Cooking and eating through a new culture

moo pad prik sai tua fak yao

Teeheehee…that just sounds so funny. It’s the actual name of a recipe I tried last night. Not from the “Cookbook” (translation and ingredients have limited me at the moment), but from the web. We are heading out-of-town (rest assured, I will post about that too) and I am trying to use up what is in the fridge. While at the market over the weekend, it seems the big seller was green beans. Huge piles of green beans were everywhere and as much as I try to plan my meals, sometimes just the wonderful availability of produce sways me…especially at 500 colons a half kilo (that’s less than an US buck!).

So, what to do with a big bag of lovely green beans? I wanted to make a meal and not just a side dish. Green bean casserole would have been nice but I have already told you about the woeful lack of mushrooms here. The Joy didn’t pique my interest, so I began scratching around on the web where I found and the simple Asian recipe of stir-fried green beans with pork and chiles.

I gotta tell you this. You may not believe it, but Rafa’s family had a restaurant when he was a teenager, specifically a Chinese restaurant. When Rafa and I started dating, I was dealing with quite a few trust issues. On the second date (and probably the second glass of wine) I asked what the hell he wanted with me. We have never been the couple to dance around any issues. So when he told me about growing up cooking in his parents Chinese restaurant, I naturally called bullshit. But Rafa is unflappable and it is absolutely true. The man has mad skills.

I liked the simplicity of the reciepe…and the fact all I needed to get was some pork. I waved the fish sauce for soy sauce too. In the freezer I had a bag of chilies from Rafa’s mom and if it wasn’t for the Cookbook, I would swear she was trying to fuck with me. Okay, maybe that is a bit harsh, but I was instructed to use one chile per gallo pinto and when I sliced it up, the vile, toxic juice inside got under my fingernails and made me want to chew my digits off. Seriously. And it lingered for days. Afterwards, I was told NOT to slice it up but to only pierce them and add them to the beans. Arggg…I gotta learn Spanish faster.

Needless to say, I did not use that many chiles either but I added some diced red pepper.  And I wore rubber gloves. Rafa devoured it. Even the next morning he commented how good it was.

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork & Chilies
(moo pad prik sai tua fak yao)

1 1/4 lb green beans, washed and trimmed 1/4-1/2″ length

12-16 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
6-9 fresh hot green or red chilies, cut crosswise into very thin slices
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 oz. lean pork thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce                                                                                                                                                 1 1/4 cup water
Put oil into a wok and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the garlic and chilies. Stir and cook until the garlic turns golden. Add the pork and cook until the pork has lost it’s raw look. Put in the green beans, paprika, brown sugar, fish sauce and 1 1/4 cups water. Cook, stirring on medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until the beans are tender and most of the water has been absorbed.


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