Minced Pork and Lobster Lon with Raw Dipping Vegetables
In Thailand, lon is served as a sharing snack or as part of a main meal. It usually comes as a loose, yet thick dip accompanied by raw vegetables, herbs and rice. This is surf and turf at its finest, and is the absolute king of sharing plates...
The fat in the pork helps to thicken the dip, so use a good quality pork belly with some fat content. The lobster brain (tamale) is also key to this dish so be sure not to discard anything.
- For a lobster of this size drop into boiling hot salt water and cook for 8 minutes, then carefully remove and submerge into ice water to chill. First prepare the lobster by chopping in half lengthways, remove the stomach sack and intestine and discard, then separate the tamale (this is located towards the head and is yellow/brown/orange in colour). Remove the flesh from the shell and roughly mince using a meat cleaver. Do not discard the shell.
- Next make the base paste and a light lobster stock for the lon. Place the lobster shell in a large pot, add 200ml water, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and discard the shell.
- In a pestle and mortar, pound half the ginger with the garlic, bird’s eye chillies and coriander root to a coarse paste, using a pinch of salt as an abrasive, if needed. Pour the oil into a separate, large, pan, place on a medium heat and add the paste. Fry, constantly moving and scraping the paste until it is a golden-brown colour and smells fragrant; this will take around two minutes. Once the paste starts to turn golden brown, add the yellow bean sauce and fry for a further 5 minutes until it begins to darken further and starts to smell a little like miso. At this point, add the lobster tamale and two thirds of the sugar. Continue to fry gently for a further couple of minutes until all ingredients are cooked.
- Next add all the lobster stock, 300ml of the coconut cream and the minced pork then bring to a simmer. Be sure to break up the minced pork as it’s cooking so it doesn’t all clump together into one chunk. Simmer gently for 8–10 minutes until the pork is cooked through and the liquid has reduced to a thick scoopable consistency.
- Add the minced lobster, remaining ginger and sugar, the chilli rolls, fish sauce and the tamarind water, then taste and adjust the seasoning before you serve; the sauce should have a loose but dip-able consistency and be sweet, rich and salty. If necessary, loosen the lon with the remaining coconut cream.
- Serve in a wide bowl with a spoon, so people can help themselves, surrounded by the vegetables and, if you want, some jasmine rice.
- 1 large lobster weighing 300–400g, cooked in salt water and chilled in ice water.
- 40g, ginger, peeled and julienned
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 red birds eye chillies (scuds), stems removed
- 1 tablespoon coriander root (optional)
- a little coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 25g fermented yellow bean sauce (if chunky, blitz to a smooth paste in a food processor)
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar (or dark soft brown sugar)
- 400ml, coconut cream
- 150ml, lobster stock (see recipe as we make using lobster shell)
- 200g minced pork belly, with around 20% fat content
- 2 long red chillies, sliced into rounds
- 20ml fish sauce
- 20ml tamarind water
- a pinch, ground white pepper
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large cucumber, sliced diagonally at an angle so they can be used to scoop up sauce
- 100g green beans, ends removed and, if preferred, softened in boiling salt water for a few minutes
- 1 endive, separated into bite-sized leaves, bottom removed
- 10g Thai sweet basil (Italian basil is not ideal but can be used instead)
- 10g, picked and washed coriander leaves
- steamed jasmine rice
Try this deliciously fresh and zesty pasta recipe by Francesco Mazzei