Monday, August 18, 2008

Lunch Club - Thit Heo Kho (Braised Pork Belly in Coconut Juice)

Pork belly would have to be my favourite cut of meat. I find it to be most versatile. You can roast it! You can barbecue it! You can braise it! You can cook it in whatever way you like! I like it because it has a lot of flavour thanks to the fat content of this cut of pork. It probably horrifies some health freaks out there but yes, I like FAT! I eat FAT! But I’m not FAT!

I always welcome new recipes that use pork belly. Thit Heo Kho (Vietnamese style Braised Pork with Egg) is new to me but it is well known to many Vietnamese for centuries!
There are a lot of similarities with the Filipino Pork Adobo. Both use the same cut of meat. A lot of garlic is used. The main points of difference are the addition of fish sauce, the use coconut juice/water instead of vinegar and lastly the addition of hard boiled eggs. The end product certainly looks very similar to the Adobo. But the gap is widened farther in the taste area. Thit Kho is more on the sweet/salty side. Adobo, on the other hand, is more on the salty/sour side. But both are very good!
Tramy served Thit Keo Kho with fresh salad leaves and some preserved mustard leaves (very similar to the Filipino "burong mustasa") to balance the richness of the dish.
Again, thanks to our miss from Saigon for introducing Lunch Club to another gem!
Here’s the recipe courtesy of Food Safari on SBS television:
Thit Heo Kho
1 kg pork belly (not too fatty), cut into 5 cm cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 shallots (small brown onion bulbs), finely chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
4 star anise
½ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
2 whole green shallots 1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ white onion, finely diced
3 cups (1 bag) young coconut juice (not milk or cream!)
1½ cups water
8 hard boiled, free range eggs, peeled
Jasmine rice and coriander, to serve

Combine pork belly, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, soy sauces, pepper, star anise and palm sugar. Use the whole shallot including roots. Lay on a chopping board and smash with the flat side of the knife then chop finely. Add to marinade. Marinate pork for at least 3 hours or overnight. Heat vegetable oil in heavy based pan and brown onion. Remove pork from marinade and add to the pan and seal over high heat. Add coconut juice, marinade and water. Bring pan to the boil and skim surface. Simmer for 1 hour on low heat (skimming occasionally) and then add eggs. Simmer for a further hour. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and garnished with coriander.

1 comment:

Tramy Van said...

Here's the authentic Tramy Van version:

Thit Kho Nuoc Dua


1/2kg of pork belly – cut into 2cm cubes
1 can of young coconut juice
6 hard boiled eggs (diagonally marked into 5 part just outside the white part do not cut open the egg)
Shallots (red onion bulb)
2 tablespoon of brown sugar (just to caramelise)
1 bunch of spring onion
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil


Heat vegetable oil in the heavy base and brown onion, add pork and sugar and seal over high heat, stir well, until brown not burn. Add a can of young coconut juice and bring to boil, turn down the heat and slow cook for about ½ hr or until the meat tender. Add fish sauce, pepper and hard boiled eggs and cook further 15’ to 20’ or until the sauce just cover the meat. Add spring onion and cook for another 5’ and serve with steam rice and steam/pickle vegetable.

You may wonder why I’ve marked the eggs, this is to make sure the egg yolk absorb all the sauce and make the eggs taste nicer.