This dish by the late Thai prime minister and chef Samak Sundaravej, has been bookmarked since 2008 but I never tried making it until now. The reason is I didn't know what pong palo was. At the time I couldn't find the word either on the web or in all of my Thai cookbooks and I have forgotten about the dish. I just discovered here that pong palo is Chinese 5-spice powder which I always have in my pantry. This delicious salty sweet pork dish is a relative of our Filipino-Chinese Pata Tim and humba (hong-bah).
Pork Hocks in Coca-Cola Sauce
adapted from Samak Sundaravej's recipe
3 pounds pork hocks
24 ounces Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, chopped
three cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons pong palo (five-spice) powder
fresh shiitake or wild mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
see-uan (a sweet, dark sauce)
chili and vinegar dipping sauce
- Place the pork hocks in a large pot. Pour over the Coca-Cola and bring to the boil. Add the coriander root, garlic, pepper, salt, fish sauce, pong palo and cinnamon sticks. Add enough water to cover. Add the mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least three hours. Make sweet sauce with see-uan (I combined dark soy sauce and dark brown sugar). Serve with chilli and vinegar dipping sauce.