After I posted the crispy pork recipe, there was a request for a recipe for Khao Moo Grob, which is crispy pork belly over rice, topped with red sauce. I didn’t respond to that request right away because to make Khao Moo Grob you will need to make this barbecue pork first. The red sauce that goes over the rice in Khao Moo Grob is the same sauce that is used to marinate this barbecue pork.
in Thailand, the red barbecue pork is called Moo Dang, (as you might already know, if you remembered moo=pork and dang=red). Moo Dang simply is “Red Pork”. It’s not originally Thai. We just happily adopted this item from the Cantonese Chinese and add our own twist to it. It was originally Char Siu pork or Chinese barbecue pork that you would normally see at Chinese barbecue restaurants in any Chinatown. The ones that have roasted ducks or a roasted pig hanging in the window will be sure to have Char Sui pork, too.
You might have a big question mark popping up in your mind, like, why is it red? This is not a confirmed history, because I can’t read Chinese, but I’ve been told that Char Siu originated from Cantonese Chinese. The original red color was from fermented soy bean curd or, if you want to call it fermented tofu, you can. The fermented tofu has red color because of the red yeast rice in it.
What’s is Red Yeast Rice?
Red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by the red yeast, Monascus purpureus. It has been used in Chinese cuisine for many centuries as a food preservative, and food colorant, and in China also for medicinal purposes. Red yeast rice is useful for improving blood circulation and helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion and diarrhea and in modern holistic medicine also helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
If you want to ask further why red yeast rice is included, that would be a tough question to answer for me. I don’t know. If anyone does, please let me know, too. My guess is the Chinese, who very cautious and smart about their food consumption, might put it in to help the indigestion and prevent the diarrhea or may be just simply to add the red color.
Anyhow, Moo Dang in Thailand or the red Chinese barbecue pork you see today rarely has red yeast rice as the red agent anymore. I don’t really know about the real Chinese Char Siu, though. I can’t make any claim on that. The red barbecue pork these days uses red food coloring instead. Also the Thais had adjusted the recipe such as adding the cilantro (coriander) root, and removing the liquor in the recipe until Thai Moo Dang is slightly different than the original Char Siu.
I also added my own twist as well. I had tried many recipes for Moo Dang, and the recipe I’m posting here today is the result of many, many years of attempts. I used ketchup in the recipe once because I couldn’t get any red yeast rice powder, and found out that using ketchup is makes the barbecue pork taste so much better. So now I leave it in there, even though I found where to get red yeast rice powder. That’s my own twist. I hope you like it.
There is one ingredient that you might have a hard time finding: Maltose Sugar, which is used as the thicken agent as well as sweetener. If so, you can substitute maltose sugar with glucose syrup or corn syrup.
Pork butt or pork shoulder 2 lb.
Ketchup 1/2 cup
Cilantro root 3 roots
Green onion 3 stalks
Garlic 10 cloves
Palm sugar 1- 1-1/2 tablespoons (or granulated sugar)
Salt 2 teaspoons
Sweet soy sauce 2 tablespoons
Light soy sauce 2 tablespoons
Seasoning sauce 2 tablespoons (I used Maggie 1 tablespoon and Golden label 1 tablespoons)
Vegetable oil 2 tablespoons
Sesame oi l 2 tablespoons
White pepper 2 teaspoons
Maltose syrup, glucose syrup or corn syrup 3 tablespoons
Oyster sauce 2 tablespoons
Chinese five spices 1 tablespoon
Honey 3 tablespoons
Red Yeast Rice 1/8 teaspoon (I put a little too much this time, nearly 1/4 teaspoon so the color is too deep red)
Ingredients for the final dipping:
Water 1 cup
1) Put all of the ingredients except the pork in a blender and puree all of them to the finest level.
2) Cut the pork in to thick strips.
3) Marinate the pork in the sauce overnight
4) Warm the oven to 350ºF.
5) Take the pork out of the marinade and put on a rack over a tray, and bake for 50 minutes.
Flip once after 25 minutes.
Keep ALL the marinade; we will be using it in the next episode to make the sauce for the rice.
6) While you are waiting for the pork, mix all the final dipping ingredients together and heat them on the stove until bubbling.
7) Dip the pieces of cooked pork in the dipping sauce and bake for another 10 minutes. Also keep all of the leftover dipping sauce. We will be using that in the sauce as well.
Now you are done. You can enjoy it right away. Next week I will give you the recipe for the red sauce and the Khao Moo Dang and Khao Moo Grob recipes. Stay tuned!