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Easy Tom Khem Recipe (Lao Braised Pork With Eggs)

Overhead shot of tom khem, a Lao braised pork with egg dish, served with sticky rice, surrounded by fresh ingredients, all set on a banana leaf.

Tom khem recipe is THE BEST Lao braised pork with eggs dish you'll ever try! Perfect with rice, it's a comfort food that's a family-favorite and a guaranteed hit with the kids.

Top-down shot of a saucy tom khem, paired with sticky rice in a woven basket, all surrounded by ginger and flowers on a green banana leaf.

Can't get enough of braised pork belly? Check out this Asian braised pork belly with pickled Chinese cabbage!

What is tom khem

Tom khem is a traditional Lao pork and egg stew, combining braised pork and hard-boiled eggs in a caramelized sauce. Infused with ginger and garlic, this flavorful Lao dish goes great with jasmine rice.

Lao braised pork with eggs

Lao cuisine, just like Isan cuisine, is known for spicy, fiery dishes with lots of flavor. Many of them pack a sour, spicy, and sometimes even a bitter punch.

This tom khem recipe is more on the salty and sweet side, making it perfect for anyone who's new to the world of authentic Lao food.

Close-up of Lao pork stew with eggs glistening in a decorative bowl.

It's a caramelized pork stew, thick and bubbling, mingled with juicy pork belly. The hard-boiled eggs are everyone's favorite part, soaking up all the richness from the pork broth.

As the pork stew is bubbling, the flavors meld and intensify, creating a perfect blend of salty, sweet, and umami.

And the aroma will get everyone at the dinner table before you get to call them, trust me.

Close-up view of glossy braised pork belly pieces and golden halved hard-boiled eggs in a patterned bowl, accompanied by ginger and sticky rice.

For me, this is the definition of comfort food.

Serve it with rice at your next gathering, and your guests will declare this the best tom khem they've ever had!

5 Reasons to try this recipe

  • Perfect for meal prep and busy days. The leftovers get even better, as the flavors meld and intensify over time. You can totally make this in advance for tomorrow's lunch or dinner.
  • Made with simple ingredients. If you're a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, I bet you got most ingredients in your kitchen pantry already. If not, one visit to an Asian grocery store, and you're good to go.
  • Unique and authentic. Need a break from the usual spicy flavors of Lao and Thai dishes? This Lao pork stew with hard-boiled eggs is truly something else.
  • Total crowd-pleaser. This pork belly tom khem recipe will have the kiddos fighting for the hard-boiled eggs, speaking from experience here!
  • Easy to customize. Like it sweeter or saltier? Just adjust the ingredients the way you like it.

Lao pork stew vs Thai pork stew

Lao tom khem and Thai palo may look similar, but they definitely have a different flavor profile.

  • Tom khem is characterized by its straightforward sweet and salty flavors.
  • Thai palo is more complex, with the use of aromatic spices like anise, cinnamon, and a five-spice mix.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Fresh ingredients for tom khem and their names. Eggs, pork belly, ginger, garlic and seasonings like oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, salt, and white sugar, presented on a banana leaf.
  • Pork - Use a pork belly cut with a good balance of fat and meat, for a tender bite with lots of flavor. Tom khem pork or moo tom khem can also be made with spare ribs. For a leaner dish, you can use chicken, just adjust the cooking time.
  • Eggs - Hard-boiled eggs soak up the stew's flavor, turning into delightful treats that complement the pork belly. You can add as many as you want.
  • Dark soy sauce - Infuses the dish with a caramelized undertone and enhances the color.
  • Oyster sauce - Oyster sauce brings a sweet, savory depth, enhancing the umami.
  • White sugar - A well-balanced salty and sweet flavor is what Lao pork stew is known for. While white sugar is standard, palm sugar or brown sugar can add a deeper, more caramelized sweetness.
  • Salt
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Water

How to make tom khem

Cook the pork belly

1. Caramelize the sugar. Over medium heat, sprinkle white sugar into your pan or pot. Let it melt and bubble up until golden. Give the pan a gentle swirl.

2. Add your slices of ginger and crushed garlic. Sizzle until they release their aroma, about 10 seconds.

3. Toss in the pork belly. Sear until all sides are saucy.

Cook the pork stew

1. Pour in water, add salt, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Close the lid.

2. Once boiling, gently slide in the hard-boiled eggs, giving everything a good, gentle stir.

3. Close the lid, turn down the heat to a low simmer, and let everything meld and thicken for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

For more easy Lao recipes, head over to this irresistible jeow mak len tomato dipping sauce.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Keep an eye on the water level. If the liquid has reduced out, make sure to add a bit more water while simmering.
  • Use fresh ingredients. Fresh ginger and fresh garlic for the best flavor, rather than pre-packed or powdered versions.
  • Tip to peel the eggs. Once boiled, cool them under cold water. Start peeling at the larger end. Hold the egg under running water to help remove the shell.
  • Cook low and slow. Simmer the stew on low heat, this cooks the pork more tender and the flavors will meld more.
  • Taste-test. Try to find a good sweet-salty balance. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef's knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large pot or Dutch oven: A large pot or Dutch oven is perfect for simmering the flavors together.
  • Wooden spoon: To stir the stew without scratching the pot's bottom.
  • Ladle: For serving.
  • Pot: For boiling the eggs.

How to serve

Serve hot with a portion of steamed rice. Make sure each guest gets a good mix of pork, eggs, and sauce. Optionally, serve with a side of steamed or fresh vegetables for a complete, nutritious meal.

Garnishing options

  • Crispy fried shallots: For extra flavor, you can add thinly sliced fried shallots.
  • Fresh herbs: Add fresh herbs like coriander or chopped cilantro / green onions for a refreshing flavor and more color.

How to store and reheat

Let your Lao braised pork with eggs cool to room temperature and transfer it into an airtight container. Store it in the fridge, and your dish will remain fresh for up to 4 days.

Freezing instructions: Store it in a freezer-safe container, leaving some space at the top. It can be stored in the freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Reheating instructions: Gently heat on low heat on the stove top, stirring occasionally until it's hot.

Did you know?

"Tom" means boiled and "khem" means salty. So tom khem translated to "boiled salty", hinting at the sweet-salty flavor profile.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a different cut of pork for Tom Khem?

Yes, you can use anything from shoulders to tenderloin and pork belly. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

How can I make this spicy?

If you want to make this spicy, try adding some sliced chilies to the pork stew.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Soy sauce and oyster sauce may contain gluten. However, there are gluten-free versions available. Check out this gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free oyster sauce at Amazon.

Authentic Thai pork recipes

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Ratings 5 from 1 votes
Cooking Method
Cuisine
Courses
Servings 4
Description

Tom khem is a delicious Lao dish of braised pork belly and hard-boiled eggs, simmered in a sweet-salty sauce.

Ingredients
  • 12.50 ounces pork belly
  • 4 eggs (hard-boiled)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 ounce ginger (thin slices)
  • 27 fluid ounces water
Instructions
  1. Caramelize the sugar. Over medium heat, sprinkle white sugar into your pan or pot. Let it melt and bubble up until golden. Give the pan a gentle swirl.

  2. Add your slices of ginger and crushed garlic. Sizzle until they release their aroma, about 10 seconds.

  3. Toss in the pork belly. Sear until all sides are saucy.

  4. Pour in water, add salt, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Close the lid.

  5. Once boiling, gently slide in the hard-boiled eggs, giving everything a good, gentle stir.

  6. Close the lid, turn down the heat to a low simmer, and let everything meld and thicken for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 552kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28.7g45%
Saturated Fat 11.7g59%
Total Carbohydrate 19.8g7%
Dietary Fiber 1g4%
Sugars 14g
Protein 47.3g95%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note
  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Keep an eye on the water level. If the liquid has reduced out, make sure to add a bit more water while simmering.
  • Cook low and slow. Simmer the stew on low heat, this cooks the pork more tender and the flavors will meld more. 
  • Taste-test. Try to find a good sweet-salty balance. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Serve hot with a portion of steamed rice. Make sure each guest gets a good mix of pork, eggs, and sauce. Optionally, serve with a side of steamed or fresh vegetables for a complete, nutritious meal.
Keywords: tom khem, tom khem recipe, Lao braised pork with eggs

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