This is 'show food', food to impress guests with. Each guest assembles their own parcel of ingredients to eat, wrapped in rice paper and either dips the parcel into the sauce, or drops a spoonful or two inside the parcel. It can be a little messy but is definitely fun! The sauce and pork can be prepared ahead of time, only the rice paper must be prepared just before serving. The sauce is normally served slightly warm. In the above photograph you can see a typical parcel in the middle of the plate.
Ingredients for Family
300 gms Pork Mince
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns
2 Tablspoons Oyster Sauce
1 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Salt
Ingredient For The Sauce
70 ml Water
70 ml Tamarind Water
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Peanuts Pieces
1 Chicken Stock Cube
1 Teaspoon Salt
Side Dish Ingredients
3 Garlic Cloves
8 Bird Chillies
1 Lemon Peeled and Sliced
100 gms Rice Nooddle
10-20 Rice Paper Pages
Vegetable to Serve With
Many salad vegetables can be substituted, but the mint leaves are particularly important for this dish.
200 gms Green Lettuce
50 gms Mint leaves
50 gms Coriander leaves
50 gms Sweet Basil leaves
Preparation for Pork Mince
1. Put the pork in a large mixing bowl.
2. Pound the peppercorns and garlic together in a mortar.
3. Add to the pork, together with the light soy and oyster sauce.
4. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly mixed and place in a fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Form the pork into long thin sausages, and place on a backing tray.
6. Cook at 200 degrees C (Medium) until the pork is cooked.
7. Cut it into bite sized pieces and set aside.
8. We call this 'Nam Nuang' in Thai, it is the part that the whole dish is named after.
Preparation For The Sauce
The peanuts can be prepared earlier as they are used for many Thai dishes. They are peanuts fried in a dry pan to gently brown them, then pounded in a mortar to form smaller pieces suitable for cooking and for sauces like this one.
Tamarind water is water added to sour tamarind, the tamarind is squeezed so that its juice sours the water, and the tamarind pulp is removed (and kept for future use), only the sour water is used in the sauce.
1. Mixed the water and tamarind water together in a pan and bring to the boil.
2. When the water is boiling, add the chicken stock cube and dissolve it.
3. Add the salt and sugar. Stir over the heat until the sugar begins to darken and caramelize and the sauce becomes thicker. This takes typically 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, add the peanuts and stir into the mixture.
Preparation For the Side Dish Vegetables
1. Slice the garlic
2. Slice the chillies
3. Slice the lemon removing the skin.
4. Boil the rice noodles for 3 minutes, remove from the heat and place in cold water. Roll the noodles up into parcels to make them easier for your guests to eat.
5. Soak the rice paper pages in warm water for 3 minutes until just soft. Add the pages one by one to the water to keep them separate. This should be done just before serving, if the rice paper is left in the water too long they will become too soft. After soaking remove them and place on a plate, or let your guests remove them from the water themselves. You can always soak more rice paper if needed, so experiment a little first.
How to serve
Your guest takes a page of rice paper in their hand, adds meat and vegetables, mint leaves, coriander and if they like, a bird seed chilli to make it spicy. They add a teaspoon or two of the nut sauce, fold the rice paper into a parcel then eat the parcel. If you like spicy food, you can also add dried flaked chilli directly to the sauce.