Marinated Pork:
1 lb. pork leg, cut into wafers about 1x1 ½” and ⅛” thick
8 oz. pork fat, cut into strips, ½ x 1 ½” and ⅛” thick
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 Tbsps. grated light brown palm sugar
2 Tbsps. pounded or minced shallots
1 Tbsp. pounded or minced garlic
¼ cup minced lemongrass
10 bamboo chopsticks, beginning at small end split lengthwise 75%
12” square banana leaf, blanched, pulled into strip ¼” wide

1. Massage ingredients 3 through 8 into pork. Marinate at least 1 hour.
2. Slip pork in between split skewers, alternating meat and fat.
3. Tie end with banana leaf securing tight in between end and tie knot to secure.

Black Pepper Caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar (combined with ½ cup water)
2 tsps. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup water
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp. fish sauce

1. In a small saucepan, heat sugar/water mixture over medium heat until a deep caramel is formed. The sugar will be at about 185°C or 365°F.

2. Add black pepper then water carefully as it will boil vigorously and release lots of steam.

3. Remove from heat and stir until no lumps remain. Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce.

4. To assemble: Grill chopsticks of pork, fanning constantly over a roaring fire until brown and cooked through.

5. Pull off meat and fat. Arrange a piece on a mini-skewer or serving spoon.

6. Drizzle with black pepper caramel.

7. Dust with crushed pan-roasted peanuts, fine chiffonade of parilla herb and thinly sliced cilantro stems.

Recipe: Robert Danhi