Thit Kho Tieu is a traditional dish that combines succulent pork belly, caramel sauce, and fish sauce to create a rich, savory flavor. With its melt-in-your-mouth pork and the perfectly balanced flavors of sweet and savory, it’s no wonder that this dish is a favorite among Asian families and a staple at special occasions and holidays.
Thịt Kho Tiêu (Braised Pork or Caramelized Pork) is a traditional Vietnamese dish made with pork belly, caramel sauce, and fish sauce. The pork is typically braised in the caramel sauce and fish sauce mixture until it is tender and flavorful.
It is often served over rice and accompanied by vegetables such as pickled carrots and daikon radish. The dish is known for its rich, savory flavor and can be enjoyed as a main course or as part of a larger meal.
Thit Kho Tieu combines a number of flavors and textures that are characteristic of Vietnamese cuisine. The braising of the pork belly in the sauce gives the dish a rich, savory flavor that is complemented by the tenderness of the meat.
The addition of pickled vegetables adds a tangy, crunchy element to the dish, while the serving of the dish over rice provides a satisfying base for the flavors to build on.
- 2 pounds pork loin or belly
- ⅓ cup fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon thick or dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 12 ounce can Coco Rico Coconut Soda or Coconut Juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
- Rub gently 1 teaspoon salt on both sides of the pork. Wash and rinse with cold water to remove the salt. Then, place on paper towels and pat dry.
- Next, cut the pork belly into 3/4-inch cubes.
- Melt sugar in a dry saucepan with oil over high heat until golden brown but not candied.
- For at least an hour, marinate the pork in fish sauce, black pepper, thick soy sauce, and the sugar.
- Sear the pork over high heat until it begins to brown and the liquid begins to reduce slightly.
- Simmer the pork for at least 30 minutes, or until the flavorful liquid has reduced to the desired consistency, with fresh minced garlic and coconut soda.
- Garnish with green onions, if desired.
- Serve with steamed white rice. You can include hard boiled eggs or fried shrimp.
Thit Kho Tieu
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Vietnamese Thit Kho Tieu is typically served as a main course and is usually accompanied by rice and pickled vegetables.
You can also serve the Thit Kho Tieu with additional vegetables, such as steamed broccoli or sautéed bok choy, if desired. The dish can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature, and is often accompanied by a side of dipping sauce made from equal parts fish sauce and lime juice.
- Use pork belly: Pork belly is the traditional cut of meat used in Thit Kho Tieu, and it is known for its rich, flavorful fat. Look for a piece of pork belly that has a good amount of fat marbling throughout.
- Braise the pork: Braising the pork in the caramel sauce and fish sauce mixture helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Be sure to let the pork cook for a long time over low heat to ensure that it is tender and fully cooked.
- Use authentic ingredients: To get the most authentic flavor, be sure to use traditional ingredients such as caramel sauce and fish sauce. You can find these ingredients at Asian markets or online.
- Serve with rice and pickled vegetables: Thit Kho Tieu is typically served with rice and pickled vegetables, which help to balance out the rich, savory flavor of the pork. Be sure to have these accompaniments on hand when serving the dish.
- Don’t skip the garnishes: Green onions and cilantro are often used as garnishes for Thit Kho Tieu and add a fresh, herbal flavor to the dish. Don’t skip these ingredients as they help to balance out the richness of the pork and sauce.
When storing the Thit Kho Tieu in the refrigerator or freezer, be sure to include the sauce in the container with the pork. This will help to keep the pork moist and flavorful.
To serve the Thit Kho Tieu after it has been stored in the refrigerator or freezer, simply remove it from the container and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is hot. If the pork has become dry, you can add a little extra sauce or water to moisten it before reheating.
- Pork belly: This is the main ingredient in Thit Kho Tieu and gives the dish its rich, savory flavor. If you cannot find pork belly, you can substitute with another cut of pork, such as pork shoulder or pork butt.
- Caramel sauce: This is a key ingredient in Thit Kho Tieu and gives the dish its rich, sweet flavor. If you cannot find caramel sauce, you can make your own by simmering equal parts sugar and water until the sugar has melted and turned a deep amber color.
- Fish sauce: This is a common ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine and gives Thit Kho Tieu its savory, salty flavor. If you cannot find fish sauce, you can substitute with soy sauce or tamari.
- Rice: This is typically served with Thit Kho Tieu and provides a base for the flavors to build on. If you cannot find rice, you can substitute with another grain, such as quinoa or millet.
- Pickled vegetables: These are often served with Thit Kho Tieu and add a tangy, crunchy element to the dish. If you cannot find pickled vegetables, you can substitute with fresh vegetables, such as carrots or radishes, or with a side of sauerkraut or kimchi.
- Green onions and cilantro: These are used as garnishes for Thit Kho Tieu and add a fresh, herbal flavor to the dish. If you cannot find these ingredients, you can substitute with other herbs, such as basil or mint, or with a sprinkle of chopped scallions.
In conclusion, Thit Kho Tieu is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its rich, savory flavor and tender pork, it is sure to become a new favorite in your home.
Whether you follow the traditional recipe or customize it with your own twist, this dish is a delicious and easy way to enjoy the flavors of Vietnam. We hope that you have enjoyed this recipe and that you will give it a try at home.