Thai Meat and Tomato Sauce
- SERVINGS: 4
This is rather like a tomato-based pasta sauce with a wonderful Thai flavor. A staple in northern Thailand, it's available in every market there, no matter how small.
- 1 teaspoon minced dried shrimp or 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 or 2 bird or serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh lemongrass, white bulb only (or 1 teaspoon dried lemongrass, soaked for 1/2 hour, then drained and minced)
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 pound lean ground pork
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or 8 canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup light chicken stock, canned low-sodium broth or water
- 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a mortar or small food processor, grind the dried shrimp with the shallots, chiles and lemongrass.
- In a wok or a large nonreactive skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry over moderately high heat until it starts to brown, about 20 seconds. Add the shrimp mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the pork and stir-fry until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, fish sauce and sugar and increase the heat to high. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan. Cook the sauce until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice.