Citizens, one of the oldest and most classically Thai recipes is Muu Tod Gratiam Phrig Thai หมูทอดกระเทียมพริกไทย (Pork with Garlic and Pepper).
Most people forget that chili peppers are not native to Asia (they’re native to the Americas, actually!) and were brought to the region by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 17th century or so.
Prior to this, heat in Thai (and other Asian) recipes was provided by the native peppercorns – usually white peppercorns. Today, few recipes eschew chili peppers for peppercorns, but this recipe is still made the old way!
A favorite lunch (or hangover) dish in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand, I’ve modified the original recipe by using a combination of white, black and jarred (or fresh) green peppercorns for added flavor complexity. Feel free to use all white if you so prefer.
This meal really piles on the pepper and garlic heat – and it is totally delicious as well as being easy. I’ve even given you a fast and effective shortcut to making fried garlic in the microwave that cuts down the cooking time even more, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
peanut oil (preferred) or vegetable oil
pork loin, 1 ¼ pounds
peeled garlic, 1 head
coriander roots (or stems if unavailable), 10
light (a.k.a. regular) soy sauce, 1 tbsp
oyster sauce, 1 tbsp
fish sauce, 1 tbsp
palm sugar (preferred) or turbinado sugar
freshly ground white peppercorns, 2 tsp
freshly ground black peppercorns, ¼ tsp (or use white peppercorns for authenticity)
whole green peppercorns, ¾ tsp (or use white peppercorns for authenticity)
For the dip:
peeled garlic, 5 cloves
green Thai chile peppers (prik kee noo), chopped, 5
lime juice, 2 tbsp
fish sauce, 1 ½ tbsp
sugar, ½ tbsp
minced coriander leaves or thinly-sliced green onions (scallions)
Mince ½ the peeled garlic cloves by hand or in a food processor. Reserve.
Grind the peppercorns, ½ the garlic and coriander roots briefly in a mortar, then transfer into a blender or food processor, add some oil and process until a smooth paste forms.
Cut the pork into bite-sized slices.
Take the minced garlic and place into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil or just enough to cover the garlic. Microwave for 30 seconds — depending on your microwave, it may take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
When you first make this, stop the microwave every 30 seconds and check to see if it’s ready. Keep in mind that it will continue to cook in the hot oil after it is taken out of the microwave. The goal is to have a golden color. FYI – fried garlic keeps for a week!
Heat a wok over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of the garlic oil and fry the seasoning paste on medium heat until fragrant. Add the meat and stir-fry until golden brown, then reduce heat.
Fry for about 5 more minutes or until the meat is done. Season with soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to taste.
For the dip, combine garlic, chilies, lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar and stir well. Add coriander or scallion.
Arrange the meat on rice and garnish with some slices of cucumber and some lettuce leaves. Sprinkle fried garlic over the pork and serve with the dip.