We also know that meat contains a number of important nutrients that are needed by our bodies for carrying out vital metabolic functions and provide us with energy and keep us healthy. Therefore, meat is one of the most popular food in our diets.
Meat has various kinds and for “ thịt kho”( simmered meat) we also have a wide range of choices like pork, beef, chicken, duck. We can make a numerously delicious dishes from them, such as” thịt kho tàu”(meat simmered in a clay pot), “ thịt kho dừa”( meat simmered with coconuts), “ thịt bò kho hạt dưa” ( beef stewed with seeds of water-melon), “ giò lợn kho dừa”( pork-pie braised with coconuts) or “ gà kho chao”. Although there are a large number of dishes related to ‘ thịt kho” , the method of cooking are similar. To be specified, the process of making “ thịt kho tàu” will be introduced on the following.
First of all, we need to prepare ingredients: sugar, pepper, red chilli, a coconut, salt, garlic, onion , “ kẹo đắng” and lean pork. Pork is washed carefully and then cut into small square pieces, marinated with pepper, sugar and salt for two hours. While we boil a pot filled with coconut juice . After that, we put pork into boiled coconut juice, maintain low level of fire and ensure the level of coconut juice , if it dries, we pour a little water into the pot. When the meat change colour, we add “ kẹo đắng” to the pot. And we simmer the pot until sauce is thick and coats meat.
“ Thịt kho tàu”is really gorgeous and can be served with various kinds of food but especially suitable for using with steamed rice.
In general, making “kho” dish is not difficult but requires our patience. Because no oil needs to be added with this cooking technique, food cooked in this method may be lower in fat compared with food prepared by other methods such as sautéing or frying. And unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out into the water. The food is not only delicious but also good for our health.
Does your pot make you smile when you cook like mine does for me? What treasure does it hold today?
Thit Heo Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs) is simply put a peasant dish. So earthy, so flavorful, so comforting. My mom used to make this fairly often when I was little and I always loved to spoon the sauce over rice and eat it plain.
The caramel sauce infuses the pork and hard-boiled eggs with a slightly sweet, deeply rich flavor that can only be achieved by braising for a long time. The fats and collagens in the pork break down into tenderness, the blandness of the albumen absorbs the caramel flavors, the yolk is smooth and rich. Spooned over rice with plenty of sauce, of course, it’s perfect comfort food for a rainy day. The caramel sauce is a must for this dish to provide color and flavor to the pork. If you’re not going to do this step, then skip the sugar in the recipe as the coconut juice will provide plenty of sweetness on its own. The coconut juice will mostly cook off, leaving behind a slight sweetness to add depth to the pork. If you don’t want any coconut juice at all, then simply substitute with water.
Thit Heo Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork With Hard-Boiled Eggs)
For a 2-quart pot, you’ll need:
Nuoc Mau (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce)
1 lb pork butt or shoulder, sliced into two-inch chunks. Traditionally, a nice fatty portion with skin attached is used. Screw cholesterol and follow tradition if you wish.
3 hard-boiled eggs, or more if you’d like
1 medium onion, sliced or diced, and/or a few cloves of garlic if you wish
1 cup fresh coconut juice, or substitute with Coco Rico
About 1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), or more according to taste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Optional: If you don’t want to make the caramel sauce, you can substitute by adding 1 tblsp of Indonesian Kecap Manis
Hard boil eggs, peel shells, and set aside. I usually start boiling the water for this while I prepare the meat.
Cut meat into 2-inch wide chunks. Slice or dice onions. Set aside.
Make the caramel sauce, then add the pork and stir to color the pork. Add the onion and about 1 cup of coconut juice, or half a can of Coco Rico, and enough water to cover the meat with about an inch of water over. Add the fish sauce, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir again to mix it up. If you like sweeter meat, you can use additional coconut juice in lieu of the water. Taste and adjust sugar or fish sauce if necessary.
Turn heat down to medium low and allow to simmer for at least half an hour, ideally an hour. Pork gets more tender the longer it cooks so this is really a personal preference. My mom likes her pork very firm, I like it fall-off-the-bone tender. The water will cook down and meld everything together — the pork and onions will soften, the almost burnt sugar takes on a deep molasses flavor, the saltiness of the fish sauce balances it all. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
About 15 minutes before the pork will be the done, add the hard-boiled eggs, making sure to put the eggs in the middle of the pot so they can absorb the caramel sauce flavor and color. You don’t want to put the eggs too soon because they’ll get rubbery.
This dish can be pretty fatty if you choose to use pork belly or a skin-on portion, so I’d suggest making this and then refrigerating it for several hours or overnight. The excess fat will congeal for easy removal. Just reheat by letting it simmer for a few minutes.
Serve with rice.
Now, another variation of this dish is to replace the eggs with pickled mustard greens. I love the contrasts of the pickled sourness to the salty-sweetness of the sauce.
Omit the eggs. Do all the same steps as above, but add the pickled mustard greens at the same time as the meat.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but you can combine it all and make braised pork with eggs and pickled mustard greens, instead of just or. Although I have only seen it offered one way or the other. You can even spoon it over rice porridge instead of regular rice.