1iceberg lettuce, outer leaves discarded, inner leaves separated1 tbspvegetable oil6golden shallots, thinly sliced1garlic clove, finely chopped1 tbspdried shrimp, soaked in cold water for 1 hour (see note), drained400 gmlean minced pork2 tbsplime juice, or to taste, plus lime halves to serve2 tbspfish sauce, or to taste15 gm(3cm piece) galangal, finely crushed in a mortar and pestle3 tspcrushed light palm sugar, or to taste2 tspground glutinous rice (see note)2 tspchilli powderShallot and chilli dressing80 ml(1/3 cup) vegetable oil4golden shallots, finely chopped2long red chillies, finely chopped10 gmdried chilli flakes, crushed1garlic clove, finely chopped2 tbsp eachfish sauce and lime juice, or to tasteWatermelon salad160 gmwatermelon, cut into 1cm dice40 gmbean sprouts, trimmed2 tbspshiso leaves (see note)2 tbspVietnamese mint
For shallot and chilli dressing, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot and stir until golden (15-20 minutes). Add fresh and dried chilli and garlic, and stir until garlic is tender and dried chilli is fragrant (2 minutes). Add fish sauce and lime juice to taste, stir to combine and set aside to cool.
Trim lettuce leaves into cups and set aside in a bowl of iced water to crisp (20 minutes). Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and dried shrimp and cook until tender and caramelised (3-5 minutes). Add pork and cook until starting to turn golden (8-12 minutes). Add lime juice, fish sauce, galangal, palm sugar, ground rice, and ground chilli and stir until thickened (2-3 minutes), adjust seasoning and set aside. Keep warm.
For watermelon salad, combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Arrange drained lettuce cups on a plate, fill with pork mixture then watermelon salad, and serve with shallot and chilli dressing and lime halves.
Note Dried shrimp, ground glutinous rice and shiso leaves are available from Asian grocers.
This recipe is from the February 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.