Mmmm curry

thai pork curry

This is one of several recipes from my little pink Chiang Mai Cookery School recipe book that I use all the time. When I was on my world trip (a long time ago now) I did what every sweaty English tourist seems to do in Thailand and spent a day learning to cook Thai food. Oh my goodness it was the hottest  I’ve ever been in my whole life, and standing up all day over a steaming wok meant that I did actually pass out at one stage (very, very embarrassing). Worse than that, it was a pregnant lady who came to help me out my offering me her chair. Despite this, the course was excellent and the free recipe book that came home with me has proved to be invaluable.

I’ve just looked on line and the cookery school is still in existence although it is 9 years now since I was there so I can’t vouch for whether it is still good or not. You do still get a free recipe book though.

This recipe is great when you’re cooking for guests or when you need something really quick and easy as it takes less than 15 minutes to cook. I cooked this in a holiday cottage for my friends at the weekend and it went down very well indeed.

Red curry with pork from the Chiang Mai Cookery School

Serves 4

  • 3 large pork fillets
  • 1 x 400 ml tin of coconut milk
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Mae Ploy red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • A good handful of Thai basil leaves
  • 3 small yellow courgettes cut into 1 ½ cm cubes

Since you don’t cook the pork for very long or brown it to crisp up the fat you need to make sure it is as lean as possible for this dish. Take your time and remove all the fat and silver skin from the pork fillets and chop into medallions about half a cm thick. Then add the red curry paste and rub it into the pork with your hands until it is evenly coated. Set aside.

Put the coconut milk into a wok and fry for 3-5 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring continuously, the milk will bubble and start to thicken a little. Then add the pork and cook until the outside of the meat is cooked. Add the courgettes and simmer until the pork and courgette are cooked through. I put a lid on at this point and find that it usually takes about 5-7 minutes. I keep an eagle eye on things and keep testing the pork so as not to overcook it.

Combine the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice in a small bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add to the wok with half the basil leaves and stir to combine.

Serve with the remaining basil leaves sprinkled over the top and a good pile of rice (see my post ‘Nice Rice’).


Don’t be tempted to use other pork cuts for this dish however lean. I tried pork steaks and it tasted fine but the meat was ever so tough. The dish does work well with chicken breast however.

I add courgettes because they are in season but the original recipe doesn’t include any veg. I think they work well in this dish but would leave them out if they weren’t in season.

I’ve tried making my own curry paste but the Mae Ploy one is so good that I really don’t think it is worth the bother. Whatever you do though don’t buy what they call red curry ‘sauce’ which they sell in jars.

thai cookery school

Back in the day at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School.
Spot a sweaty me inspecting potatoes at the market.



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