by Jim Shirley | September 5, 2018

Thai Molly Recipe from Chef Jim Shirley


“We make ‘Thai-Mollys’ with masa and curries from scratch, plus an Asian pesto with cilantro, basil, peanuts and sesame.” Photography by Chandler Williams



  • 5 tablespoons Mrs. Wages pickling lime
  • 5 pounds whole dried corn kernels
Note: We use organic whole corn purchased from Great River Organic Milling. It comes in a 25-pound bag.

PREPARATION:Put corn and lime in 2-gallon pot and fill with water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for an hour and 15 minutes. Strain and rinse corn thoroughly. Spread corn on a baking sheet, refrigerate and allow to dry overnight. Once corn is dry, grind using a grain mill.

  • 1 pound ground corn
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chicken stock
  • Dried corn husks (available at most Mexican markets)
  • Basil, mint, cilantro and chive (garnish)

PREPARATION: Place corn husks in an airtight container, refrigerate and soak for at least 24 hours or up to a week. In a large bowl, mix ground corn, salt and baking powder with hands until thoroughly combined. Add shortening to the corn and work evenly until well-incorporated, adding chicken stock if dough is too dry to work with.


  • ½ pounds grilled chicken breast
  • 1 pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons green curry
  • 3 tablespoons red curry

PREPARATION: Grill chicken breast. Allow to cool. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper and roast until meat is tender enough to shred with a fork, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Allow to cool. Shred grilled chicken breast and mix with green curry. Shred roasted pork and mix with red curry.

green curry

  • 1 deseeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 kefir lime leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 ounce ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 ounce galangal
  • 1 tablespoon lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 fluid ounce vegetable oil
  • 1 pound poblano peppers, deseeded and diced large
  • 2 cups chicken stock

red curry

  • 2 dried japones peppers, deseeded
  • 1 kefir lime leavef
  • 1 ounce ginger, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 ounce galangal
  • 1 tablespoon lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 fluid ounce vegetable oil
  • ¼ pound dried guajillo peppers, deseeded and diced large
  • 2 cups chicken stock
Note: Kefir lime leaves, galangal, palm sugar and fish sauce are available at most Asian markets.

Shirley grinds corn to make the masa used in his tamales. Photography by Chandler Williams

PREPARATION FOR BOTH CURRIES: In a large pot, cook all ingredients except poblano or guajillo peppers and chicken stock in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processer and mix until it forms a paste. Return mixture to pot and add poblano or guajillo peppers and cover with chicken stock. Cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and continue cooking until peppers are soft and one-third of stock has evaporated. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and strain through a fine sieve. Add salt to taste. These are the base curries that will season the proteins. For the sauce, mix 1 cup curry with 1/3 cup (or more or less based upon desired heat) unsweetened coconut milk.

Portion dough into 3-ounce balls. Place one ball in the center of each soaked corn husk and flatten into a ½-inch disk. Place 1 ½ ounces of curry chicken on each of half of the disks. Place 1 ½ ounces curried pork on the remaining disks. Work the corn dough completely around the protein and wrap with the husk. Place one chicken and one pork Thai molly folded side down in a steamer and steam for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from steamer and place on a plate side by side. Slice the top of each Thai molly open and squeeze from the end to remove from the husk. Sauce the chicken with green curry coconut sauce. Sauce the pork with red curry coconut sauce. Garnish with chiffonade of basil, mint, cilantro and chive.

Enjoy these great recipes for Chef Shirley: Grits à Ya Ya and Crab Cakes.

Read more about Chef Jim Shirley