This slow-cooked pork stew recipe takes some patience to make but it will fill your kitchen with the amazing aromas of pork, star anise and ginger. Served with steamed rice and stir-fried Asian greens, this Cambodian pork leg stew can be the centrepiece of a Southeast Asian feast.
We love this Cambodian slow-cooked pork stew and if you’re a pork lover and you’ve cooked and enjoyed our pork recipes before, we know that you will love this pork stew recipe as much as we do. It’s a dish that can easily be enjoyed simply with steamed rice and a plate of stir-fried Asian greens or morning glory or it could become the star attraction of a Southeast Asian feast.
This slow-cooked pork stew recipe makes Cambodia’s khor cheung chrouk or pork leg stew and it’s a delicious, hearty, aromatic dish that you’ll have a greater chance of eating in a private home in Cambodia when you travel to the country than you will in a restaurant or local eatery unfortunately – which is all the more reason to make it at home.
If you make this slow-cooked pork stew and enjoy it, please do consider supporting the work that we do here on Grantourismo by becoming a patron of our epic Cambodian cookbook and Cambodian culinary history on Patreon. This original project documents the recipes and stories of Cambodian cooks for the first time and you can support it for as little as the price of a dish of Cambodian street food.
If you love a slow-cooked stew, do check out our collection of our best stew recipes from around the world.
Slow-Cooked Pork Stew Recipe With Star Anise and Ginger for Khor Cheung Chrouk
There are many variations of this slow-cooked pork stew recipe in Cambodia. Some of the recipes are clearly Cambodian-Chinese in origin, such as a pork leg stew with chestnuts. Other pork stew recipes contain the usual Cambodian herbs, spices, sauces, and condiments. Cooking methods vary with each pork stew recipe as well.
Some slow-cooked pork stew recipes require that you simmer the pork on its own before combining it with the other ingredients. Other recipes call for blanching the pork to tighten up the skin, while others blanch and then quickly deep-fry the pork to get colour on the skin before adding it to the stew pot.
The consistency of the pork stew is another variant. Some pork ‘stews’ are more like a soup, similar to the sort of pork hock soup you would find in a Chinese joint in Bangkok, where the aromas of the pork, soy, ginger and star anise invite you in even on the most humid of days.
While those pork dishes typically come with tofu and boiled eggs, a modest amount of gelatinous pork meat, and are served with rice, in Cambodia this slow-cooked pork leg stew is served family-style, with the leg and hock presented whole in the serving dish. There will also be a big pot of rice and leafy Asian greens on the table.
The Vietnamese versions of this pork stew dish are similar to the Thai dishes where the pork typically gets blanched a couple of times before being deep-fried quickly, followed by a long slow, low cook.
When researching this dish, I’ve found that often the recipes have nuts involved. As I mentioned, chestnuts are sometimes used by Cambodian-Chinese families and there are carts in Cambodia that sell roasted chestnuts, usually in the cooler months – or month! – but most Cambodians will use peanuts if they want to use nuts in this dish.
But the most common recipes – which we have gleaned from our ever-expanding community of cooks here – include ingredients such as ginger and star anise rather than nuts.
Tips for Making This Slow Cooked Pork Leg Stew Recipe
One of the keys to making this slow-cooked pork stew recipe is that you need to find a good pork leg with plenty of meat to fat ratio. You do not want to go to the trouble of making this dish to find that 80% of your pork is actually fat – delicious as it is.
While I like to blanch the pork a couple of times to help the skin keep together while cooking, many Thai chefs deep fry the pork to get some decent deep colour on the skin to make it more appealing when serving.
While this is fine, the common Chinese method of using food colouring to get a deeper red colour looks a little silly in a Cambodian context. Cambodians do not do this. Just try to get a good sear of colour – deeper than you’d think – before the stewing process.
I often find that the meat won’t sit right down in the bottom of the wok evenly to cook, meaning that I need to add extra stock. Lately I’ve been using my Dutch Oven to make the dish and placing a glass saucepan lid on top instead of the Dutch Oven lid so I can see how much stock is left in the oven.
One change I will make to this slow-cooked pork stew recipe compared to what most Cambodian cooks do is to take off a couple of ladles of stock, reduce it down, and pour this over the pork when serving.
Slow Cooked Pork Leg Recipe
- 750 g pork leg and trotter cut into 2 pieces
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper whole
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 5 cm ginger piece sliced
- 2 pieces star anise
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 bunch coriander leaves only
- Blanch the pork legs with boiling water and dry off. Blanch them again after they have cooled off.
- Heat a dutch oven or a wok with a lid. Add the vegetable oil and cook the garlic, ginger, pepper, cinnamon and star anise until they release the aromas.
- Add the pork pieces and cook all over until the skin gets a good colouring.
- Add enough water to cover the pork and add the fish sauce, soy sauces and palm sugar.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.
- Cook for at least 90 minutes. Check the seasoning of the reduced sauce and season to taste.
- Remove the pork from the wok or Dutch oven and cover with foil to keep it warm while resting.
- Strain the stock and return to the heat to reduce to taste.
- Serve family-style on a tray and pour over the sauce and sprinkle the coriander leaves over the top.
- Serve with jasmine rice and stir-fried bok choy.
Do let us know if you make this slow-cooked pork stew recipe for khor cheung chrouk as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.