Malaysian-Inspired Pork Stew with Traditional Garnishes

As a cookbook addict, I recently purchased The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. An amazing compilation of more than 1500 recipes, this elegantly bound book soon became splattered and worn.

This weekend I wanted something spicy and untraditional. I wanted to chart new virgin food territory in my kitchen so I settled on the Malaysian-Inspired Pork Stew with Traditional Garnishes. This curry is definitely a combination of Indian and Thai spices, yet infused with a flavor unique to Malaysian food. With hints of curry, cayenne, garlic, ginger, mint, basil and lime, the spicy uniqueness of this curry radiates through the pork and infused coconut milk.

As always, I use 100,000 heat units of cayenne pepper. I also used a Hot Indian Curry, which lends more depth to dishes.

I served it with Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley – brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds.  The nuttiness of the brown rice with the heartiness of the black barley and flavor from the daikon lent a meatiness to the meal that made it complete.

Malayasian-Inspired Pork Stew with Traditional Garnishes

The Essential New York Times Cookbook

By Amanda Hesser

October 20, 1999: “Anatomically Incorrect: Decoding the Pig,” By John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger

3 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 pounds boneless Boston butt or picnic shoulders, cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, thinly sliced (I prefer sweet white onions)

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

3 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into small dice

¼ cup soy sauce

1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup dry white wine

¼ cup roughly chopped basil

¼ cup roughly chopped mint

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

½ cup roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

5 dashes Tabasco sauce, or to taste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Combine the garlic, curry powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne in a large bowl. Dry the pork cubes with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with the spice mix to coat.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-inch-deep Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the pork and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and discard the oil in the pot.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté, until golden brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Add the ginger and tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes more. Return the meat to the pot, add the soy sauce, coconut milk, and wine, and bring to a simmer. Skim any film off the surface, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently until the meat is very tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Combine the basil, mint, cilantro, peanuts, lime, Tabasco, and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Place a generous helping of stew in each bowl, top with a couple tablespoons of garnish, and serve accompanied by rice.

Cooking Note:

When you’re browning the pork and onions, make sure you scrape up the pan drippings so they don’t burn.

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