Thai Moo Pa Lo is a traditional Thai dish made with pork belly, hardboiled eggs, fried tofu, and braised to perfection in a flavorful soy-based sauce infused with Chinese five-spice powder and aromatic herbs. Delicious and addicting!
Be sure to make this simple tofu puffs recipe to use with this Palo recipe. The tofu can also be used as an appetizer as well. Two birds with one stone with the puffed tofu dish!
More pork belly recipes, you'll love my Pork belly with yellow curry, Prik Khing Pork Belly Stirfry. Thai recipes using spices similar to this Moo Palo Recipe are Massaman curry with beef, Chicken and Massaman curry with sweet potatoes and beef bone broth with Asian spices.
- Why You'll Love Kai Moo Pa Lo
- What is Thai Pork Belly Stew?
- Moo, Kai or Gai Palo?
- Ingredients for Making Moo Pa Lo
- How to Make Easy Thai Pork Belly Stew with Five Spice Flavors
- Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- What to Serve with Moo Pa Lo
- Storing Leftovers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Thai Food You'll Love
- Authentic Moo Pa Lo (Thai Braised Pork Belly)
- More Recipes You'll Love
Why You'll Love Kai Moo Pa Lo
- It's kid-friendly and not spicy! Palo is not a spicy Thai dish, making it a favorite among kids and those unable to tolerate spicy food.
- A delicious mix of flavors. Enjoy the sweet touch of palm sugar, the warmth of five spice powder, and the rich taste of pork belly in this Thai pork belly stew.
- Comfort food at its best. Dive into a bowl of tender pork belly, boiled eggs, and tofu puffs bathed in a tasty broth that's surprisingly simple to make.
- Simple to make, impressive to serve. Impress your friends and family with a dish that's easy to whip up and bursting with traditional Thai flavors.
What is Thai Pork Belly Stew?
Moo Pa Lo (หมูพะโล้), a traditional Thai pork belly and egg stew, blends Chinese and Thai flavors into a mouthwatering bowl of goodness. With succulent pork belly, boiled eggs, and tofu puffs in a flavorful broth infused with aromatic spices and a touch of sweetness, it's an irresistible
It is typically served over rice and garnished with fresh cilantro leaves. The dish is known for its rich and savory flavors, making it one of the most popular dishes of Thai cuisine for those sensitive to spicy food.
Moo, Kai or Gai Palo?
Traditionally, Thai Moo Palo is typically made with pork belly, hard-boiled eggs, and fried tofu. Other variations include chicken wings. You want to use meat on the fattier side rather than lean meat.
Ingredients for Making Moo Pa Lo
- Pork Belly. Pork belly is traditionally used in this recipe. Chicken wings or fatty cuts of pork are also used but not as popular as pork belly.
- Hard-boiled egg. Duck eggs are usually the go-to eggs in Thai cooking. Chicken eggs are perfectly fine for this recipe.
- Fried Tofu. Fried puffy tofu is used for added protein and texture. They can be found in the refrigerator section of Asian markets.
- Coriander root or stems. Some recipes use coriander seed instead of coriander root. I prefer the fresh herb instead. Use cilantro stems if the roots are not available. Read more about aromatic herbs used in Thai cooking in this helpful blog post here.
- Garlic cloves. The garlic will be pounded with the coriander stems and white peppercorn to create the traditional Thai paste of Sam Gler.
- White peppercorns. Whole peppercorns are ideal for freshness, but ground white peppercorns will do just fine. Black pepper can be used as a substitute.
- Five Spice Powder. Try my easy homemade five-spice powder for this recipe. The freshness of it will truly elevate your Palo!
- Cinnamon sticks. Though cinnamon is in the five-spice powder, adding a little extra really amped up the flavors of this pork stew.
- Star Anise. The same thing for the star anise used in this recipe. It really adds a bold fragrance to the dish.
- Cloves. Cloves are strong, so use only a small amount and leave the whole.
- Sweet soy sauce. The sweet soy sauce really makes this dish! The thick, dark, and sweet flavor adds the dark, rich, savory flavor that Palo is known for.
- Oyster sauce. For the added umami flavor in Palo. Read more about different types of Thai sauces here.
- Light soy sauce. Soy sauce is used to help balance out the sweetness of Sweet soy sauce and palm sugar.
- Palm sugar. Brown sugar is fine as a substitute. Read more about palm sugar here.
- Water. We will use a bit of water to make Palo, as it is the base for stewing.
- Salt. Use salt sparingly in this recipe to help add a sharp taste to balance out the sweetness of the recipe.
- Cilantro leaves for garnishing.
How to Make Easy Thai Pork Belly Stew with Five Spice Flavors
Step 1: Make the hardboiled eggs. Boil the eggs for 5 minutes or until the eggs are firm, peel them, and set them aside. They will be cooked further in the stew, so there's no need to cook it too long.
Step 2: Make the seasoning paste. Add garlic, cilantro stems, and white peppercorns to a mortar and pestle, and pound until you have a rough paste.
A spice grinder works well, too, for making the paste.
Step 3: Add the sliced pork belly to a soup pot and sear on medium-high heat until lightly golden brown. This searing step helps extract more flavors from the meat and secretes oil from the pork fat.
Remove the pork pieces from the pot, set aside, and leave some pork oil to cook the paste next.
See the note below about pork belly fat.
Step 4: Add the paste to about 1 tablespoon of pork oil on medium heat and stir together until fragrant. 30-60 seconds only. Add the pork belly back in and stir until all the pieces are well coasted.
Step 5: Add the water, all the sauces, salt, palm sugar, five spice powders, and whole spices. Bring to a gentle boil.
Step 6: Add the boiled eggs and fried tofu. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover it, and allow it to simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the pork belly becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender, absorbing all the rich flavors.
Step 7. Before turning the heat off, adjust the flavors to your liking with more sugar, five-spice powder, or soy sauce. That's it! Garnish and finish it off with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.
Serve your Pa Lo hot with Jasmine rice on the side, and add a spoonful at a time to allow it to soak up the savory broth. Yum, I'm drooling as I type this! (:
Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- Pork Belly fat. Searing the pork belly on higher heat helps extract the fat naturally. There are two benefits to this method. Save some of the fat for later use or other recipes. Two, you can control the level of fat in your stew. When the browned pork belly is removed from the pot, place it on a plate with paper towels to help absorb and cut the fat.
- Adjust the spice levels according to your taste by tweaking the five-spice powder, star anise, cinnamon, and clove.
- If you don't have the whole spices, cinnamon, star anise, or cloves. Add a little extra five-spice powder to the broth. Start with ½ teaspoon and add more towards the end if needed.
What to Serve with Moo Pa Lo
Pair it with jasmine rice, or enjoy it on its own. For added texture, serve with tofu puffs or a side of stir-fried veggies like this Thai mixed vegetable stir fry.
Palo needs very little garnishing as it is full of flavors on its own. A few fresh cilantro leaves are all you need to add a nice touch of color and carry over the flavor from the cilantro stems used in the paste.
- Use chicken wings instead of pork belly if you prefer poultry for this recipe.
- Add Thai oyster sauce for extra savory goodness.
- Try leaner pork cuts like the shoulder or pork butt instead of pork belly.
- Enhance the depth with a dash of fish sauce.
- If you don't have palm sugar, use brown sugar.
- Molasses is a close substitute for sweet soy sauce.
- Regular soy sauce can also replace black soy sauce in a pinch.
Keep the tasty leftovers fresh by storing them in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat gently to keep the pork tender.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kai Palo means "Stewed Eggs" in English, a Thai pork belly stew with aromatic spices.
Kai Palo translates to "Stewed Eggs" in English.
Stewed eggs are made by simmering hard-boiled eggs in a flavorful broth until they soak up the tasty flavors.
Yes, you can. Simply use puffed tofu instead of the pork. Vegetables are not recommended for Palo as the braising process will break down the vegetables into mushy pieces.
More Thai Food You'll LovePrint
More Recipes You'll Love
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these: