Even if you love Thai food, you might never have seen Condensed Milk Pork & Cucumber Salad on any Thai restaurant menu. This recipe is adapted from Thai chef Kris Yenbamroong, author of ‘Night + Market – Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking & Fun-Having Amongst Friends‘. Kris owns a couple of restaurants out in LA, California but hie recipe hale from the countryside & streets of Thailand. Recently my cookbook club & I got together at one of the other member’s homes to cook some recipes from this cookbook. This was the recipe I chose.
To select what recipes I was going to make for our cookbook club lunch I opened the cookbook & Condensed Milk Pork & Cucumber Salad is the page I opened to. The recipe is easy but with pretty wonderful results. The pork is firstly cut into steaks then marinated in coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, curry powder, turmeric & soy sauce. Then the pork is cooked on a really hot barbecue grill because you want some of those sugars to caramelize & char.
The method of cutting the pork into steaks, marinating them, grilling them over high heat then cutting the cooked meat into thin strips according to the author, is supposed to emulate satay skewers without having to fiddle around threading the chicken onto skewers. An idea I loved because I usually find skewering meat or veggies terribly tedious.
The cucumber salad with pork is served with is really simple. Although I did tart it up a little by adding some fish sauce, sesame oil & fresh chili because I thought it needed a boost in flavor from its original recipe.
The whole recipe came together pretty effortlessly & certainly warrants cooking it for a crowd because most of it can be made ahead of time & it does make a generous amount. When I made it the second time at home, I cooked coconut rice to accompany it. Steamed jasmine rice would be more than adequate if you don’t have any extra coconut milk. If you need a coconut rice recipe, here’s one.
May of the recipes in the cookbook might be a little time consuming for many people (yours truly included). That was the conclusion of our cookbook club. The recipes are inspiring though & you can adapt them to suit your style of cooking. The author does talk about this throughout the cookbook & gives ideas for shortcuts. I think I lucked out because this recipe was easy & straightforward with good, although somewhat mild flavors. I was really pleased with the results. Here’s my version of Condensed Milk Pork with Cucumber Salad. Give it a crack & let me know what you thought. Cheers for now, oh, Thai beer is pretty darn good served with this or any light, crisp beer.
- 14 oz (398ml) can coconut milk
- 14 oz (398ml) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup grated palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- a good pinch of pepper
- 2 lbs (907g) pork butt (shoulder), cut into 1/2-inch (1.2cm) steaks
- CUCUMBER SALAD
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 English (telegraph) cucumber
- 2 small red chilies, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves & stems, extra leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Combine coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, soy sauce, turmeric, curry powder, salt & pepper in a glass baking dish or large bowl. Add the pork steaks & stir to ensure each steak is coated & submerged in the marinade. Cover & marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight if time permits.
- Preheat a well-greased grill (barbecue grill) to high – you want to the grill hot as possible. Grill the pork steaks for 4 to 5 minutes each side or starting to caramelize, discarding the marinade. Cover & let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into strips.
- To make the salad: Combine the vinegar & sugar in a small saucepan. Bring a boil & let boil, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is about the consistency of maple syrup (it will thicken on cooling).
- Add fish sauce & oil. Pour into a medium sized bowl; let cool.
- Cut cucumber in half lengthways. Scoop out & discard seeds using a melon baller or spoon. Thinly slice cucumber & add to the cooled vinegar mixture. Add chili, carrot, onion & cilantro; stir to combine. The salad can be made a couple of hours ahead of time.
- Arrange the strips of pork on a serving platter. Scatter the cucumber salad over the pork. Sprinkle with sesame seeds & cilantro leaves. Serves 6.