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Pad Kana Moo Krob Recipe (Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork)

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“Pad Kana Moo Krob,” also known as Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork, is a delightful Thai stir-fry dish that tantalizes the taste buds with the perfect balance of textures and flavors. This delectable dish combines the vibrant green goodness of Chinese broccoli (gai lan) with the rich, crispy indulgence of fried pork, all brought together by a savory stir-fry sauce. Each bite offers a harmonious blend of the slightly bitter and tender Chinese broccoli, the satisfying crunch of the crispy pork, and the umami-packed sauce that ties it all together.

Pad Kana Moo Krob Recipe is a beloved Thai classic that’s quick to prepare, making it an excellent choice for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. Whether you’re a fan of Thai cuisine or simply looking to explore new flavors, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. So, let’s dive into the art of creating Pad Kana Moo Krob and discover the joy of savoring this mouthwatering Thai stir-fry at home.

The Origin of Pad Kana Moo Krob Recipe

You’d be fascinated to know that the origin of Pad Kana Moo Krob dates back to the mingling of Thai and Chinese culinary traditions. The name itself is a testament to this fusion, with ‘Pad’ meaning stir-fry in Thai, ‘Kana’ being the Thai term for Chinese broccoli, ‘Moo’ meaning pork, and ‘Krob’ indicating crispiness.

The dish’s inception can be traced back to when Chinese immigrants brought their cooking techniques to Thailand. They combined their style with Thai ingredients, leading to a whole new array of dishes. Pad Kana Moo Krob is one such result of this culinary intermingling. This mouth-watering delicacy has now become a popular street food in Thailand, often paired with rice.

It’s the perfect blend of the crunchiness of the pork, the slight bitterness of the Chinese broccoli, and the sweet and savory sauce that sets this dish apart. Over time, the recipe has been tweaked and modified, embracing the evolving tastes and preferences of the people. So, while the exact origin might be fuzzy, the impact and popularity of Pad Kana Moo Krob are undeniable.

The Dish’s Nutritional Profile

The star of this dish, Chinese broccoli, is a nutrient powerhouse. It’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and also contains significant amounts of fiber and calcium. These nutrients play a crucial role in bone health, immunity, and digestion. Moreover, its low-calorie count makes it a superb choice for those watching their weight.

The crispy pork, on the other hand, provides a substantial amount of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. However, it’s also high in fat, particularly saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation.

The flavors from the soy and oyster sauces add depth to the dish, but they can also increase sodium levels. Therefore, if you’re watching your sodium intake, control the amount of these sauces.

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Pad Kana Moo Krob’s Popularity

In your foodie adventures, you’ve likely noticed the growing popularity of Pad Kana Moo Krob, a testament to its tantalizing blend of flavors and textures. This Thai dish isn’t just a local favorite, but has also traveled far and wide, captivating palates around the globe. It’s not hard to see why.

The contrast of crispy pork belly with the tender Chinese broccoli, all coated in a rich, savory sauce, is an experience that’s hard to forget.

But it’s not just the taste that’s winning hearts. The visual appeal of Pad Kana Moo Krob is undeniable. The vibrant green of the broccoli against the golden brown of the pork slices makes it an Instagram-worthy dish. That’s an added bonus in today’s world where we eat with our eyes as much as with our mouths.

Moreover, the simplicity of its preparation and the accessibility of its ingredients contribute to its popularity. It’s a dish that doesn’t demand rare or exotic elements, just fresh, everyday ingredients cooked with care.

Variations of Pad Kana Moo Krob Recipe Across Regions

Despite its traditional roots, you’ll find that Pad Kana Moo Krob varies quite a bit from region to region, reflecting local tastes and available ingredients.

In the northern regions of Thailand, you might encounter a version with a sweeter taste. Here, chefs often add palm sugar to the stir-fry, toning down the spiciness.

Moving southern, you’ll see a shift towards a spicier dish. They use potent bird’s eye chilies to fire up the taste, not for the faint-hearted!

Over in the eastern parts, the dish often includes a touch of sourness. This is achieved by adding tamarind, a common ingredient in this area.

In the west, you’ll likely taste a saltier version due to the incorporation of fish sauce, another local favorite.

In some regions, chefs might substitute Chinese broccoli with other leafy greens. This could depend on the season or what’s available locally. Common alternatives include mustard greens or bok choy.

However, no matter where you try it, the essence of Pad Kana Moo Krob remains the same. It’s a delightful interplay of crispy pork and fresh greens, coated in a flavorful sauce. Every bite is a testament to Thailand’s rich culinary diversity.

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Traditional Cooking Techniques

You’ll find that there are two key techniques you’ll need to master to make traditional Pad Kana Moo Krob: frying the pork until it’s crispy and stir-frying the vegetables just right.

First, frying the pork, it isn’t as simple as dropping pieces into hot oil. You’ll need to ensure that the pork belly is well-marinated for flavor. Then, it’s fried until it reaches that ideal golden-brown color and crispy texture. It’s a delicate balance between cooking the pork thoroughly and achieving the right level of crunch.

Next, the stir-frying of the vegetables, specifically the Chinese broccoli. The trick here is to retain the vegetables’ vibrant green color and natural crunch while ensuring they’re cooked enough to absorb the flavors. You’re not just tossing them in a hot pan. It’s about controlling the heat and timing the cooking process correctly. Too long and they’ll lose their crunch, too short and they’ll taste raw.

Balance of Flavors in the Dish

Balancing the flavors in Pad Kana Moo Krob, you’re really orchestrating a symphony of tastes that keeps every bite interesting. You’ve got the rich, fatty notes of the crispy pork playing up against the earthy, slightly bitter crunch of the Chinese broccoli. Then there’s the tangy, slightly sweet and salty oyster sauce that ties everything together. It’s a combination that’s as exciting as it’s satisfying.

But it’s not just about piling on flavors. It’s about understanding how each element interacts with the others. The crispiness of the pork isn’t just for texture; it also provides a counterpoint to the softness of the broccoli. Similarly, the sweetness in the sauce isn’t just for taste; it helps to mellow out the bitterness of the vegetable and the richness of the meat.

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Exploring the Dish’s Unique Texture

While appreciating the symphony of flavors in Pad Kana Moo Krob, you can’t overlook the unique texture that shines through each bite. This popular Thai dish is a perfect harmony of soft and crunchy, offering a delightful sensory experience.

The Chinese broccoli, or kana, is cooked just enough to retain its vibrant color and a slight crunch. It’s not mushy or overdone, instead, it’s tender-crisp, providing a satisfying contrast to the crispy pork.

The star of this dish, the Moo Krob or crispy pork belly, is an explosion of textures. The outer layer is fried to a perfect crispness, creating a delightful crackle as you bite into it. But wait, the experience doesn’t end there. As you break through the crispy exterior, you’re greeted with a layer of tender, succulent pork that almost melts in your mouth. It’s this contrasting texture of crispy and soft that really elevates this dish.

Pairing Suggestions for Pad Kana Moo Krob

After savoring the dish’s unique texture, your next move in appreciating Pad Kana Moo Krob should be exploring its pairing options. This Thai delicacy, with its robust flavor profile, can elevate your dining experience when paired with the right side dishes and drinks.

For starters, consider pairing it with a bowl of aromatic Jasmine rice. The light, floral taste of the rice complements the rich, savory flavor of the crispy pork and Chinese broccoli. It’s a pairing that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

In terms of drinks, a glass of crisp white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, works wonders. The wine’s acidity cuts through the fattiness of the pork, providing a refreshing balance to your palate. If you’re not a wine person, a chilled glass of Thai iced tea would be a fantastic alternative. Its creamy, sweet notes provide a delightful contrast to the savory dish.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, why not add a spicy Thai salad to your meal? Its burst of fresh, tangy flavors can be a great counterpoint to the hearty Pad Kana Moo Krob.

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How to make Pad Kana Moo Krob (Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork) at home

Pad Kana Moo Krob, also known as Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork, is a delicious Thai stir-fry dish that combines the unique flavors of Chinese broccoli with crispy fried pork. Here's a detailed recipe to help you make this mouthwatering dish at home:
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Thai
Calories 550 kcal


  • Wok or large skillet A wok is ideal for stir-frying due to its shape, but you can also use a large skillet or frying pan if that's what you have available.
  • Deep-Fry Pan or Pot: For frying the crispy pork, you'll need a deep-fry pan or pot with enough vegetable oil to submerge the pork slices.
  • Kitchen Tongs: Use tongs for flipping and removing the crispy pork from the hot oil safely.
  • Cutting board and knife For chopping and preparing the Chinese broccoli, garlic, and other ingredients.
  • Small Bowls: To mix and prepare the marinade for the pork, the stir-fry sauce, and any additional ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons and cups To accurately measure ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and other sauces.
  • Paper towels For draining and removing excess oil from the crispy pork.
  • Stirring Utensil: A spatula or wooden spoon for stirring and tossing the ingredients in the wok or skillet.
  • Small Whisk or Fork: To dissolve the cornstarch if you choose to use it for thickening the sauce.
  • Plates and Serving Dish: To present and serve the finished Pad Kana Moo Krob.
  • Serving Spoon or Tongs: For portioning and serving the dish onto plates.
  • Optional: Strainer or Slotted Spoon: If you want to strain the hot oil after frying the pork to reuse it or dispose of it properly, you may need a strainer or slotted spoon.
  • Optional: Mortar and Pestle: If you prefer to pound the garlic and Thai bird's eye chilies into a paste rather than mincing them, a mortar and pestle can be handy.


For the Crispy Pork:

  • 1/2 lbs pork belly or pork shoulder, thinly sliced (about 225g)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Stir-Fry Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 cup chicken or vegetable broth

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 1 bunch of Chinese broccoli (gai lan), washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Thai bird's eye chilies, minced (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Vegetable oil for stir-frying


Marinate the Pork:

  • In a bowl, combine the thinly sliced pork with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt. Mix well and let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the Crispy Pork:

  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok for frying over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot (around 350°F or 175°C), carefully add the marinated pork slices, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  • Fry the pork until it turns golden brown and crispy, which should take about 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • Remove the crispy pork from the oil and drain it on paper towels. Set it aside.

Make the Stir-Fry Sauce:

  • In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and chicken or vegetable broth.

Stir-Fry the Chinese Broccoli:

  • Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add minced garlic and Thai bird's eye chilies (adjust the amount to your spice preference) and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the Chinese broccoli to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until it begins to wilt and turns bright green.

Combine Everything:

  • Pour the prepared stir-fry sauce over the Chinese broccoli and stir-fry for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender-crisp and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Add Crispy Pork:

  • Gently fold the crispy pork into the stir-fried Chinese broccoli and sauce, allowing it to absorb some of the flavors.


  • Transfer the Pad Kana Moo Krob to a serving plate and serve hot with steamed jasmine rice


  • Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan): Chinese broccoli is the preferred choice for this dish due to its slightly bitter and robust flavor. You can find it in most Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find Chinese broccoli, you can substitute it with regular broccoli or kale, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  • Crispy Pork: Achieving crispy pork requires thinly slicing the meat and ensuring it’s dry before frying. You can pat the pork slices with paper towels before marinating them to remove excess moisture.
  • Frying Pork: When frying the pork, be cautious as hot oil can splatter. Use a deep pan or wok to minimize the risk. Also, frying in batches helps maintain the oil temperature and ensures even cooking.
  • Stir-Frying: Keep the wok or pan hot when stir-frying the Chinese broccoli. High heat allows for a quick cook, preserving the vibrant green color and crisp texture.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of Thai bird’s eye chilies to your preferred spice level. You can deseed them for less heat or omit them altogether if you prefer a mild dish.
  • Sauce Thickness: If you like your sauce thicker, you can add more cornstarch to the sauce mixture. Dissolve the cornstarch in a tablespoon of cold water before adding it to the sauce to prevent lumps.
  • Serve Promptly: Pad Kana Moo Krob is best enjoyed immediately after cooking. The crispy pork tends to lose its crispiness if left to sit for too long in the sauce.
  • Garnish: For added freshness and texture, you can garnish your Pad Kana Moo Krob with some chopped cilantro or Thai basil leaves before serving.
  • Customization: Feel free to customize this dish by adding other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or carrots to the stir-fry. You can also use other proteins like chicken, shrimp, or tofu instead of pork.
Keyword pork, side dish, stir-fry, vegetables

How Pad Kana Moo Krob Reached the West

Now that you’ve got a sense of how to enjoy Pad Kana Moo Krob, let’s delve into how this mouthwatering dish journeyed from Thai kitchens to plates in the West.

The introduction of Thai cuisine in the West, particularly in the US, started around the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was during this time that the first wave of Thai immigrants came in search of better opportunities and brought with them their rich culinary traditions. They set up small restaurants, initially aiming to cater to their own community. The exotic flavors, however, soon caught the attention of adventurous local foodies.

Pad Kana Moo Krob was one of the dishes that stood out. Its unique combination of crispy pork belly and Chinese broccoli, slathered in a savory oyster sauce, was unlike anything the West had tasted before. Its popularity grew, and it started appearing in Thai restaurants across the US, and later, Europe.

Today, you can find Pad Kana Moo Krob in almost any Thai restaurant in the West. Its journey from the humble kitchens of Thailand to the bustling restaurants of the West is a testament to the universal appeal of Thai cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some of the Cultural Traditions or Customs Associated With Pad Kana Moo Krob?

In Thailand, it’s common to share this dish among family or friends, signifying unity.

Also, it’s typically enjoyed with a side of jasmine rice, following the Thai custom of pairing flavorful dishes with plain rice.

How Has Pad Kana Moo Krob Influenced Other Asian Cuisines Outside of Thailand?

It’s common to see adaptations in neighboring cuisines like Vietnamese or Cambodian food. They’ve incorporated the concept of pairing crispy pork with leafy greens, and the use of oyster sauce for flavor.

How Does the Preparation and Cooking Time of Pad Kana Moo Krob Compare to Other Thai Dishes?

Compared to other Thai dishes, you’ll find Pad Kana Moo Krob’s preparation and cooking time is relatively short. It’s a stir-fry dish, so it doesn’t require the lengthy simmering or marinating times of some Thai curries or soups.

In fact, you’ll be enjoying your crispy pork and Chinese broccoli in less time than it’d take to make many other traditional dishes. It’s a great choice when you’re craving Thai but don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen.

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My name is Mint. I am a Thai girl who loves to cook and share my Thai food with everyone! Learn more about me here.

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