Pork Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms with Pork and White Pepper / paht heht   page 91     Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking

I remember standing in the kitchen of Mrs. Wonkiow, mother of my friend Sandi’s friend Sak, in a small town outside the Northern Thai city of Chiang Rai, watching her cook an array of dishes with calm, patient kindness. This one stood out in my mind, not for its complexity or razzle-dazzle, but for its simplicity. A few ordinary ingredients, a few minutes’ cooking time, an economical use of meat to flavor an abundance of mushrooms. I knew I would be making this often back home, albeit without the fresh straw mushrooms she used, heht fahng, which were an ordinary vegetable in Thai markets but virtually unknown here in the West. Nowadays I make it with shiitakes, oyster mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, or good ol’ white button mushrooms, which taste fantastic prepared this way. Everytime I make this dish, I thank Mrs. Wongkiow for putting this into my repertoire. Weeknight Thai, earthy, delicious, ready to adapt to what you like or have on hand.