Even though my “garden” means only a couple of boxes on a small balcony, I regularly find myself suddenly overwhelmed with huge crops of certain plants. This is a great occasion to learn new recipes and an excellent creativity booster. This summer Thai basil has been particularly prolific, so after several Thai or Thai-inspired meals in one week, I desperately needed fresh ideas because the basil would still grow like crazy until it even developped flowers (see above).
I started to look for inspiration out of the Thai cuisine. Since, just like shiso (aka perilla), Thai basil supports well heat and cooking process, I tested it in Teriyaki Pork Rolls I always prepare with shiso. The result of this triple fusion (Korean gochujang, Japanese teriyaki and Thai basil) was highly satisfying and all the ingredients seemed to go extremely well together. After this experiment, I’m planning to use Thai basil more boldly and strongly encourage all those who cannot get shiso leaves to substitute them with Thai basil in other dishes too. The taste will be completely different, but the result at least equally good.
If you feel like playing with pork and shaping it into rolls, you might also like some of these:
TIPS: Gochujang is not necessary here. If you don’t have it or don’t like very hot dishes, simply skip it.
If you don’t have a butcher nearby (sadly less and less people do), who can slice the pork very thinly (with the slicing machine), you can cut the thin pork slices on your own. I have one knife which is wide, long and sharp enough, but if you find it difficult, try slightly freezing the meat before cutting it. It should be easier. I also sometimes pound the slices before rolling if I find them too thick.
Pork rolls (raw) can be prepared the day before, stored in the fridge and fried just before serving.
There are several basil varieties used in Thai cuisine. My basil is called also “sweet basil”; bai horapha/horapha in Thai and has an anise aroma and flavour.
Preparation : 40 – 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 2 – 3):
12 -15 thin pork slices (max. 3 mm thick)
1 big bell pepper (or another variety of sweet pepper)
about 20 medium sweet Thai basil (horapha) leaves (or more if they are small)
Teriyaki glaze with gochujang:
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or 4 if you have low sodium soy sauce)
3 tablespoons sake
1 heaped tablespoon gochujang (or less if you gochujang is particularly hot – mine is medium hot – or if you don’t like very hot dishes)
Cut the bell pepper into thin strips (cut them in two horizontally if they are very long; their length should be adapted to the size of pork slices, so that they do not stick out too much).
Season slightly the pork slices with salt and pepper.
Prepare the Thai basil leaves.
Place the pork slice on a cutting board, seasoned side up. Put two or more Thai basil leaves to cover most of the surface.
Put 3 pepper strips at one end of the pork roll.
Roll it tightly and put aside.
Do the same with all the pork strips.
Heat some oil in a pan.
Dust the pork rolls with flour and fry (sealed side down), covered on a medium heat until they are well browned (it will take about 15 minutes).
Combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients and heat them in a small pan or in a microwave.
Pour the teriyaki sauce over the rolls and make sure they are well coated.
Let the sauce thicken for about one minute.
Transfer the rolls to a plate and garnish with the remaining sauce.