Braised Pork (Moo Tom Khem)
(Cooking time: 2 hours)
Two years ago we had this dish at a market in Ayutthaya, Thailand for the first time. This instantly became our comfort food that we never had before Ayutthaya. I modified a bit from a typical Thai recipe to achieve less sodium without losing the flavor. Basically the dish is braised pork, often tenderloin, but I use pork belly here for tenderness, with boiled eggs accompanied by some greens. Daikon or turnips are really good addition.
2 lbs. of pork belly with bones cut into 2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon of black pepper corns
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander root
1 tablespoon of brandy
1 tablespoon of nampla (Thai fish sauce Nyoc Nam in Viet Nam)
¼ cup of Chinese dark soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoon of palm sugar
One star anise
2 inches of cinnamon stick
2 cups of water or more as needed
1 lb. of Daikon or turnips peeled cubed
4 shelled hard boiled eggs
1 lb. of Chinese mustard greens
Put the pepper corns, garlic, coriander root and nampla into a blender, grind until pepper corns are ground, then stir in brandy and soy sauce. Marinate the pork in this mixture for 20 minutes.
Put the marinated pork and anise, cinnamon and water into a heavy pot like a Creuset. Braise in the 375 F oven for about one and half hours. The Thai method is cooked over the open flame but braising makes meat into certain tenderness, also much easier to cook. Check the water contents every 30 minutes or so.
Add Daikon 30 minutes before the meat is completely cooked. Add eggs and cook 15 minutes. Add some more water to cover the vegetables and eggs if needed.
Steam the mustard greens for 5 minutes. Serve over Thai Jasmine rice. Pour the cooking sauce over the vegetable. Garnish with Thai basil if you have. Coriander is fine, but Thai basil is the one which gives this dish a shine and a distinguishing Thai flavor.
Aroy maak!! (Very tasty in Thai)