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Nam Tok Moo Recipe (Thai Grilled Pork Salad)

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Nam tok moo recipe featuring juicy, grilled pork slices tossed in a dressing that’s the perfect mix of tangy, spicy, and savory. This Thai grilled pork salad is so easy and delicious, loaded with fresh mint, crisp green onions, and hot chili flakes. Serve with a side of sticky rice for a complete Thai dinner or meaty lunch.

Overhead view of nam tok moo, a Thai grilled pork salad, seasoned with fresh mint and chili, surrounded by a portion of sticky rice and fresh vegetables.

Craving more authentic Thai Isan recipes? Try nam tok beef, my grandmother’s delicious Thai bamboo soup, and gaeng om gai.

What is nam tok moo

Nam tok moo is a traditional Thai grilled pork salad beloved for its juicy pork slices tossed with a dressing of lime, fish sauce, and spicy chilies. The meaty salad is often prepared with toasted rice powder, shallots, and fresh herbs like mint and coriander.

Thai grilled pork salad

Thai grilled pork salad recipe is like the best of Thai food in one bowl. It’s an explosion of flavors – spicy, tangy, and a touch of sweet, and all those fresh herbs, so good.

The heat from the chilies, the coolness from the mint, and that zing of lime, it’s that perfect balance that just works.

Close-up of a hand-picking up a piece of moo nam tok, showing the tender grilled pork with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

What you’ll love about it is that it’s totally customizable to your preference. Want it hotter? Throw in spicy chilies like Thai bird’s eye chilies or use more chili flakes.

This spicy Thai pork salad recipe replicates the authentic flavors you get in Isan, the Northeast of Thailand. This salad mixes up the best of Lao and Isan cuisine.

Spicy nam tok pork salad garnished with fresh mint leaves and a dusting of toasted rice powder, presented in a blue and white bowl.

Don’t forget to check out my moo yang recipe for authentic Thai grilled pork, Isan-style!

Why try this moo nam tok recipe

  • Full of authentic Thai flavor: Moo nam tok brings you the real flavors, a perfect balance of spicy, tangy, and sweet flavors that Thai cuisine in known for.
  • Versatile for any meal: Whether you’re looking for a fulfilling dinner, a light lunch, or just a meaty snack, nam tok pork is delicious any time of the day.
  • Easy to prepare: This Thai pork salad with chilies and mint is perfect for any home cook. Even if you’re new to Thai cooking, this recipe is so simple!

Best cut of meat for grilled pork salad

The best pork for nam tok moo is a cut with some fat to it.

  • Pork shoulder: A great marble of fat, which means it stays super juicy and tender when grilled.
  • Pork neck: With enough fat to keep each slice juicy and flavorful, but still some nice lean meat, it’s perfect for soaking up that amazing Thai dressing.

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.


Top-view of ingredients for nam tok moo salad laid out on a banana leaf including sliced pork, toasted rice powder, herbs, shallots, chili flakes, lime juice, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar, ready for Thai cooking.
  • Pork – We first grill the pork, giving it a char and smokiness. It’s the perfect base for soaking up the flavors of the dressing.
  • Oyster sauce – The pork is marinated in a mix of oyster sauce and sugar, giving it a savory, umami, and slightly sweet flavor.
  • White sugar
  • Mint, green onions, culantro or coriander – Fresh herbs are a must in any nam tok salad. Feel free to experiment with others, basil for example.
  • Shallots – Shallots add a mild, slightly sweet flavor to the salad. They’re more subtle than regular onions but still provide a good amount of flavor.
  • Fish sauce – This key ingredient in Thai food adds a salty, umami note to all kind of dishes.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice adds that tangy flavor nam tok is known for.
  • Toasted rice powder – Toasted rice powder or khao khua adds a nutty crunch to the salad. It also slightly thickens the dressing, making it cling to the pork and herbs. You can make it yourself or find it premade at Asian grocery stores.
  • Thai chili flakes – Feel free to add to taste.

Cooking instructions

Step-by-step preparation of nam tok moo showcasing marinated pork, grilled pork slices, and final toss with fresh herbs and spices in a pot, illustrating the cooking process for this Thai salad.

1. Marinate the pork: Place your pork in a mixing bowl and add oyster sauce with white sugar. Thoroughly mix and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

2. Grill the pork: Grill the marinated pork in a grilling pan over high heat until charred, about 1 minute each side. Then, slice the meat into thin slices.

3. Cook the pork: Transfer the slices of pork to a non-stick pot. Heat over medium heat and cook until cooked through.

4. Combine with dressing: Remove from heat and mix in fish sauce, chili flakes, and lime juice. Thoroughly mix to coat each slice of meat with the dressing.

5. Add fresh herbs: Add shallots, fresh herbs, and toasted rice powder. Toss everything together until the herbs are evenly distributed throughout the pork salad. Serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle if you’re making toasted rice powder and chili flakes from scratch.
  • Tongs for flipping the pork while grilling.
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Grill pan

How to serve

Enjoy your Thai grilled pork salad fresh for the best flavor. Pair it with Thai sticky rice or steamed jasmine rice, and a cold Thai beer.

How to store and reheat

Let the leftover salad cool to room temperature. Store the salad in an airtight container. Place it in the fridge and enjoy within 2 days.

Reheating instructions: The salad components are best enjoyed cold, so it’s best to avoid reheating. If you do want to reheat, do so over low heat on the stove top. Alternatively, try storing the grilled pork separately so you can reheat that and toss before serving.

Did you know?

In Thai, “moo” means pork, and “nam tok” translates to waterfall.

The name “nam tok” is thought to refer to the sound of the juices dripping from the meat as it grills, reminiscent of a waterfall.

Frequently asked questions

How do you make toasted rice powder for nam tok?

Toast glutinous rice grains in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown, then grind them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Is nam tok moo spicy?

Yes, nam tok salads are often spiced up with chili flakes, but you can adjust the amount to your liking.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can grill the pork ahead of time, but it’s best to toss the salad before serving.

Can I use a different protein?

Nam tok can be made with grilled beef or chicken for a twist.

More Thai salad recipes you’ll love

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Nam Tok Moo Recipe (Thai Grilled Pork Salad)

Authentic Thai nam tok moo recipe, a spicy grilled pork salad with mint, shallots, and chili flakes, served in a blue and white striped plate for a Thai meal.
This nam tok moo recipe is a delicious mix of grilled pork, zesty herbs, and a spicy, tangy dressing.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course, Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

MARINADE

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

SALAD

  • 17.5 ounces pork neck or shoulder
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 1.5 tablespoon lime
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2.1 ounces shallots
  • 0.35 ounces mint
  • 0.35 ounces green onions
  • 0.35 ounces coriander
  • 1.5 tablespoon toasted rice powder

Instructions

  • Place your pork in a mixing bowl and add oyster sauce with white sugar. Thoroughly mix and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Grill the marinated pork in a grilling pan over high heat until charred, about 1 minute each side. Then, slice the meat into thin slices.
  • Transfer the slices of pork to a non-stick pot. Heat over medium heat and cook until cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and mix in fish sauce, chili flakes, and lime juice. Thoroughly mix to coat each slice of meat with the dressing.
  • Add shallots, fresh herbs, and toasted rice powder. Toss everything together until the herbs are evenly distributed throughout the pork salad. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • You can swap the pork for beef or chicken.
  • Add chili flakes to taste.

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