This recipe is adapted from The Drinking Food of Thailand by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode.
For the palm sugar simple syrup I used some tablets I already had. I’ve used palm sugar in several forms, dried blocks and moist tubs. These have been my favorite; they’re so easy to work with. I used five, which was slightly over the 2 1/2 ounces called for in the recipe.
Because of the sugars shape the tablets were slightly above the surface of the water used, but when I vigorously stirred it quickly dissolved.
The small amount of water also meant I had to watch it to make sure it didn’t catch on the bottom. It will yield more than is needed for the recipe. Simple syrup will keep for 6 months in the fridge.
I started this recipe the day before and stored the syrup in these great restaurant containers. They are air tight and machine washable. You can label them with sharpies and easily wipe it off. I use them for leftovers and pantry storage.
This is the package of white fungus I picked up at the local Ranch 99. The instructions tell you to look for the label white fungus in the States, which is a good thing since an image search yields something that looks more like a typical mushroom. Opening the package there was a woodsy odor. It resembled an outsized white carnation.
On a side note I’m always excited by the aisles of snacks and I picked up a couple of bags of chips while I was there.
The recipe calls for one cup of coarsely chopped soaked mushrooms. I soaked one “flower” because the shape was awkward to measure a flush cup even though I suspected it would be too much after it rehydrated.
The fungus must be submerged in water. I put a bowl on top. Ricker says this can be done for one hour or overnight, which is a wide variation. I soaked it overnight, but it still had a nice chewiness.
The fungus does have a root you will need to cut out once it has soaked.
This dish doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. I already had Red Boat- my favorite- a Vietnamese fish sauce so I used it instead of Thai. The onions and garlic are sliced lengthwise which makes them less pungent. Have everything ready as the dish will come together quickly.
A small portion of pork used. You need enough oil to cover the bottom of a pan that can fit everything. I had to use a little more than the original recipe.
Ricker recommends a Thai granite mortar and pestal to use. Luckily I already had one that I purchased at Costco. It has come in handy for making pastes and grinding spices and doesn’t break like electric spice grinders. Pound the garlic first then the chiles to thoroughly pulverize.
Be sure to use a pan large enough to stir all the ingredients together. Do this over low heat so it is just slightly warm, not enough to cook the tomatoes.
The final dish is vibrant, full of texture and contrasting flavors. It serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a light meal.
Mouse Ear Mushroom Salad ~ Yam Het Huu Nuu Khad
adapted from The Drinking Food of Thailand by Andy Ricker
1/4 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 ounces ground pork
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 garlic cloves peeled and slice lengthwise
4 Thai chiles
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 cup white fungus, soaked in water overnight, root removed, and roughly chopped
2 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 cup onions thinly sliced from root to top
1/4 cup green onions coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Make the simple syrup: Combine palm sugar and water over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Cool.
- Pound garlic and chiles with a mortar and pedestal until a paste is formed.
- Over medium heat heat the oil then add the pork. Cook lightly, breaking up the clumps of pork.
- Lower the heat and add the garlic chili paste.
- Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of the simple syrup (the remainder can be stored in the fridge – along with Southeast Asian dishes you can use it in cocktails). Heat until just warm.
- Off the heat add fungus, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Toss and serve immediately.