Sunday, March 24, 2019

Recipe: Thịt kho nước dừa - Vietnamese Braised Pork in Coconut Water

This year, I thought it'd be nice to start cooking some recipes from the many cookbooks that I own and introducing some different flavours / cuisine to my family. Last week, I made something from the Vietnamese Bible - a famous braised pork dish called Thịt kho nước dừa. This dish is traditionally served during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The pork (usually pork belly) is braised with nuoc dua, which is Vietnamese for coconut water.

Thịt kho nước dừa

For my version, I have used pork neck - as I have previously explained, pork neck is a fantastic cut as it has a layer of fat on the top (similar to pork belly) whereas the bottom layer is lean yet tender (which is what our kids enjoy).The best of both worlds! The pork neck is braised in coconut water along with lemongrass, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, golden syrup and sugar for 1 1/2 hours until the fat layers melt-in-your-mouth. The sauce will be a beautiful caramel-like colour at the end of braising time. You can also add boiled eggs before the end of braising time. Absolutely delicious, would definitely be making this again!

Vietnamese Braised Pork in Coconut Water (Thit Kho Nuoc Dua)
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Vietnamese Bible
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 3/4 hours
Serves 3-4

220ml coconut water (from fresh coconut)
500g pork neck or pork belly, cut into 3cm cubes
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 stem lemongrass (white part only), trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 star anise
1/2 tsp white pepper
2-4 boiled eggs, peeled (optional)
1 spring onion, cut into 1" lengths

1. Season the pork with 2 tablespoonfuls of fish sauce and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

2. In a food processor or spice grinder, grind the lemongrass, garlic and shallot to a paste.

3. In a heavy saucepan or pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the ground paste (from Step 2) for about 1 minute. Add the pork and toss to coat with the paste. Add the remaining fish sauce, syrup, sugar, star anise and pepper and stir over high heat for 1-2 minutes.

4. Pour in the fresh coconut water. Bring to the boil, skim any frothy residue which floats to the surface, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours until the pork is very tender. The sauce should have reduced and will be a dark "caramel" colour.

5. Add the boiled eggs and simmer for another 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the spring onions and give it a quick stir.

Note: If you cannot get fresh coconut water, you may use bottled coconut water too.

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  1. Thanks for the recipe. Will try it out

  2. That look really good! Would be great sandwiched in our "kompia".


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