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Mookata Recipe (Thai BBQ)

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Mookata recipe is a complete guide walking you through every step of creating an authentic Thai BBQ experience at home. Think sizzling meats grilling in a Thai-style marinade, the comforting warmth of a rich soup base, and the healthy mix of vegetables and glass noodles, with an array of dipping sauces. It’s time for mu kratha, and everyone’s invited!

Mookata, a Thai BBQ top, with grilled meat, sausages, and vegetables.

If you like grilled meats, you’ll love moo ping (Thai grilled pork skewers), these Thai chicken wings, and authentic Thai chicken satay.

Don’t forget to make this mookata sauce before grilling!

What is mookata

Mookata, also known as Thai BBQ, is a unique grilling and hotpot experience. Originating in Thailand, it combines a dome-shaped grill for barbecuing meats and seafood with a surrounding moat for cooking vegetables and noodles in a flavorful soup base, creating a delightful, communal dining adventure.

Thai barbecue

The most fun, unique and popular dining experience in Thailand is definitely Thai barbecue!

Thai BBQ mookata with glass noodles, vegetables, soup base, marinade, and meat.

In Thai, “mookata” or “mu kratha” literally translates to “pork pan” – but hey, don’t worry if pork isn’t your thing! This versatile cooking style lets you sizzle up your favorite meats, be it chicken, beef, or seafood.

All across Thailand, you’ll stumble upon these all-you-can-eat, buffet-style BBQ joints offering a fixed-rate buffet. And the seafood? Oh, it’s incredibly fresh – think juicy shrimps and tender fish straight from the Southern Thai sea! The coolest part? In some spots, you can even catch your own live shrimps.

Woman catching live shrimp at a mookata restaurant in Thailand.
Catching live shrimp at a mookata restaurant in Thailand.

And my favorite part of Thai BBQ? The precious family time it brings. There’s nothing that compares to huddling around a tabletop grill with your loved ones, sizzling marinated meats and fresh veggies. The laughter, the chatter, it’s all in this recipe for a memorable night.

A steaming pot brimming with thinly sliced meats, fresh seafood, a lot of mushrooms and other greens, and fresh herbs, alongside slippery glass noodles. Add in some ice-cold beers and a smoking hot grill with a soup bubbling away – it’s like Christmastime but better!

The meat is cooked on a raised dome, perfect for grilling to perfection, while a soup simmers around the edges. You can toss meatballs, fish balls, crab sticks, and veggies into the broth.

The dipping sauces are definitely the best part, they’re spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and so versatile. Yummy yummy!

Glass noodles, meat, and vegetables grilling on a Thai BBQ top.

Psst, if you like Thai mookata, you’ll love this suki hang (Thai sukiyaki stir-fry).

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.


Let’s take a look at the essential ingredients you’ll need for your Thai BBQ. A Thai-style marinade, a mookata soup base, and an array of fresh vegetables.

Thai-style marinade ingredients

Before firing up the grill, let’s talk marinade. A crucial step for the best mookata is a good Thai-style marinade. This one is the real deal, a good balance of sweet and salty to infuse your meat with Thai flavor.

Ingredients for Thai-style marinade: oyster sauce, golden mountain sauce, sesame oil, palm sugar, sesame seeds, eggs, baking powder, and sparkling water.

I went for 1kg of tenderloin pork and 300g of bacon. But it’s your BBQ and you can mix it up with chicken, beef, seafood, or even a mix. As long as it fits on the grill and is packed with protein, you’re good.

  • Pork, chicken, beef, seafood
  • Golden mountain sauce – A classic Thai seasoning sauce that adds just that bit of extra compared to soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce – A thick, rich sauce that adds a salty and slightly sweet flavor. It’s great for marinades, infusing the meat with a glozy glaze.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar has a caramel-like sweetness, distinct from white sugar and other types.
  • Sesame oil – A drizzle of sesame oil adds a nutty, aromatic touch to the meat.
  • Sparkling water – Tenderizes the meat, making it succulent.
  • Baking powder – Another ingredient for tenderizing the meat. For Thai BBQ, it’s important that your meat is tender and juicy, and not chewy.
  • Sesame seeds – Toasted sesame seeds add a delicious crunch and nuttiness.
  • Eggs – For binding the marinade ingredients together so they cling to the meat.

Mookata soup base ingredients

An amazing Thai BBQ lies in its flavorful soup base. It’s easy, healthy, and full of nutrition. Feel free to add more spices and seasonings to taste!

Ingredients for mookata soup base: white radish, celery, garlic, bouillon, salt, water, white pepper.
  • Bouillon (Flavor seasoning RosDee) – A popular Thai seasoning, adds umami and elevates the flavors of the soup base.
  • White pepper – Adds a gentle heat, subtle but noticable.
  • White radish – Adds a mild, earthy sweetness.
  • Celery – Adds a crunchy texture and subtle, slightly peppery taste.
  • Garlic – Brings pungent notes and a delicious garlicky flavor.
  • Water – The soup base, melding all the ingredients together.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavors of the soup.

Vegetables and glass noodles

You can toss in any vegetables you want. Personally, I like Chinese cabbage, morning glory, enoki mushrooms, and Thai basil. Don’t forget glass noodles, these are readily available at Asian grocery stores.

Glass noodles and vegetables for mookata: morning glory, Thai basil, Chinese cabbage.

Thai barbecue sauce

Dipping sauces are a non-negotiable at any mookata party. They’re the final touch to the Thai BBQ that add a balance of spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavors.

Hand dipping meat in Thai barbecue sauce with a pot of mookata in the distance.

Thai cuisine has many dipping sauces that are great with Thai barbecue.

My favorite is this homemade mookata sauce. It’s perfect for pairing with this mookata recipe, balancing heat with a hint of sweetness.

This easy Thai green chili sauce is definitely a must-try, especially with grilled seafood! It’s full of refreshing flavors and tangy notes.

This Thai sweet chili sauce is a total crowd-favorite, and this Thai hot sauce is your guide to homemade sriracha.

Note: Store-bought sauces can be found at Asian grocery stores or Asian markets.

Mu kratha recipe checklist

Make sure you have all these at your disposal before lighting up the charcoal of your barbecue.

  • A Thai / Korean BBQ grill top
  • Raw vegetables of your choice
  • Marinated meat
  • Dipping sauces
  • Glass noodles (pre-soaked, follow the packing instructions)
  • Soup base
  • Chopsticks
  • Charcoal
  • Optional: meatballs / fish balls (Found at Asian supermarkets.)
  • Optional: a few cold beers

How to make Thai BBQ

The first step is marinating your meat. Meanwhile, you can make the dipping sauces like mookata sauce in advance. After marinating, make the soup base, pre-soak your glass noodles, and prep your vegetables. Finally, light the charcoal and grill.

Marinate

1. Slice your meat: Begin by cutting your chosen meat into thin slices. Aim for paper-thin cuts – the thinner they are, the faster they’ll cook on the grill, and the better they’ll absorb the marinade’s flavors.

A marinade of Thai seasonings and sauces in a bowl.

2. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine oyster sauce, golden mountain seasoning sauce, sesame oil, baking powder, and palm sugar. Stir until the palm sugar is completely dissolved.

A mix of meats in Thai BBQ marinade with a blend of traditional spices.

3. Marinate the meat: Add the thinly sliced meat to the bowl. Give everything a thorough mix, ensuring each slice is well-coated. Next, crack the eggs into the mixture and pour in sparkling water.

Sesame marinated pork.

4. Add sesame seeds: Mix everything well, then sprinkle sesame seeds over the meat for an added crunch and nutty flavor.

5. Rest and refrigerate: Transfer the marinated meat to an airtight container. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight.

Make the soup base

Mookata soup base in pot with radish, celery, and Thai seasonings.

Fill a large pot with water and heat over medium. Toss in white radish, chopped celery, garlic, bouillon, salt, and white pepper. Close the lid and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

Grilling instructions

1. Fire up the charcoal: Start by lighting up the charcoal. Get it nice and hot.

Ladling slices of white radish into a simmering mookata soup base for added flavor.

2. Prep the grill with soup: Using a spoon, gently pour your prepared soup into the moat of the Thai tabletop grill. Be careful not to overfill – aim for a level just below the lowest air openings. Tip: Keep an eye on the soup level, topping it up as needed to prevent your veggies from getting charred.

Thinly sliced pork held with chopsticks over a mookata grill.

3. Grease the grill: Place a fatty piece of pork in the center of the grill. As it cooks, the dripping fat will naturally grease the grill, helping to prevent other meats from sticking. Alternatively, you can use a bit of sunflower or vegetable oil.

4. Add soup ingredients: Once the soup is bubbling, it’s time to add your vegetables, glass noodles, and crab sticks. You can even poach some meat and eggs in the soup for extra flavor.

Juicy grilled pork on a mookata grill, surrounded by fresh Chinese cabbage in soup.

5. Grill the meat: Lay your thinly sliced meat on the grill. Remember to flip it regularly to ensure even cooking and prevent burning, as those thin slices cook quickly.

6. Dip and enjoy: After grilling your proteins, simply dunk them into one of your sauces!

Mookata recipe tips and tricks

When selecting meats for mookata, opt for cuts with a bit of fat for that extra flavor punch. Thinly slice them for speedy cooking on the grill. Choose from chicken, pork, beef, or your favorite seafood.

Marinate these slices for at least 6 hours, or for best results, leave them overnight.

For serving, offer an array of dipping sauces to cater to all palates, ranging from spicy to sweet to tangy. Also, don’t forget to serve a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables.

Enjoy your day with a smoking hot grill, spicy dipping sauces, vegetables in abundance, and ice-cold drinks of your choice!

More Thai recipes you’ll love

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Mookata Recipe (Thai BBQ)

Mookata, a Thai BBQ top, with grilled meat, sausages, and vegetables.
How to make Thai BBQ. From marinating the meat yourself, to making your own broth soup, this recipe covers it all.
Praew
Prep Time 1 hour
Resting Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 5 people

Ingredients

FOR THE MEAT MARINADE

  • 1.3 kilogram pork meat thin slices
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons golden mountain seasoning sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 grams palm sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 milliliters sparkling water

FOR THE SOUP

  • 1 white radish
  • a handful Chinese celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flavor seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 liters water
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

FOR THE BBQ

  • 70 grams glass noodles
  • meatballs / fish balls
  • crab sticks
  • vegetables of your choice My personal favorites are Chinese cabbage, morning glory, mushrooms, and basil.
  • seafood
  • dipping sauces

Instructions

MARINATE

  • Begin by cutting your chosen meat into thin slices. Aim for paper-thin cuts – the thinner they are, the faster they’ll cook on the grill, and the better they’ll absorb the marinade’s flavors.
  • In a large bowl, combine oyster sauce, golden mountain seasoning sauce, sesame oil, baking powder, and palm sugar. Stir until the palm sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the thinly sliced meat to the bowl. Give everything a thorough mix, ensuring each slice is well-coated. Next, crack the eggs into the mixture and pour in sparkling water.
  • Mix everything well, then sprinkle sesame seeds over the meat for an added crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Transfer the marinated meat to an airtight container. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight.

SOUP BASE

  • Fill a large pot with water and heat over medium. Toss in white radish, chopped celery, garlic, bouillon, salt, and white pepper. Close the lid and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

GRILLING INSTRUCTIONS

  • Start by lighting up the charcoal. Get it nice and hot.
  • Using a spoon, gently pour your prepared soup into the moat of the Thai tabletop grill. Be careful not to overfill – aim for a level just below the lowest air openings. Tip: Keep an eye on the soup level, topping it up as needed to prevent your veggies from getting charred.
  • Place a fatty piece of pork in the center of the grill. As it cooks, the dripping fat will naturally grease the grill, helping to prevent other meats from sticking. Alternatively, you can use a bit of sunflower or vegetable oil.
  • Once the soup is bubbling, it’s time to add your vegetables, glass noodles, and crab sticks. You can even poach some meat and eggs in the soup for extra flavor.
  • Lay your thinly sliced meat on the grill. Remember to flip it regularly to ensure even cooking and prevent burning, as those thin slices cook quickly.
  • After grilling your proteins, simply dunk them into one of your sauces!

Notes

  • You can choose a variety of meats such as chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and cut them into thin slices.
  • Marinate for at least 6 hours to overnight for the best results.
  • Serve with different kind of dipping sauces, and fresh herbs and vegetables.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ll try this this evening at home and I’m so excited because there is no moo kata in Switzerland :(. So thank you so much for these recipes !! I have a question though, why do we need to put sparkling water for the meats ?

    1. Hey there! I wouldn’t be able to live without moo kata, haha. The carbonation in sparkling water works to break down meat fibers, this makes the meat tender. The bubbles also help carry flavors deeper into the meat.

      1. I’m a bit late but that was delightful, thank you so much for this recipe !!! And thank you for your response 😀 Big love from Swiss <3

5 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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