Khao Kaa Moo ( Braised Pork Knuckle)

Walking through the market stalls more often than not you are greeted with that familiar smell of star anise and cinnamon which is synonymous with Thai slowed Braised Pork it is to be found in huge pots and there will generally be a queue and it just epitomises the essence of street food….One which holds almost iconic status.


Hot, steaming bowls are served with Chinese steamed cabbage and soft- boiled or soy eggs and it is truly to die for the taste is out of this world. there is nothing better than joining everyone else sitting and enjoying this lovely dish while watching the world pass by.

Well, come with me.

I will tell you how to replicate that in your own kitchen.


You will need a Pork knuckle or 2 pork hocks..some also use belly pork cut into 2-inch pieces this recipe will serve 3-4  people but just increase the ingredients if you want to make a bigger pot.

Clean the knuckle by blanching in hot water and scrape any excess hair off with a sharp knife or do what the Thais do and hold it over a naked flame.

To make the Herb paste :

3 fresh cleaned coriander roots, sliced finely.

3 large cloves of garlic.

1/2 tsp white peppercorns or black will do.

Pinch of salt.

2-3 tbsp solid Palm sugar.

1 tbsp cooking oil.

For the Broth:

2 tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder.

2 Star Anise.

1 stick cinnamon.

2 tbsp Dark Soy.

2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce.

1.5 litres of chicken or pork stock.

Lets Cook!

Using a pestle and mortar pound the palm sugar to a fine powder..set to one side.

Pound cleaned coriander roots, peppercorns, garlic and salt into a fine paste.

ground paste for belly pork

Fry herb paste on a low heat for a few minutes to release flavour add the palm sugar and turn up the heat to medium and stir vigorously until the sugar is melted. Keep stirring until caramelised and the mixture starts to brown. Add the spices and stir to mix well then add prepared pork and turn over to coat with the mixture.

caramalising pork belly

If you also want to add a few extra whole cloves of garlic at this point then do so..some do and some don’t.

Add stock and Soy sauces.

Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 2 hours or until meat is very tender.

I also add my eggs about an hour before the end of cooking time this gives them a lovely soy flavour…Again like many recipes some do some don’t if you make this often you will find your own preferred method.

Ladle into small bowls and serve with steamed Chinese cabbage, rice and soft/hard-boiled eggs.



Unlike the Thais, I do not eat all the skin and fat so I remove a lot of the skin before I serve also because the gravy can be very fatty I allow mine to cool overnight in the fridge and then take off the fat and reheat..I find this better than trying to skim the hot fat off and it also lets the flavours develop.

You then have a  lovely bowl of  Khao Kaa Moo…..


Until next time Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot x

22 thoughts on “Khao Kaa Moo ( Braised Pork Knuckle)

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  6. marisselee

    As usual, it looks yummy…my late uncle liked to cook something similar which we all love. Altho between braised deep-fried (?) pork knuckles (Crispy Pata), I will go for the latter. But if allowed to eat both, I will eat both…variety is just perfect. Lol!


  7. Marsha

    So you are thinking about doing your own cooking show? You know you could do one right on your blog. All you’d need are snippets of video feed. It would be great for those of us who are less natural in the world of pots and pans! I never hear of using coriander roots. We use the leaves in everything. Great post, Carol. 🙂


    1. Carol Post author

      Scary me on video..I would love to but… I don’t know if I could…I will think about it and have thought about it and there it has stayed…Yes, coriander roots are used in much of the cooking get a more intensive flavour and it uses the whole plant..I have dried some so have the powder it is also used in other Asian countries.Thank you Marsha 🙂


      1. Kerri Elizabeth

        I believe you would be amazing at is where my blog teacher is taking me to build my site brings us all close to you and your energy and excitement to create yumminess..sending you love and light to the idea and hope youll think about it


  8. Doctor Jonathan

    Looks incredible. Since I am always curious, how often do the residents eat foods other than asian style food? I wasn’t certain if diversity in cultural foods was typical outside of traditionally “developed” nations?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol Post author

      Thank you, Dr J…Here where I live I would say very little diversity and I like it that way… Bangkok and places like Phuket are more diverse but only in foreign-owned stores, you won’t find local shops stocking anything imported just local Thai food.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. thelme70

    Delicious. I love this kind of food and is easy to make. Thanks for sharing Carol. Will share this to my fb cooking page.

    Liked by 1 person

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