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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Southeast Asian Caramelized Sweet and Spicy Braised Pork Kaw Saik Jrouk

Mmmmm, kaw (kaw saik jrouk) is one of my favorite Cambodian dishes.  I absolutely love it's delicious caramelized yumminess!  It is a pork stew like nothing else you've ever had before, but I promise that if you give it a chance, you'll love it.  The dominant flavors are a dark sweetness and a delicious spiciness that balances it.  Kaw is a braised pork dish in a caramelized broth with crunchy bamboo shoots and yummy hard-boiled eggs.  I know, I know, why on earth would there be hard-boiled eggs in broth?  Well, once you try this, you'll never ask that again because the eggs are, without a doubt, the absolute best part.  They soak up all of the yummy sweet and spicy caramelized goodness, yummmm!

The broth is made with a base of caramelized palm sugar and garlic with lots of magical, tasty Asian sauces, lol.  Don't worry, the sauces are fairly inexpensive at about 3 bucks or less per bottle in your local SE Asian market.  If you are either diabetic or have high blood pressure, this dish is NOT for you.  There is a high sugar content and a high sodium content, but it neither tastes overly sweet nor overly sugary once it's done.

I found out on another blog, WhiteOnRiceCouple, that this dish is also made in Vietnamese cuisine.  Interestingly enough, I was explaining the dish to my Guatemalan friend who is of Cantonese descent and she says, "hmmm, we make the same dish."  So apparently, they make the same thing, but with more of a Chinese 5-spice kind of twist because they put lots of star anise in it, too.  I will have to invite her to try my version and see what she thinks.  

So, in short, this dish has been around the world for a reason--it's absolutely deelish!

**This recipe was adapted from Forg3tM3Not770 on YouTube.

2 lbs of pork loin (my boyfriend's dad uses pork belly but his mom and many other people use pork loin), in bite-sized pieces
2 short cans (8 0z) of sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed
6 or 7 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (be careful not to break the flesh)
1-1/3 cup palm sugar (the jarred type is much more convenient, but you can use the block and grate it)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 scant basting spoon of dark sweet soy (this is NOT regular soy sauce)* use maybe 1 TB or so less than my video ( I made it a bit sweet that time)
1-1/2 basting spoons of fish sauce
one basting spoon of soy sauce
1/2 cup + 2 cups of water, separated
2 TB cracked black pepper
salt to taste

Saute the garlic in vegetable oil for about 30 seconds over low to medium low heat.

Stir in the palm sugar and turn the heat up to medium to med-high heat.  

Brown the sugar mixture, stirring constantly until darker brown, about 10 minutes.

Add in 1/2 cup of water and blend.  

Once the water and palm sugar have blended and the water reaches a boil, add in the pork.

After a minute or so, add in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and dark sweet soy sauce and stir until blended.

Allow to cook until the meat is nearly done.

Add in black pepper, bamboo, and 2 cups of water and stir until blended.

Once it reaches a boil, gently stir in eggs, cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

Enjoy with jasmine rice!

Just as a note, once I finish with my thesis, I will edit this and other videos into one per recipe; however, I just do not have the time now.

*On video V, I got a bit out of control on the descriptions, so if you want to get straight to the recipe, you can even skip this vid and go on to VI.  I was just explaining ingredients.

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