Chinese Five Spice Egg Stew (ไข่พะโล้)

Since I discovered the utterly easy method of making this dish, the five spice egg stew is a culinary treasure in my kitchen. I try to make eggs a part of atleast one meal of my children’s daily meal plan and this particular dish adds a totally new characteristic to hardboiled eggs.

Khai phalo is basically eggs, tofu and pork in a dark coloured soup with lots of herbs and Chinese flavours. I have a 6 year old nephew who comes by and asks me to make him “the black soup” and really enjoys it with rice. In Thai schools you will find this dish served to kids at least once a week. Even though it is savored by kids very little households make this dish at home, maybe because it seems time consuming and tricky but I hope with this recipe I will be able to convince you otherwise. All you need is the right ingredients and we can cook this up in less than an hour.

Let’s get started..

Ingredients :- (serves 4)
• 1 tbsp cooking oil
• 1 tbsp garlic (crushed)
• 3 star anise
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1tbsp five spice powder (ผงพะโล้)
• 2 tbsp light soya sauce (ซีอิ๊วขาว)
• 1 tbsp dark soya sauce (ซีอิ๊วดำ)
• 1 oyester sauce (น้ำมันหอย)
• 2 coriander roots
• 1 tbsp sugar (palm sugar will do nicely)
• ½ liter water or pork bone stock
• 5-6 duck eggs (or hen eggs)
• Ready fried tofu (optional)

* Five spice powder or ผงพะโล้ – is a ready pack combination of 5spices which are Cinnamon, Star Aniseed, Cumin, Coriander & Cardamom.

* Star Anise or โป๊ยกั้ก – is a star shaped spice used in a lot of Indian and Chinese cuisine and has many great medicinal values.
Both of these are easily available in the spice aisle of almost all supermarkets in Thailand.


Usually in a stew you just add all the ingredients and let it simmer for hours but, for this dish I like to fry the ingredients before putting to boil to excessively infuse the aroma, which is what will make this dish closest to its origin.

1. Fry the garlic in a medium sauce pan with the oil.
2. Add in the coriander roots, star anise & cinnamon stick.
3. After a few minutes add in the minced pork. And cook this well.
4. Add the 5spice powder, all the sauces & sugar. If you are using palm sugar cook till this melts. Turn off heat.
5. In a large boiling pot of water or stock (I prefer using stock), add in the ingredients from the sauce pan along with the boiled eggs. Cover the lid and simmer for 40minutes to an hour.
6. Constantly remove any foam formed on top of the pot.
7. If you are adding the fried tofu, put it in the pot 10minutes before serving so it soaks up some flavors without getting too soggy.
8. Season with salt or pepper according to taste.
9. Spoon out the eggs and cut into halves.
10. Garnish with coriander.
11. Serve with jasmine rice.



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