These Thai grilled pork skewers are slightly sweet, a traditional Thai recipe that’s thinly sliced pork marinated in a marinade made with fish sauce, coconut cream, cilantro, and white peppercorns and known as Moo Yang in its native land.
Salty and slightly sweet and soulful. That’s what we think of these Thai grilled pork skewers that are easy as can be to make and enthralling as can be to experience thanks to their lilt of something slightly exotic and almost impossible to place. It’s the marinade, made with coconut cream, fish sauce, and cilantro, that works its considerable and haunting magic. Originally published July 30, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
*Cilantro Root Competence
The author of the lavishly photographed and terrifically well-researched book Bangkok Street Food, Tom Vandenberghe, explains that cilantro root is relied on quite often in Thai cooking. It’s just a little less assertive in flavor than the cilantro leaves you’re accustomed to using. If you can’t get your hands on them at an Asian market, maybe you dig up one of your cilantro plants from the garden or make a trip to your local nursery and buy a plant specifically to be sacrificed for this recipe. Then just wash, scrape, and finely chop it, he explains. If you can’t find cilantro root, no worries, use cilantro stems instead. It won’t be exactly the same thing, but it’s the next best option. Either roots or stems work to a fare-thee-well in this recipe, in which the cilantro presence is a subtle, intriguing hint rather than a whack-you-in-the-face-like-a-baseball-bat hit.
Special Equipment: 10 skewers (metal, wooden, or bamboo)
Thai Grilled Pork
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 40 M
- Makes 10 to 12 skewers
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 cilantro roots* or a small handful cilantro stems, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (we mean “light” as in not a dark soy sauce you find at Asian markets although low-sodium would also work)
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) canned coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
- 1 pound pork tenderloin or loin, thinly sliced at an angle into strips
- 1. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 1 hour to prevent them from burning. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients but the pork in a large bowl and mix well. Add the pork and marinate for at least half an hour.
- 2. Fire up the grill (preferably a charcoal one) and let it settle on medium or medium-high flames.
- 3. “Weave” the strips of pork onto the skewers, allowing as much of the marinade to cling to the pork as you desire. Grill, turning a few times, until the pork is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the skewers immediately.
How To Serve Thai Grilled Pork
- Some moo yang vendors present customers with the pork in slices on a plate, minus the skewers, along with cucumber and fresh herbs. The skewers also go really well with green papaya salad and, natch, rice.