Five Spice Stew with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Pork Recipe (Kai Pa-Lo)

Pa-loh Five Spice StewThis Thai home-style recipe for pork and egg stew spiced with cinnamon and star anise has been adapted from the excellent site, Ning, the webmaster and chef, has kindly granted us permission to use her step-by-step photos (below). Please visit her site for many more authentic Thai recipes in both English and Thai.

Starting with a paste of white pepper and garlic, this long cooking pork stew is perfectly balanced by the addition of the pa-loh seasonings blend, two types of Thai soy sauce and palm sugar. Textures are varied with three different forms of protein: firm and chewy fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs and pork with some fat, all of which soak in the delicous, fragrant juices of the stew.

Pa-loh could be served at dinner time with a simple sour and sweet cucumber salad or at breakfast or lunch with steamed jasmine rice. It is rather unique amongst Thai dishes, strongly retaining its Chinese character and can seem a bit incongruous when served with a spicy Thai curry. It fits into Thai cuisine in the area of meats simply cooked and most often served before noon in the marketplace alongside dishes like Kao Mon Gy (Chicken on Rice) or Kah Moo (Braised Pork Leg). Pa-loh is a favorite dish of young children in Thailand because it is not too spicy. Pa-loh can be found every day for sale ready-made in the market for less then a dollar for a few servings.

This recipe takes little preparation time, of about 30 minutes, when using ready made Tofu Puffs. Total cooking time is a little less then 1 1/2 hours.

Five Spice Stew with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Pork (Kai Pa-Loh)



  1. Hard-boil the eggs. Once cooled, remove the shells and set aside.
  2. Prepare pork by cutting into large chunks approximately 2 " x 2 ".
  3. Pound garlic and peppercorns in a mortar (or electric spice grinder) until pulverized.
  4. In a heavy-bottom small stock pot, heat oil until almost smoking, then add the garlic- pepper paste and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the pork and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Add the pa-loh spice and black soy sauce. Then add the peeled boiled eggs and water. Bring to a boil and add the light soy sauce, stir well, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Add the palm sugar, turn up the heat and boil to dissolve, stirring. Add the tofu puffs, lower the heat again and simmer another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over steamed jasmine rice.
Hard boil the eggs
Stir-fry the pork with the pepper, garlic
Cook for 45 minutes

UCanCookThai.comRecipe adapted from the excellent, active Thai recipe website of Canadian Thai cook, Khun Ning, where you can find every recipe translated into both Thai and English with step-by-step photographs!

kai pa-lo for sale in the marketFive Spice Powder originates in China and is said to balance the ying and yang. This recipe is a Thai version of the popular Chinese-style of stewing, known as 'red cooking', in which meat is cooked in soy sauce, sugar and a five spice blend. Five Spice seasoning from Thailand typically comprises of cinnamon, star anise, coriander, allspice & bay leaves or cloves either whole or ground. Five Spice from China on the other hand, typically include Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds - which are not generally used in Thai cusine.

Recipe and images © 2010 Temple of Thai; step-by-step images © 2009