Chef: Donnie Silisabas
That restaurant: Dallas Khao Noodle Shop
What they know: Thai and Lao street food and noodle dishes inspired by the food he grew up in. Spin a lively series of pop-up dinners into an award-winning restaurant.
Long ago Donny Sirisavath quit his job as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard and learned to cook himself decades before opening his restaurant, Khao Noodle Shop, in Dallas. This was his home cooking. “I used to eat pork patties and rice when I was young,” he said. His mother cooked it for his family and other Lao refugees in their community. “She is the center of my cooking and the soul,” he said.
In Silisabas’s first slow food fast recipe, pork patties bring great flavor from chopped lemongrass, onions, coriander (he prefers stems to chew), oyster sauce, fish sauce, and garlic. Put it on rice and the petit pate is just right for soaking in Thai-style chili vinegar sauce. Sliced cucumber and coriander leaves provide a fresh contrast.
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Knead the minced meat until it is sticky, but do not overdo it. Otherwise it will be stiff. “We add seasonings like dough,” the chef said. “And mix only until the ingredients are distributed.”
For Mr. Silisabas, this food is ultimately bigger than him. “My mother always said that you need to bring joy to others.”
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- Thinly sliced 4-inch lemongrass stem
- 5 pieces of garlic, roughly chopped
- ¾ bundle coriander
- 2 lbs of minced meat
- 2 ¼ tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon of fish sauce
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- For vegetables or other neutral oils, greasing
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 2 thinly sliced Thai chili
- 1 lime, half
- 4 cups of jasmine rice
- Two Persian cucumbers sliced thinly with bias
- 1 sheet glue (optional)
- In a food processor, pulse onions, lemongrass, and garlic until finely chopped. Cut the thick stems of cilantro from the bundle and set the leaves aside. Finely chop the stems and transfer to a large mixing bowl with the onion-lemongrass-garlic mixture. Add minced pork, 1¼ tablespoon sugar, fish sauce and oyster sauce. With clean hands, mix the meat and seasonings well and knead for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is slightly sticky.
- Heat a heavy pan over medium heat and lightly lick it with oil. The pork mixture is molded into a putty with a diameter of 1½ inches and a thickness of ½ inches. Work in batches to avoid congestion and fry for 3-4 minutes without disturbing the putty until one side is fully browned. Turn it over and cook until the other side is golden and heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Make a dip sauce: In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar, vinegar and chili together with a whisk. Add lime juice and taste.
- Divide the hot rice into 4 bowls. Place the putty on one side of each bowl and the coriander leaves and cucumbers on the other side. If used, crush the seaweed on a plate. Please serve with sauce on the side.
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