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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Vietnamese caramelized and braised pork belly with eggs, or Thit Kho Tau, is a traditional everyday Vietnamese dish. It consists of large chunks of pork belly and boiled eggs slowly braised in coconut juice. Thit Kho Tau is typically eaten with rice and pickled bean sprouts (Dua Gia) to cut through the fat.

 Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Although Thit Kho Tau is a typical Vietnamese home cooked dish, it’s also served as one of the traditional foods during the Lunar New Year (Tet). Before serving, it is offered to the deceased ancestors on the family altar.

 Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

The star of the dish is obviously the pork belly. It’s ridiculously tender while the fatty skin melts in your mouth. If you can get your hands on pork belly with bones, it’s even tastier. Others, particularly kids, love the eggs in the dish. Duck eggs are used widely in Vietnam for a richer flavor. Others opt for quail eggs. As for the braising liquid, it is both savory and sweet, making it a great dipping sauce for fresh or boiled vegetables.

 Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Keep in mind that this dish yields a lot of fat. If you make this dish ahead of time, put it in the fridge to cool. Pork fat will solidify at the top once cooled. Grab a spoon and scoop it out for a healthier version. Just don’t scoop out all of it, as fat is flavor! You can also skip the pork belly and use pork shoulder instead for a leaner version.

The trick to this dish is the longer the cooking time, the tender the meat and obviously the better the flavor. If you want to make this right, don’t rush it!

Thịt kho tàu Vietnamese braised caramelized pork belly eggs

Vietnamese Caramelized & Braised Pork Belly with Eggs (Thit Kho Tau)

Serves 5

Ingredients


    Pork Belly Marinade

  • 2 lbs pork belly
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pork/chicken/mushroom stock powder
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves (mince)
  • Half large shallot (mince)
  • 1 teaspoon thick soy sauce or homemade caramel cooking sauce

  • Braising Liquid

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Other half of shallot (mince)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (12 fl oz/ 355 mL) Coconut soda/juice

  • Other Ingredients

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (peel)

Instructions

  1. Clean the pork. Generously coat pork with salt (about 1 tablespoon) and give it an abrasive scrubbing. Rinse pork under cold water. Slice pork into 2x2 inch cubes and place in a small stock pot. Add water to cover and heat on medium high until water begins boiling. Once it starts boiling, immediately turn off heat and transfer pork to a colander to rinse and drain dry.
  2. Transfer parboiled pork to a large bowl and marinate with fish sauce, stock powder, sugar, garlic, shallot and thick soy sauce/caramel coooking sauce for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. To the bottom of a small pot, add vegetable oil and heat on medium high. Add garlic and shallot. Sautee until fragrant and lightly brown. Add marinated pork and all its liquid. Toss gently with aromatics.
  4. Add eggs, water, coconut soda/juice. Simmer on low without lid for 1-1/2 hours or until nicely tender. Serve with rice.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Recipe (Thit Bo Luc Lac)

The first time I had Vietnamese Shaking Beef or Bo Luc Lac was in Mui Ne, Vietnam, a beach resort town outside of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh city. We were close to our resort when we pulled over to a random beach-front restaurant to freshen up and fill our bellies. In the beautiful country of Vietnam and in the city of seafood galore, I ordered a hamburger. You live and learn. 

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Luckily, my husband ordered Shaking Beef and naively offered me a bite. After one bite of this flavorful Vietnamese dish of seared beef cubes, I tossed my hamburger aside. I slid his plate over to me and finished his food like a stealth ninja.

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) dipped in a lime-salt-pepper sauce.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) dipped in a lime-salt-pepper sauce.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef is seared cubed steak sauteed with garlic, onion, butter, and a soy marinade. The beef goes onto a bed of lettuce, watercress, tomato and/or cucumbers, and served with an optional lime-salt-and-pepper dipping sauce.

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Bo Luc Lac is not a common home-cooked dish. It's more of a celebratory dish that is eaten as an appetizer. However, nowadays, you now can find Bo Luc Lac served with rice in many Vietnamese restaurants.

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Ingredients

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Ingredients

When making this dish, use a good quality steak. High-end restaurants opt for the fancy cuts such as filet mignon for a tender and juicy steak. I make mine with less expensive cuts like sirloins or tri tips. You may have to chew a little more, but the flavor is all the same. Like all good steaks, do not overcook it! Medium rare is the way to go. Anything over that is blasphemy.

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Ingredients

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Ingredients

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Marinade

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) Marinade

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc lac)

Serves 3

Ingredients


    Beef Marinade

  • 2 lbs sirloin (trim off excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves (mince)

  • Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small red, white or yellow onion (slice into thin wedges)
  • 1 garlic clove (mince)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • Lime Dipping Sauce (Optional)

  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Salad

  • Lettuce
  • Watercress
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, marinate beef with sugar, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic for at least one hour at room temperature or overnight in fridge for best results.
  2. In a large skillet, heat up vegetable oil on medium high. Add half of the beef cubes and sear on all sides by shaking beef until medium rare. No more than 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with other half.
  3. To the now empty skillet, add butter. Once melted, add onions and garlic. Sautee until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Add soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice vinegar and sugar. Cook the mixture for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Toss in seared beef cubes until nicely coated. Transfer beef and sauce onto a bed of lettuce, watercress, tomatoes, and/or cucumbers.
  5. Mix together the lime juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Serve shaking beef with rice, and lime dipping sauce on the side.
 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

 Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) served with a lime-salt-and-pepper dipping sauce

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) served with a lime-salt-and-pepper dipping sauce