Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pork Meatballs in Coconut Curry

I like the sound of pork meatballs. I also like their flavor. They do not have that strong meaty mouth feel, tasting lighter on the palate. Permeated with fresh herbs and spices they come alive in a simple coconut curry. The curry is infused with all things Thai...lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic and chile paste. How could I go wrong???!!!! It is delicious and disappeared fast at last week's dinner. We have an old buddy of G's visiting so I recreate it once more.

The same ingredients make a stellar appearance. Minced pork is mashed and squeezed with scallions, cilantro, mint, heaping spoonfuls of ginger and garlic, a heavy hand of chile garlic paste and panko crumbs. I shallow fry small balls in oil, so they area lighly browned. I will finish cooking them in the curry. The curry starts with the pork flavored oil. Garlic and galangal is sauteed briefly. Lightly smashed lemongrass stems, kaffir lime leaves and spoonfuls of chile garlic paste are the aromatic stars. A can of thick coconut milk, some chicken stock and seasonings provide a soupy base for the pork balls to finish cooking. Fresh cilantro and scallions garnish the curry and off to the table it is.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds ground Pork
3 tablespoons minced Garlic
3 tablespoons minced Ginger
1/4 cup thinly sliced Scallions
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
15 slivered Mint leaves
3-4 heaped teaspoons Chile Garlic Paste or Sambal Olek
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
Several grinds fresh Black Pepper 
3/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs or regular Breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Canola Oil 

2 tablespoons minced Garlic 
4-5 slices Galangal or Ginger
2-3 Lemongrass stalks
6 Kaffir Lime leaves or rind of 1 Lime
1-2 teaspoons Chile Garlic Paste or Sambal Olek
1 14 oz can Coconut Milk
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 cup roughly chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced Scallions

Mix pork, garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, mint, salt, pepper and Panko in a bowl. Shape into 1 inch balls.

Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan.

Shallow fry balls a few minutes on each side till light brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Use the same pan with pork drippings. If you are squeamish about too much fat, remove all but 2 tablespoons. Know that this fat adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. 

Add garlic and galangal to hot drippings and saute for 30 seconds.

Throw lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves into fat.add spoonfuls of chile garlic paste to pan and stir to mix.

Coconut milk and chicken stock are poured in. Stir and let curry come to a simmer.

Season with salt. 

Slip meatballs into simmering curry and cook 25-30 minutes on a low flame uncovered. Shake the pan from time to time so curry washes over meatballs. Or use a spoon to ladle curry over meatballs.This way they stay moist.

Just before serving add fresh cilantro and scallions.

These are best accompanied by white rice or noodles.

My guests ooh and aah as they savor the curry. Being pork aficionados, they appreciate the simple Asian flavors of meat, lemongrass, lime and coconut. A recipe is requested. And I promptly oblige!