vegetarian kai palo

Thai five spices stew

to do

Another signature Thai dish!

You will have to go local though to find and taste this sweet, salty, spicy, dark-brownish egg ('kai' is Thai for egg) in a 5 spices broth ('palo' stands for 5 spices). Traditionally a pork stew, but you can leave out pork and simply add more eggs (my husband loves those brown soaked eggs!).

Despite looking exotic and complex, this dish is actually easy to learn and a show off dish for the rest of your life!


5 eggs, hard boiled, unshelled
1 tsp pepper
5 cloves garlic
3 coriander (cilantro) roots (optional)
2 tbsp [Chinese five spices blend]
3 firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 [cinnamon sticks]
3 [star anises]
25 g coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp unrefined palm sugar
1 tb soy sauce
2 tbsp cooking oil
5 cups water

You could make your own spice mix (basic ingredients are anise star and cinnamon, the other 3 (or more) spices might vary), however I like the commercial one from [Lobo], a Thai brand.It misses out on a few essential spices, but some extra cinnamon sticks and star anises will kick in lots of aroma. I also add some coriander (cilantro) roots, which give that extra fresh flavor.


Pound garlic, pepper and coriander in a semi-rough paste.
Preheat a pan to a medium and add oil.
Add the pounded paste, sauté for a minute until the fragrance comes out.

Add palm sugar and stir until melted and brown coloured.

Add the five spices blend and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add all anise.

Place this vegetable-herb blend into a pot (medium heat) and add water. Add tofu and all eggs.

We usually cook for another 7 to 10 mintues, the tofu and eggs can take on the stew flavour.

Meanwhile taste the stew for sweetness and adjust with soy sauce (savory) or palm sugar (sweet) if necessary.

Turn off the heat and season with coriander.