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Thai Red Pork with Rice, 'Khao Mu Daeng'

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Mu daeng is a complement to khao man gai. Indeed in Thailand vendors that sell one very often sell the other, but nothing else. Like khao man gai a good lunch time meal can be had for a dollar or so. An interesting style for two people is to buy a portion of khao man gai and a portion of khao mu daeng, and to share the meals. Traditionally the pork was marinaded in a highly complex mixtrue of herbs and berries to turn it sweet and red. Today the marinade at most street vendors stalls is water to which a little artificial red food dye and a dash of sugar is added. In Thailand the food is cooked by placing it on a grating in an iron bowl hanging from a tripod over a charcoal brazier, the whole being covered with a large metal drum, such as a 55 gallon oil drum, to trap the smoke and enhance the flavor of the meat. If you have a domestic food smoker, or can improvise one with a barbeque, then go ahead, otherwise, add a little "Liquid Smoke" and cook the dish as follows.

You need about a pound of pork loin, pork steak, or pork chops.

Ingredients

Marinade

1/4 cup chopped tomato from which the seeds and skin have been discarded
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons honey
2 preserved plums (preserved Chinese plums are the best for this recipe), chopped

This is mixed in a blender, and the meat thoroughly painted with it and left to stand for several hours. If you cannot cook in a suitably smoky atmosphere, add a little Liquid Smoke to the marinade. If you want it a little redder use cochineal food coloring.

Method

Place the meat, and the marinade, in a casserole, and add about a cup of water or pork stock. Bring it to a boil on the stove top, then reduce to low heat and cover, and continue to cook slowly until just about cooked. The meat is then removed from the liquid in which it has cooked, drained, then placed under a grill or broiler on high heat and browned. Allow it to cool and then slice it into strips, and the strips into bite sized pieces.

Bring the cooking liquid back to the boil, and add two tablespoons of dark sweet soy, and 2 tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of vinegar, and reduce to a thick sauce like consistency, adding a little rice flour if necesary to thicken it.

Serve the pork on a bed of steamed Thai jasmine rice, garnished with coriander leaves, with a supply of cucumber slices, and place the gravy in a small bowl for dipping.

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