Thit Kho


MAY 2020

            COOK TIME 45 minutes
            BACKGROUND   A family-style classic dish full of fatty caramelized and braised pork belly and eggs simmered in the sweet, but light, saucey broth, Thit Khao is an indulgent weeknight dinner — and my comfort meal growing up. It’s braised in a caramel sauce made from sugar, fish sauce, onions, honey and water that creates a salty, fishy, and sweet flavor.
            NOTES  My mom uses Coco Rico coconut soda, a staple in Vietnamese cooking, in her dish but this recipe replaces it with water and honey for the everyday pantry. If you have that on hand, or coconut water, feel free to use that instead of the water + honey amount (2 cups).

INGREDIENTS

            1 lb pork belly, cut into 1 inch strips
            3 tsp salt (1 tsp for boiling pork, 2 tsp for broth)
            1 tsp distilled white vinegar
            1 slice of ginger, peeled
            5 large eggs
            2 red pearl onions, thinly sliced, or 1/4 red onion
            1/2 white onion
            2 cups warm water
            2 tsp honey
            2 garlic cloves
            1/3 tsp black pepper
            2-3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
            canola oil for cooking



DIRECTIONS

PREP
1. Boil water with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vinegar, ginger.
2. Drop pork belly in for about 5 minutes. This gets rid of the smell and "impurities" of the pork belly, as my mom would say.
3. Remove from water and set aside to cool.
4. Wipe out pot. Place in your eggs and fill with enough water to cover.
5. Bring to a boil land cook until hardboiled, about 11 minutes.
6. Thinly slice your red onion. Chop your white onion in half, so it's 2 quarters of a white onion.

COOK
1. Dissolve 2 cups of warm water with 2 teaspoons of honey. Set aside. (This is in replacement of the traditional Coco Rico coconut soda, which is harder to find. If you have it on hand, I would replace the water and honey with it.)
2. In a stock pot, heat up 2 tbsp of oil on medium low heat and add in your sugar. Keep stirring using cooking chopsticks or a whisk to make the caramel - when it turns into golden brown.
3. Once brown, add in your red onion and garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Add in your pork belly and stir until the caramel has coated the pork evenly.
5. Pour in the honey-water mixture. (Or coconut soda, if you have on hand)
6. Add 2 tsp salt and 1/3 teaspoon black pepper.
7. Bring to boil. Skim the foam.
8. Once boiling, skim the foam at the top and add in your hardboiled eggs and white onion quarters.
9. Turn the heat to low and place on lid to simmer for 30 minutes, checking in once in-between.
10. Take out white onion after the 30 minutes. Add more water at this step if it has reduced too much, about 1/2 cup at a time.
11. Add 2 tbsp fish sauce to start. Taste, and add another 1 tbsp if you want.
12. Continue to cook for 7 min. Serve with white rice.