I must admit, neither of us had ever heard of this dish, but when we saw the recipe with an accompanying gorgeous photo, it certainly caught our attention. Geng Dang Muu was featured in an article highlighting Chef Parnass Savang in a recent Bon Apppétit magazine. It apparently originated from Savang’s Laos grandmother where the curry and ground pork reference the origins of the dish, while the brussels sprouts and leeks are a nod to the local ingredients of Georgia.
Lime leaves aren’t the easies product to locate. We happened to have some in our freezer bought years ago at Wegmans for, get this, $39.99 a pound! Once we got over the initial shock and realized we only needed a minute amount, the real cost was only $2.50 an ounce—and we still have some.
Palm sugar is a sweetener that is made from the sap present in the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. It is known as natural sugar because it involves minimum processing and no chemicals are used. In the stores, palm sugar is available in the block/cones, granular and liquid form.
A few takeaways here. First, the color of our Muu was a light beigy-orange, unlike the magazine photo which was a deep reddish-orange. I believe that was due to the different brands of red curry (we had made our own a while ago). The magazine image also showed a more brothy finish, but because we reduced ours longer, it was thicker.
And if you have diners who can’t tolerate Brussels sprouts, go ahead and switch them out for broccoli or another veg to their liking. Even though it’s not indicated in the directions below, or our photos, if you do go with the sprouts, slice each half down further to 1/4″ half moons. When only halved, they did not get cooked through and were somewhat too firm.
For even more depth of flavor, cook your jasmine rice in homemade chicken stock.
Geng Dang Muu
- 6 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, divided
- 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved through stem end
- ¼ cup red curry paste (without added salt)
- 2 tsp. palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. fish sauce, plus more
- 4 fresh makrut (Thai) lime leaves, 3 whole, 1 very thinly sliced
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- Cooked jasmine rice (for serving)
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably high-sided, over medium-high. Add leek, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of it is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; wipe out skillet.
- Pour another 2 Tbsp. oil into same skillet over medium-high. Cook Brussels sprouts, in a single layer, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook until other side is browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with leek.
- Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil (still over medium-high). Add curry paste, palm sugar, 2 tsp. fish sauce, and 3 whole lime leaves. Cook, stirring often, until paste darkens slightly, about 1 minute.
- Add pork and cook, stirring and breaking up, until in small pieces, about 2 minutes (pork doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point). Pour coconut milk into skillet and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is cooked through and curry thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in Thai basil, leek and Brussels sprouts. Scatter remaining thinly sliced lime leaf over and serve with rice.