Good pork, unhurriedly caramelized in a wok to crispy brownness with an unstinting amount of fresh jalapenos and smoky Thai basil makes for a befitting carrier of rice. If you lean towards the M end of the spectrum, I prod you to swap in a couple of Thai green chilies per jalapeno. Seasoned with a heavy hand, subtlety is perceptibly not the assignment here. Maximum pleasurable induced rice consumption is.
Crispy Pork Fry with Jalapenos and Thai Basil
- 2 tbsp peanut oil (or other neutral oil)
- 225 g free range lean ground pork
- 1/2 sea salt
- 1/2 tsp finely crushed coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 6-8 medium jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and finely diced
- 1 bunch fresh Thai basil, tough stems removed and leaves picked apart
- In a wok or skillet, heat the peanut oil at medium high heat until shimmery.
- Add the ground pork and press it into a flat disc with a heatproof spatula. Let it sear until golden brown before breaking it apart slightly and flipping it over to brown the other side. Once both sides are browned, scramble the pork completely and continue frying until there are no juices left in the pan – only sizzling rendered fat, and lots of crispy bits.
- Add the salt, coriander, ginger, and garlic as well as 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Stir until fragrant and the mixture is dry again.
- Add the jalapenos and another tbsp of the soy sauce. Continue stirring until the jalapenos are soft and the mixture begins to caramelize.
- Fold in all of the basil and the remaining soy sauce. Stir until the mixture is dry and the basil turns emerald and each leaf is well coated with the pork fat.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with hot steamed rice with a liberal drizzle of lime leaf oil.
To make lime leaf oil, which Mandy at Lady and Pups so graciously included in her mind-warping cookbook The Art of Escapism Cooking, blend a handful of fresh or frozen lime leaves with a cup of olive oil, or a more neutral oil if you’re concerned with olive oil turning bitter in the blender. I take the extra step to strain the oil through a moderately fine strainer to remove some of the texture, and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge.