Thai Candied Pork (Moo Wan), Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) & Coconut Rice

There are some dishes that are just meant to be eaten together, their combined flavours amounting to something akin to culinary kismet – this is such a meal. Eaten on its own Moo Wan is almost unpalatably sweet, but when served with som tam (green papaya salad) the results are nothing short of stellar! Add coconut rice to the mix and you simply have heaven-on-a-plate.

imageAs with so many Thai classics, the key to the success of the overall meal is the balance each individual element strikes when combined. The sweet moo wan counters the tang of the salad, the coconut rice envelopes the fierce chilli kick of the som tam, whilst the salad adds texture and bite; every element has its own role to play in creating the perfect balance, resulting in an almost perfect Thai meal.

Whilst the idea of making the three separate dishes for this meal may seem daunting, the truth is that individually they are actually pretty easy. The trick to preparing multiple dishes for any Asian meal is preparation and timing. The moo wan will keep in the fridge for a good few days, so I would make this in advance if possible. You should start cooking the coconut rice at least 40 to 50 minutes before serving, as it will benefit from being allowed to stand for half an hour after cooking. The som tam must be prepared just before serving, so I recommend prepping your ingredients in advance. However, the papaya should only be shredded just before using. To find out how to make som tam (green papaya salad), please click here to find the recipe.

For more delicious Thai recipes please click here, or if you need tips on stocking your Thai Pantry please click here.

Thai Candied Pork (Moo Wan), Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) & Coconut Rice: Serves 4

Thai Candied Pork (Moo Wan)

  • 800g piece boneless pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup sweet soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup light soya sauce
  • 70g palm sugar, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper

Coconut Rice

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups of water


  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Fried shallots (if available)

Method: Thai Candied Pork (Moo Wan)

  1. Against the grain, cut the pork into long strips (approx. 12cm x 2cm)
  2. Combine pork, both soya sauces and the pepper into a thick-based pot
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer
  4. Cook until the pork is fork-tender (about 2 to 3 hours)
  5. Whilst the pot is still simmering, shred the meat using either a large wooden spoon, two forks or a whisk
  6. Once shredded, increase the heat and cook, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork looks sticky and sweet. Be careful not to burn the meat at this stage
  7. Once cooled, the pork can be stored in the fridge for up to a week
  8. Reheat gently in a pot before serving

Method: Coconut Rice

  1. Wash and drain your rice three times, or until the water runs clear
  2. Place the rice in a sieve and allow to drain completely (approx. 30 minutes)
  3. Combine all the ingredients and cook as you would normally – I either use a microwave or my rice cooker. If you are using the latter, top up the water to the correct “water-level” after adding the rice and coconut cream.
  4. Once cooked, allow the rice to rest for at least 20 minutes
  5. Using a fork, fluff the rice before serving

To Serve: Pile a generous amount of the shredded pork over a small mound of warm coconut rice. Serve along side a portion of Green Papaya Salad. Garnish with fresh coriander and fried shallots (if available).


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