On a recent trip to Phuket town, I discovered this excellent dish called moo hong. It’s a Southern Thai pork stew with Chinese roots that’s quite similar to moo palo, but with fewer ingredients. I had moo hong a few times while I was there and it varied in sweetness from restaurant to restaurant.
I prefer my moo hong more on the savoury side which is why I’ve only added one tablespoon of sugar in this recipe but feel free to adjust it by adding a bit more if you think it needs it.
Moo hong is ridiculously easy to make; it just requires a little time to stew. You are going to get maximum flavour for minimum effort, just make sure you buy the best quality pork you can afford; free range at the very least.
So get everything prepped, sit back and relax with a nice cold Thai beer and wait for your new favourite Thai stew to cook itself!
Phuket Pork Belly Stew - Moo Hong - หมูฮ้อง
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This Chinese influenced Southern Thai stew usually consists of only pork belly but I've used belly and shoulder to get some leaner meat into the dish, so we can keep the fat content down a bit!
Cut the pork belly and shoulder into equal sized chunks and set aside.
Pound the garlic, coriander stalks and pepercorns in a pestle and mortar to a fine paste.
Fry the pork in batches in a little oil over a medium/high heat until browned all over, leaving any residual fat in the pan.
Add a little more oil if necessary and fry the paste for a couple of minutes over a medium heat, taking care not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan.
Chuck the pork back in and stir to coat. Add the cinnamon stick, the star anise, all the sauces and the palm sugar. Keep stirring until everything is well combined and the sugar has dissolved.
Pour in enough water to just cover the pork and bring to the boil. Immedietly lower to a simmer and cook for two hours or until the pork is tender, adding more water if the pork looks like it's getting too dry.
Serve in bowls topped with a bunch of fresh coriander, next to steamed Jasmine rice.
Moo hong can be very sweet but I personally like less sugar in mine. Feel free to add more sugar at the end if you think it needs it.