Thit kho tau trung is a traditional Vietnamese dish made with caramelized braised pork belly and eggs. It’s a flavorful dish of salty, sweet and umami, a favorite comfort dish in our house and a popular dish to serve for the Lunar new year!
In a large stock pot, add oil and sugar. Melt the sugar on medium heat, stirring continuously. Caramelize the sugar until it reaches an amber color. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10-15 seconds more to reach a deep rich brown.
Immediately add the pork and sear each side for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Cook in batches if needed, do not crowd the meat. Stir in the shallots.
Add the fish sauce, water and coconut juice. Take it to a boil on high heat. Skim off any scum off the top of the sauce with a ladle.
Simmer on medium low and cook for 1 hour with the lid on.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs. Add the eggs to a saucepan, covering it with cold water by 1 inch. Cover with a lid and take it to a roiling boil on high heat. Then bring the heat down to medium high and boil for 7-8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Peel and set the eggs aside.
Once pork is done braising, remove the lid and add the eggs, making sure it's submerged into the liquid. Braise for an additional 10 minutes on high heat with the lid off for a more concentrated flavor.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Nutritional facts provided are only an estimate, accuracy is not guaranteed.
Optional: Clean the pork prior to cutting and cooking it. Boil water in a stock pot, add the pork belly and boil for 7-8 minutes, add ½ tbs of kosher salt. Skim off any pork residue and scum with a ladle. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Caramelizing sugar is tricky. Keep a close eye on it and continuously stir so that it doesn’t burn.
Adjust the ingredients to taste. It's easy to adjust to your own preference, add additional fish sauce for more salty and umami flavor, or a bit more sugar for sweetness.
I like to make this dish the day before I serve it. That way, the pork fat solidifies in the fridge and I can easily remove it the next day prior to serving. The flavors also intensify when you let it sit overnight (just like soup - it’s always better the next day!).
Serve with rice and with a side of vegetables like refreshing cucumber or pickled vegetables.