These succulent skewers of marinated, grilled pork are a popular street food in Thailand. They’ve been on my “to make” list for a long time now, but I just never seemed to get around to it. Until now, that is.
With the days growing ever-so-subtly shorter and the weather turning slightly cooler, it’s clear that the end of summer is approaching. And with this change of seasons comes the close of grilling season too. This realization was just the push I needed to fire up the grill, one more time this summer.
I’m really glad I did — these Thai grilled pork skewers were worth it! They are made by marinating bite-sized pieces of pork with the earthy, slightly spicy cilantro-garlic-peppercorn marinade. Once the pork has had a few hours to soak up all of these wonderful flavors, the pieces are threaded onto bamboo skewers and grilled, basting every few minutes with coconut milk to seal in all of the rich, deep flavors and moisture.
Last night, I served these succulent Thai grilled pork skewers with my version of jaew, the spicy and sour northeastern Thai dipping sauce that accompanies grilled meats, and a side of sticky rice for a delicious meal. After having finally made these Thai grilled pork skewers for myself, I can see why they’re such a popular street food in Thailand!
Thai Grilled Pork Skewers | Moo Ping | หมูปิ้ง
Makes 15-20 skewers
Grilled Pork Skewers:
1 pound pork shoulder or loin
1 Tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 Tablespoon minced cilantro root (or stems if root is not available)
Prepare the cilantro roots by soaking them in water, scraping the skin off, and finely mincing them. Peel the garlic cloves. Combine the prepared garlic, cilantro roots, and whole white peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and pound until a paste is formed.
Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce, and palm sugar to the cilantro-garlic-peppercorn paste and mix until all ingredients are combined.
Cut the pork shoulder or loin into small, approximately 1/2 inch pieces. Place the pork into a container and rub the marinade paste into it. Cover, refrigerate, and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours.
While the pork marinates, soak the bamboo skewers in water. They should soak for at least 30 minutes before grilling. When the pork has marinated, thread the pork pieces tightly onto the skewers, approximately four to six pieces per skewer. Coat the skewers with any remaining marinade paste.
Heat the grill to low or medium low heat. Place the skewers on the grill and allow them to cook slowly until cooked through, turning and basting them periodically with coconut milk. If grilling pork shoulder, this may take 15-20 minutes. For pork loin, it will take slightly less time.
To Make the Jaew Dipping Sauce:
Prepare the tamarind paste by mixing 1/4 cup wet tamarind block with 1/2 cup water. Mash with your fingers until a thick paste is formed, then strain to remove the seeds and veins.
Prepare the toasted rice powder by slowly toasting 1/4-1/2 cup of Thai sticky rice over low heat until it is rich, golden brown in color and has a toasted aroma. Grind into a powder using a mortar and pestle or coffee/spice grinder.
Slice the shallots into small, thin pieces and coarsely chop the cilantro.
Mix the tamarind paste, water, fish sauce, and palm sugar in a bowl. Continue mixing until the palm sugar is completely incorporated into the liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust the flavors according to your preferences. The primary flavors should be sour, spicy, and salty.