Muu Wan is a traditional Thai sweet pork that’s typically served with coconut rice and papaya salad. I first came across it when I turned into a crazy person one January and spent the month cooking and eating Thai food for every meal—I blame Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok cookbook. Unlike most of the dishes I fumbled my way through, this one didn’t take a ton of manual labor or clueless Asian grocery wandering to come together. Over the years, I’ve created my own take on it to reduce the sugar and allergens without sacrificing the amazing taste. Set it and forget it on the stove, and once the sauce is reducing, the slaw comes together in minutes.
Prep: 20 min, Cook: 1 hr 15 min, Yield: 6-8 servings
2 lbs pastured pork butt, trimmed of fat
1 ½ tsp sea salt, divided
2 Tbsp coconut oil
⅓ c coconut aminos
¼ c maple syrup
½ tsp white pepper
1 medium head of green cabbage
1 tsp honey
1 ½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes, approximately ¼ cup
6 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 red thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 ½ c cherry tomatoes, halved
½ c chopped cilantro, tightly packed
⅓ c roasted peanuts, chopped
Cube pork into long slices that are 1 inch wide and 1 inch tall, going with the grain. Place into a dutch oven. Season liberally with 1 ½ tsp sea salt.
Add coconut aminos, maple syrup, and white pepper. Bring to an active simmer, being careful not to boil and scorch the maple syrup. Cover the dutch oven and reduce to a low simmer. Make sure the liquid is not boiling, or the pork will be tough. Cook until pork is extremely fork-tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour.
While the pork cooks, cut the head of cabbage into quarters, remove the core, and thinly shred. Place into a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the honey, salt, fish sauce, and lime juice. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Pour over the cabbage and spend 2-3 minutes massaging the dressing into the cabbage to soften it.
After the cabbage has softened, add green beans, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro and peanuts. Toss the slaw to mix thoroughly. Salt to taste. Refrigerate until use.
Once pork is fork-tender, pull it all apart in the pot and flatten it into a single layer. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to an active simmer. Cook until the liquid has completely evaporated and the pork shreds look slightly shiny and sticky, about 15 minutes.
Note: This pork is amazing served over coconut rice with some cilantro to garnish. Just scoop out the super thick coconut cream from a can of coconut milk that has separated and plop it in your rice cooker along with a big pinch of salt, 2 cups of jasmine rice, about 1 ¾ c water, and a heaping tablespoon of sugar.
Allergens: Fish, Nightshades
Inspired by Andy Ricker's "Khao Man Som Tam"