kaeng, tom, & co.
Jaw Phak Kat
• Up to 1 week in advance: Make the paste and the tamarind water• Up to 3 days or so in advance: Make the dish• Up to 2 days in advance: Fry the shallots and the dried chiles
• A Thai granite mortar and pestle
A rough Northern Thai translation of
jaw phak kat
is “mustard green soup,” which makes it sound rather innocuous. But it’s one of my favorites—an earthy, porky broth with a little tartness from tamarind, a perfect accompani-ment to spicier fare like
. This is Northern Thai comfort food—something grandma might make.My guess is that the dish is an old one; it requires just a pot and a mortar. The fried-shallot garnish is likely a more modern addition. The grandma in question might begin with some water. In go pork ribs and a simple paste. As the ribs simmer—typically, vigorously because this is not a high-end French kitchen and grandma does not care if the broth is cloudy—they team up with the paste and some tamarind to flavor the soup. The pork, however, isn’t the main event. As the Thai name for the soup suggests, the
(a type of green vegetable we call
) headlines the soup. As in a bowl of collard greens in the American South, the pork is implied. In Thailand, cooks season with toasted-then-pounded disks of fermented-then-dried soybean called
thua nao kap
. Here, we have to settle for Thai yellow bean sauce.
EARTHY, VEGETAL, SOUR, SALTY
Try It With
Phat Fak Thawng (Northern Thai–style stir-fried squash), page 94, or Laap Meuang (Northern Thai minced pork salad), page 106. Needs Khao Niaw (Sticky rice), page 33.
NORTHERN THAI MUSTARD GREEN SOUP WITH TAMARIND AND PORK RIBS