Thai Gaeng Hanglay Curry Recipe

Thai gaeng hanglay curry

How to Make Thai Pork Gaeng Hanglay Curry

This curry is from the north of Thailand, redolent of the spices of Burma and the Thai border. Whilst it can be ordered fairly easily in Chiang Mai and the northern Thai provinces, Gaeng Hang Lay is not generally found elsewhere in the country, although there is a Shan restaurant in Udon Thani, run by a northern family, that features this dish as well as its specialty of Khao Soi noodles. It is an aromatic dish best served with plain jasmine rice together with some green vegetables such as kale.

We do not advise the use of processed curry powders or pastes in preparing this curry, as they fail to orchestrate the rich notes of this dish. A successful Gaeng Hanglay curry should only be prepared with fresh ingredients.

Shrimp paste is one ingredient that may be difficult to find overseas, but you may either find it in Asian or Thai groceries, or online. Omitting this pungent paste will again sacrifice the dish! Likewise, fresh galangal has a much more aromatic flavour than the dried version.

Thus is traditionally a rich pork belly curry, but should you prefer to reduce the fat in the recipe then do feel free to substitute another cut, such as pork shoulder or collar.

Some restaurants will serve this aromatic northern curry with some deep fried pork crackling or pork skin on the side. Whilst this adds crunch to the dish, the crunchy morsels are often overly dry, detracting from the curry itself.

Northern Thai Hanglay Curry Recipe - Ingredients

10 dried red chilies (soak in hot water for half an hour prior to use)
A 1.5" cube of fresh peeled ginger root, finely chopped or julienned
1.5 tbs finely chopped fresh galangal
2 stalks of lemongrass, peeled & finely chopped
1 tbs Shrimp paste
2 tbs palm sugar
1 tsp roasted, ground cumin
600g pork belly
600ml pork stock
1 - 2 heads of pickled garlic, cut into largish chunks
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dark soy sauce
4 finely sliced shallots
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
3 tbs tamarind juice
1 tbs fish sauce


  • Grind the ginger, chilies, lemongrass & galangal to a rough paste, before adding the shrimp paste.
  • Cut the pork into one inch cubes and place in a saucepan with the curry paste. Mix thoroughly - use a spoon rather than your hands as the chili can be aggressive!
  • Now heat the coated cubes over a gentle heat until they have coloured - no water or oil is needed.
  • Add the pickled garlic, stock, cumin, soy and turmeric and simmer for around an hour and a half, until the meat is succulently soft.
  • At this stage add the fresh garlic, shallots, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar, before cooking for another 5 minutes. (If the sauce is too thin, boil without the lid to evaporate excess liquid.)
  • Stir and season to taste if required with fish sauce, lime juice or palm sugar.

    For a restaurant style presentation, you can sprinkle the plated dish with some slices of red chili and a swirl of coconut milk, or simply brighten the dish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves and perhaps some julienned ginger.


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