A Hamburger Today
Pork in Spicy Dressing With Iced Broccoli Stems (Mu Manao) From 'Simple Thai Food'
Most connoisseurs of Southeast Asian food know that Thai salads are not often leafy, vegetable-based dishes. In fact, they are much more likely to be filled with meat and tossed in a funky, fish sauce-laden dressing. This duo of pork and broccoli in Leela Punyaratabandhu's new cookbook, Simple Thai Food, is no exception.
Lean pork tenderloin is sliced and tossed in a bit of baking soda before being quickly poached in simmering water. The soda tenderizes the pork and adds a silky exterior texture that is primed for coating in a spicy, tart sauce. Eaten on its own, the pork is a bit intense, but when served alongside cooling raw broccoli stems, it reaches a perfect balance.
Why I picked this recipe: I never would have thought to serve pork with ice cold broccoli.
What worked: Alternating bites between the pork and the broccoli was a revelation, warming and cooling the mouth for a balanced meal. The ice cubes seem unnecessary, but don't skip them—they keep the broccoli extra crisp and cool.
What didn't: Nothing.
Suggested tweaks: You can use regular broccoli stems or asparagus in place of the Chinese broccoli stems. Punyaratabandhu says that you can skip the baking soda step if you'd like, but I don't see why you'd need to skip it. This dish can be served with rice or on its own as a salad.