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Moo Hong Recipe (Thai Pork Belly Stew)

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The best moo hong recipe, one of a kind and easy enough for every home cook to whip up! This Thai pork belly stew combines Chinese spices and Thai seasonings into one delicious dish that’s perfect for any day of the week.

Moo hong, Thai pork belly stew, with sauce and jasmine rice.

Thai stewed pork belly pairs great with a side of jasmine rice. I’ve found it’s also fantastic for meal prep, as the leftovers tasted even better the next day.

Thai pork belly recipes are versatile and always delicious! Here are some of my personal favorites: Thai fried pork belly, Thai braised pork belly, and pad kana moo krob.

What is moo hong

Nam jim jaew is a classic Thai dipping sauce with a spicy, sweet, and sour taste. It’s made with fish sauce, sugar, and lime, perfect for grilled meats.


Moo hong is one of those incredibly Thai dishes with Chinese influence. Centuries ago, Chinese immigrants brought their cooking styles and ingredients to Thailand, mixing with Thai flavors to create delicious Chinese-Thai food like pad see ew and lad na.

Did you know that Thai pork belly stew is a staple in Southern Thai cuisine, especially in Phuket? Feel free to pair this with these reader-favorite Southern Thai recipes: Thai roti, khua kling, and kaeng som.

Thai pork belly stew

I’ve found a new obsession – the most tender pork belly snuggled up in a sauce that’s so deliciously savory and sweet and sings of garlic and pepper.

And believe me, it’s not just any sauce; it’s rich, it’s aromatic, and you’ll want to savor it till the last drop.

Close-up of Thai pork belly stew, moo hong.

What’s special about this Thai stew recipe is the blend of Thai seasonings with cinnamon stick and star anise, a nod to the Chinese influence.

And hey, don’t let the complex ingredients intimidate you, this stewed pork belly recipe is actually surprisingly easy to make.

It’s perfect for those who are new to Thai cooking but also great for the experienced chefs amongst us, as you can easily customize the sauce to your taste.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for moo hong recipe labeled: coriander root, pork belly, spices, salt, light soy sauce, palm sugar, dark soy sauce, and water.
  • Pork belly – Opt for a pork belly cut with a nice balance of fat and meat.
  • Coriander root, garlic, black peppercorns – This trio of herbs and spices is a typical choice in Thai cuisine for marinades, stews, and even soups.
  • Cinnamon stick – Cinnamon stick adds a subtly sweet, woody warmth to the stew that perfectly complements the richness of the pork belly.
  • Star anise – Star anise has a distinct licorice-like sweetness, which infuses the stew with a pleasant aniseed fragrance.
  • Dark soy sauce – Dark soy sauce gives the stew a caramelized hue and adds a molasses-like sweetness. You can find this and all other seasonings at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
  • Light soy sauce – Light soy enhances the natural flavors of the pork belly and brings a savory note.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar has a caramel-like sweetness that rounds out the savory elements. Avoid using white and brown sugar to replicate the exact flavors of this recipe.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavors.
  • Water – The base of the stew, melding the rich spices, seasonings, and pork belly together into a broth that’s aromatic and comforting.

How to stew pork belly

Freshly pounded coriander root, peppercorns, and garlic in a mortar.

Step 1: Crush garlic, black peppercorns, and coriander root with a mortar and pestle.

Aromatic spices and herbs in a pot.

Step 2: Place a pot over low-medium heat and add crushed spices with star anise and cinnamon stick. Fry the spices until fragrant and then add palm sugar. Cook until the sugar starts to caramelize.

Caramelized pork belly with spices in a pot.

Step 3: Add dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and salt. Add pork belly chunks and brown them.

Pork belly pieces simmering in a clear broth.

Step 4: Add water and let it simmer slowly over low heat for about 3 hours, or until the pork is soft belly and tender. Serve immediately with rice. Enjoy!

Kitchen tools

  • Measuring spoons and sharp knife
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Large wok or pot
  • Ladle

Tips for Thai stew recipe

Customize the flavors: Remember, Thai cooking is all about you. Adjust the seasonings and taste-test before serving to make it taste right for your family.

Balance the flavors: In Thai cuisine, it’s important to create a balance of flavors. Aim for a balanced blend of sweet and salty in your pork stew.

Vegetables: The traditional recipe focuses on the rich flavors of the pork and the aromatic herbs and spices used in Thai cuisine. In my family, Thai pork stew prioritizes meat as the main ingredient. I’m not sure how this is done in other families, but some variations may include vegetables like carrots or even potatoes.

Slow cook: Allow the pork belly to stew and simmer until it falls apart. The longer it simmers, the more tender and flavorful it becomes.

Stewed pork serving ideas

Serve your stewed pork over jasmine rice to soak up all that rich sauce. Feel free to pair it with a side of fresh vegetables or an easy-to-make Thai salad like ground beef larb.

It’s important to note that this recipe is not spicy. If you like spicy food, you’ll want to serve this with an authentic som tum Thai or Thai long bean salad, adding chilies to taste.

Storing and reheating tips

Let your leftover Thai pork belly stew cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh for up to 3 days.

Freezing: Allow your moo hong leftovers to cool down to room temperature. Transfer it into freezer-safe containers or bags. Use within 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheating: Warm the stew over low heat on the stove. Avoid microwaving.

Frequently asked questions

Where to buy pork belly?

Pork belly can typically be purchased at butcher shops, supermarkets, or online meat suppliers.

Is this recipe spicy?

No, this Thai recipe balances sweet and sour flavors, following the traditional method of preparation.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

No, this recipe includes soy sauces.

Can I make this with an instant pot?

Yes, you can make this recipe with an instant pot, remember to adjust cooking times accordingly.

Authentic Thai pork recipes

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Moo Hong Recipe (Thai Pork Belly Stew)

Moo hong, Thai pork belly stew, with sauce and jasmine rice.
Easy moo hong recipe for Thai pork belly stew. Serve with jasmine rice to soak up all that delicious sauce!
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 coriander root
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 25 ounces pork belly sliced into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 34 fluid ounces water

Instructions

  • Use a mortar and pestle to crush garlic, black peppercorns, and coriander root.
  • Heat a pot over low-medium heat. Add the crushed spices, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Fry until fragrant. Then add palm sugar and cook until it begins to caramelize.
  • Stir in dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and salt. Add pork belly chunks and sear them until they are evenly browned on all sides.
  • Pour in water and simmer over low heat for about 3 hours, or until the pork belly is soft and tender. Serve hot with rice.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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