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An Expat Cooking in Thailand

by Rhiannon Caldwell

Following on from her article in last month’s Trader Rhiannon now lets us know exactly how to prepare and cook:

Nam Tok Moo aka Waterfall Pork

Nam Tok Moo aka Waterfall Pork gets its name from the technique in which you cook it. The combination of the fat produced from browning the meat and then adding in the stock, the meat will stew and cook in its own juices, creating the waterfall effect. Sometimes when this dish is translated to English on Thai menus it reads spicy pork salad. It is far from the traditional tossed salad or green salad that we think of in the west, however it has all the required elements to make a wonderful salad. Meat, cabbage, and other greens and herbs, and a wonderful sauce. To fill out the dish serve with sticky rice or jasmine rice.

The dish is supposed to be spicy, however you may control that depending on the number of peppers you add to the dish. If you want it authentic add 10, if you need to cool it off only add 2, it’s that simple. For those that are adventurous the little green thai chili peppers can really go nuclear in your mouth. If you feel you are up for it I highly recommend using them. The other option of course is to put extra chili peppers on the serving platter so those that can take the heat can add their own.

Section 1

  • ½ kg of pork loin thinly sliced

  • 1 T cooking oil (I like to use Sunflower oil, I stay away from palm oil)

  • 5 cloves of garlic smashed

  • Thai chili peppers 2 = not spicy (mai pet) 4-6 = little spicy (pet nit noi) 6-10 = pet (spicy) 10+ = (pet maak or seeeeeep eli)

  • Knorr Pork Broth ⅓ of a cube

  • ½ cup of water

  • 1 t - 1T of red chili powder

  • the juice from ⅓ of a lime

  • 1 t fish sauce to taste

  • 1 t oyster sauce

  • 1 t sugar (I like to use brown sugar or raw cane sugar)

Section 2

  • ½ small red onion (hua hom dang) sliced julienne style

  • ½ bunch of cilantro (paak chee) chopped

  • 4-6 green onions diced

  • 4-6 sprigs of Thai Basil leaves removed from stems chopped

  • 1 T Thai toasted rice

Section 3

  • half a head of green cabbage

  • 4-6 long beans

  • 4-6 sprigs of Thai Basil leaves still on the stems

In a wok or skillet heat up the oil. Once it is nice and hot toss in the garlic and chili peppers. The number of peppers will vary depending on how spicy you want this dish. Traditionally this is a spicy dish from the Isarn region of northern Thailand. Stir fry the peppers and garlic for about 30 seconds and then add the thinly sliced pork to brown. Once browned but not cooked all the way through add the water and Knorr powder and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the remainder of the ingredients in section one.

**This is a good time to taste the broth. I like mine a little bit sour, and really spicy, not very salty and not very sweet. You can adjust your elements to increase or decrease as you wish.

Now turn off the heat and add the cilantro, red and green onions and the basil leaves and mix together. Take half the toasted rice and mix it in, and place the dish on a serving platter. Top with the remainder of the Thai toasted rice.

On the serving platter should also be ½ head of cabbage cut into two quarters, the long beans should also be cut into quarters and the basil should be left on the stem.

Serve with Thai jasmine rice or sticky rice as desired.

How do I eat this dish?

When eating the dish you can spoon it over jasmine rice, or if you want to experience this dish in a more traditional way eat it with sticky rice. For the best results you are going to make little tacos wrapped in cabbage. For the perfect presentation you will want to lay out a piece of cabbage, then layer it with a few basil leaves, next smash the sticky rice into a nice little pancake that fits on the cabbage leaf then put some of the pork over the top of it and layer in a piece or two of long bean, wrap and eat with your hands. The sticky rice absorbs the dressing from the pork and you get all the flavors wrapped up in a convenient little pouch that is easy to eat with your hands. I discovered this by accident because they reminded me of fajitas and I have been told time and time again I have Isarn in my soul.