I am a snacker and I like my snacks to be savory and often, I like them to include some protein. And the other day, I was in the mood for something new and different. I decided to make something I once tried in Thailand and loved - Nam Prik Ong or Thai Pork and Tomato Dip. I had it at a little restaurant in Bangkok and it was served with Cabbage and fried Pork Skins, usually called Chicarrones in the US or Pork Rinds You can buy them in most grocery stores and is the authentic accompaniment to this dish. In Thailand, this dip is very hot and so I had to eat it with Cabbage leaves to cool down the heat! Making it myself, I could make it milder and it turned out so well that I am sharing it with you. It's so good - wonderfully exotic and delicious! So, I am going to serve it at a dinner party soon.
Thai Pork and Tomato Dip - Nam Prik Ong
2 - 4 dried Thai Bird’s Eye Chiles (or 2 fresh Red Jalapeños, trimmed and deseeded)
3 large Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 medium Shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
4 ounces minced or ground Pork
3/4 cup chopped Cherry Tomatoes
Juice of 1/2 of a Lime
Juice of 1/2 of a Lime
Optional: Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons Cilantro leaves
Soak Chiles in a small amount of boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove from water, cut off stem end and cut open, scraping out the seeds. Put into a mortar and add in the Garlic, Shallots, Fish Sauce and Salt. Pound the mixture with the Pestle until a paste forms or place in a food processor and make into a paste, scraping down the sides frequently.
Heat the Oil in a frying pan and add the Chili Paste. Cook for a few minutes or until you can smell the fragrance. Add in the Pork and cook until it is no longer pink. Add in the Tomatoes and cook until the Tomato has broken down to become part of the sauce.
Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with Cilantro to serve with Cabbage Slices, Chiccarones and/or Rice Crackers.
Five Element Analysis
Pork belongs to the Water Element and the Fish Sauce adds a bit more. The Lime Juice contributes the Wood Elmenent and the Thai Chiles and Cherry Tomatoes make sure that the Fire Element is present and the Metal Element is represented but the Garlic and Shallot. The Cabbage brings in the much needed Earth Element to create a balanced Snack!