Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thai Pulled Pork

First things first. Fall back? Thank you. So very much. The extra hour of sleep was a wonderful, much needed, and luxurious thing.

When I was a kid and lived in Thailand, I had a favorite dish which I called Brown Eggs and Rice. More specifically, it is called Khao ka Moo which technically means 'rice with pork.' Not particularly descriptive, but very apt. The variation I made is reminiscent of this old favorite, although, of course, not exactly accurate since the real ingredients are hard to come by. But, that being said, it tasted almost the same and was incredibly delicious.
Tender, savory pork, flavor-filled kale, and (the best part) a hard boiled egg soaked all day with the meat. All served up with fragrant (al dente) jasmine rice-- which is the only rice. Or at least, it should be. 

In the real version of this dish, you'd want to use Chinese Broccoli Greens for the vegetable. But in a pinch (i.e. when you live in Maine and there are no Asian stores anywhere) kale works great. It has the same hardy texture and mildly broccoli-ish taste. Also, the real version of this dish calls for a "pork knuckle." But when I asked a Thai woman once what kind of meat she used, she told me "bum of pork". So, that being said, I got  a pork butt for a mind-blowingly low price at Market Basket. 

1 (ish) lb of pork butt
just under 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/3 cup water
just under 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
white pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
4 large garlic cloves
about 1 tsp cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
dash of soy sauce

2 cups of kale, fresh or frozen

coat the pork butt in white pepper (just shake all over and rub it in) and put it in the crock pot. Pour the soy sauce, vinegar, and water over it. 
If you have a mortar and pestle, grind up the garlic, cardamom, fennel, and crushed red pepper with the splash of soy sauce until its sort of like a paste. If not, use a blender or a food processor (I used  my immersion blender). Stir the paste in with the meat and liquids. Cover and cook on high.

Hard boil 4 eggs, and shell them after they're cooled. Place the shelled eggs into the crock pot, as immersed in  the liquid as possible.

Cook for about 6 hours, then remove the meat and eggs, and shred the bum of pork.
Chop up some kale, or, if you (like me) are putting off grocery shopping and have only frozen kale, then use that. I thawed my kale in a sieve under hot water and squeeze all the liquid out. Put the kale into the crock pot with all the remaining Pork gravy and stir it around in there. Cook some jasmine rice in a rice cooker-- if you have one. I use 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water to keep it nice and firm.

Once the rice is done, slice the egg in half, and serve up the meat and kale. There is so much flavor in this meal-- and its quick and easy. A perfect weekend dinner, I think. And a great alternative to regular pulled pork (and way less caloric without all of the bbq sauce!)

But the best part of the meal? That egg. They get super hardboiled and they  take on the flavor of the dish after soaking all day. There is nothing like it. I could eat like ten of them. But I kept myself to just one...this time.

I am starting a new side page: What I'm Wearing. I do want to have a hint of "frugal fashion' on this blog but I'm too nervous and insecure to put the pictures on the main page. So if you want to see them, you have to make a conscious decision. Its not just going to pop up on you, which makes me feel better. 

Have a beautiful Sunday. 

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