It was my first time cooking a sweetened kaong. I looked over the web for an established procedure with no success. It seems the information about it is rare. I asked mom and dad and they told me the traditional practice.
Each kilogram of kaong should be added with one kilogram sugar. The sugar should be dissolved and cooked first in water before adding the kaong meat. That is to prevent too long cooking time which causes unnecessary toughening.
Cooking time and amount of water were not declared so I need to do the guessing myself.
I washed the kaong meat several times to remove the sour smell. Kaong meat are kept in tumblers with water. The water is changed once a day every day to avoid souring.
I cut each meat into three to four parts depending on original size, using scissors. The meat was slippery and hard to held. I got used to it after a while. The job would have been faster if I have a tool similar to egg slicer.
To approximate the amount of water needed, I transferred the kaong meat to cooking vessel. Added water just enough to make the kaong float. Scooped out all the meat. Set the stove flame to low and slowly added two kilograms sugar while stirring. I let the solution boil until it was down to previous original volume (the amount just before addition of sugar). I dropped all the kaong meat and continued boiling for another 15 minutes.
The product was perhaps harvested by a novice kaong meat harvester. Some were too hard that I could not cut it with scissors. Some were too soft, not even worth slicing. Some had the right chewy texture. How I wish all had the right chewy texture.
The above image shows three kaong meats with different hardness. From left to right – toughest, chewy and softest.
After adding the kaong meat, the water became too much and less viscous and the kaong became less. Perhaps the too soft meats disintegrated. I scooped the excess syrup and added more sugar to compensate for the loss sweetness.
The vessel I used was also the one I used to roast the dried chili. Sister said she washed it thoroughly several times but a residual chili flavor seemed left behind and mixed with the sweetened kaong. The result was a sweet kaong with mild chili after taste. It was unexpected nice result.