (สนิทวงศ์) who served as a personal secretary to Queen Rambhai Barni of Siam (the wife of King Rama 7). The recipe is also listed in the book, Favorite Dishes, by Princess Jongjittanom Dissakul (อาหารของโปรด ของหม่อมเจ้าจงจิตรถนอม ดิศกุล)
- 1/2 cup pork belly, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons fermented shrimp paste (kapi), grilled
- 3 tablespoons Thai garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons dried shrimp, pounded
- 10 pcs fresh yellow chilies
- 10 pcs fresh bird's eye chilies
- 4 tablespoons madan, thinly sliced (sour cucumber, มะดัน)
- 1/2 cup fresh peppercorns
- palm sugar 1 tablespoon
- fish sauce 1 tablespoon
- pork lard or oil 3 tablespoons
- Assortment of fresh vegetables such as fresh small eggplants, cucumber and rose apple
- Slice the pork into small pieces.
- Peel the shrimp and crush them with a heavy knife. It will improve their texture.
- Using a knife, roughly mince the shrimp. Set aside.
- In a pestle and mortar, pound fermented shrimp paste (grilled in banana leaves with garlic) with the garlic until you get a smooth consistency.
- Add pounded dried shrimp.
- Add yellow chilies and bird’s eye chilies.
- Pound the paste until all the chilies are bruised, but small chunks of yellow chilies remain.
- Add sliced madan.
- Pound everything together.
- Add fresh green peppercorns.
- Season with palm sugar and fish sauce.
- Pound everything together. Set aside.
- Place a seasoned wok over medium heat, and add pork fat (or oil). Fry the sliced pork until it is almost cooked.
- Add the shrimp meat; fry until the pork and shrimp are well cooked.
- Add the chili paste and fry until fragrant.