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.