Northern Thai Pork Belly Curry (Kang Hung Lay)
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Recipe courtesy of Jet Tila

Northern Thai Pork Belly Curry (Kang Hung Lay)

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr 10 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Hung lay is a popular curry in Northern Thailand that has a crave-worthy sourness from tamarind. You can really see the multiethnic influence from India, Burma and China in the ingredients for this dish. This is my favorite curry by far.



  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork belly, pork shoulder, red curry paste, curry powder and garam masala. Massage together for about a minute to work the marinade into the pork. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, heat an 8-quart (7.6-L) Dutch oven or pot over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Swirl in the oil and fry the pork, turning occasionally, for 6 to 10 minutes until browned on all sides. Add the peanuts, ginger and pickled garlic cloves. Pour in the chicken stock to cover by 1 inch (3 cm). Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the pork belly is fork tender and the curry has a nice, thick gravy-like consistency.
  3. To season, stir in the palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, light soy sauce, black soy sauce and pickled garlic juice. Simmer for 5 more minutes, taste and adjust any of the seasonings if you’d like, then serve garnished with lime leaves and cilantro.

Cook’s Note

Thai pickled garlic is a unique ingredient and can be found in Thai grocery stores or on the Internet. It’s pickled while young and firm and provides an earthy acidity that cuts through the richness of the pork belly.