Thai Pork and Cabbage Salad

 
Sriracha, known to me as rooster sauce, has scared me for years.  When placed on our family dinner table, it was always situated as far away from me as possible. I knew that rooster sauce was spicy, and I knew that I was not ready to handle it.
 
Well, imagine my own surprise when I was shopping in the grocery store many years later and felt the sudden urge to buy sriracha sauce.  The big bottle that was cheaper per ounce than the smaller bottle even.  I began by slowly adding a few drops to dishes like Pad Thai, but I was not fully utilizing that spice.  Then suddenly I got the urge to put some hot sauce in my scrambled eggs (is it normal for someone to be surprised by themselves so often?).  It was delicious.  I kept adding more, and I think I may now officially be a fan of spice.
 
This dish is perfect for anyone on the spice spectrum: a spice newbie, a spice hater, or a spice lover.  Adjust your rooster sauce to taste.  The crunchy cabbage, the browned pork, and the cool cucumber all come together in a quick meal that is sure to satisfy all.  I highly suggest surprising yourself and trying a lot of sriracha sauce.
 
THAI PORK AND CABBAGE SALAD
Adapted from The Sweets Life
 
INGREDIENTS
 
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
Salt and pepper
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
Sriracha sauce, to taste
1 cucumber, quartered and sliced
Honey roasted peanuts, for topping
Fresh torn mint, for topping
 
DIRECTIONS
 
Heat a large wok over medium-high heat.  Brown pork, seasoned with salt and pepper, until cooked through.  Drain and set aside.  Keep some of the grease in the pan still.
 
Put wok back over medium-high heat.  Cook cabbage, seasoned with salt, until slightly cooked but still crunchy, 4-5 minutes.  Return ground pork to pan.  Add fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and sriracha.  Cook until liquid has mostly evaporated, 3-5 minutes.  
 
Season cucumber slices with salt.  Mix cucumber into salad.  Transfer to a serving bowl or plates and top with peanuts and mint.
 
Serves 3-4 as a man course.
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