Thai Mondays Part 5: Stir Fried Pork with Beans and Green Peppercorns

Posted By Stephen

Last week Kerri had lunch at a Thai restaurant and had a dish that she really enjoyed, which was beef with chilli, lemongrass, basil and a few other things. We had a look for recipe that was similar and, by happy coincidence, I had already bookmarked a recipe that contained most of those ingredients and we already had a large number of them. It called for pork rather than beef, but that was fine, so we bought some pork and some holy basil and were ready to go.


Although this is called a stir fry in English, it is actually a dry curry. Its Thai name is pat prik king muu bpaa, where “pat prik king” means a curry made from dried red chillies and cooked in oil (or rendered pork fat) rather than coconut cream.

First we made the curry paste by incrementally pounding together all of the following ingredients in a mortar and pestle: 10 long dried red chillis (soaked and drained), two tablespoons each of chopped galangal and chopped lemongrass and three tablespoons each of chopped red shallots and chopped garlic, along with one tablespoon of chopped coriander root. These are all in the following picture, along with a couple of other ingredients that come in later:


(After cooking this, we realised that we had left out crushed dried fish, so our dried fish will just have to hang around waiting for another recipe that needs them and hopefully they won’t feel too neglected).

We fried this paste in some oil; the recipe said 6 tablespoons which sounded like quite a lot, so we started with a lot less than that, but ended up adding some more as we went along we it looked like it needed it. When this had cooked for a while and become really fragrant, we added about 200g of thinly sliced pork loin. We stir fried this for about five minutes and then seasoned with a pinch of white sugar and a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce. Then we added chopped beans, julienned krachai, torn lime leaves, chopped long green chillies, some green peppercorns and a handful of holy basil leaves.

After a couple more minutes to heat all of this through, we served it with some jasmine rice. The flavours worked really well and Kerri said it was her favourite Thai dish second only to Green Curry, which is really saying something! The dish had a deep, rich base from the dried chillies and the fish sauce, but had some fresh and lifting flavours from the lemongrass and lime leaves too. The holy basil gave delicously basilly notes as only it can do. Last time we’d had green peppercorns, they didn’t blend in with the rest of the dish so well, but this time they were really good and provided little bites of bitter heat that complemented the other flavours rather well.

The recipe didn’t explicitly say so, but I am guessing that this dish originated in the north of Thailand, given that it includes pork and krachai and suggests that you fry the paste in pork fat (a suggestion that we took under consideration for only a second or so before ignoring).

This turned out very well indeed, which we were obviously very pleased with. The other Thai curries that we have cooked so far have been “wet” ones with a lot of sauce, whereas this one was a lot drier. If we cook this again, we might accompany it with a soup to complement its dryness, but it was really good nonetheless and definitely a favourite.

Mar 24th, 2008

7 Comments to 'Thai Mondays Part 5: Stir Fried Pork with Beans and Green Peppercorns'

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  1. Antonia said,

    Wow – this looks like a truly superb dish! I must be more adventurous and secure myself some of those more unusual ingredients – I’ve never come accross krachai before. Hope you had a Happy Easter.

  2. Kerri said,

    Thanks Antonia 🙂 It’s definitely worth trying to find the unusual ingredients if you can but it isn’t always easy. We often go to Chinatown but have found a small Thai supermarket not far from us now which is useful.

  3. L said,


    I picked up some lime leaves yesterday, but I have never used krachai – this has inspired me to cook a thai feast this weekend.

  4. Stephen said,

    L, I love lime leaves, they give such a fresh, zesty flavour to dishes. Krachai is one of those ingredients that, when I first used it at home, made me think “Ah, so that’s been the difference between my home cooked Thai food and restaurant Thai food in the past”; worth giving it a go at least once.

    Good luck with the Thai feast if you do it 🙂

  5. Ros said,

    There’s a Thai restaurant in Fulham that I absolutely adored when I was living in West London. The staff there were really friendly and the maitre d’ once showed me a load of the ingredients they used and one thing he brought out of the kithen was krachai. I havn’t found it to buy anywhere yet. Where’s this Thai supermarket that you visit?

    Also I want those ute little bowls to put my ingredients in.

  6. Kerri said,

    Oh, what was the restaurant called Ros? We’re close to Fulham but only really go to the Blue Elephant.

    The Thai supermarket is in Putney, it’s called Talad Thai. Are you North London?

    The little bowls are from Chinatown, 49p each I think!

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