Tet is for savoring abundance, which explains why this rich, savory braise of pork and eggs in bittersweet caramel sauce is a must-have on many southern Vietnamese Lunar New Year menus.

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It’s an extravagant treat. Pork leg with the skin attached (fresh ham) is the cut of meat traditionally used, but pork shoulder or belly also offers the delicious balance of fat and lean meat. The eggs lend an interesting contrast of chewy white and buttery yolk, while the sauce featuring coconut water is softly sweet. Searing the meat và including peppercorns are modern touches that induce greater complexity. The cook time can be cut nearly in half by making the braise in a pressure cooker. Crunchy pickled bean sprout salad is the traditional accompaniment, along with plenty of rice. Stir-fried greens can be served alongside too.

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Ingredients

¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more as needed ⅛ teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar or distilled trắng vinegar 1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, belly or leg (see Tip) 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce, plus more as needed ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 5 garlic cloves, smashed 1 ½ teaspoons đen peppercorns 2 cups unsweetened coconut water, strained if pulpy 4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled 2 fresh bầu chiles or 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced (optional)

Preparation

Make the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the 1/4 cup sugar, vinegar & 1 tablespoon water until the sugar nearly dissolves, 60 to 90 seconds. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns champagne yellow, about 3 minutes, then continue huyenthoaics.com for another 1 to lớn 2 minutes, frequently picking up the pan và swirling it to control the caramelization. When the mixture is a dark tea màu sắc (expect faint smoking), turn off the heat và keep the pan on the burner. Let the caramelization continue until the mixture is burgundy in color, 1 khổng lồ 2 minutes. Slide the pan to lớn a cool burner and add 3 tablespoons water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Warm over medium heat khổng lồ loosen, if needed. Cut the pork into chunks about 1-inch thick and 2 lớn 3 inches long, making sure each piece has both lean meat & fat. Warm the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in 2 or 3 batches, cook the pork on all sides until lightly browned, about 1 minute per batch, holding the seared meat on a plate. When done, return all the pork and any accumulated juices to the pot, then địa chỉ the caramel sauce, fish sauce, onion, garlic, peppercorns & coconut water.

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Bring to a boil over high heat, skim the scum, then adjust the heat to lớn maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until a knife tip inserted 1/4 inch into the pork meets little resistance, about 1 1/4 hours. Use tongs to lớn retrieve the pork and hold in a bowl, loosely covered lớn prevent drying. If peppercorns cling to the pork, leave them for zing, or knock them off và discard. Khổng lồ quickly filter and remove fat from the huyenthoaics.com liquid, phối a mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl, line with a double layer of paper towels và pour the liquid through. After most of the liquid passes through & a layer of fat remains above the solids, mix the strainer aside. (Save the fat for huyenthoaics.com if you like.) You should have about 1 50% cups huyenthoaics.com liquid. Return the liquid khổng lồ the pot, bring to a boil over high heat & cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, then add the pork và eggs. Cook, gently stirring now và then, to heat through and coat with the dark sauce, 3 khổng lồ 5 minutes. Turn off the heat & let rest 5 minutes, uncovered, to lớn concentrate flavors. Taste and showroom up lớn 1 1/2 teaspoons of fish sauce or 1 một nửa teaspoons sugar, or both, as needed for a pleasant savory-sweet finish. Transfer to lớn a shallow bowl for serving. Invite diners to lớn halve the eggs themselves. If you’d like spicy heat, gently smash the chiles in individual dishes for dipping sauce with some sauce from the pot, & use it lớn dip the pork và egg or to lớn drizzle into the bowls. Tip If using pork shoulder, choose a fatty portion. Pork belly can be skin-on or skinless. If choosing pork leg, select the meatier upper butt portion rather than the lower shank portion.