This thịt kho recipe is a low and slow braise so the meat is going to be reeeeally tender. In this recipe we’re going to use pork belly because the fat on the meat tastes awesome! If you can get pork belly with the bones, you’ll have even better results. My ideal ratio of pork for this dish is actually 1/2 pork belly and 1/2 of a leaner cut like shoulder.
Near me in Southern California’s Little Saigon, I hear you can get a higher quality of pork belly at Quang Minh Mini Market. It costs more for the belly, but there seems to be a consensus that its worth the cost–something I need to check out soon!
Here are the brands I use for the seasoning: Rico coconut soda, Kikkoman soy sauce, and Three Crabs Brand fish sauce. The thick soy sauce brand is Koon Chun, to be used in a pinch.
As a kid I enjoyed mashing the yolk with the rice and spooning sauce over it–it’s fun! This dish is commonly eaten with a side of dua chua (pickled mustard greens) which provides a fresh and crunchy balance.
I have tried adding slices of yellow onion too and it adds a nice layer of flavor to this dish. You can remove the onion at the end of the braise if you prefer since it will have given up all its flavor to the broth. For the seasoning in this thịt kho recipe: tinker with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and salt after the liquid has finished reducing, to taste.
- 2 pounds of pork belly, cut into 1.5" cubes
- 8 hard-boiled eggs
- 6 ounces coconut soda (I use Rico brand)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or replace this with fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 yellow onion, cut into large pieces (6-8 will be fine)
- 4 tablespoons sugar for the caramel color (nuoc mau). This is to deepen the color of the dish. Depending on how dark your caramel sauce gets, you may not need to use all of it. In a pinch, you can use about ⅕ teaspoon of thick soy sauce instead, but the caramel sauce will tastes better.
- Cut the pork into smaller pieces. I like 1.5" cubes so it cooks slightly faster.
- Bring 2-3 quarts of water boiling on high, or enough to fully submerge the pork.When the water's boiling, add the pork for 1-2 minutes just to clean it. Drain then rinse the pork under running water until the water is clear.
- Add the coconut soda, soy sauce, fish sauce and salt to the pot.
- Fill up the pot until the water just covers the pork. Turn the heat to high.
- When it hits a boil, drop the heat until you still see a slight boil, maybe about about 25% heat and let it simmer uncovered for about 20 hours. Check and stir the pot every 20 minutes. The longer you cook it, the softer the pork gets. Leaving it slightly uncovered lets the liquid reduce so you get a nice concentrated sauce later.
- Make the caramel color and add it to the pot.
- Make the hard-boiled eggs: add to a pot and cover the eggs with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let it sit for 8 minutes. Cool in water then peel. Add the hard boiled eggs to the pot of pork in the last ~30-40 minutes of cooking.
- When there are about 30 minutes left on the timer, add the eggs. Eventually we want the liquid to reduce to about ⅓ or ¼ of the original.