Thit kho tau - caramelized pork and eggs - a delicious Vietnamese food with a simple cooking method

When Tet comes and the spring returns in Vietnam, this is an opportunity for all family members to gather around warm tray of food with family. Traditional Vietnamese dishes such as pickled onions or bánh Tét (cylindric glutinous rice cake) are always the dishes that family members remember forever. And the braised caramelized pork belly eggs is almost always favored and the explanation of this Vietnamese food is wanted to research by a lot of people to learn about a Tet festival with full of feasts. Here we will learn a little bit about the meaning and birth of traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Meaning and birth

Caramelized pork and eggs, along with bánh Tét, watermelon, Vietnamese stuffed bitter melon soup, has become an indispensable thing in the Lunar New Year menu of Southern people.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

The pork belly has both the red color of lean meat, the clearly white of the fat, the  brownish of the stewed skin, the golden waves of the colored water, and the nutty taste of the coconut milk, the salty taste of the fish sauce has been make more frugal by sugar, sometimes there is the pungent taste of a little soy sauce, add some more boiled duck eggs that the meat is soaked from the yolk to the white.

Braised caramelized pork belly eggs is placed next to the aromatic white rice bowl on the ancestral altar, next to the plate of pickles onions, seems to have become a tradition in the rice tray to remember ancestors. A lot of Vietnamese people heard of the “thịt kho tàu”, "they all thought, this dish originated in China. However, Chinese people rarely eat this dish.

According to the Southern writer, Binh Nguyen Loc, the word "tàu", here, in the sense of the "lower region" is "lạt" (“brackish”), such as Cái Tàu Thượng and Cái Tàu Hạ rivers are two brackish rivers. Thus, the meat stock is not from China, but simply a meaty dish.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

There is also the theory that, this dish in China is from the prime minister Vương An Thạch in Song dynasty , but when we rethink again, it doesn't look like the way we see it in the Vietnamese braised caramelized pork belly eggs.

So it turned out that the meat dish that was loved by the whole Southern region, exactly as Professor Tran Van Khe said: the "tàu" word in this dish turned out to be "completely" Vietnamese, one hundred percent. The braised caramelized pork belly eggs is like many other Vietnamese dishes, cooked like a dish for long-term storage on the occasion of Tet.This is also a daily dish in Vietnamese cuisine that is so familiar to people here.

Cooking braised caramelized pork belly eggs is not difficult, but it is not easy to cook it well. The meat is tender but not crushed, not being shrivelled up, the color of of the pork belly alight with the red brown color, duck eggs soaked in gravy without black, clear yellow gravy, not too much water but not too dry.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

Each time you can bring it to the boil again, the more the fire, the more the meat burns, the softer, the better. Braised caramelized pork belly eggs can be eaten with a variety of dishes, white rice, pickled, but perhaps the most common is served with pickled mustard greens. Perhaps because of the salty, sweet taste, the fatty taste of the caramelized pork and eggs combined with the sour mixed with spicy short-dated pickled mustard greens, creating a surprisingly charming taste.

To know how to make the most standard caramelized pork and eggs for the family dinner, please refer to the formula below.

Materials and way to make caramelized pork and eggs

Materials needed

  • Pork belly:  500g.
  • 10 quail eggs, 3 chicken eggs
  • Delicious fish sauce
  • Fresh coconut water (01 coconut)
  • Garlic, chili, green onion, sugar
  • Spices: Salt, seasoning, pepper, cooking oil.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

The best way to make caramelized pork and eggs

Step 1: Marinate meat

  • Pork belly is shaved hair, washes it and soak it in warm salt water for about 5 minutes to remove the bad odour. After cleaning, cut into large square pieces.
  • Put sliced ​​pork in a bowl then marinate with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of sugar, ½ tablespoon of salt, seasoning, add minced garlic, pepper, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil then stir well to infuse for 30 minutes.

Note: In this marinated step of this meat, do not put the onion in the marinade because the stewed meat will have a strong and sour smell of onions making the dish lose its delicious taste.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

Step 2: Boil eggs

  • While waiting for the meat to spice, add chicken eggs and quail eggs to boil in the pot, then remove the shell  and put into a bowl.
  • To make the eggs easily peeled and do not break when boiled, add some salt and rice vinegar to the pot.
  • With the method of cooking meat in the North, after peeling off the shell, you can put the eggs into fry to increase the toughness.

Step 3: make the liquid caramel

  • Add sugar in a pan to boil, stir until sugar is turned to colored with red brown color, then slowly add one bowl of water.
  • A small amount of cooking oil may be added when boiling sugar to avoid burning.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

Step 4: stew the pork and eggs

  • Put the pot on the stove, add a little cooking oil to heat and then put the marinated pork into hot pot and stir well, add a little fish sauce for a rich taste.
  • Then you add the liquid caramel and coconut water to flood the meat surface, until it boils, low the heat for about an hour and a half. When stew the pork, uses a spoon to remove the foam.
  • In case you do not have coconut water, increase the amount of colored water to make the sweeter taste, the food is still delicious.
  • Before turning off the stove, put the quail eggs and chicken eggs into the pot for 15 minutes to simmer in low heat the eggs and meat.

Especially: For quick and easy cooking braised caramelized pork belly eggs without spending a lot of time, you can add some baking soda (used for food), the meat will be cooked faster.

thit kho tau vietnamese food

Some note:

  • Do not put eggs in the meat in the first place because the eggs will be over cooked and hard. Do not stir the meat because the sliced pork and the egg will break and not look good.
  • Don’t stew for too long because it will cause the sugar to burn bitterly, coconut water turns sour.
  • Thus, the truth braised caramelized pork belly eggs with coconut water is delicious when the meat is soft, the egg quail eggs scented fleshy, the gravy is very thick dip with vegetable or rice sprinkling.

The braised caramelized pork belly eggs is served with hot rice and a little pickled cucumber or kimchi is the right way to savour. Braised caramelized pork belly eggs with white sticky rice are also very attractive. Preserving meat in a cool compartment will last 2 to 3 days.

Good luck with this Vietnamese food recipe.