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.