2000s Recipes + Menus

Stir-Fried Pork with Long Beans

Serves3 or 4 (main course)
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:1 hr
May 2008
Pounding the spice paste with a mortar and pestle is hard work, but Prasan ("Pip") Fargrajang insists that’s what brings out all the nuanced flavors. Our advice: Make a few batches of the paste and freeze them for another time.

For seasoning paste

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, root end trimmed and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded
  • 3 (2- to 3-inch) dried hot Thai chiles, including seeds
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shrimp powder or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried peeled shrimp (see cooks’ note, below)
  • 1 teaspoon minced cilantro root or stem
  • 1 teaspoon minced Kaffir lime zest or regular lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled galangal (fresh or thawed frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste

For beans and pork

  • 1/2 lb long beans or green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed grated palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3 medium Kaffir lime leaves (fresh or thawed frozen; 2 sections each), ribs discarded and leaves minced
  • Equipment:

    a smooth stone mortar and pestle
  • Accompaniment:

    white rice

Make paste:

  • Mince 1 tablespoon lemongrass from root end. Put minced lemongrass and remaining paste ingredients in mortar and vigorously pound to a smooth paste using pestle (most chile seeds should be crushed), 6 to 8 minutes.

Cook beans and pork:

  • Cook beans in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water (1 teaspoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain again.
  • Pat pork dry, then cut across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 by 1 inch).
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then cook seasoning paste, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pork, tossing to coat, then spread out in skillet and brown, turning occasionally (to keep paste from burning), about 2 minutes. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, and beans and cook, tossing, until pork is just cooked through and beans are hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and toss with lime leaves.
Cooks’ notes:
  • If using dried shrimp, grind to a powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder or use mortar and pestle.
  • Seasoning paste can be made ahead and chilled, covered, up to 1 week or frozen 1 month.
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