Paleo Thai Red Curry with Pork

24 Jun

One of my best friends loves to cook Thai food.  As a prequel to her plan to start CrossFit this summer she has been going through Paleo Made Easy eating an increasingly paleo diet.  The two of us teamed up last night to make a paleo version of her red curry, and it just happened to be her best one yet!  🙂  Since I had to go to the Asian market to pick up lemongrass, I decided to wander around and see what I might find in the way of paleo “noodles” I could add to the dish (not that the dish needs it).  I was hoping to find kelp noodles, no dice.  I did, however, find sweet potato starch noodles.  Figured I try them, so they made it into the recipe.  We decided to make this dish with pork, but you could easily use chicken or even shrimp or scallops.  The seasoning amounts listed below are not exact, we are two people who tend to season, taste, season, taste…until it is perfect.  At some point measuring goes out the window.  This recipe makes 10 servings, feel free to cut back if you aren’t having dinner guests.

Ingredients:

3 lb. pork loin, sliced into stir fry strips

1 large (or 3 small) shallots, sliced

5 small (or 3 large) dried bay leaves

Kosher salt

Pepper

Oil for cooking (coconut, canola, or olive oil)

1 – 1 1/2 tbl. freshly minced ginger

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbl. tomato paste

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 cans full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen or any brand from an Asian market)

1 stalk lemon grass, cut off top & bottom, peel off outer layers, use inner layers only

1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 tbl. chili powder

3 tbl. fish sauce

2 tbl. ground cumin

2 tbl. ground coriander

2/3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbl. coconut crystals

1/4 + cup organic low sodium chicken broth (if you wish to thin out sauce)

2 cups pineapple chunks

1/2 lb. asparagus

1 handful fresh basil, chiffonade into ribbons

Freshly chopped cilantro (optional, garnish)

Freshly sliced limes (optional, to squeeze over your plate)

Method:

Steam asparagus for 3 minutes, slice into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large stir fry pan over medium heat.  When oil is hot add shallot and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add pork and bay leaves and saute until pork is no longer pink.  Set pork aside.  Drain excess fat from pan and return to heat.  Add garlic, ginger, and tomato paste.  When fragrant add bell pepper and tomato and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add coconut milk, fish sauce, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and coriander.  Bruise the lemon grass by bending and cracking it (much like you would a glow stick).  Add lemongrass to sauce.  Add coconut crystals and simmer sauce 5 minutes.  Discard lemongrass.  In a blender (in batches as needed), food processor, or using an immersion blender puree the sauce until smooth.  Return sauce to stir fry pan and season with salt to taste.  Add pineapple, asparagus, pork, and basil and bring to a simmer.  Simmer sauce 10-15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and serve.  If desired garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh lime juice.

For the sweet potato noodles: boil in salted water for 6 minutes.  Run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  This was my first experience with these noodles.  They look like glass, they feel like thin gummy worms.  They have zero flavor to themselves, so I ladled some of the red curry sauce over them, problem solved.  They were fun to eat and added an additional texture to the dish.

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