When we order takeout Thai Trevor always chooses pork as his meat. I don't love takeout mystery meat, so I often opt for tofu or plain veggies. This week I decided to try my hand at making pork curry at home to see how it stands up to his favorite takeout. I read several recipes and forged my own, which resulted in a 2 1/2 lb pork butt simmering for several hours in a mixture of fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic, spices and a can of creamy coconut milk. When the meat was fork-tender I shredded it gently and let it simmer for another hour or so. Before serving I skimmed off the (copious) fat and tossed in some red bell pepper and a can of bamboo shoots.
This curry was rich, flavorful, and just seriously delicious. If you are coconut averse, I don't think the final product tastes all that much like coconut. The coconut imbues a richness to the pork, elevating it high above any takeout pork curry I have ever tried.
We like strong flavors in our house, so feel free to scale back on spice, ginger or garlic if you like milder flavors. The good news is that my heartburn only lasted one week, so I'm back to a regular, spicy/acidic/delicious diet.
Pork & Coconut Curry
One 2 1/2 lb. pork butt
1-2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped
One 3 in' piece of ginger, finely chopped (about 2 heaping tablespoons)
6-8 garlic cloves finely chopped (about 2 heaping tablespoons)
Several pieces of minced lemongrass (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
3 tb Curry Powder (I make my own using 1 part turmeric, 2 parts cumin, 2 parts coriander, and lots of freshly ground black pepper)
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped with seeds (feel free to omit seeds if you like less spice)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 small can bamboo shoots, drained & rinsed
To serve: Jasmine rice, chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Heat a large dutch oven (one that has a tight fitting lid) on the stove top. Add peanut oil. When oil is smoking, place your pork butt in the pan and brown on all sides.
- Remove pork from dutch oven and set aside. Discard all but about 1 1/2 tbsp of the fat. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, saute until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, lemongrass, curry powder and serrano pepper, stir to blend with onion. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow spices to toast. Add fish sauce, coconut milk and brown sugar, stirring to blend well.
- Place pork back in the dutch oven with the mixture. Put the lid on the dutch oven and place in the 325 oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until pork is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
- Shred pork and return to mixture to cook for another 30 or so minutes. Skim fat off the top. Ten minutes before serving add bell pepper and bamboo shoots. Finish cooking for another ten minutes and serve with rice and freshly chopped cilantro.