In this dish, slices of pork belly are coated with a sticky sauce; the sauce is reduced from braising a slice of grilled salted fish with coriander roots, garlic and white peppercorns (saam gluuhr). The dish is served with a sour-leading green mango chili relish that adds tartness with fiery accents to the saltiness of the pork. The salted fish gives the pork an initial fishy aroma that, although robust, gives way to a sense of home as it merges into the sourness and fruitiness of the mango chili relish. As an ingredient commonly used in the kitchens of rice-growing communities, salted fish signifies a comforting familiarity that conveys simplicity and warmth to the table. I like to pair the salted, fishy pork with seasoned rice dishes in which sour-leading relishes are mixed with rice along with other condiments.
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- pork belly (เนื้อหมูสามชั้น) steamed and sliced into thin slices
For the sauce:
- 1 piece salted Indian salmon (ปลากุเลา) washed and grilled in banana leaves
- fingerroot (krachai) (กระชาย)
- salted Spanish mackerel (ปลาอินทรีเค็ม) washed and grilled in banana leaves with fingerroot (krachai) (กระชาย)
For the saam gluuhr paste:
- 1 tablespoon coriander roots (รากผักชี) scraped, washed and chopped
- 3/4 tablespoon Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย)
- 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns (พริกไทย) (S1) roasted and ground
For the relish:
- 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste (kapi)(กะปิย่างไฟ) grilled
- 2 teaspoon dried shrimp pounded to powder (กุ้งแห้งป่น)
- 1 tablespoon Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย)
- 1/3 cup green mango (มะม่วงเปรี้ยว) sliced into small pieces
- fresh red and green Thai bird’s eye chilies (phrik kee noo) (พริกขี้หนูแดง และ เขียว)
- 1/4 part fish sauce (น้ำปลา)
- 1 1/2 part lime juice (น้ำมะนาว)
- green mango (มะม่วงเปรี้ยว) shredded into thin elongated pieces
Prepare the pork belly
- Steam the pork belly over high heat, over a bed of bruised lemongrass to deodorize.
- Once the pork belly is fully cooked, let it rest and then slice it into thin elongated pieces. Set aside.
Prepare the salted fish for the sauce
- Choose either salted Indian salmon (ปลากุเลา) or salted Spanish mackerel (ปลาอินทรีเค็ม). Rinse the salted fish thoroughly.
- Wrap the washed fish in four layers of banana leaves and grill over a bed of sliced fingerroot. Once the outer layer of banana leave is completely charred, remove the fish and set it aside.
Prepare the sauce
- To a pot, add water and bring to a boil.
- Add the saam gluuhr paste (coriander roots, garlic, white peppercorns).
- Add the grilled fish.
- Simmer over low heat, allowing the liquids to reduce to a thick sauce. Set aside.
- Strain, and set aside.
Coat the pork with the sauce
- In a mixing bowl, gradually add the salted fish sauce to the pork to your preferred saltiness and fishy pungency.
For the relish
- Peel the green mango and dice it into small cubes. Set aside.
- Measure the amount of fermented shrimp paste (kapi), garlic and palm sugar, following the ratios of a standard chili relish recipe (น้ำพริกกะปิมาตรฐาน). Arrange the ingredients next to each other so you can visualize their proportions.
- Begin preparing the relish in a mortar and pestle the same way you would a basic chili relish – start by pounding the garlic with the kapi and add dried shrimp powder.
- Add the green mango. Using the pestle, mash it into a rough paste.
- Taste and season with salt and fish sauce. Once you are satisfied with the saltiness of the relish, add palm sugar at the ratio indicated. Season to a sweet-salty flavor profile.
- Season to a sour-leading flavor profile using lime juice, making it slightly more sour to better complement with the salted pork.
- Add the fresh chilies. Using the pestle, bruise the chilies to release the desired spiciness.
- Mix the chili relish with the pork belly and shredded mango.
Rice Seasoned with Young Tamarind Relish, Sweetened Fish and Pickled Morning Glory (ข้าวคลุกน้ำพริกมะขามอ่อน ผักบุ้งดอง ปลาแห้งผัดหวาน และ ปลาดุกย่าง; Khaao Khlook Naam Phrik Makhaam Aawn Phakboong Daawng Bplaa Haaeng Phat Waan Lae Bplaa Dook Yaang)
Seasoned rice dishes have been a staple of rice-consuming societies almost since the first grains were cultivated. Adapted according to local resources, traditions and individual preferences, seasoned rice dishes are relished and savored across all walks of life. Within Siamese society, these dishes offer insight into the flavor instincts and eating habits across all demographics, revealing which food items were locally available and valued.
In this delicious seasoned rice recipe from the kitchens of the daughter of King Chulalongkorn, Princess Yaovabha Bongsanid (พระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าเยาวภาพงศ์สนิท) (1884-1934), the Princess uses a variety of common preserved and inexpensive ingredients, clearly drawing inspiration from the cuisine of the Central Plains with nods to the rural and coastal living atmosphere.
Yam Sohm Choon Mango Salad with Sweet Pork Condiment, Fermented Shrimp Paste, Shallots, and Crispy Deep-Fried Fluffy Fish (ยำส้มฉุน ; yam sohm choon)
Yam sohm choon is a sour green mango salad served with grilled fermented shrimp paste; roughly chopped shallots; sweet pork condiment, deep-fried fluffy grilled catfish and seasoned with fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice and topped with deep-fried dry chilies cut into small pieces.
If you follow Thai movies and TV dramas, you probably remember Sohm Choon, the adorable boy ghost character from the period romance movie Reun Mayura (1997), which was a love story between a beautiful woman and a handsome man living in different periods of time.
Metropolitan Chili Relish: The 20-Ingredient Pinnacle of Thai Relishes (น้ำพริกนครบาล; Naam Phrik Na Khaawn Baan)
Originating in the early 1800s, Metropolitan Chili Relish is cheerful and complex, yet unassuming – a subtly epic relish composed of more than 20 ingredients, some of which are seasonal. The relative absence of this relish from contemporary menus could be attributed to its difficult-to-assemble ingredient list, coupled with a dwindling number of chefs who are adept at its preparation.
However, despite its intricate composition, the relish adheres to the same foundational culinary principles of other shrimp paste (kapi) chili relishes. Here, though, the savoriness is strengthened with smoke-dried fish, grilled shrimp and pork fat crackling; and the relish is seasoned to a citrus-infused, fruity, sour-sweet leading and salty to follow flavor profile, to which numerous sour and sour-sweet elements are mixed in – akin to a deep-rooted tree extending its branches to bear colorful fruits that shine in varying shades of a tartness.
Naam Phrik Lohng Reuua (Boat Embarking Chili Relish), Relish of Fermented Shrimp Paste Relsih with Sweet Pork and Crispy Deep-Fried Fluffy Fish – (น้ำพริกลงเรือต้นตำรับ ; naam phrik lohng reuua)
Naam phrik lohng reuua (น้ำพริกลงเรือ) – Literally translated as “boat embarking chili relish”, this particular boat seems to have drifted a long way from port and these days, the actual dish served in Thai restaurants is far away from the original version. We want to tell you the real story behind this dish and to present you with the original version’s recipe in its true character – as if the boat is still moored at the dock.
Mixed Clear Shrimp Soup with Salted Fish, Shrimp, Cucumber, Mango and Pickled Garlic (แกงนอกหม้อ ; gaaeng naawk maaw)
Gaaeng naawk maaw is a light and refreshing soup served at room temperature. The ingredients are meticulously sliced as if for a salad, placed in a serving bowl, and covered with a salty and naturally sweet shrimp broth. At the table, diners can adjust the soup to their preferred flavor profile using granulated sugar, lime juice, or pickled garlic brine; hence the name – gaaeng naawk maaw – which literally means “a curry dish outside the pot” or “to cook curry outside the pot”. (Note: The word gaaeng (แกง) in Thai is both a verb and a noun).