Thai cuisine places a great emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. Thai cuisine is known for being spicy, but the spiciness is not always from chiles. In this recipe the spiciness is from white pepper.
Thai cuisine is all about balance of flavours ie the balance of the four fundamental tastes in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, spice, and sometimes as in the Northeast of Thailand bitter.
While some dishes, especially salads can be quite hot (spicy) others are milder and all Thai cooking is to be done to your taste!
This recipe relies on a favourite Thai-taste of white pepper. Black and white pepper come from the same plant. The final color is the result of ripeness. Peppercorns are the berries of the pepper plant (piper nigrum), which is native to Southern Asia.
The primary spice that Europe's explorers were seeking when they came upon the New World on their "shortcut" to Asia was pepper. It still accounts for a quarter of the world's spice trade.
A black peppercorn is picked when still green and dried in the sun until it turns black. A white peppercorn ripens fully on the vine before it is picked.
Black pepper has a slightly hotter flavor and aroma. As with any spice, if you grind the pepper as you use it, it will have far more flavor than if it was ground in a factory months ago and sat on the store shelves in the grocery store before it sat on your shelf.
In this dish the softer flavoured white pepper is used. I use white pepper more often than black as I like the softer taste. I always use white pepper on fowl, vegetables and fish, and leave the black pepper for strong flavours such as beef.
1 pound pork loin (cut cross-wise into 1/4 inch thick pieces)
1-11/2 teaspoons Thai Master Paste*
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Thai oyster sauce
1 teaspoon date palm sugar
1 tablespoon peanut oil + 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil for frying
Cilantro leaves to garnish
Combine pork loin, Thai Master Paste, soy sauce, salt, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat wok over high heat and add peanut-sesame oil. Heat oil for 2 minutes or until a light smoke and place the marinated pork pieces in the hot wok. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning once. Drain pork on paper towels and serve with jasmine rice or sticky rice, lettuce leaves, cilantro and cucumber slices.
Place some of the pork in a lettuce leaf, add cilantro as desired, roll and eat out of hand. Cucumber slices are served as a condiment. If you like additional flavour dipping sauces such as Nam Pla Phrik are served.
* Thai Master Paste http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art172763.asp