Kaeng hang lay is a rich curry based around pork belly (hang lay is a corruption of the Burmese word for pork curry). The dish is found all over northern Thailand and, because it’s easy to make in large volumes, is often associated with communal eating. This version highlights the local obsession with tomatoes (here in the form of ketchup).






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (149 votes)


  • 1 kg boneless pork belly
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (such as kecap manis)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp marsala powder (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 French shallots, quartered
  • 20 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • tamarind pulp, white sugar and salt, to taste
  • steamed rice and a tart salad, such as green mango salad, to serve

Chilli paste

  • 10 small red chillies
  • 2 French shallots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chilli paste ingredients to a paste. Set aside.

Wash the pork and cut into 4 cm chunks. Combine with the chilli paste, chilli sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, turmeric and marsala powder.

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the pork mixture and cook, stirring only once or twice, for 5 minutes or until fragrant.

Add enough water to cover the pork, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until almost all the water evaporates, the fat rises and the pork is tender, up to 2 hours. If the water evaporates too quickly, add more.

Add the shallots, garlic and ginger, and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes.

Season to taste with the tamarind pulp, sugar and salt, then serve with the steamed rice and salad.



• Marsala powder, known locally as phong maksalaa, is a spice mixture used in Mae Hong Son.


Recipe from austinbushphotography.com by Austin Bush, with photographs by Austin Bush.