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Grilled Turmeric Chicken (ไก่ย่างขมิ้น)


I’m still traveling, eating, discovering new places somewhere away from home. And it will be several more days before I can get back into the kitchen to cook something. In the meantime, may I please invite you to go over to Serious Eats for this turmeric grilled chicken aka “train grilled chicken”? It’s really good. One of my favorite recipes, in fact.

This grilled chicken is flavorful enough to stand on its own, but if you feel that it needs a little something, a bowl of Thai sweet chili sauce or jaew might make things more interesting. Add a batch of warm sticky rice and perhaps a plate of Som Tam to make a complete meal.

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Thai Grilled Pork on Skewers (Mu Ping หมูปิ้ง)

Thai Grilled Pork on Skewers
From the looks of it, you wouldn’t think something like Thai-style grilled pork on skewers would require a year of recipe testing. But that’s exactly what had happened between May 2010 and last weekend. It’s not just the marinade formula which I feel must replicate the flavor of what was served at my favorite Mu Ping (often transliterated Moo Ping) stall in Bangkok; it’s also the way the pork is threaded onto the skewers, the best cut of pork, etc. And we all know the “simple” things are usually the hardest things to get right.

I don’t know if it’s incompetence or perseverance, but a year and somewhere between 10-15 experiments later, we’ve got it — the skewered grilled pork that transports you back to the streets of Bangkok. So make this, would you please? Continue Reading →

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Grilled Pork Neck (Ko Mu Yang คอหมูย่าง)

kor moo yaang grilled pork neck
Should it surprise anyone that pork neck [1] or collar is one of the favorite cuts among the Thai? Blessed with just the right amount of lean meat, muscle, and fat, pork neck is so flavorful that I’m tempted to say that you could throw a completely unseasoned piece of it on the barbie, and the result would be quite good.

Okay, so that might be a stretch, but if you have tasted a perfectly-grilled piece of pork from the areas around the face and the shoulder, you know it’s not a major stretch.

For this reason, I prefer to keep things very simple for this particular dish, leaving out even what I consider to be the essential marinade ingredients, namely garlic, peppercorns, and cilantro roots. The dipping sauce, jaew (RTGS: jaeo), is already intense in flavor that the pork doesn’t need to be elaborately seasoned at all. The only thing I insist on when it comes to the marinade is the addition of palm or brown sugar. It’s a personal preference. Sugar increases the caramelization on the surface of the meat when it’s grilled, and I love the crispy, slightly-charred bits.

Grilled pork neck with Jaew can be served as an appetizer; it can also be served as an entrée with hot-off-the-splatter-guard sticky rice or plain steamed jasmine rice.

[1] The porcine terminology can be confusing. When in doubt, please know that as long as it says pork neck, collar, jowl, shoulder, or butt on the package, you can’t go wrong (these are not necessarily all the same, mind you, but all of them do the job nicely — some better than others). However, for your edification, I decided to draft this highly technical and complicated map showing where to locate pork neck. This is the result of years and years of observing domestic pigs and wild boars in their natural habitat.

Afraid that the level of sophistication of the graphic and the depth of my hog knowledge demonstrated therein would intimidate some readers, I’ve asked my trusted expert, Bob del Grosso, to put it all in layman term for you. According to Bob, in the US, pork neck and pork butt are synonymous. There is a misunderstanding going around that the neck and and the jowl are the same thing, but that is not the case. The jowl is a triangular cut that tapers from ahead of the shoulder, under the eye, in the direction of the snout. Think of it as a “cheek,” says Bob. Some of the other names for the butt are Boston butt, coppa (Italian), and échine de porc (French).

kor moo yang grilled pork shoulder

Thai Grilled Pork Neck (Ko Mu Yang คอหมูย่าง)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dish, Appetizer, Meat
Serves: 4
  • 2 lbs pork neck, cut into wide slabs about ½-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons grated palm sugar (or 1 tablespoon brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey, brandy, or rum (optional)
  • A recipe of Jaew
  1. Mix everything together in a mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate for anywhere between 2 to 6 hours. Grill. Slice. Serve with Jaew.


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