This street food dish has its origins in the Chinese cuisine and is considered a local delicacy. Originally ‘Khao Kha Mu’ is a stew of pork shank with aromatic Chinese spices that is served on top of rice as a single plate meal, reminiscent of the famous Chinese roasted duck on rice.

This is a comforting savory on the sweeter side dish, with wonderful five spice aromas, dark gravy and a pad of white rice that soaks up all that goodness. Poached greens like Chinese broccoli ‘Pak Kana’ in Thai, pickled mustard greens, ‘Kee nu’ chilies and spicy and sour condiments are also served to lighten up the feast.

It suddenly hit me that I may be able to recreate the experience without involving a pig in the act and instead make a plant based version. I thought that an unripe jackfruit (Khanun’ in Thai) may do the trick. Well. it worked better than I had expected and I can now enjoy a veggie ‘Khao Khanun’ ข้าวขนุน.

The dish should be salty and quite sweet with an overlay of the mix of dry spices.

Ingredients and preparations

Center wok:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Unripe jackfruit
  • Sliced galangal
  • Coconut sugar
  • Light soy sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Cassia or cinnamon
  • Star anise
  • White cardamom (optional)
  • Sichuan pepper (optional)
  • Water
  • Shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • Kelp seaweed (optional)
  • Sea salt
Unripe jackfruit wedges

Aromatic paste:

Method

1.Start by dry roasting the dry spices. Always roast dry spices whole and note that different spices require different roasting times. As a rule of thumb roast larger spices like cinnamon sticks or star anise longer. Cumin for instance needs a really quick roast and would burn faster than coriander. Set aside the roasted spices.

2.To prepare the aromatic paste pound the coriander roots, garlic cloves and white pepper into a fine paste, in a mortar and pestle. Grind the roasted coriander and cumin seeds and incorporate them into the paste.

3.In a wok fry the aromatic paste on medium heat with a little bit of vegetable oil. Add water, the rest of the dry spices and galangal and bring to a gentle boil. Season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar and adjust the flavor. It should taste salty and sweet. The dark soy should give the dish a nice deep brown color. Add the dry shiitake mushrooms, kelp and pieces of jackfruit. Cook on low for an hour at least and add water as needed to keep the jackfruit submerged. Serve on steamed Jasmin rice, with poached Chinese broccoli.

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