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Chiang Mai ‘Hung Lay’ Pork Curry

This curry from northern Thailand is like no other. Slow-simmered, slightly sweet and tangy, and full of rich, complex flavours, it’s got hidden depths that are completely different from your more well-known Thai curries. Try it, love it, repeat.


Chiang Mai ‘Hung Lay’ Pork Curry

20 minutes
1 hour 45 minutes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 Asian red shallots, finely sliced

1kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork belly, skin removed, cut into roughly 4cm (1.5”) chunks

¼ cup tamarind concentrate

50g (1.5 oz) palm sugar, finely shaved

1 tsp sweet dark soy sauce (e.g. kecap manis)*

2 tsp fish sauce

4cm (1.5”) piece young ginger, peeled, finely julienned*

¼ cup pickled garlic cloves and 1 tbsp pickled garlic juice*

coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

steamed rice, to serve


Curry paste:

8 dried long red chillies

2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced

4cm (1.5”) piece galangal, peeled, roughly chopped

2 Asian red shallots, peeled, roughly chopped

4 tsp garam masala*

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp shrimp paste

2 tsp sea salt

  • Step 1

    For the curry paste, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 15 minutes to soften. Then drain the chillies and reserve the soaking water for later. Roughly chop the red chillies and place in the bowl of a food processor. To the chillies, add the rest of the curry paste ingredients and 3 tablespoons of the chilli-soaking liquid. Blend until smooth.

  • Step 2

    Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just softened – you don’t want them to brown. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the pork and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the pork has started to colour. Then add the tamarind, palm sugar, sweet dark soy sauce and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour. (Keep checking on it from time to time to make sure it’s not getting too dry – you can add a little more water if so.)

  • Step 3

    Remove the lid and stir through the fish sauce, ginger, pickled garlic and juice. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes uncovered or until the sauce has thickened and the pork is fork tender. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice.

  • Notes

    – Kecap manis is a type of sweet dark soy sauce commonly found in the Asian aisle of most major supermarkets or from an Asian specialty store.

    – Young ginger has a transparent, slightly pink skin, and is only mildly spicy, whereas older, more mature ginger is more pungent. If you aren’t able to buy young ginger, use old ginger in its place.

    – I like to use a Thai or Vietnamese pickled garlic that is sold in jars and is available from Asian grocery stores.Otherwise, try searching it out online.

    – Garam masala is an Indian spice blend available in the spice section of most major supermarkets.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 5 reviews)
Very good20%
January 16, 2023

Best pork curry ever!

Perfect spice level, in fact perfect everything👍

January 11, 2023

Different and delicious

Had never heard of this curry before gave it a try. My friends and I really, really enjoyed this! This recipe was absolutely fantastic, lots of great flavours. I don’t care for pork belly so used chunks of pork roast instead. It took me much longer than the listed time but I was taking it slowly since it was my first time with this recipe.

Lisa in NY
August 26, 2022

A revelation!

Leaving my first review just to say how delicious this is. I had never tried this type of curry before, and it really is something special. Completely worth the effort of tracking down the ingredients (and the prep/cooking time). I still wasn’t able to find “young ginger,” but I doubt that mattered. This curry is definitely spicy, but fortunately not so much that it overwhelmed the flavor, and can easily be adjusted with number of chilis. Thanks for bringing this into my life!! Note: I do agree that it might be a good idea to get a less fatty piece of pork belly so that you’re not cheated out of the tender meaty parts which are the real star here.

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