Stewed Pork Hocks on Rice (Khao Kha Mu ข้าวขาหมู) by Nong of Nong's Khao Man Gai
Author: 
Recipe type: One-Plate Meal
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups warm water
  • One tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • One large cilantro root or ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro stems
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • One 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola (The Pepsi people can use Pepsi.), preferably completely flat
  • ½ cup oyster sauce, preferably a Thai brand, such as Maekrua
  • One large pork leg (see post) or meaty (2/3 meat and ⅓ bones) pork hocks or knuckles, 3 lbs total
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • Side vegetables: One 12-ounce package of pickled mustard greens (see post) or ½ pound Chinese broccoli or kai lan (see post)
  • Chili-Garlic vinegar as seasoning sauce which you've made in advance, hopefully (see post)
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak the mushrooms in the warm water and forget about them for now.
  2. In a mortar or mini chopper, grind the peppercorns, garlic, and cilantro root into a smooth paste; set aside. (It's going to be difficult to grind whole peppercorns in a mini chopper, so if you don't have a mortar, substitute the peppercorns with the same amount of ground white or black pepper.)
  3. Put the cinnamon stick and star anise pods in a small skillet; toast the spices over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  4. Pour the soda into an 8-quart stockpot. Add the prepared paste, toasted spices, salt and oyster sauce to it; mix well.
  5. Pick the mushrooms out of the soaking liquid and throw them into the soda pot. Strain the soaking liquid to get rid of any gritty sediment; keep the strained soaking liquid; you'll need it later.
  6. Rinse the pork leg or hocks, pat dry, and add to the soda mixture.
  7. Put the stockpot on high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. When the liquid boils, close the lid, turn down the heat so the liquid is simmering. Let the pork cook for 3 hours, checking every hour to make sure the pork is submerged. Replenish the liquid with the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and more water, as necessary.
  8. Now that you have 3 hours to kill, prepare the vegetables. If you use pickled mustard greens, take them out of the bag, rinse them under cold water, squeeze them dry, core them, and slice them thinly crosswise (see post). If you use Chinese broccoli, cut the leafy parts crosswise into 2-inch pieces and cut the stalks diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Set them aside for now.
  9. If you haven't made any rice, steam some jasmine rice now. You're going to need 4-6 cups of cooked rice.
  10. At the 2.5-hour mark, gently drop the hard-boiled eggs into the liquid.
  11. After 3 hours, the pork should be tender but still hold its structure. The skin should plump up and be soft with a bit of bite to it. Take the pot off the heat.
  12. Transfer the pork from the pot to a large bowl to cool. This can be tricky. If you use pork hocks, a large slotted spoon may be enough to get them out of the pot without much difficulty. But if you use one large pork leg, you figure it out what tool(s) in your kitchen will help you do that successfully. Two very sturdy metal spatulas, perhaps?
  13. Wow, that was pretty messy, wasn't it? You're not done yet. Fish the mushrooms and the eggs out of the pot as well and transfer them to the pork bowl. Let the pork, mushrooms, and eggs cool under a foil tent. Fish out the spices and discard them. The only thing left in the pot right now should be the stewing liquid which looks pretty thin to you and you will feel tempted to reduce it to concentrate the flavor or even to thicken it and turn it into some sort of gravy. If so, please dismiss those thoughts.
  14. Put the pot back on medium high heat.
  15. When the liquid is boiling, add the sliced pickled mustard greens to it and stir them around. After 1 minute, fish them out with a slotted spoon into a separate bowl. If you use Chinese broccoli, add the stalk parts to the pot first. After 30 seconds, the leafy parts go in. After a total of 1 minute, fish them all out into another bowl. Don't remove the pot from heat yet; keep it on the stove, with the lid on, on the lowest heat setting.
  16. Let the pork cool down enough to slightly warmer than room temperature.
  17. To assemble, put about a cup of rice in the center of each individual plate. Arrange the mustard greens and/or Chinese broccoli on one side. Halve the eggs lengthwise and arrange them on the side too. It's going to be a pretty full plate. Take the meat off the bone and cut it, skin and all, into bite-sized pieces. Arrange the meat on top of the rice. Spoon about ½ cup of the warm cooking liquid over the pork and the rice. Sprinkle with some cilantro leaves. Serve with the chili-garlic vinegar.
  18. You will have quite a bit of cooking liquid left. Let it cool down and freeze it for the next pot of stewed pork hocks.
Recipe by SheSimmers at http://shesimmers.com/2013/10/stewed-pork-hocks-rice-khao-kha-mu-nongs-khao-man-gai.html