Northern Thai pork curry

Northern Thai pork curry

Leanne Kitchen

Called gaeng hanglay in northern Thailand, this curry can be made with pork or beef, so it’s not too dissimilar to the classic massaman curry. For this recipe we’ve opted for pork neck, but pork belly or shoulder work equally well. The taste improves if left overnight, so cook a double batch and freeze for future use.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
190ml water, boiling
1.5kg pork neck, cut into 1.5 cm slices
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 small red asian shallots, sliced
8 cm piece fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
60ml fish sauce
60ml light soy sauce
4 pickled garlic bulbs, cloves separated
2 1/2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
100g blanched roasted peanuts, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
3 teaspoons gapi (thai shrimp paste)
16 large dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
3 lemongrass stems, chopped, white part only
6 small red asian shallots, chopped
2.5 cm piece fresh galangal, chopped

Curry powder

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken
4 blades mace
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 nutmeg, freshly grated


  1. For the paste, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water if necessary. Set aside.
  2. For the curry powder, heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium–low heat. Add all the spices, except the turmeric and nutmeg, and dry-fry, shaking the pan often, for 4–5 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to an electric spice grinder, in batches if necessary, and grind to a fine powder. Stir in the turmeric and nutmeg.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the tamarind pulp with the boiling water in a bowl and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, using your fingers to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  4. In a large wok over medium heat, brown the pork in the oil for 6–8 minutes. Add the paste, shallots, ginger and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 5–7 minutes or until fragrant. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, pickled garlic, palm sugar, tamarind liquid and 1.2 litres water, or enough to just cover the pork. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until the pork is very tender. Scatter over the peanuts and serve.
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