In summer, we can’t get enough of backyard-grilled burgers.
But for a real treat, think patties of a different sort.
Pork ones, fragrant with a profusion of fresh herbs, and enveloped not in a big bun, but swaddled in a crisp lettuce leaf.
“Chiang Mai Pork Patties” brings a taste of Thailand to you.
The recipe is by cookbook author Naomi Duguid, a Southeast Asian food expert who has traversed Asia to find authentic, traditional dishes. It’s a featured in the new cookbook, “Cooking Light Global Kitchen” (Oxmoor), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook was written by veteran cookbook author David Joachim, whom I’ve had the distinct pleasure of judging the Pillsbury Bake-Off with on a couple of occasions.
The book showcases 150 recipes from around the globe, everything from “Korean-Style Beef Tacos” and “Senegalese Lemon Chicken” to “Uruguayan Bean Salad” to “Lamgintons.”
The pork patties couldn’t be easier to make. Pork, plus shallots, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and Thai bird chiles get whizzed in a food processor. Form small patties that are then cooked on a grill pan on the stovetop. Place one patty on a lettuce leaf, sprinkle with cilantro and mint leaves, squirt on fresh lime juice, fold over and take a bite. You might wonder where the sauce is. There isn’t one. But you won’t miss it. The pork is so herbaceous, with just a tingle of heat, that it’s plenty flavorful on its own with just the fresh herbs and citrus.
Serve steamed rice alongside to make it a full meal, if you like. Follow the directions below for steaming the rice. Or take the easy way out like I did and just cook it in your rice cooker.
If you’re watching the carbs, you can even skip the rice. What’s more, the dish is also gluten-free. Which means it’s just about perfect for anyone who wants a change from the usual burger fest.
Chiang Mai Pork Patties
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves or 1 tablespoon minced lime rind
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh galangal or 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 fresh Thai red bird chiles, minced
15 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 cup fresh mint leaves
10 lime wedges
Combine pork and salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
Place shallots in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add chopped cilantro and next 5 ingredients (through chiles); process until mixture is well combined. Add pork mixture; pulse 5 times or until mixture is well-combined.
Using wet hands, shape mixture into 15 (1-inch) patties (about 2 tablespoons per patty). Heat a large grill pan over high heat. Add half of the pork patties. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining patties. Arrange 3 lettuce leaves and 3 pork patties on each of 5 plates, and serve each serving with about 1/4 cup herbs and 2 lime wedges.
Calories: 291; 170g fat (6.6g saturated), 23.4g protein, 8.8g carb, 1.4g fiber, 80mg cholesterol, 2.2mg iron, 424mg sodium, 50mg calcium
Thai Sticky Rice
(Serves 8 )
2 cups uncooked long-grain sweet or glutinous rice
Place rice in a large bowl. Cover rice with cool water to 2 inches above rice; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain rice.
Line a bamboo steamer with a double layer of cheesecloth; pour rice over cheesecloth. Cover with a lid. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil. Place steamer in pan, making sure water doesn’t touch rice; steam 25 minutes or until rice is shiny and cooked through. Serving size: 1/2 cup.
Calories: 171, 0.3g fat (0.1g saturated), 3.2g protein, 37.8 carb, 1.3g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 0.7mg iron, 3mg sodium, 5mg calcium
Recipes from “Cooking Light Global Kitchen” by David Joachim
Another Thai-Inspired Recipe: Steven Raichlen’s Thai Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Ginger