3 cups cooked jasmine rice, laid on tray, covered and dried out overnight, until all moisture has evaporated
2 litres vegetable oil, for deep frying (plus 1 tbsp)
300g minced pork
3 dried small chillies, soaked in hot water till softened, then finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 small red chillies, minced
5 red shallots, minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
150ml coconut cream
100ml coconut milk
60g palm sugar, shaved
25ml fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice, strained
2 Makrut lime leaves, finely shredded
75g cashews, roasted and ground
½ punnet micro watercress, snipped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To prepare the rice crackers, mould the dried rice into small rounds and flatten, using about a tbsp of rice for each cake. Heat oil in deep fryer or large pot to 180°C and deep fry the cakes a few at a time until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and continue until all cakes are fried.
To make the chilli-pork sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large wok and stir-fry the pork and dried chilli over high heat, stirring so it doesn’t clump together. Add the garlic, chilli and shallots, and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes until pork has browned. Add the pepper, coconut cream and milk. Bring to a simmer then stir in the sugar and fish sauce, and cook for a further 3 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Stir through the lime juice and shredded lime leaf.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then stir through the cashews and remove from heat. Toss through the watercress and serve the pork sauce in a bowl on the centre of a larger plate and stack the rice cakes around it.
Recipe and image from FIRE: A World of Flavour by Christine Manfield, published by Lantern Penguin Books 2008.