Naem (Chiang Mai Cured Pork)
This cured pork from Chiang Mai is made by fermenting pork with sticky rice and garlic, created to preserve pork in Thailand’s sweltering heat. Warmth causes rapid fermentation of the pork, which preserves the meat before it spoils. Though it can be purchased, the store-bought version often lacks the deep robust flavour that comes with homemade naem. This recipe from David Thompson was what we used at our Stinky and Sticky event and is a relatively easy one to attempt at home.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups coarsely minced lean pork
1/2 cup white sticky rice
1/3 cup garlic cloves, pounded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded boiled pork skin – ideally homemade
5 bird’s eye chillies, bruised
1-2 banana leaves (optional)
Mix salt with the pork, press into a colander and allow to chill overnight. Steep the sticky rice in water overnight as well. The next day, bring the pork to room temperature and steam the rice until it is cooked, about 20 minutes. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
In a food processor, puree the garlic and salt, then add rice. You should not see any discernible grains, however you should not over-process the rice. Combine with the pork and shredded pork skin.
Insert the chillies into the meat and wrap in banana leaves or in clingwrap. Leave in indirect sun or at warm room temperature for up to a week, checking after 3 to 5 days. When the meat is ready, it will be moist, succulent and sour. It should then be stored in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.