Full of all the yummy aromas of South East Asia this dish is delicious as a starter and looks extremely colourful as a canape too. For a starter you can either plate it up, three little lettuce ‘boats’ on a plate with some sprigs of fresh herbs and maybe some pickled radishes looks very pretty, or alternatively for a more casual, family-style meal serve all the elements in separate bowls and your guests can make their own. It’s gluten free and best of all, once you have the ingredients you can whip it up in about 15 minutes.
I wrote up this recipe recently as part of a ‘Cooking the Whole Animal: Pig’ cooking demo that I did with The Curious Farmer. Joel of The Curious Farmer farms in Co.Tyrone and is reintroducing older breeds of cattle, sheep and of course pigs. If you can get hold of some of his organic Oxford Black & Sandy heritage pork mince for this recipe, then you certainly won’t be sorry. Check out his website for some recipe ideas and to order some of his gorgeous meat and recipe boxes .
Serves 4 -6 as a starter, more for canapes
500g good quality minced pork (with plenty of fat)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 stick of lemongrass
2cm fresh ginger (finely chopped)
2 red chillies (finely chopped, remove the seeds if you don’t like it too spicy)
2 large cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon of palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)
4 lime leaves (finely shredded)
Juice of ½ lime
Baby Gem lettuce leaves
A mixture of herbs including coriander, mint and if possible Thai Basil
Lime ‘cheeks’ or Wedges
Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium heat. When it is hot (but not smoking – you don’t want to burn the aromatics) add the lemongrass, ginger, red chilli and garlic. Stir fry for about a minute until they have started to soften and you can smell the aromatics.
Turn up the heat to high and immediately add the pork. Stir fry for about two minutes until the pork is all white and almost cooked. Next add the fish sauce, palm sugar (or brown sugar) and shredded lime leaves, stir fry for another couple of minutes until everything is brown a bit sticky and beginning to caramelise. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Taste the dish and add more fish sauce if it needs more seasoning.
Serve the pork in a dish surrounded by lettuce leaves, herbs, extra lime wedges and the roasted peanuts. Using the lettuce leaves as a little cup add the aromatic pork, herbs and peanuts and then roll up and eat.