Muu Paa Kham Waan

Image By: Krista


Muu Paa Kham Waan

Pok Pok's iconic boar collar rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, glazed with soy and sugar grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens and a spicy chili, lime, garlic sauce.

“There’s nothing better to snack on while you drain tall bottles of Leo beer at a late-night (or late-afternoon) drinking joint. This is boozing food, without a doubt, a thirst-inducing combination of heat and meat – and awesomely chewy meat at that, not a cut that’s going to fall apart when you so much as look at it. Along with those slices of neck (a common sight in Thailand) comes a dead-simple dipping sauce whose requisite flavors are sour, salty, and viciously spicy. At Pok Pok, we pour the sauce over the pork, even though you rarely, if ever, see it serviced that way in Thailand. That’s because no one in Southeast Asia’s going to tentatively dip a corner of the pork, as whiteys tend to. The dish must be spicy, that’s its purpose.”

– Andy Ricker, from the Muu Kham Waan recipe in Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand

In short - try it with cold beer.

Ingredients:

Pork

  • 4g (2 large cloves) peeled garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 2g (1 tsp) cilantro roots or cilantro stems, thinly sliced
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 454g boneless pork neck or shoulder, sliced with the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slabs
  • 15g (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) Thai seasoning sauce (Maggi seasoning sauce)
  • 8g (2 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 3 cups crushed ice

Spicy Dipping Sauce

  • 30g (3 Tbsp) Thai fish sauce
  • 35g (3 Tbsp) lime juice, preferably from Key limes
  • 10g (2 Tbsp) minced garlic
  • 6-12g (about 4-8) fresh red Thai chiles, thinly sliced (adjust to your spice tolerance)
  • 15g (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Preparation:

Pork:

  1. Combine the garlic, cilantro roots (or stems), and peppercorns in a granite mortar and pound to a coarse paste, about 45 seconds.
  2. Combine the pork in a mixing bowl with the paste, seasoning sauce, and sugar and massage with your hands to coat the pork well with the seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat a grill, preferably charcoal, or a lightly oiled grill pan to cook over medium heat.
  4. Cook the pork, flipping once, until it’s well browned on both sides, slightly charred, and just cooked through, about 8 minutes total.

Spicy Dipping Sauce:

  1. Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chiles, and sugar in a bowl and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Right before you’re ready to serve, stir in the cilantro.

To Finish:

  1. Arrange the pork slices on a plate.​​​​​​​
  2. Pour the dipping sauce over the pork slices.
  3. Place carefully cleaned and trimmed mustard greens on a separate plate and cover with crushed ice. 
  4. Serve plates together.

Notes for success

  • Cilantro roots may be difficult to find since cilantro is usually sold with the roots cut off. The stems can be substituted instead.
  • Roll the limes along the counter with the palm of your hand to help with extracting more juice.
  • The spicy dipping sauce can be prepared while the pork is marinating. All of the dipping sauce ingredients except for the cilantro leaves can be mixed together ahead of time.
  • It’s best if the cilantro leaves are stirred into the dipping sauce just before serving since the lime juice will start to wilt the leaves. However, I’ve successfully kept leftover sauce in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • The marinade and spicy dipping sauce would be excellent with other Asian grilling meats such as chicken thighs or thinly sliced cross cut beef short ribs.