This Thai Yai/Shan dish for sale all over Mae Hong Son combines ingredients essential to virtually every local dish: soybeans (in the form of tofu and thua nao, disks of dried soybean), garlic, tomatoes and turmeric. Use small, slightly sour tomatoes if you can and the firmest tofu you can find.
- 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ½ cup minced (ground) pork
- 2 cups cubed firm tofu
- salt, to taste
- steamed rice, to serve
- 2 tbsp sliced garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp sliced French shallots
- 25 small dried chillies
- ½ disk thua nao (see Note)
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.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chilli paste ingredients until you get a fine paste. Add the cherry tomatoes to the chilli paste mixture and combine well.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the turmeric and blend thoroughly with the oil. Add the chilli paste mixture and cook until the tomatoes have broken up completely and oil starts to emerge, about 5 minutes.
Add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer raw, about 5 minutes. Add the tofu and stir to combine with the curry paste mixture – don’t be afraid to allow the tofu to crumble, although you don’t want a mush. If the mixture becomes too dry, add water. Continue to cook until the tofu is slightly broken up and heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Serve with steamed rice.
• Thua nao is dried soybean in disks. Substitute 1 tbsp tao jiao, the salted soybean condiment popular all over Southeast Asia and China.
Recipe from austinbushphotography.com by Austin Bush, with photographs by Austin Bush.