Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Caw - Cambodian Stewed Pork with Egg

I have a long time Cambodian friend and she has taught me some exceptional recipes over the years. Caw (pronounced Koh) is one of them. Caw is stewed pork belly with whole boiled eggs. Normally served with steamed jasmine rice, Caw is a sticky, sweetish dish that although VERY rich, is some how VERY moreish. The best way to eat it is to have a bit of everything on your spoon. I like to mash a little bit of egg, and soak it in the sauce, then add some rice and pork.

It's a slow cooked meal, about 3 or so hours so that the skin of the pork belly renders down to a soft silky texture and the meat melts in your mouth. A lot of people get a little put off by pork belly when it's braised or stewed.  Most wouldn't hesitate to tuck into a crunchy bit of crackling when pork belly is roasted but seem to be scared when it's soft and silky. However the texture of pork belly when stewed is such a beautiful, tender, delicate thing to eat.  If you are someone who would normally not eat soft pork belly, give it a go, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

A funny story about Caw:

My friends ex is also a good friend of mine. We were in the Central Market a few years ago shopping for the nights dinner. Caw. As my friend and I were walking and talking I turned and said out loud to him "I can't wait to get back to your place and have some Caw!" Well if you haven't figured it out yet, Caw when pronounced correctly sounds a lot like Cock! So what most people would have heard me say would have been something a bit different to what I meant! I got to say I got some pretty funny looks from passers by.

How to make Caw.


I Kg Pork Belly - skin on and cut into 3-4cm cubes.
Half a bulb of Garlic.
2 knobs of Ginger.
1 Cup Sugar. (I've used raw sugar)
2-3 TBS Fish sauce.
3-4 TBS Light soy.
2-3 TBS Dark soy.
2-3 TBS Pepper.
Water to Cover.
1 Doz. Eggs.
Jasmine Rice.

You need the same amount of garlic to ginger. I normally use half a bulb. (not half a clove!)
2 knobs of ginger, a knob is generally the size of your thumb.

Finely chop, saute and set aside.

Melt sugar in a large sauce pan or pot as if you're making toffee but let it get very dark, almost burnt. This will set the colour for your sauce!

Return the sautéed garlic and ginger then add the pork. When cutting the pork use a very sharp knife and cut it into 3-4 cm cubes.

Now cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down to a steady simmer.

Add the fish, and soy sauces and continue to simmer.

Skim off any foamy residue from the surface. If you don't do this the sauce will be grainy and dirty in appearance and will have a slightly unpleasent after taste. When skimmed the sauce will be clean and quite dark in colour.

When skimmed, leave to simmer. Top up with water if the level has dropped too much. While you wait for the pork belly to stew, boil the dozen eggs, cool then peel. Once the pork belly has been stewing for about 2 hours place the eggs into the pot.

Now just let it simmer for another hour. Watch the water level. You are aiming for it to end up with sauce below the pork belly but not by too much. You don't want it to be a soup but you still want a good amount of sauce to pour over the dish. (This dish is meant to be be sweet, but if it is too sweet then balance it out with some more light soy).

Serve up with steamed Jasmine rice. 

I was taught by a good friend the easiest way to steam rice. Get one mug of rice, i.e. your typical coffee mug. Fill it with rice, pour that rice into a small pot. Wash the rice in the pot under the tap until the water runs clear. Washing the rice gets rid of the talc that is used to "polish" the grains. Once washed add a full mug full of water and then a little bit more, 1/5 -1/4 of a mug should do it. 
Bring to the boil, once boiling vigorously turn the stove top to the lowest setting, put on the lid and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn off the heat and let it sit for 15-20 mins undisturbed. Do not take off the lid once it's been put on until you are ready to serve. I know it's tempting, but just leave it alone. It will be just fine.  A large mug will serve approx. 3-4 people.



  1. Thanks so much for this recipe! My parents use to make this dish growing up, but it's been so long since then. Definitely going to try it out myself now! :)

  2. Hope it works out, let me know how it goes. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. OMG!!! I have grew up with Cambodians and i lovvvwwweeee KOH. One of my favoriet cambodian dishes.

  4. My aunt and mom use make this also... But they add Bamboo shoot and lemon grass to it.. I will try to recreate it but instead of water I will use coconut juice. And also my aunt usually cook the pork belly until the grim is nearly drain prior adding the water to the pot..this way u don't really have skimmish the grim..

  5. Ive been dying to make koh.. im combodian myself but was never sure how to make it.. thanks

  6. Thanks for the feedback. Caw is so easy to make but tastes like such a delicate and complicated dish. Let me know how you went

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