Friday, April 1, 2011

Thit Heo Kho Trung

I tested out another Vietnamese dish this past week and it turned out to be so easy and tasty that it is now my new favorite thing to cook!  Thit Heo Kho Trung isn't for everyone.  For one thing, it uses fish sauce and that can cause your whole house to smell.  Secondly, it uses fatty pork, so it's not for the health-conscious.  But if you like authentic Vietnamese cuisine, I would highly recommend you try this!

I adapted this recipe from a great food blog, Wandering Chopsticks, which features many easy Vietnamese recipes.  Believe me, if I can do this, so can you.

 Thit Heo Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork With Hard-Boiled Eggs)

For a 2-quart pot, you'll need:

Nuoc Mau (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce)
1 lb pork belly, sliced into two-inch chunks. I asked the butcher to cut this up for me, so there was virtually no prep work at all for me!
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
1 medium onion, sliced or diced
1 cup fresh coconut juice, or substitute with Coco Rico
About 1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), or more according to taste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper


Hard boil eggs, peel shells, and set aside.

If you haven't done this already, cut meat into 2-inch wide chunks. Slice or dice onions. Set aside.

Make the caramel sauce by adding two tablespoons of sugar to a pot and adding just enough water to get it wet.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and the sugar should start to boil and bubble very quickly.

Constant vigilance is necessary to keep the sugar from burning.  Add water little by little until you get the desired consistency (should be sticky and syrupy).  When the caramel sauce turns dark brown, it is ready.

When caramel sauce is just ready, add the pork and stir to color the pork.

Add the onion and about 1 cup of coconut juice, or half a can of Coco Rico, and enough water to cover the meat with about an inch of water over.

Add the fish sauce, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir again to mix it up. If you like sweeter meat, you can use additional coconut juice in lieu of the water. Taste and adjust sugar or fish sauce if necessary.

Turn heat down to medium low and allow to simmer for about an hour. The pork will just continue to get more tender the longer you simmer it.

About 15 minutes before the pork will be the done, add the hard-boiled eggs, making sure to put the eggs in the middle of the pot so they can absorb the caramel sauce flavor and color. You don't want to put the eggs too soon because they'll get rubbery.

Serve with rice.

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