Five-Spice Egg & Pork Belly Stew (Instant Pot & Stovetop) ไข่พะโล้

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Thai Childhood Favourite

Growing up in Thailand, kai palo is one of my favourite dishes. And I would be willing to bet that many Thai people would say that it’s their childhood faves too. Hard boiled eggs and tender pork belly are simmered in a sweet-salty five-spice broth…how could any kid not like it! It was a staple at my school cafeteria, and a classic in many cafeterias and food courts around the country.

Instant Pot Modification

This is a great dish to make in the Instant Pot because it can save a lot of cooking time without affecting the end result. However I prefer to start it stovetop—it does create one more dirty pot but it’s much faster especially the part where you caramelize the palm sugar.

In the recipe I have provided two different methods, one for stovetop and one for the Instant Pot. The ingredient list doesn’t change except for the amount of stock which is slightly less if you’re using the IP.

Flavourful But Not Overcooked Eggs

Typical kai palo in Thailand features hard boiled eggs that are simmered in the soup for upwards of 30 minutes. This is to allow the eggs to absorb the flavour of the broth, but it also results in what Westerners would consider “overcooked” eggs—rubbery whites and grey ring around the yolks. For Thai people, there’s nothing wrong with this; it is an expected characteristic.

However, I prefer not-overcooked eggs myself, so my technique is cooking the eggs just until they’re done but letting them sit in the stew overnight before serving. If you don’t have time to do overnight, give them at least 30 minutes. Any less than that and you’re not doing the eggs justice!

Print

Five-Spice Egg & Pork Belly Stew (Instant Pot & Stovetop) ไข่พะโล้

  • Author: Pailin Chongchitnant
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

NOTE: It is best to make this stew one day it advance, or at the very least aim to finish it 30 minutes before serving. The eggs will have time to absorb more flavour the longer you let them sit.


Ingredients

Spice Bag

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 8 inches total)
  • 8 pc cloves
  • 2 pc star anise
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 cilantro roots or 10 cilantro stems
  • A piece of cheesecloth big enough to make a spice bag, or use premade bag as shown in the video

The Stew

  • lb pork belly, 1.5-inch chunks
  • ½1 tsp salt
  • 60g palm sugar (⅓ cup packed)
  • 5 cups unsalted pork or chicken stock, 4 cups if using IP
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Golden Mountain Sauce, or sub soy sauce (see Guide to Soy Sauce video)
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 23 tsp black soy sauce or dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp white pepper, ground
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 68 eggs (as many as you like, about 12 per person)
  • 8 tofu puffs, halved
  • Jasmine rice for serving

See the Instant Pot I use


Instructions

  1. Crush cinnamon sticks just until they break into smaller pieces, then add them to a dry saute pan along with star anise, cloves, coriander seed and Sichuan peppercorns.
  2. Toast over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the coriander seeds start to darken slightly. Remove from heat and place on the cheesecloth or spice bag.
  3. Add cilantro stems or roots then tie the cheesecloth to make a bag.  

Stovetop Method

  1. Optional step for extra flavour if you have time: In a heavy-bottomed pot, add a little oil to coat the bottom then heat on high. Toss pork belly in ½ tsp salt, then sear until browned on at least two sides. Remove and set aside. Pour off any excess fat collected in the pot but do not wash the pot.
  2. In the same pot add palm sugar and melt over medium high heat. Once melted, keep stirring until it turns a dark caramel colour. Immediately add stock to stop the cooking; the sugar will harden, this is okay. 
  3. Add soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black/dark soy sauce, white pepper, garlic and the spice bag. If you didn’t sear the pork, add the ½ tsp salt at this stage.
  4. Add the pork and simmer gently for 2 – 2.5 hours, loosely covered, until the pork is fork-tender.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the eggs in boiling water for 8 minutes. Once done place in a bowl of cold water to cool. Peel the eggs; be gentle as the yolks are still soft.
  6. Once pork is done, add eggs and tofu puffs and simmer another 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Let the stew sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, and preferably one day in advance so the eggs can have a chance to absorb the flavour.
  8. Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Method

Note: You can do the whole thing in the IP, but I recommend starting stovetop because it will be much faster. But if using IP for the entire process, do the first part on saute mode on high.

  1. Optional step for extra flavour if you have time: In a heavy-bottomed pot, add a little oil to coat the bottom then heat on high. Toss pork belly in ½ tsp salt, then sear until browned on at least two sides. Remove and set aside. Pour off any excess fat collected in the pot but do not wash the pot.
  2. In the same pot add palm sugar and melt over medium high heat. Once melted, keep stirring until it turns a dark caramel colour. Immediately add half of the stock to stop the cooking; the sugar will harden, this is okay. 
  3. Add soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black/dark soy sauce, white pepper, garlic and the spice bag. If you didn’t sear the pork, add the ½ tsp salt at this stage. Bring to a boil then transfer to the IP. 
  4. Add the pork into the IP and also the remaining stock, then cook on “pressure cook” mode on “high” for 20 minutes. Let it natural release for a minimum of 15 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure. You can place a wet cold towel on the metal part of the lid to help speed up the cooling down process.
  5. Meanwhile, cook eggs in boiling water for 8 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl of cold water. Peel the eggs; be gentle as the yolks are still soft.
  6. Once pork is done, open the IP lid and add eggs and tofu puffs. Turn the IP on “saute” mode on “medium,” then simmer the eggs and tofu for another 8 minutes (start timing from when the soup starts to bubble).
  7. Remove the inner pot from the IP, taste and adjust seasoning if needed, and let the stew sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. I remove the inner pot because I found that when I let the soup sit in the IP, even with the machine off the heat retention is too high and the eggs continued to overcook.
  8. Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Join us on Patreon for bonus content & rewards!


Delicious and kid-friendly, this Thai dish is a stew of eggs and pork belly in a five-spice broth. Perfect recipe for the Instant Pot or stovetop! #thaifood #instantpot #Porkbelly