Sep 22, 2014

Southeastern Style Pork Stew Using Galangal, Kaffir Lime Leaves, and Lemon Grass

The recipe posts from the past three weeks have all been western food related dishes - oven roasted sword fish fillet, ravioli with sage brown butter sauce, and summer salad with watermelon and feta. Needless to say, it's about time for a comforting and rice-perfect Asian recipe. This Southeastern style pork stew has a sourish taste from the tomatoes, sweetness from palm sugar, and a slightly spicy kick from the dangerous red chilies. Let's get cookin'!

Southeastern style pork stew using galangal, Kaffir lime leaves, and lemon grass -


  • 1.5 lbs of semi-fatty pork chunks
  • 2 big ripe tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of chicken soup
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 big bundle of shallot
  • 8 pieces of dried Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 pieces of dried galangal
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons of dried lemon grass
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • Some chopped scallion (for garnish)


Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the pork chunks. The foamy brownish/grayish bits will start to emerge, takes about 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside for later use. This step helps eliminating odors and removing dirty bits that can cause unpleasant bitterness taste for the stew. 

Peel and give the garlic cloves a few chops. Peel and slice the shallots. Discard the stems and finely chop the red chilies. Dice the fresh tomatoes.

Take a big non-stick pot and drizzle enough oil to evenly coat the bottom. Turn to medium heat and add in the garlic, shallots, chilies along with some salt and pepper. Give it a quick stir. Cook till the shallots turned slightly browned but not burning the garlic pieces.

Add in the pork and sear for about 2 minutes then add in fresh diced tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn up the heat and add in all the remaining ingredients. For the dried herbs, I had a circular container with tiny holes, designed to keep the seasonings and herbs intact when used in soup or stew dishes. Otherwise you might want to wrap the lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, and star anise using a cloth and tide up with twine. 

Bring to a boil and lower the heat a little to keep it bubbling gently. Make sure to scoop out any floating foamy bits, especially during the first hour of simmering. Let it cook for around 2.5 hours or until nearly all the juice has been reduced.

Sprinkle with some chopped scallion before serving. You must have steamed rice to go along with this pork stew. Otherwise, have some bread at least.

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