Khua Kling

aka Southern Thai Pork Stir-Fry
Boris Mann 17th December 2022 at 4:34pm

You'll need an immersion blender (or a mortar and pestle) for this recipe. We developed this recipe for a 14-inch wok, but a 12-inch nonstick or carbon-steel skillet can be used instead. Lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kapi (Thai shrimp paste), and lime leaves can be found at well-stocked supermarkets or an Asian market that carries Thai ingredients; they freeze well. You can substitute 1½ teaspoons of dried turmeric for the fresh turmeric. Prepare the other curry paste ingredients while the arbols hydrate. To avoid inhaling spicy fumes while stir-frying, use an exhaust fan or open a window. This dish is meant to be intensely spicy and should be eaten with rice in a ratio of I part pork to 2 parts rice. The sliced chiles enable diners to customize the spice level, but they can be omitted if desired. To make a half batch of khua kling, make a full recipe of curry paste and freeze half of it; cut all the other ingredients in half. Chilled cucumber slices make a complementary, cooling accompaniment.

Curry Paste

  • 10 dried arbol chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeds removed
  • 2 large shallots, chopped coarse
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
  • (2-inch) piece fresh galangal, chopped coarse
  • (2-inch) piece fresh turmeric, chopped coarse
  • 4 Thai red chiles, stemmed and chopped coarse
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, middle vein removed and sliced thin crosswise
  • 2 teaspoons kapi
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground pork, broken into |-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Thai red chiles, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick on bias (optional)
  • 3 makrut lime leaves, middle vein removed and sliced thin crosswise
  • Steamed jasmine rice
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled if desired, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, and chilled