Since our three week holiday in Thailand last year, we’ve really had a hankering for Thai food. That’s why we’re so excited about Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge. Read my review of the book here.
With permission from publisher Pavilion Books, we are pleased to share three fabulous recipes from the book, here on Kavey Eats. We’ve already published a delicious party snack called Ma Hor (Galloping Horses) and one of my favourite mains, Pad Krapow Moo (Pork Stir-fried with Holy Basil).
Our third and final recipe is this fragrant yet hearty Kai Pa Lo (Braised Pork, Eggs and Kale).
Kai Pa Lo (Braised Pork, Eggs and Kale)
This is a very different style of Thai dish – a real Bangkok street favourite: sweet, salty, and somehow soothing with the scent of warm, fragrant, almost Middle-Eastern spices. It’s a recipe that would have probably come into Thailand with Chinese immigrants in the early nineteenth century.
Traditionally, it would be made with a pork hock, but this version is easier for the home cook. I adapted it from a recipe given to me by Khun Tee, a steward I met on Thai Airways several years ago who, in turn, had got it from his grandmother. In food writing, I quickly learned, it always pays to carry pen and paper!
- 20 white peppercorns
- 3 coriander (cilantro) roots, coarsely chopped (see Recipe Notes)
- 4 small or 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500 g / 1 lb 2 oz pork belly, cut into large pieces, or a combination of pork belly and pork ribs
- 1 tbsp five spice powder
- 4 tbsp sweet dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsp sweet dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp palm sugar
- 6–8 pieces of fried tofu, each about 4 cm / 1 1⁄2 inch square
- 12 hard-boiled quail’s eggs (or 6 hen’s eggs), peeled
- a pinch of salt
- a bunch of greens – chard, kale, pak choi (bok choy)
Coriander (Cilantro) Root, Leaves, Seeds and Stems: Thais use all parts of the coriander plant. Keep the seeds in the spice rack, the roots in the freezer (you’ll generally find them in the freezer section of your Asian supermarket), and buy the leaves as you need them. They perish fast. Try to keep a fair bit of stem on the roots. If you cannot find coriander root – and there will be weeks on end when there doesn’t seem to be any about – use the stems instead. It’s not quite the same, but it’ll do. If you become a super-keen Thai cook, buy it in bulk when you see it, and freeze it.
Fried tofu can be purchased in most East Asian food stores.
Pound the peppercorns, coriander roots and garlic together in a pestle and mortar to= make a paste.
Pour 1.5 litres / 3 pints / 6 1⁄4 cups of water into a large stock pot and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok until hot, and stir-fry the paste. Add the pork and the five spice powder and continue to stir-fry until the meat has lost its pinkness, about 5–8 minutes.
Remove the pork from the oil and put it into the boiling water. Season with the soy sauce, nam pla and palm sugar, stir well, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the tofu and simmer for 30 minutes, then add the eggs and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Taste. It should be sweet and salty, so adjust the seasoning at this point to suit your palate. Throw in the greens and let them wilt. Serve with jasmine rice as a one-dish meal.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Baan: Recipes and Stories from my Thai Home. Published by Pavilion Books, RRP £20. Image credit: Louise Haggar.