I picked up a copy of Andy Ricker with JJ Goode’s first book, Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand, about 6 months ago, and loved it. It requires you to go on an ingredient hunting adventure, but once you’ve got it all home, it’s beyond worth it! The flavors are off the charts! They just came out with their second book, POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook, and it’s fantastic!
A huge thanks to Ten Speed Press for letting me share the recipe for Instant-noodle salad with you so that you can taste the book! My kids love this one. My reviews of the books with my thoughts and pics of the dishes I tried are below the recipe.
A Thai granite mortar and pestle
14 g / 4 peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
6 g / 4 stemmed fresh Thai chiles, preferably green
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, preferably from Key limes or from regular (Persian) limes spiked with a small squeeze of Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
4 g / 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 (2¼- ounce / 60 g) package instant ramen- style noodles, flavor package discarded
4 medium- size shrimp, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 (2- ounce / 55- g) piece Vietnamese pork roll (see Note, page 177), halved lengthwise and cut into slices ⅛ inch / 3 mm thick
8 g / 1 tablespoon thinly sliced (with the grain) peeled Asian shallots
55 g / ¼ cup thinly sliced (with the grain) peeled white onion
2 ounces / 55 g cherry tomatoes (about 4 tomatoes), halved, or quartered if very large
3 g / ¼ cup small mint leaves
10 g / 2 tablespoons sliced (¼ inch / 6 mm) green onions
3 g / 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Chinese celery (thin stems and leaves)
2 g / 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro (thin stems and leaves)
Bring a small pot filled with water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, pound the garlic and chiles in the mortar to a very coarse paste, about 15 seconds. Transfer 12 g / 1 tablespoon of the mixture (or more to taste) to a saucepan and add the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar.
When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook, stirring occasion-ally, until fully tender (not al dente), about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp and pork roll, stir to mix, and then drain well.
Set the saucepan with the garlic- chile mixture over medium heat and heat the mixture just until warm to the touch, 15 seconds or so. Turn off the heat and add the noodles, shrimp, pork roll, shallots, white onion, tomatoes, mint, green onions, celery, and cilantro and toss well.
Transfer the salad (including all of the dressing) to a plate in a low heap. Serve right away.
Note from page 177: Vietnamese pork roll (muu yaw in Thai) is a slightly spongy, cold-cut-like product sold at Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian markets, typically in the refrigerated section. Most likely, it will be labeled cha lua, gio lua, or another approximate spelling of the Vietnamese.
Reprinted with permission from POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode, copyright © 2017. Photography by Austin Bush. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
My review of the book…..
POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook
By Andy Ricker with JJ Goode
This is my second book by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode. They’re incredibly talented at making wonderfully contrasting and harmonious dishes with layers of flavor. I’m always surprised that the dishes taste so distinctive from one to the next, because so many of the ingredients overlap.
The book requires a strong sense of adventure in pursuing ingredients. I found almost all of them in a big Korean market near our house, but had to make just a few substitutions, and tried to make those very similar and Thai products. If you don’t already have one, you’ll want to grab a little non-porous mortar and pestle. You can find them on Amazon, at World Market, and even at IKEA.
My thoughts on some dishes I tried….
1) Glass Noodle Salad – p 177. Delicious. Glass noodles with Vietnamese pork roll, carrots, fried garlic, Chinese celery, and dried shrimp in a fragrant chile/garlic/lime/fishsauce sauce.
2) Pork Ribs Cooked “Underwater” – p 124. I love these. The ribs get a rub with amazing depth of flavor, then get cooked in genius technique. A bowl of icewater serves as a lid for the rib pot, so that any moisture attempting to leave will hit the bottom of the icy bowl and fall right back in. The result is really moist, tender ribs. This one lists MSG as an optional ingredient. I’d never bought it before. I tasted a bit like a mushroom powder I use to enhance dishes.
3) Fried Cashews with Salt, Chiles, and Green Onions – p 37. Yum! I’ll double it next time, because these were a magnet for my teenagers.
4) Fried Minced Pork Patties – p 79. We liked these, but this is the only dish that had leftovers.
5) Salt-Chile Dip for Green Mango – p 35. I need a do-over when our big Asian grocer has green mango in stock. I had to use soft, sweet mango, but it was awesome. This makes a ton of the chile dip, so you’ll have plenty for another day.
6-7) Drunkard’s Stir-Fry – p 201. This is amazing. I had to substitute dried krachai that I’d rehydrated for the frozen krachai. I’d never used the pickled green peppercorns before, and absolutely love them.
8-9) Instant Noodle Salad – p 181. You have to prep everything ahead and don’t even think about blinking, this one’s so quick. It’s on the lower end of the spicy meter. The kids loved this one. The Vietnamese pork roll has amazing flavor. It’s a little like Asian bratwurst.
10-11) Mouse Ear Mushroom Salad – p 185. This one is really interesting. My kids spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and sniff and take little tastes of all the ingredients, so that they know what it is in dishes that they’re really reacting to. My little one was packing up all of the extra mouse ear mushrooms and gasped that they smell like chocolate truffles. I ran over and sniffed them and think she’s right. Great salad.
*I received a copy of the book to explore and share my thoughts.
My review of their first book….
Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
by Any Ricker with JJ Goode
This book will take you on an ingredient hunting adventure, but oh my gosh, is it ever worth it! The flavors are to die for! We’re tasting things I’d never seen before in our local Thai restaurants. Nothing’s overly difficult. Wish I’d played in this book sooner. Totally recommend!
1) “Bland” Soup with Glass Noodles – p 149 & 269. My youngest yelled, “This soup is not bland!” as she slurped down her bowl. Absolutely delicious. The meatball technique is a total game changer. If you had a Play-Doh extruder and those little green plastic scissors as a kid, you already have this mastered. There’s no rolling. He has you snip 1” segments into simmering water as you pipe it from a bag. Genius!
2) Thai Style Pork Ribs – p 128 with Jaew (spicy, tart dipping sauce) – p 278. Those ribs are amazing! He talks about indirect heat using zones on a big grill or the oven. He doesn’t mention a kamado style grill, so if you’ve got an egg shaped grill, to do low heat slow gilling or smoking, you just need a heat deflector. It looks like a really thick pizza stone with three handles. I tossed a chunk of hickory in mine to exaggerate the smoky taste he talks about. I’ll have to double this next time, because my teenagers loved it.
3) Thai Fruit Salad – p 43. Fresh, crunchy, sweet, and spicy. This complemented and contrasted with the sweet, smoky ribs beautifully.
4-5) Pork Satay – p 141 with Peanut Sauce – p 281 and Cucumber Relish – p 283. Great flavor on the pork and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce gave my molcajete and right arm a nice workout. The relish is sweet and spicy. Just perfect together.
6) Grilled Corn with Salty Coconut Cream – p 144. Holy yum! Insanely delicious and unusual. Love it.
Some others I have flagged to try: Grilled Eggplant Salad – p 59 * Isaan Steak Salad – p 68 * Grilled Pork Neck (or shoulder) with Spicy Dipping Sauce and Iced Greens – p 125 * Northern Thai Style Herbal Sausage – p 132 * Stir Fried Noodles with Shrimp, Tofu, and Peanuts – p 221 * Thai Rice Noodles with Northern Thai Curry – p 235 * Sticky Rice with Mango and Salty Sweet Coconut Cream – p 257