Vietnamese braised pork with eggs (or thit kho trung) brings back memories to me, especially during this time when the Vietnamese New Year is near. It’s the ultimate comfort food of savory, flavorful slow-cooked pork in coconut water. The melt-in-your mouth tender meat simmers in an incredible sweet and savory coconut broth. To complete the dish, we add boil eggs and serve over some fragrant Jasmine rice.
Thit kho trung is a famous dish during the Lunar New Year that my family can’t live without. In the morning of the New Year, our family would gather around the dining table, enjoying this Vietnamese dish mom prepared the night before, along with all the pickles and other scrumptious dishes. My oldest uncle would tell us to “stuff our bellies full” to have energy for a fun-filled day. After breakfast, we would gather around the living room floor with family and friends for the popular “black jack” card game or the rolling the dices game (or bau cua ca cop game).
My mom always made sure she prepared a big pot of of thit kho trung because we’d come back for the second and third rounds after getting exhausted from screaming on those exciting board games.
Thit kho trung will always be my favorite and it had become our family tradition on the menu during New Year. It is simple yet comforting as it symbolizes family love for each other. Each bite of the delicious tender pork is a bite of happiness and love for our family.
My mom always says no matter where you are or what you eat, you’ll always arrive home with this comfort dish and she is absolutely right! As I got married and move away from home, what I miss the most is her home cooked meals and the gathering of our family during Lunar New Year.
Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs (Thit Kho Trung)
Chunks of pork shoulder, braised in a rich and savory coconut based sauce. A must have dish to ring in the Lunar New Year.
For the caramelize sauce:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
For the pork ingredients
- 2 lbs pork shoulder/pork butt ( cut into 2" thick) (1).
- 2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
- 2 teaspoon s garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 cans (350 ml) coconut juice
- 1 cup coconut soda (coco-rico brand)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Prepare the eggs by placing them in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring them to a boil and remove from heat. Leave them in the saucepan for 10 minutes. Let them cool completely before peeling.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pork shoulder, chicken stock, garlic powder, fish sauce. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add in minced garlic until fragrant. Add pork mixture and cook until brown on the edges, about 10 minutes.
While the pork is cooking, prepare the caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Allow the sugar to melt completely over medium heat. The mixture will thickens and turns to a lighter brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl the pan until it reaches a darker brown. Remove from heat and pour these sauce into the pork mixture.
Add coconut water and coconut soda to the pork and bring it to a boil. Skim off any excess fats on top and turn the heat down to low.
Braised the pork on low heat for at least an hour or more until the meat is tender. About 20 minutes before the meat is done, add in the eggs. Then add salt or more fish sauce according to your taste preference. Enjoy!
(1) You can also use pork belly for this recipe, if you don't mind the calories and the fat.
Instant pot (IP) method: Prepare the caramel sauce first. Then place all ingredients in the IP. Set the IP for 30 minutes high pressure. When time's up, let it release naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.