Thit Kho To (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork)

Back in January a coworker told me about what he’d made for dinner the night before and I knew I had to try it. I’ve had his emailed recipe sitting there for months while I looked for the exact right pot to cook it in (who would have thought it’d be so hard to find a clay pot with an unglazed interior?!), but it eventually just became time to get over the pot thing and try the recipe. I cooked this in a cast iron dutch oven, and it worked out fine! So…now we know. I learned two other things while making this: 1) my phone doesn’t recognize the word caramelized; 2) my mother has some crazy hatred of hard boiled eggs. Huh.

Look out, somewhere under that pork mixture a dreaded hard boiled egg lurks!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork riblets (pork ribs cut into smaller, basically bite sized pieces – if you can’t find them, use pork butt sliced into thin, inch-long pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (or one for each person sharing the meal)
  • 4 scallions, sliced, green part only
  • jasmine rice for serving

Pour 1 cup of the sugar into a cast iron dutch oven, or a skillet with reasonably high sides, and place over medium low heat. Heat until the sugar melts and turns golden.

Once the sugar has melted, add the pork, raise the heat to medium, and stir until the pork is coated. Don’t worry if the sugar clumps and sticks to the pot/spoon/pork, it will eventually melt again, just stir the best you can.

Stir in the remaining half cup of sugar, followed by the salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Cover and cook for two minutes. It’ll smell pretty strongly, but that’ll die down eventually. Uncover and stir in the garlic and sesame oil. Reduce the heat, keeping the mixture at a simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid in the pot has reduced some. I kept mine at a pretty high simmer and stirred frequently through this time, to make sure the sugar clumps were melting off the pot and spoon.

Add the onions and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes.

While the onions are cooking add the eggs, stirring to make sure they get fully covered in the sauce.

When the onions are ready, if the pork is cooked through an caramelized on the outside, you’re ready to eat. If not, raise the heat and cook a few minutes more until the pork is cooked. Serve over rice, and sprinkle with scallion greens.

I was a bit unsure about this, because fish sauce is pretty stinky, but really… sugar and pork is way too good a combo to go wrong. The main flavor is sweet pork, and it’s fabulous. The fish sauce is definitely in there, but it’s not strong – it just works well with everything else. I will definitely be making this again!

Sort of related note, I just found a super thorough website that answers just about any question you could ever have about pork, here. Now I kind of want to try a crown roast?!

Thit Kho To (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork riblets or pork butt sliced into thin, inch-long pieces
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 scallions, sliced, green part only
  • jasmine rice for serving

Pour 1 cup of the sugar into a cast iron dutch oven and place over medium low heat. Heat until the sugar melts and turns golden.

Add the pork to the melted sugar and raise the heat to medium. Stir until the pork is coated, working around any sticky clumps as well as possible.

Stir in the remaining half cup of sugar, followed by the salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Cover and cook for two minutes. Uncover and stir in the garlic and sesame oil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Add the onions and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. While the onions are cooking add the eggs, stirring to make sure they get fully covered in the sauce.

Check pork to ensure it’s cooked through and caramelized on the outside; if not, turn up heat and cook several minutes more. When ready, serve over rice and sprinkle with scallion greens.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. (Over the summer, my bike glove tans will probably become pretty glaring in some of these photos.) I'll be sharing my adventures in the kitchen. Expect lots of recipes to have chocolate swapped in to replace other inferior ingredients.
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One Response to Thit Kho To (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork)

  1. Pingback: Caramelized pork | Bestofcorpusch

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