Khao Kan Jin
Ping, Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok Noi, Andy Ricker / July 2011
For 8 servings
Garlic & chiles:
• 1 cup canola oil
• 1/4 cup garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup sm. dried red Thai chiles
Heat oil in a wok set over medium-low heat; add garlic; cook, stirring often, until brown (about 10 minutes); remove from heat; strain through fine sieve into a bowl; reserve oil; spread garlic out on paper towels to drain; cool; reserve.
Add 1 Tbsp. reserved garlic oil to wok; reduce heat to low; add chiles; cook, stirring constantly, until almost brown and aromatic; remove from heat; let sit in hot oil 2 minutes; remove from wok with a spider; place on paper towels to drain; cool; reserve.
• 1 cup fresh pig's blood
• 1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and crushed slightly
• 1 pkg. frozen banana leaves, thawed and wiped with damp towel
• 4 1/2 cups Thai jasmine rice, soaked in 8 cups lukewarm water 4 hours
• 1/2 lb. pork shoulder, finely minced
• 2 Tbsps. raw granulated sugar
• 2 tsps. fine sea salt
• 2 to 3 cucumbers, cut into spears (for serving)
• 1 red onion, cut into thick bite-size julienne (for serving)
• cilantro leaves
Place blood and lemongrass in a bowl; massage together firmly with fingers 3 minutes (this removes gamy flavor from blood); remove lemongrass; strain blood through course sieve, pushing through coagulated bits; discard lemongrass and solids; reserve blood.
Remove center stem from banana leaves with scissors; cut into 10" by 12" rectangles; soften leaves using a blowtorch; stack 3 leaves shiny side down on top of each other; repeat with remaining leaves.
Rinse the rice under cold running water until water runs clear (2 to 3 times); drain in fine mesh colander; fill the pot of Thai-style sticky rice steamer with 2 1/2" water; bring to a boil; place rice in steamer basket lined with cheesecloth; place on top of pot; cover basket with damp towel; steam until rice is tender (about 20 minutes); remove rice from heat; spread out on baking sheet; cover with damp cheesecloth; cool; reserve.
Place cooled rice in large bowl; add pork, reserved blood, 2 Tbsps. reserved garlic oil, sugar, and salt; mix gently with hands; place 1 cup of mixture in center of each banana leaf stack; fold leaves in over mixture, first lengthwise and then from each side to make a packet; tie closed tightly with kitchen twine.
Fill Chinese steamer pot with 3" water; bring to a boil; place packets in steamer basket in single layer; cover with lid; reduce heat to medium-high; place basket on top of pot; steam 30 minutes; turn off heat; reserve packets in steamer (keep warm).
To serve, remove banana leaf packets from steamer; open packets, using leaves as serving dish; drizzle filling with some garlic oil; sprinkle liberally with reserved fried garlic; place cucumber, onion, cilantro, and a few reserved fried chiles to one side.
What to drink: naam krachiap (see note below)
Chef's Notes: To make naam krachiap (hibiscus drink), mix 1 1/4 gals. water, 4 cups granulated sugar, 3 oz. dried hibiscus flowers, and 1 1/2 Tbsps. kosher salt. • Khao kan jin is a northern Thai dish typically eaten as a snack during the work day with khanom jin nam ngiew (fresh sour rice vermicelli with a soup of pork ribs, blood cake, and tomatoes poured on top).