When you think Thai food, you probably think Coconut Milk or Curry. I know I do. However, this simple marinade incorporates many of the hallmark flavors associated with Thai cuisine and yet is made with a vinegar base and sugar added for balance. My favorite part of this marinade is the combination of cilantro and fresh ginger. These two flavors put together are quite incredible.
1 cup White Vinegar
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 cup Cilantro
Combine your vinegar, sugar, cayenne, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves completely (approx 3 minutes). Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the marinade from the heat and set aside to cool. When cool, add the chopped cilantro.
Marinate your pork with the Thai marinade but reserve a little extra sauce for later (perhaps 1/4 cup will do). Chill both the marinated pork and the reserved sauce for 24 hours. Strain the reserved marinade through a chinois or fine mesh strainer to remove the cilantro, garlic, and ginger. You want only a smooth mixture of the vinegar, sugar, and spices to come through your strainer. We are making a gastrique.
gastrique [gah-STREEK] French for "gastric," referring culinarily to a syrupy reduction of caramelized sugar and vinegar. Gastriques are typically used in savory dishes that include fruit, such as oranges or tomatoes.
While the pork is cooking, slowly heat the strained gastrique so as not to burn the sugar. When the pork is ready, remove the gastrique from the heat as well. Plate your pork and serve your gastrique either on the side or drizzled over your pork.