Thit Kho is an iconic Vietnamese side dish that makes the most out of pantry ingredients! Thick cut pork belly is braised with eggs in coconut water until fall apart tender. BONUS: You’ll have a glossy caramel-infused sauce to drizzle all over your rice!
A family staple for all the right reasons
Every Vietnamese family will have their own version of Thit Kho.
Every family will claim that their’s is the best.
I won’t argue with sentiment (because let’s face it – your family’s cooking and all the memories that go with it will always trump everything else), so here’s why our family keeps coming back to THIS recipe:
All five pork layers in Thit Kho are braised in a sticky savory caramel reduction until melt-in-your-mouth tender. The fatty meat is balanced by a light and delicately sweet sauce that is made for drowning your rice with.By the end of the braising, each egg and pork piece comes out deeply golden and bronzed, glistening with that fish sauce caramel.
Make this recipe as a dinner staple or excite your family with this dish during the Lunar New Year!
Why this recipe works
Using coconut water in Thit Kho means the sauce will be infused with a fresh sweetness.Cooking the eggs in the caramel adds an extra layer of rich flavor and color.Caramelizing the sugar first keeps the sweetness sharp before it’s balanced with the fish sauce and coconut water.
What you’ll need
About the ingredients
Thit Kho is traditionally made with pork belly, but if you prefer other cuts then they will also work well in this recipe.
ModificationsMake it a meatless dish by swapping the pork out for fried tofu instead.Use quail eggs if you prefer smaller eggs.
How to make this recipe
Boil the eggs for 12 minutes or until hardboiled, then peel them and set aside in a bowl.
Cut the meat into 5cm or 2″ chunks.
Note: If you like the pieces in Thit Kho smaller, cut them to your liking.
Extract the juice from the coconuts. If you’re using fresh coconuts, lay them on their side and chop the cleaver down about 3cm (or 1″) from the coconut’s point. Rotate the coconut and repeat until the whole tip is removable.
Pull the top off and pour the juice into a bowl and repeat for all the coconuts.
On a high heat, add the sugar and stir continuously until it begins clumping together.
Pour in a tablespoon of water and stir until combined. Repeat this step a tablespoon at a time with the remaining water. By the end, you will have a dark brown caramel sauce.
Add the fish sauce in and stir until well combined.
While the heat is still on high, put the eggs in and roll them through the sauce until they’re evenly coated and have turned a slight golden color.
Scoop the eggs out and set them aside in a bowl.
Add the pork belly into the sauce and brown them on all sides.
Pour the coconut water in and season with chicken bouillon powder. Stir well then bring to a boil with the lid partially on. As soon as it boils, turn the heat to medium and let it gently simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes of simmering, put the eggs back into the pot.
Simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes or until the pork is tender.
Serve immediately with steaming hot rice!
How do you peel an egg without the shell sticking?
Let the freshly boiled eggs sit in cold water for 10 minutes to cool then peel them in cold water or under running tapwater.
Why is my pork belly chewy?
This cut of meat is made up of muscle that can be tough. The trick is to simmer it on low heat for long periods of time to break it down. If the recipe time isn’t enough to tenderize the meat, let it braise for longer!
Is pork belly skin edible?
The shower answer: Yes. Thit Kho is KNOWN for its layers of pork (skin, fat and meat) braised together. When cooked, the skin can become slightly sticky and takes on the flavor of the sauce it’s simmered in. Of course, eating it is entirely optional and can be cut off right from the start!
Tips for the best results
Use fresh coconut water. Packaged bottles are readily available in supermarkets, but nothing beats fresh coconut water free from any additives.Find a good balance of fat and meat. For juicy, succulent pork and sauce flavor, use a cut that has a generous amount of fat and meat.Cook it low and slow. The longer the meat is braised on lower heat, the more flavorful tender it becomes.
Roll the eggs. When they’re back in the pot a second time, roll them in the sauce every 10 minutes to keep the color even on all sides.
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