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Thai Spicy Pork with Lime (Moo Manao) Recipe

Updated on December 30, 2009

This dish is very quick and easy to make and it goes very well as one of many dishes in a larger Thai style dinner. Although it is normally served very spicy, people wary of chili fire can use whatever amount they’re comfortable with.

The chili and garlic called for in the recipe can be finely minced, but the results are better if the chili and garlic are smashed together in a mortar and pestle. As an alternative to a mortar and pestle, you could also use a mini food processor…or you could just chop it all up finely with a knife – that will work too!

This recipe calls for cilantro root, which is the (as the name would indicate) the white root part below the cilantro stalk. This has an almost garlic like flavor and it’s widely used in Thai cooking. If the cilantro you buy doesn’t come with the root attached, don’t worry about it.

Thai Spicy Pork with Lime (Moo Manao)

  • 1 lb of pork tenderloin, sliced very thinly
  • ¼ cup of smashed Thai bird chilies (smashed in a mortar and pestle, preferably)
  • ¼ cup of smashed garlic (smashed likewise, in a mortar and pestle)
  • 2 tsps of finely chopped cilantro root (the root, not the stalk). If you can’t find this, don’t worry about it too much
  • ¼ cup of fish sauce
  • ½ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsps of sugar
  • 1 tsp of MSG (optional, but widely used in Thailand)
  • Lettuce, for garnish


  • Mix the smashed chilies and garlic, the cilantro root, the sugar, the lime juice, the MSG and the fish sauce to make a dressing (mix it up well to incorporate the tastes). Taste for seasoning – it should be spicy, salty and sour; add more lime juice, chili or fish sauce as needed.
  • To cook the pork, bring a saucepan of water to a simmer and then boil the pork slices until just barely cooked, a minute or two. The time this takes will depend on the thickness of the pork slices, but watch the pork slices carefully and remove them from the boiling water as soon as they have cooked through (overcooked pork will be unpleasantly dry).
  • If you have a wire spider, you can just dip your pork in the water in batches contained within the wire spider (see the pic of a spider below). This will help you get the pork out quickly once cooked, so that it doesn’t overcook.
  • Arrange lettuce leaves on a plate and then arrange the pork on top. Pour the dressing over the pork slices and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Spicy, easy and delicious.

Cooking Spider


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    • profile image

      alexis 6 years ago

      this is originally a thai dish served by mother in laws as a puniishment!

    • profile image

      kims3003 7 years ago

      Sounds delicious.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      Really, but food hubs are always interesting to read. We eat everyday, and we seem to run out of menus, if we confine ourselves to our local treats. Let me try this Thai-inspired menu. The ingredients are easy to find in my country. Thanks!

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 7 years ago from USA

      Hi John, this recipe seems delicious. I'll give it a try.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 7 years ago from SE US

      I am so going to love trying this one out! Thanks for sharing.

    • KeithTax profile image

      Keith Schroeder 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I know what I'm asking my wife to make for supper.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Look delicious and worth trying. The ingredients are easy to find in my town. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year!

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 7 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      Another fine recipe.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Another dish for me! Thanks for sharing. I am hungry already!