Kao Klook Ka Pi
I love this dish. It's a chock-full of flavors and textures in one plate, well balance of sweet caramel pork and gentle salty of shrimp paste rice, touched up with a bit of tang from fresh lime, also the crunchy fried dried shrimps, the softness of egg strands, sweet pungent of fresh shallots and a kick of hot chili....I'm exhausted already.
As the name of the dish stated, Klook means Tossing in Eng. It's the idea of eating this yummy rice. Besides tossing the rice with shrimp paste, tossing the tastes and textures all together at once before eating is the way to enjoy the dish, and you will be surprise how tasty this dish brings to you.
This rice dish will be worth a million when making with good quality shrimp paste, and with all the love, my mom gave me two kilos of her top-notch *O* It's the kind of shrimp paste she's proud of.
Making this dish requires quite a preparing. But!... no need to be intimidated, I will walk you through step by step. So, sit tight and take a sip of red wi.....bull....Yep..! better Red Bull ;) It's a long post, I think.
- 6 small heads of fresh shallot, chopped.
- hot chili (as much as you think you can beat them) chopped.
- 2-3 wedges of fresh lime
- dried shrimps
- 1 cup thin sliced pork.
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. palm sugar (or 1 piece of cake palm sugar)
- 1 tbsp. granulate sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp. black soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. saute oil
- 1/3 cup of water
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp. shrimp paste
- steamed rice, portion of two
Step One:chopping up
Chop up fresh shallots, chilies, cut the lime. Set aside.
Step Two: making egg strands.
1. A pan on low-medium heat, heat it up, drizzling in the oil, just to coat the pan.
2. Two eggs in a measuring cup for easy pouring, beat them up and seasoning with 1 tsp of fish sauce.
3. Pour the first half of the beaten egg to the pan, lift the pan up and swirl the pan around, spreading the egg to completely cover the bottom of the pan, making a thin sheet of egg.
4 Let it cooks for 3 minutes.
5. Using a spatula, flip the egg. Let it cooks for 2 minutes. Take it off the pan, let it cool down.
6. Drizzle in a bit more of oil, and do the same with the rest of the egg, making the second sheet.
Leave the sheets of egg to cool down, we'll come back and cut them into small strands later. In the meanwhile let's fry dried shrimps.
Step Three: frying dried shrimp
*Dried shrimps burn easily, so don't take your eyes off.*
1. With the same pan using for the eggs, set on the low heat, add 2 tbsp. of saute oil.
2. Add the dried shrimps, pan-fry them until fragrant and look golden. Fetch them out, and let them cool down.
Step Four: making caramel pork.
1. In the same pan and the oil left off from frying shrimps, on medium heat, (add more 1 tbsp. oil if needed) add the sliced pork. Saute until no pink left.
2. Add 1/3 cup of water, let it reaches full bubble then bring the heat down to low.
3. Add black soy sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar, granulate sugar. Stir to incorporate, and let the sauce simmering on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
4. Taste the sauce. The taste should be very sweet, caramel-ly sweet - sweet one step above the level you think it is because we need the sweet caramel pork to cut the salty rice later. So, don't be scare to be sweet at this point, add more sugar if needed.
5. Stir frequently, let it cooks until the liquid turn into thick caramel, coating all the pork. Turn off the heat.
Now the egg sheets are cool enough, it's time to cut.
1. Roll the sheets into small log, and cut them with a sharp knife into about 1/4" wide. Done!
Step Five: tossing the rice with shrimp paste.
1. Wrap 1 tbsp of shrimp paste with aluminum foil, bring to the open flame, and roast it for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. Steamed rice in a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, or olive oil, and roasted shrimp paste.
3. Use your hand, wearing a thin glove, or a spoon to incorporate the rice, oil and shrimp paste together. Make sure there are no lumps of shrimp paste left.
Now you can wake up!....it's all done
Ready to serve.
Spoon a little of each prepared ingredients to the plate, sprinkle with lime. Now you can adjust the taste of your plate right before eating. The rice has a gentle salty taste, cut with sweet caramel pork and lime, and if you love the kick on the taste buds, don't forget hot chili.
Before eating, toss all ingredients in your plate together - like making salad. That's how you eat Kao Klook Ka Pi.
Note: In Thailand you will find this dish served with chopped sour green mango or some kind of fruits that give the sour taste instead of a wedge of lime like I did. Well, where I live has no luxury of having sour green mango. So, lime is my best friend ;)