Pork and Mushrooms with Thai Basil
Inspired by a chicken dish that Alex and I learned at a cooking school in Vietnam, this pork and mushrooms with Thai basil is delicious with fried egg and rice.
- 350 grams boneless pork loin (not tenderloin; see notes after the recipe)
- 250 grams oyster mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 1 three-inch piece ginger
- 12 cloves garlic
- 3 chilies
- 1 sprig Thai basil
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- fried shallots to garnish
- cilantro to garnish
- Cut the pork loin into half-inch cubes.
- In a bowl, combine the fish sauce and oyster sauce. Add the pork and mix well. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for at least an hour.
- Cut off the roots and dark green portions of the lemongrass, and discard.
- Peel off and discard the outer layer of the remaining (light-coloreportion of the stalks to get the usable part. Lightly pound the usable part and mince.
- Peel the skin off the ginger, then mince.
- Smash the garlic cloves, shake off the skins and discard. Mince the garlic.
- Cut off and discard the top part (with the stem) of the chilies. Split in the chilies in half, scrape off and discard the seeds (unless you want your dish to be super spicy) before mincing.
- Set the stove to medium-high. Heat up a large thick-bottomed pan and pour in the oil.
- Sauté the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilies, until just starting to turn brown.
- Add the pork. Stir then spread them out in a single layer. When the pork changes color, flip them over.
- Add a cup of water. Stir. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn up the heat and allow to boil uncovered to reduce the liquid.
- Tear the mushrooms apart into bite-size pieces.
- Add the mushrooms to the pork, stir, and place a sprig of basil on top. Cover the pan tightly.
- Count ten seconds then turn off the heat. Wait ten minutes before lifting the cover. The pork should be done at this point.
- Scoop out the contents of the pan and transfer to a shallow bowl. Optionally, garnish with fried shallots and cilantro before serving.
Why pork loin? Because it has enough fat to make a tasty dish and it does not need a long time to cook. The absence of fat in pork tenderloin makes it a bad choice. Although pork belly has enough fat, the length of time it requires to cook will disqualify this dish from the category of “fast and easy.” Updated from a recipe originally published in August 7, 2019