Thit heo kho nuoc dua, thit kho tau, thit kho riu, thit kho trung or simply thit kho is a Vietnamese classic pork dish. As you can tell, I’m not entirely sure what is its original name as they all refer to the same dish – a dish that involves pork, eggs, coconut juice, caramelised sugar and long hours of cooking. As far as I know, thịt heo means pork, nước dừa means coconut juice and trứng means eggs (hope I’m right). Whatever it is called, it’s delicious – melt-in-your-mouth pork fats, tender meat, sweet-savoury sauce…YUM.
This dish requires caramelised sugar, which adds a nice sweet caramel flavour to the dish, and also gives the meat a nice reddish brown colour. I used canned coconut juice, remember to use those without any added sugar, fresh is of course preferred and best. Instead of braising the meat for hours, I used the pressure cooker then left it to simmer uncovered to reduce the sauce.
Vietnamese Braised Pork in Coconut
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 1/2 hrs
For caramelised sugar:
- 1 tbs oil
- 4 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs hot water
- 1.8 kg pork (use fattier cut, I used boneless shoulder joint) – chop into medium chunks
- 5 hard-boiled eggs (more or less, up to you) – peeled
- 2-inch ginger – sliced
- 3 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed
- 2 cans (2 1/2 cups) unsweetened coconut juice/ water (NOT coconut milk/ cream)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground peppercorn
- 2 tbs fish sauce (more or less to taste)
To caramelize the sugar:
- Heat up 1 tbs oil under medium heat. Add in sugar and leave it to melt.
- Reduce to low heat when sugar starts to melt. Will be a bit clumpy at first, don’t worry.
- Keep stirring when sugar is fully melted.
- Cook until dark brown/ brownish red. At this point, large bubbles will form. Add ~1 tbs boiling water.
- Add pork pieces into caramelized sugar. Stir to coat.
- Add in ginger, garlic, coconut juice, salt, black pepper and 1 tbs of fish sauce.
- Cook under pressure for about 20 mins.
- Cool it down, remove lid, add eggs and leave to simmer for a further 30 mins or longer to reduce the sauce. [Cooking in the pressure cooker produces a lot of liquid, so this step is to reduce the liquid as I personally prefer thicker sauce. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, leave it to simmer for at least 1 hr. The longer the better.]
- Season to taste with more fish sauce.
I’m sending this to Anh who is the host of this month’s Delicious Vietnam, which was founded by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Kim and Hong of Ravenous Couple.