Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kaeng Hang Lay (Burmese/Thai Pork Belly Curry)

I went to a Thai restaurant called Pok Pok in Portland with a few people this summer.  I was terribly sick during our entire Seattle/Portland trip, so I didn't get a chance to taste much of the food.  Everyone thought the food there was delicious and the favorite was a Burmese/Thai pork belly curry called Kaeng Hang Lay (or Kaeng Hung Leh and other variations).  When we came back from our trip, I decided that I needed to make this based on the rave reviews.  After finding many recipes, I finally decided to go with this one:  This looked the most authentic and the pictures of the old lady making this in the kitchen of her home in Thailand was too perfect.  I've made this twice very recently and this is probably in my top 3 favorite dishes and the BF approves!

Here is a picture of the curry, about an hour into cooking.  I don't have any process pictures right now, but the link provided above has some you can check out.

Spicy, savory, D-E-L-I-S-H!

*Snapshot from the original poster's blog

  • Make sure you have a good butcher knife to cut through the pork belly skin.  After learning from my time, I tipped the butcher to cut it up for me into 1.5 in pieces.
  • I also only used 6-7 chili peppers (use even less if you don't care for spicy).
  • For the store-bought chili sauce, I used chili pepper soaked in a hot oil that comes in a jar in asian stores.  This is much hotter than Sriracha or other bottled sauces (i.e. Lee Kum Kee).  This was also why I cut back on the fresh chili peppers.  You'll have to customize this to your liking and based on what you can find.
  • I didn't use any oil since I was using a non-stick pot and because there is plenty of fat from the meat.
Modified Instructions:
  • Using a mortar and pestle (or whatever you might have available in the kitchen) combine the ingredients for the chili paste.  I didn't have any issues with just using a bowl and the flat side of a whisk.  I smashed it up just enough to break down the contents some.
  • If you didn't get your pork belly pre-cut, then cut it into 1.5 in pieces.  Toss this in a large pot and add the chili paste you just made, chili sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, turmeric powder and marsala powder.  Mix it up well and stick this in the fridge for 30 mins.
  • Heat the pot at medium heat after you remove it from the fridge.  I tossed (not stirred) it up enough just to keep meat from sticking to the bottom, but was careful not to over do it.  This helped seal the mixture.  Do this for 5 mins, then add just enough water to cover the pork.
  • Let it go to boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 1.5 hrs.  Check it constantly to make sure that the liquid doesn't get reduced too quickly within the first 30 mins.  After the first 30 mins, liquid reduction is fine.  In order to get the meat to cook evenly and keep parts of the meat from getting dry (exposed areas), I constantly turned the pieces of meat over (with minimal stirring).
  • Add the last rest of the shallots and garlic and ginger.  Cook for about 20 mins and then add tamarind, sugar, and salt to your liking (personally, I prefer 1-1.5 tsp of tamarind, 1/4 tsp of sugar, and no salt).
  • Cook for another 10 mins or until the meat and skin is tender (the skin should be pulling from the meat).
It seemed a little intimidating when I first looked into the recipes and it requires a lot of "babying",  but it was well worth it!

Pin It Now!