Stir-Fried Pork with Beans

This is what I would call a dry curry. Try it — it’s simple and delicious. The shrimp paste is important here to add deep flavour and give that real curry taste. If you make this dish once, you’ll make it often. Feel free to change the ingredients in the paste, just as long as you remember to taste for balance.


  • 350 g (12 oz) pork loin, skin and excess fat removed, very finely sliced
  • 150 g ( oz) green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (jaggery)


  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped galangal
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, chopped
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted until fragrant
  • 6 red shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • finely grated zest of 2 kaffir limes
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp


Mix the pork with 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Pound all the paste ingredients in a mortar with a pestle until you have a fine paste. Or process with a blender, adding a little water if necessary.

Heat a wok until just smoking. Add the oil and, when hot, stir-fry the pork in batches until golden, then remove. Put the paste into the wok and stir-fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the palm sugar and let it caramelise slightly, then add the remaining fish sauce. Return the pork to the wok with the beans, then stir-fry for another minute before serving.