Not too long ago, we stopped for lunch at a new burger joint in Milwaukee. Oscar’s Pub and Grill has a fairly decent menu and pretty good food. One of the menu items that stood out to me was the ‘Big Basket’ which included basically…
Month: June 2011
One of the many things I experienced while living in Dallas, Texas was Thai food. When I started my career with a great company called Big Hand Productions, I hooked up with one of the audio engineers, Kevin, and we would often hang out after hours. Our hang outs typically involved dining at his favorite Thai restaurant as many of his friends worked there, and then afterwords, hang out and listen to good reggae music. But it was the Thai food experience that opened my eyes. At that time, and to this day, I loved spicy food. I can handle the heat, but the experience I had with Thai food was that it was not about the heat. Thai food was about the texture, and more importantly the flavors combining salty, sour, spice, and sweet. When you can get all of those flavors into one dish, you have a successful dish. I’ve continued to experiment with Thai food, and typically try to steer away from the classic Pad Thai if dining out, and this dish known as Nam Prik Ong is something that is just amazing in flavor.
Nam Prik Ong is basically a Thai dish that consists of ground pork, tomatoes, garlic, and chilis, and is commonly served as an appetizer or side dish. The flavor brings all of those Thai flavors you would expect, and should be eaten with vegetables, pork cracklings, or rice.
Let’s get started.
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 Thai Bird Chili, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Small handful of fresh cilantro sprigs
- Roasted peanuts
- Fried Pork Skins
- Broccoli florets
- Cucumber wedges
- Pea Pods
- 1 tbsp canola oil
There are probably a couple of ways you can make this dish, but this is my take on it, and was primarily done because of a conversation I had with a coworker.
Begin by adding the shallots, chili, and garlic to a large mortar and pestle. Begin crushing the ingredients, mashing everything. Get a spoon to assist, mixing with the spoon and crushing with the pestle. Once you have a mashed consistency, add in the raw pork and tomatoes. Continue the process, mashing the tomatoes into the pork, and garlic mash.
To a large, heated skillet, add in the oil. Scoop out your pork mixture and add it to the skillet. Cook the pork mixture on medium to high heat until the pork is cooked through, stirring along the way.
Toss in the fish sauce, sugar, salt, and lime juice. Give it a good stir and continue to cook for a few additional minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When you are ready to serve, add a mixture of vegetables to a serving dish. This is a scoop and eat dish. Forget the spoons. Use the veggies or pork cracklings. The platter consists of cucumbers, pea pods, peanuts, cilantro, cracklings, broccoli, and fresh cilantro.
Add the pork to a small serving bowl and add this to your serving platter.
To eat, take a crackling or vegetable, scoop some of the pork mixture, top with a fresh cilantro sprig, and pop it into your mouth. Finish off with a couple of roasted peanuts.
The result is everything delightful. Not only is it fun to eat but you get the ultimate in flavor. That sour, salt, sweet, and a little spice, make every bite worth taking. Hope you enjoy.
I have been on a salsa making kick for nearly three weeks now, and as I have made been making, or should I say experimenting, with salsas for a number of years, I believe I have locked into three recipes that are now my go to salsas. I might even call them sauces, because they can go either way. Store bought salsa is no longer allowed in my house because they just do not compare to simple ingredients that yield such a better flavor. Freshness is also the key. So as I perfected what I call my red, and my green salsas, I thought I would experiment with a chili you normally never see being used in salsa, and that is the poblano chile.
The image above is the poblano salsa served with pulled pork stuffed rolls.
Poblano peppers are probably the mildest of peppers, much like a green pepper, and have fairly thick walls, and which are typically roasted, stuffed, and made into chile rellenos. I was probably thinking of chile rellenos when I began thinking of making this salsa, that, or probably making a mole. But let me just say whatever I was thinking, I was on the right track because this poblano salsa with dark chocolate was a really great hit. Not just great for dunking nice tortilla chips in, but also great with eggs in the morning, or spooned over grilled chicken.
Lets get started.
- 3 large poblano peppers, washed
- 5 cloves of garlic, skin on
- 2 serrano chile peppers
- 1 roma tomato
- 1/4 cup of dark chocolate, grated
- 1 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tbsp salt
I am a big believer in cast iron, so if you have a large cast iron skillet, get it out, and place the poblano peppers, garlic, tomato, and serrano chile peppers. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you could lightly oil them and place on a baking sheet under a broiler and begin roasting them.
You want everything blackened for the most part. The serrano peppers will roast first, then the garlic, tomato, and then the poblano peppers. Once all sides of the vegetables are roasted, simply remove them and get them into a blender or food processor. Please remove the skins of the garlic before placing them in the blender.
Once the poblano peppers have charred, remove them and place them in a paper bag, or ziplock bag. This will allow them to steam a bit so you can easily remove the outer skin. It is important that you do that. So after about ten minutes of being in the bag, remove them, and carefully remove the skin. Take your thumb near the stem of the poblano and push in, pushing back the stem and exposing the seeds. Remove all of the seeds and discard the stem. Do this for all of the poblano peppers.
Once all of the vegetables have been added to the blender, add in the dark chocolate. Put the cover on the blender and give it a quick pulse.
Next add in the water and salt. Cover and pulse about 8-10 times, or until you desired consistency. Place in a jar, seal, and store in the refrigerator to chill.
When you are ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and serve however you like. It can pretty much go with anything, but is really great with chicken, chips, or eggs.
I gave a jar to one of my neighbors and he said he loved it. I loved it. My wife loved it. It must be good. Try roasting these poblanos and let me know what you think. Enjoy!