Recipe from there, ingredients from here (mostly)
This dish maximises the ratio of effort to payoff, which is the most important thing for me in the kitchen right now. Spicy, umami, salty and a touch sour, it hits all the notes that send my brain into comfort mode – and I think we can all agree that comfort right now is incredibly important.
This is a Filipx dish that I first discovered many years ago, made for me by a woman from a small village just outside of Manila. The pungent smell of the fermented shrimp paste that filled the kitchen intrigued me, and I’m forever grateful that I didn’t let that put me off. This recipe is as close as I could get to the meal I had that day, and while it’s not exactly the same, it’s a pretty close effort! Using pork mince from my meat box, and the garlic, chillies, onions and flat beans from my veg box (and the OFN), the only ingredient that I wasn’t able to source from Locavore was the shrimp paste which luckily is readily available at most Asian grocers.
Normally I would add even more veg to a dish like this, but I didn’t want to stray too far from its origins. Serve with rice and have a nice salad alongside it to make sure you’re ticking all the boxes, and getting all of your servings of veg in for the day. A little of this goes a long way, and there’s always room for more veg!
Fermented shrimp paste is important in this dish, though I’m sure it would still be lovely without it, the depth of flavour comes from this ingredient. If you’re a bit wary of it, try starting with half the amount that the recipe calls for, as you can always add more later on in the cooking process. To be honest, I used about half of what most authentic recipes call for simply because I find the brand that I’ve got to be quite powerful. You could also add in some ginger to the mix of aromatics, just chop it finely or grate on a microplane.
Yield: 4 – 6 portions
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 red chillies, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp cooking oil of your choosing (I used a mix of rapeseed and sesame oil)
450g pork mince
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fermented shrimp paste
1 tin coconut milk
8 flat beans, cut into 2cm pieces
2 tsp lime juice
1. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat until shimmering – very hot! Add the onion, garlic, chillies, ginger if using, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pork, remaining salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking the meat up into small pieces until browned and fully cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp paste and cook until it coats the pork and is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tin of coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the coconut milk has reduced to the point where you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir, about 20 minutes.
4. Once the sauce is reduced, add the flat beans and continue to cook until they are tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Finish with the lime juice, which helps to cut some of the fattiness of the pork and coconut milk. Season with more salt and pepper as needed, I even added another chilli into the mix, but I like it quite spicy!
Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I like to reheat mine in a pan as I would make fried rice, using the pork mixture as a base and adding in any leftover cold rice.