Attempting to open his own business, Adam Morby quickly found that sometimes the simplest ideas (and in this case, recipes) are the best. Here he shares with you his favourite culinary masterpiece, The Pork Bastard – inspired by Thai street food.
A few years ago I tried my hand at running my own business. I spotted a niché in the market and started supplying low-priced, gourmet readymeals to local convenience stores. It was called Uncle Adam’s Pots of Joy and I even had my own jingle (If your belly’s going crazy/You’re feelin’ kind of lazy/Uncle Adam’s Pots of Joy/Uncle Adam’s Pots of Joy!).
My best selling dish was also the cheapest to make, the easiest to make and the most delicious. Everybody talked about it, everybody wanted the recipe, people even offered investment to start a pop-up kitchen selling only that. No, no, no, I said. It’s my secret and it will die with me, I said. Do you understand what this means? I’m about to impart unto you what will soon surely become the most powerful beast in your culinary repertoire.
The truth is it’s actually sold on just about every street corner in Bangkok.
The wonders of real Thai street-food rely on the philosophy of one cart, one dish and one obsessed chef selling the results of years and years of ultra-secretive and ultra-perfectionist tinkering.
Try to imagine a wok so enormous you could drown in it, filled with a purply-brownish liquid in which float two or three pig’s legs. In Bangkok they simply add more leg every morning before they go to bed, but leave the soup, adding more stock and seasoning where necessary. Technically, some of those cauldrons have been bubbling away since we were children, so unless you really want to go to town I can’t quite offer you that. I can, however, offer you something pretty damn close.
I use pork shoulder, which is officially the cheapest meat in Britain.
So here it is, it belongs to you now, so keep it close to your chest, look after it, and prepare yourself to be begged for it. Terrified of uttering its true name, I’ve decided to call it The Pork Bastard.
The Pork Bastard
2kg Pork Shoulder
Kale, or other similar leafy vegetable
1 Pork stock cube, dissolved in one litre of water
Ginger, the size of a matchbox, cut into thin little strips
10 cloves of garlic, grated
Dark soy sauce
Light soy sauce
12 Whole peppercorns
5 Star Anise
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
Large piece of cassia bark (if you can find it)
1. Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan big enough to take the pork. Brown pork all over.
2. Add ginger, garlic, star anise, peppercorns, cassia bark, 5 spice.
3. Before the garlic burns, add the stock, and top-up to cover the pork. Add 5 tablespoons of dark soy, 3 of light soy, 2 of oyster sauce.
4. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and leave for three hours.
5. Remove lid, simmer for a further one hour.
6. Remove pork. This bit’s optional, but I sieve everything and return the ginger and peppercorns to the cooking liquid (braised peppercorns and ginger offer delicious, refreshing hits of flavour) .
7. With two cuts down the centre of each kale leaf, remove the thickest part of the stems. Chop up and add to the cooking liquid. Simmer for fifteen more minutes.
8. Put the kale in bowls, sliced pork on top, with a chunk fat if you’re feeling authentic, and half fill with the soup. Sprinkle each with chopped chilli (seeds removed) and fish sauce. Rice on the side.
- With a well-stocked spice and sauce cupboard I feel quite confident in claiming this to be one of the cheapest home-cooked meals possible.
- Freezes like a dream and loses nothing to the microwave.
- On the side, you can also eat with it pickled mustard greens and boiled eggs.