My introduction to chu chee came many years ago, in a small Thai restaurant that was up the road from where we used to live in Pyrmont. It was just your typical Oz-Thai joint with all the usual suspects on the menu, but there were a few things in there that were a little different from the norm.
And then there was their chu chee salmon.
We both loved it so much that it ended up being the only thing we ordered on every visit.
Ok, maybe we started things off with a plate of fish cakes and money bags.
Chu chee more commonly involves seafood – in particular, fish or prawns – but sometimes you can come across duck. I’m yet to try the duck variety, but something tells me I’d fall for it head over heels.
No duck for you today, however, as all I have is a succulent lump of pork scotch fillet, also known as neck or collar butt.
This part of the animal is ideal for methods of cooking that need a little more time – like stews, roasts and casseroles. Thanks to all the fat that’s marbled through it the end result is juicy, succulent meat that’s easy to carve or simply tear apart with minimal effort.
Cooking scotch fillet in a bath of chu chee sauce is divine, I’ve got to say. Yes you can buy chu chee paste in selected grocers, but it’s easy enough to make it by building up from red curry paste. Yes you can make your own red curry paste, but when laziness prevails, a quality import from Thailand does me just fine.
All we really have is the curry paste, coconut milk, kaffir lime, basil and the Thai usuals like fish sauce and sugar. I’ve also added chunks of red chilli and frozen peas to mine.
Making it is even simple. Sear the meat, take it out and make the sauce in the same pan, put the meat back in, lid on, then roast!
*Pork supplied by Murray Valley pork