Recipe ingredients and directions:

This is a hot a spicy soup, part of a tradition of what might be called

"poacher's food" if they originated in the British countryside, though the

term might be misunderstood here in Thailand: specifically a hearty simple

production using "game" style animals, such as wild pig or venison, as well

as fish, and "free range" poultry, as well as game birds such as pheasant.

This dish is made from pork. Recent monsoonal floods had made some wild pigs

a nuisance on a friends farm, and the result was three "suckling pigs" as

well as an adult boar and sow, neatly dressed out and looking for a recipe.

This then is my wife's version of moo maw fai, or pork hotpot.

It is prepared using a "Mongolian Fire Pot" - the sort of soup heater with a

central funnel that traditionally sits on charcoal, but today is often gas

fired. You could also use a European style fondue set.

The pork is precooked, but diners may drop pieces into the hot liquor to

warm them, as well as absorbing the flavour of the stock, and usually

ingredients are either simply thrown into the pot and then scooped out when

cooked, or placed in small bronze-wire baskets and dipped in the steaming stock.

The eggplants should be either the pea sized makheua phuang or the golf ball

sized makheua pro, which are usually quartered. If Thai egg plants are not

available then use a purple aubergine, and carve ball shaped pieces from it

with a melon baller.

This traditional preparation uses pig fat as the cooking oil for the meat.

If you prefer you can omit the belly pork, increasing the amount of

tenderloin, and frying it in vegetable oil or groundnut oil. However this

traditional variant gives a fuller and richer flavour.

Ingredients:

meat:

1 small pig's liver

2 small pig's kidneys

1 small pork tenderloin

1 pound of belly pork or "streaky" bacon, with the rind (skin) on.

Soup Liquor:

10 cups of nam sup (basic soup stock)

4 Tablespoons of nam pla (fish sauce)

3 tablespoons of nam prik pao (chili paste in bean oil)

3 tablespoons of red curry paste

6 pieces of lemon grass, 2" long, bruised

2 Tablespoons kha (galangal), ground

1 teaspoon kapi (fermented shrimp paste)

1 teaspoon prikthai (black pepper), freshly ground

1 teaspoon palm sugar

1 teaspoon prik pon (powdered red chilis)

1 Tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

Other ingredients

3 Tablespoons of hom daeng (shallots), thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon of kratiem (garlic), thinly sliced

1 cup mint leaves

1 cup bai kaprao (holy basil leaves)

2 cups of Chinese cabbage (or lettuce, cabbage or kale)

half a cup of bai chi (coriander/cilantro leaves)

1 cup of Thai eggplants

1 cup of (mixed) mushrooms

Method:

trim the liver, kidneys, and tenderloin to bite sized pieces, discarding the

hard core of the kidneys. Carefully slice of the outer layer of fat and skin

from the belly pork, and dice it, then dice the remaining belly pork.

In a wok, over medium heat, stir fry the pieces of belly pork skin with fat

attached, until the fat begins to render freely to form a pool of oil in the

bottom of the wok. Now add the rest of the belly pork and stir fry with the

heat as high as possible (bearing in mind that pig fat smokes at a low

temperature, so be careful), to make the meat and skin well cooked, and

crispy, then using a slotted spoon or wok strainer, remove the meat and

skin, and place it on kitchen towels to drain.

Saute the shallots and garlic, until golden and crispy. Remove, drain and

reserve.

Turn the heat down to medium-low (when the temperature settles, a clean

chopstick, placed in the oil, should just form a coating of small bubbles).

Now gently stir fry the liver, kidneys, and tenderloin, until just cooked

through. Remove and reserve it for later.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle boil and add the other

ingredients for the liquor, stirring to combine and then tasting and if

necessary adjusting the flavor balance (by adding extra curry paste, fish

sauce, or sugar). You may also optionally add a tablespoon of lime juice at

this stage.

When the liquor is to your taste, transfer it to a heated Fire Pot or fondue

pot (or an electric "slow crock" can be used).

The mint, basil, Chinese cabbage, and cilantro leaves, together with the

cooked shallots and garlic and the crispy belly pork (and optionally the

skin), are tossed to form a salad. Place the eggplants and mushrooms in two

small bowls next to the Fire Pot.

Serving

Basically diners place some of the salad in a soup bowl, heat up a selection

of pork, eggplant and mushrooms, and add them, together with a helping of

the soup liquor to the bowl, season liberally (usually with prik dong

(pickled chilis), prik pon (chili powder), and sugar, though dark soy,

Worcestershire sauce, and ground pepper may also be added.

This dish, together with a plate of vegetable crudites and a suitable nam

prik (dipping sauce), would be a natural accompaniment for a dinner with,

say, a curry, fried fish in sweet & sour sauce, and maybe a steamed chicken

in ginger and chili sauce, for 8-10 diners.

It could also, on its own form a hearty luncheon for 5-6 diners.

Category: Asian Recipes