Rabieng manager Eddie Duangrat credits his mother (and the restaurant’s founder), Pookie Duangrat, with the creation of this popular curry. Here, Eddie has kept the recipe at a “hefty and hearty” quantity that serves 10 to 12 people. He says it’s the perfect dish for a Thai-style Thanksgiving gathering. We’re with him on that. On a recent visit, one of our dining critics wrote: “It’s rare that what’s in a curry is equal to the sauce, but the braised pork in red curry at this slyly elegant cafe is one of the exceptions.” Many of the ingredients can be found at Asian markets or in the ethnic section of a grocery store.
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Red-Curry Roast Pork
Serves 10 to 12
2 four-pound pork loins
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 cinnamon stick
4 to 5 pieces dried star anise
1 teaspoon ground roasted coriander seed
3 cilantro roots, smashed
11 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup thick soy sauce
1¼ cups sweet soy sauce
9 teaspoons salt
3½ cups sugar
4 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, diced
3 cilantro sprigs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 13½-ounce cans coconut milk
6 four-ounce cans red-curry paste
Pineapple chunks as needed
Cherry tomatoes as needed
Fresh sweet basil (holy basil or horapa) as needed
Prepare the pork:
Cut the pork loins lengthwise into 8 long strips.
Set the pork in a large pot. Add the five-spice powder, cinnamon stick, star anise, coriander, cilantro roots, 3 crushed garlic cloves, thick soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, 4 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups sugar. Combine the pork and spices. Fill the pot with water until the pork is submerged (approximately 10 quarts).
Cover the pot and bring the pork and broth to a slow boil over medium heat for about 1 hour. Remove the pork, and save the reduced broth.
Set the pork on a hot grill. Brush the pork with the reduced broth until the meat is firm and tender. Slice the pork diagonally into thinner, smaller pieces. Set aside.
Prepare the curry:
Combine the 8 remaining garlic cloves, the red onions, lemongrass, and cilantro sprigs and finely chop in a blender or food processor.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok set over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the chopped herb/onion mixture and briefly sauté. Stir in the coconut milk, curry paste, remaining salt, remaining sugar, and 2 cups of water. Mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
While the curry is hot, add the desired amounts of pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and sweet basil leaves.
Ladle the curry over the sliced pork and serve.
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