Chefs' Recipes

David Thompson's grilled pork skewers

A street food favourite, these grilled pork skewers by chef David Thompson pack a huge amount of flavour. Make them the star of your next barbecue.

By David Thompson
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus soaking and marinating
  • Serves 4 - 6
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David Thompson's grilled pork skewers
"In Bangkok, these smoky treats are available throughout the day and well into the night - and for good reason," says David Thompson. "I like to use quite a fatty cut of pork, and neck fits the bill perfectly. It might seem strange to use condensed milk, but it's what makes the pork rich and caramelised and truly of the streets." Soak 16 small bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes for this recipe, and start a day ahead to marinate the pork.
Pictured here with green papaya salad.


  • 4-5 Thai garlic cloves (see note)
  • 3 coriander roots
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp rice bran oil
  • 2 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Dash dark of soy sauce, to taste
  • 30 gm light palm sugar, crushed
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • Large pinch of finely ground dry-roasted coriander seeds (see note)
  • Pinch of ground star anise
  • 350 gm boned pork neck, cut into 2cm strips
  • 60 ml coconut cream (¼ cup)
  • Steamed rice, to serve


  • 1
    Pound garlic, coriander roots, peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt with a mortar and pestle, then combine with oil, condensed milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar and spices in a plastic container. Add pork, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 2
    Heat a charcoal barbecue (or char-grill pan) to low. Thread 3 pork strips onto each skewer and grill in batches, turning occasionally and brushing with coconut cream, until charred and just cooked (6-10 minutes). Serve with steamed rice.


Thai garlic is smaller and sweeter than other varieties of garlic, and is available from Thai food stores. If it's unavailable, substitute small garlic cloves. Regular garlic will work fine, but the flavour will be slightly bitter. Dry-roast whole seeds then grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. To dry-roast spices, cook the spices in a dry pan, stirring continuously over medium-high heat until they're fragrant. The cooking time varies depending on the spices used.
Drink Suggestion: Smaragd grüner veltliner, such as Hirtzberger's. Drink suggestion by Greg Plowes

  • undefined: David Thompson