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This is a hot a spicy soup, part of a tradition of what might be called "poachers food" if they originated in the British countryside, though the term might be misunderstood here in Thailand: specifically a hearty simple production using "game" style animals, such as wild pig or venisen, as well as fish, and "free range" poultry, as well as game birds such as pheasant. This dish is made from pork. Recent monsoonal floods had made some wild pigs a nuisance on a friends farm, and the result was three "suckling pigs" as well as an adult boar and sow, neatly dressed out and looking for a recipe. This then is my wifes version of moo maw fai, or pork hotpot. It is prepared using a "Mongolian Fire Pot" - the sort of soup heater with a central funnel that traditionally sits on charcoal, but today is often gas fired. You could also use a european style fondue set. The pork is pre-cooked, but diners may drop pieces into the hot liquor to warm them, as well as absorbing the flavour of the stock, and usually ingredients are either simply thrown into the pot and then scooped out when cooked, or placed in small bronze-wire baskets and dipped in the steaming stock. The eggplants should be either the pea sized makheua phuang or the golf ball sized makheua pro, which are usually quartered. If Thai egg plants are not available then use a purple aubergine, and carve ball shaped pieces from it with a melon baller. This traditional preparation uses pig fat as the cooking oil for the meat. If you prefer you can omit the belly pork, increasing the amount of tenderloin, and frying it in vegetable oil or groundnut oil. However this traditional variant gives a fuller and richer flavour. METHOD: trim the liver, kidneys, and tenderloin to bite sized pieces, discarding the hard core of the kidneys. Carefully slice of the outer layer of fat and skin from the belly pork, and dice it, then dice the remaining belly pork. In a wok, over medium heat, stir fry the pieces of belly pork skin with fat attached, until the fat begins to render freely to form a pool of oil in the bottom of the wok. Now add the rest of the belly pork and stir fry with the heat as high as possible (bearing in mind that pig fat smokes at a low temperature, so be careful), to make the meat and skin well cooked, and crispy, then using a slotted spoon or wok strainer, remove the meat and skin, and place it on kitchen towels to drain. Sautee the shallots and garlic, until golden and crispy. Remove, drain and reserve. (Continued in part 2).
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