Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Eggs, orThit Kho Tau, is a traditional Vietnamese dish of pork belly and boiled eggs, slowly braised in coconut juice. Like most Vietnamese dishes, it's eaten with white rice and a side of fresh or boiled vegetables.
The star of the dish is obviously the pork. The pork belly is extremely tender. The meat simply crumbles and falls off the bones, while the fatty skin melts in your mouth. As for the sauce, it is both savory and sweet, making it a great dipping sauce for sliced cucumbers and lettuce, or boiled greens such as water spinach, Rau Muong.
For the below recipe, I took a shortcut from caramelizing sugar by using thick soy sauce. Caramelizing sugar is how traditional Vietnamese dishes gets its color. This process can get very tricky because pan-frying sugar to get a nice amber color can lead to burning sugar. One minute to long on the stove and you got yourself the foul smell of burnt sugar that will linger in the house. To prevent this incident and to speed up the process, I use thick soy sauce. I use just enough to coat the eggs and pork before braising. We don't want to use too much as it can affect the flavor of the dish.
Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Eggs (Thit Kho Tau) Recipe
- 2.5 lbs pork belly
- 6 hard-boiled eggs (peeled)
- 1 tablespoon salt for cleaning pork
- 9 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large shallot (about 4 tablespoons when minced)
- 4 cloves garlic; sliced thinly
- 2 teaspoons thick soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 can of coconut juice (CoCo brand preferred)
- 2 cups water
- In a bowl, drizzle 1 teaspoon (reserve the other teaspoon for later) thick soy sauce over the hard-boiled eggs. Toss until the eggs are lightly coated. Set aside.
- Clean the pork. Scrub salt over the pork and wash. Bring a small pot with water to a boil and cook the pork on high for 1-2 minutes to remove the off smell of pork. Drain and rinse.
- Cut the pork belly into bite size pieces and marinate with fish sauce for at least 30 minutes.
- In a clay pot or small pot, add vegetable oil and heat on medium. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant but not brown.
- Add the remaining thick soy sauce.
- Add the marinated pork and all its liquid. Toss until combined.
- Cover pot with lid and braised on low for 30 minutes.
- Add sugar. Continue to braise with lid on for 15 minutes.
- Add the eggs, coconut juice and water.
- Cook with lid off and braise on low heat for 30 minutes until the liquid reduces by 1/4.
- Serve with white rice and your choice of boiled greens or fresh sliced cucumbers.