My mom’s thit kho (Vietnamese braised pork with eggs)

22 Dec

So I said in my one-year anniversary post that the next post would be this recipe.  I apologize for lying.  I’ll try hard not to!

This is one of my favorite comfort foods.  It reminds me of my dad.  He didn’t make a wide variety of foods, but the ones he did he did right- bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew) with fresh bread from the store, bun mang vit (duck noodle soup with bamboo), pho ga (chicken pho, using two chickens), prime rib with twice-baked potatoes, and thit kho.  I also remember a lot of broccoli covered in cheese whiz, green beans dipped in hard boiled eggs crushed into soy sauce, and crackers covered in pieces of banana and cheese (I just tried to google this and got a woman who ate bananas + cheez whiz.  I am not willing to recreate this to show you a picture, you’ll just have to imagine the glory).

I don't want to support Cheese Whiz, so here is a pretty picture from this blog with a recipe for real cheese sauce.  Click on picture to go to Iowa Girl Eats.

I don’t want to support Cheese Whiz, so here is a pretty picture from this blog with a recipe for real cheese sauce. Click on picture to go to Iowa Girl Eats.

Luckily my mom also knows how to make thit kho, and I have an old email from my dad with the recipe for bo kho.  I doubt I’ll ever have pho ga or bun mang vit as delicious as he made it, but I will eventually try those too.  When I have a little more confidence with my Vietnamese cooking.

Thit kho is a wonderful food- sweet, fatty, salty.  The caramelized sugars play so well with the coconut juice, and the hard boiled eggs soaked in sauce are awesome when mashed into rice, with more sauce spooned on top.

You might want to hit the gym- looking a little porky there

You might want to hit the gym- looking a little porky there

Lots of recipes for this use just pork belly, but that’s a little TOO fatty for me.  I think it’s good to do 1/2 pork shoulder and 1/2 pork belly, or even 1/3 belly and 1/3 shoulder.  Marinate the pork with salt, pepper, and some minced garlic for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, boil a bunch of eggs.  I like to put my eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, let boil for about a minute, and then turn off heat and cover.  Forget about them (or check on them after 10 minutes or so).  Then drain off the hot water and pour cool water into the pot so you don’t burn yourself trying to peel them.  To peel the warm eggs, crack them on the rim of the pot, then peel the shell off into the water, giving them a quick rinse to get rid of any extra eggshells.  Then you can dump the water through a colander to throw out the egg shells (or use them in your compost!)

Caution: it's about to get eggstremely hot in here

Caution: it’s about to get eggstremely hot in here

P1010489

Turns out eggs can’t handle the eggstreme condition (of being cracked and peeled), but who would?

My mom likes to brown the pork in a bit of oil first, but this is an optional step.

Come on over and meat the family!  We're all very close- you could say we're cut from the same cloth.  If by cloth you mean animal.

Come on over and meat the family! We’re all very close- you could say we’re cut from the same cloth. If by cloth you mean animal.

Not an optional step: cook rice!  My roommate has an awesome rice cooker that I love to use, but I guess now is a good time to start rice in a pot if you want to do that.

Ohhh yeah baby you know how to turn me on.  It's really not that hard.

Ohhh yeah baby you know how to turn me on. It’s really not that hard.

Now for the fun part!  Put some sugar in a pot (yes I’m going to be that vague.  Verbatim from my mother: “not too much.  Oh that’s sort of a lot.”)  Turn the heat to medium and WATCH IT CAREFULLY.

P1010479 P1010480 P1010481 P1010482 P1010483 P1010484

It’ll go from sugar, to a syrup, to light brown, and finally to a deep brown.  MAKE SURE YOU PAY ATTENTION HERE because you don’t want it to burn.  When it’s that pretty color, toss in the pork and stir it around.

That's weird, it's like everyone has changed since you met us.

That’s weird, it’s like everyone has changed since you met us.

The Canadian saw this cooking and said "Pork, eh?".  The chef was Mexican and answered "because it's food?"
The Canadian saw this cooking and said “Pork, eh?”. The chef was Mexican and answered “because it’s food?”

Then dump in a bunch of coconut water.

I'm coco for coconut water!  I go nuts for coconut water!  There's no con in coconut water!  I should go into advertising.

I’m coco for coconut water! I go nuts for coconut water! There’s no con in coconut water! I should go into advertising.

Add in the eggs, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until pork is cooked.  Turn off the heat, and dump in a bunch of fish sauce and some black pepper.  Serve over white rice with steamed veggies or the bean sprout salad below.

Bean sprout salad: microwave a few handfuls of beansprout in a plastic bag for 1 min and 30 seconds.  Check how crispy they are.  If you like them softer, keep microwaving in 30 second intervals.

Make a dressing: mix a lot of rice vinegar, a spoonful of sugar, and a few drops of sesame oil.

We have all our labels on already, so we're willing to help out with someone dressing.  Don't know why someone would need help with that.

We have all our labels on already, so we’re willing to help out with someone dressing. Don’t know why someone would need help with that.

Cut up whatever herbs you have (we had cilantro and green onion, but basil, mint, parsley would all be fine too) very finely, and toss with the beansprouts and dressing.

These bean sprouts don't seem to be dressed... where's the paper?

These bean sprouts don’t seem to be dressed… where’s the paper?

1385157_10100358079038534_889028551_n

Thit kho (from my mom!)

2 lbs of pork- your choice of how much to do belly and how much shoulder/butt.

Garlic

Fish sauce

Sugar

Pepper

Eggs (1-2 per person)

Coconut water

Salad: bean sprouts, fresh herbs, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil

1. Cut the pork up into 2-inch chunks.  Season with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.  Refrigerate while you hardboil the eggs and start cooking the rice.  Since it takes awhile to hardboil eggs, if a half hour hasn’t passed yet this is a good time to make that salad- microwave the bean sprouts for 1-2 minutes.  Mix 2 TB rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, and a few drops of sesame oil.  Mince herbs.  Toss with bean sprouts and dressing and set aside.

2. (optional) Quickly sear pork cubes on all sides to get them a little brown.  Alternately, parboil the pork for a minute or two to get rid of the gunk and have a slightly clearer sauce.  Alternately, do neither of these things (which I do most often).

3. CAREFULLY caramelize 3 TB or so of sugar (see pictures above). Immediately stir in the pork and pour in about a cup of coconut juice/soda (I love cocorico).  If you have a sweet tooth, use all coconut juice (I do!), but otherwise, add in enough water to cover the pork.  Bring to a simmer.

4. Peel your eggs.  Toss em in.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until pork is done.  Eat over white rice with the bean sprouts.

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8 Responses to “My mom’s thit kho (Vietnamese braised pork with eggs)”

  1. aller vers page web May 14, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Un réel plaisir de découvrir tes articles ! Je te souhaite une bonne continuation !

    • yenergy June 12, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      I love spam comments! And this one is in French!

  2. Phi Hung August 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Thank you so much for this blog! I’ve failed at Thit Kho for so many times now… Each one of them at the sugar step! I think this will help me conquer thit Kho!

  3. phihungthanh August 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    thank you for the post, I’ve failed at Thit Kho three times now. all at the sugar step! it always taste good but doesn’t look good. Thanks for the time lapse photo here. very helpful.

    • yenergy August 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you find this helpful. This is actually one of my most popular posts, which I think means I should post more cooking (esp. Vietnamese food)

  4. lunarlolita April 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I use it all the time and my roommates love it!! And your puns are pure gold.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My mom’s rau muong xao toi (Vietnamese-style morning glory with garlic) | Baking and Math - September 2, 2014

    […] my mom’s thit kho recipe is one of my most popular posts, I thought I’d share another traditional Vietnamese […]

  2. Happy 3rd birthday, blog! | Baking and Math - November 26, 2015

    […] popular post (this doesn’t count people who just go to the home page): my mom’s thit kho  with 14,993 […]

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