Updated: Jul 25
Kra Pao Moo Grob is one of those Thai dishes that slaps with you in the face with big flavours. This simple dish is sweet, spicy and salty giving it that classic Thai profile. I slowly roasted the pork before attacking it with the wok and aromats to take it to a different level. What really makes this dish special apart from the pork and spices is adding lots and lots of crispy basil. The basil really helps bring out the flavour of the spices and works great with the richness of the pork. With all that said let's get straight into it!
To serve 4
Roast pork belly:
750g side pork belly
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp white vinegar (for skin)
2 tbsp oil (for skin)
Spices and other Ingredients:
6-8 red/green birdseye chillies
4 large red/green chillies
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches thai basil or basil
100g green beans
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dark soy
squeeze fresh lime
Roast pork belly
Let's start with the pork belly first as this will take the longest to cook. I decided to roast the pork belly as I think that method works best for this recipe however you could use raw pork but would loose that flavour, texture and moistness. Begin by scoring long deep cuts into the flesh side to enable the seasoning to penetrate deep into the pork. Now season the flesh side only with 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Rub the marinade into the flesh ensuring the pork is well seasoned. When ready create an envelope with tin foil large enough to cover the sides of the pork belly leaving the skin side exposed. Place the seasoned pork belly flesh side down into the tinfoil ensuring the bottom and sides are covered in foil.
2. Now onto the skin, use a small knife or fork to pierce holes all over the skin first. Next brush the skin evenly with 1 tbsp of white rice vinegar then sprinkle all over with 1 tsp of salt. We now want to dry the pork by baking on a low temperature to remove as much moisture in the skin as possible. Place into an oven set at 100°c and bake leaving the skin exposed for 1 hour. After 1 hour of cooking the skin should be fairly dry, remove from the oven and place to one side. Brush the skin evenly with 2 tbsps of cooking oil, turn the temperature of the oven up to 200°c and roast the pork for a further 40-45 minutes on high. When the skin is crispy remove from the oven and allow to cool on one side.
Spices and other ingredients
3. Now that the pork is crispy and ready to go we can now move onto preparing the spices to bring the dish together. Start with the basil, pick the leaves off 2 bunches of basil then place into a bowl. To crisp up the basil add a generous amount of oil into a pan and place onto a high heat. When the oil temperature reaches approximately 160°c add all of the basil and fry for literally no more than 20-30 seconds. When crispy, place the basil onto a plate with kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. Season the crispy basil lightly with salt.
4. For the other spices start by finely slicing 6-8 Birdseye chillies and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Place the garlic and birdseye chillies together to one side as we will cook these separately. For the larger chillies cut into large slices and for the green beans cut into half. When everything is prepped place to one side for now.
5. Last few things to prepare before we hit the pan is to cut the pork and make the simple stir fry sauce for the dish. Cut the pork into large bite sized pieces and set to one side. To make the sauce, in a bowl add 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp dark soy and 40 ml of water. Mix well and check the seasoning to see if it has a balance of sweet and salty.
6. Now to cook, add a decent drizzle of oil to a wok or pan and place onto a medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sliced Birdseye chillies first and stir fry until fragrant. Next add the raw green beans and sliced large chillies and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes to cook the green beans.
7. When the green beans are just cooked turn the heat down to low then add all of the stir fry sauce and chopped crispy pork. Cook on low and reduce to allow the sauce and chillies to coat the pork nicely. You want to reduce the sauce to the point were it becomes sticky and slightly caramelised.
8. We're ready to serve, adjust the seasoning by adding a squeeze of lime and more sugar and salt if needed. Finally add all of the crispy basil (the more the better) then plate up! This dish works great with fresh jasmine rice or sticky rice...Hope you like this simple recipe!
Birdseye chillies tend to be quite hot therefore if you want to chill on the spice then add larger milder chillies. Instead of pork belly you could also use tofu, chicken or root vegetables if you like and ignore the first 2 parts of the recipe. Have fun with this recipe!