Kab (Thai:แคบ) is animal fat that has been rendered by frying until it’s crispy and crunchy. It is one of traditional way to preserve meat and add value to animal skins; cow, buffalo or pig. Pork skin is considered as a popular option to make Kab as it’s cheaper than others.
In Thailand, you will probably find at least 3 different types of Kab Moo, skin only, fat only and a mix of skin & fat. Each variety pairs well with different dishes.
- Skin only Kab Moo (Thai: แคบหมูไร้มัน) is great to have with Nam ngiao (Northern style spicy noodle soup, diced pork blood, tomatoes, fried garlic, dried chili, fermented soya bean and bombax ceiba and served with kanom jeen (Fine Vermicelli), nam phrik num (made with grilled green chili peppers), nam phrik ong (made with dried chili peppers, tomato, palm sugar and minced pork)
- Fat only Kab Moo (Thai:แคบหมูมันล้วน) is nice to pair with northern sausage (aka Sai Oua) or as ingredient for making Nam phrik
- Fat with skin Kab Moo (Thai:แคบหมูติดมัน) pairs similarily to Fat only Kab Moo
In the past, when Lanna people had a party in a small village, they would kill pigs, cows or buffalos to prepare meals for their guests. Pork would be chopped in different parts for cooking in specific purpose. The left over part would be pork skin. Pork skin would be preserved by simmering and frying in order to keep it longer. The villagers have been using these methods to produce Kab Moo for a long time as these techniques always preserve the texture and taste of Kab Moo (Baan House, 2020)
There are different methods of cooking pork crackers. The process of making a delicious Kab Moo begins with choosing the right cut of pork skin. The thigh and belly are recommended and it should be from pigs aged around 3-6 month old.
- The first step is to wash and clean the pork skin and removing dirt and hair and then salting the pork skin.
- The next step is to cut pork skin which is one of the important process as it is related to how pork cracking curling nicely or turn puffed skin after cooking. It is suggested that pork skin should be cut to the size of 1-1.5 x3 inches
- After that, boiling the pork skin in the water for 3 hours makes the pork skin easier to puff.
- Next, letting the pork skin air dry in the sun to make pork skin less chewy.
- Finally, flavour the sundried pork skin with sweet soy sauce, soy sauce and pinch of salt and deep fry twice in palm oil with some chopped pandan leaves to add a beautiful aroma to pork crackers. When Kab moo turn fluffy and nice colour, take it out of oil and let it cool down before packing in the plastic bag or close container to keep it crispy longer.
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