Crispy basil salad with pork & pickled carrots

Crispy basil salad with pork & pickled carrots

main courses | serves 2

A fusion of Thai and Chinese, this salad is packed with great zingy flavours. To save time, make the pickled carrots in advance and refrigerate until needed.

1. To make the pickled carrots, add the rice vinegar to a saucepan over a medium heat with the sugar, fennel seeds, star anise, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, tip in the carrots and stir to coat. Leave to cool completely, then let pickle for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the groundnut oil in a wok until smoking hot. Add the minced pork, season with the white pepper and a pinch of salt, then toss until golden and starting to crisp.
3. Add 2 chopped spring onions and the red thai paste, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the stock, and turn down the heat, cooking for a further 20 minutes, or until the stock has evaporated and the pork is tender, cooked and starting to crisp up again.
4. In a separate pan, heat the rest of the groundnut oil. Add the cube of bread; if it browns in 10 seconds, your oil is hot enough to start frying. In batches, fry the basil leaves for 3 seconds, until they?re translucent and crisp (careful of the hot oil, as it may spit). Remove the crispy leaves with a slotted spoon and leave aside to dry on kitchen paper.
5. To serve, place the lettuce leaves on a serving plate, scatter over the pork, pickled carrots, reserved spring onion and the crispy basil leaves. Drizzle with a little of the carrots? pickling liquid and serve immediately.

Note Holy basil is a spicy herb similar to both mint and basil. You can get it online at, or just substitute regular basil.


Recipe Joss Herd
Photo Jonathan Gregson

from Issue 38


? 500ml groundnut oil
? 300g minced pork
? A pinch of ground white pepper
? 3 spring onions, finely sliced, reserving one to serve
? 1 tbsp red thai paste
? 300ml chicken stock
? Small cube of bread, to test the oil
? 1 bunch holy basil, leaves picked
? 1 head gem or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated

Pickled carrots
? 200ml rice vinegar
? 100g sugar
? 1 tsp fennel seeds
? 1 star anise
? 2 medium carrots, finely sliced with a mandolin

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