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Startled Pig (Moo Sadoong) with 2015 Carignane, Testa Vineyard #ThaiOneOn

Back in November, I hosted a Thai feast for one of my best friends' birthdays. But I neglected to post any of the recipes - or wine pairings - till this month when the #EattheWorld challenge had us traveling to Thailand via tabletop. Read that post: here.

Sorry for the delay. But, hopefully, it was worth the wait. These recipes were all adapted from Kris Yenbamroong's cookbook Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having Amongst Friends.

Startled Pig (Moo Sadoong)

Someone asked, "What's with the name?" Yenbamroong writes that it's a loose translation with the idea that you're heaping so many aggressive tastes onto the meat that you are startling the pig. This dish was so flavorful - spicy, tart, and smoky. I can't wait to try it again. But, like all of the recipes in this book, there are definitely ingredients you'll need to make yourself or find at an Asian market; even my eclectic pantry didn't have everything needed for many of these recipes. And still, I substituted for things I couldn't locate and didn't have time to make.

Ingredients serves 8

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder steaks, cut to 3/4" thick
  • 3/4 C soy sauce
  • 1 T ground pepper
  • 1 T chili garlic paste
  • 6 T fish sauce
  • 2 t organic granulated sugar
  • 4 T oil, divided
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 4 T garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 4 T thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 1 T chile flakes
  • 1 C torn Thai basil leaves
  • 1 C fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Also needed: cast iron skillet or grill pan

Preheat cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. In a shallow, rimmed bowl, place the pork and sprinkle it with ground pepper. Drizzle it with soy sauce. Whisk together the garlic paste, fish sauce, sugar, 2 T oil, chili powder, garlic, lemongrass, and chile flakes. Rub half of the paste onto the pork.

Once the skillet is smoking, place the pork, paste-side down. Cook until well-charred on the bottom. Rub the other half of the paste onto the top and flip it over. Once the pork is well-charred on both sides, remove it from the pan. Put the meat on a cutting board or serving platter and divide the basil leaves and fresh cilantro between the steaks. Slice into strips and drizzle the remaining 2 T oil and lime juice over the top. Serve immediately with steamed rice or coconut sticky rice.

2015 Carignane, Testa Vineyard
Donkey & Goat

All of the wines for the Thai One On feast came from Donkey & Goat in Berkeley. If you've been following my blog for awhile, you'll know that they are one of my favorite vintners. And this wine is just one more reason to love them. Old vine Carignane is not often featured as a single varietal, but Donkey & Goat has highlighted its versatility beautifully! The grapes are from the Testa Vineyard which was planted in the early 20th century in Mendocino by Gaetano and Maria Testa; today (another) Maria Testa and her husband Rusty are carrying on the family tradition.

While the moo sadoong startles with a flavor punch, this wine shined on its own with a delicate balance of fruit, spice, and a bite of tannins. The nose revealed both floral and herbaceous notes of coastal sage and craggy cypress where those savory qualities were countered by some distinct ripe berries on the tongue.

I think this provided a delicious balance of sweet and herby for the startled pig. Now I just need to get my hands on another bottle because I can't wait to pair this wine with a roasted duck or maybe a rabbit stew.


  1. LOL thanks for answering my question and I could say many pigs, cows, chickens and fish get startled at my place in that case lol. Looks really good.


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