I have been trying out some Thai dishes but I have not gone into recreating Vietnamese dishes at home. By chance, I came across a tempting picture of this Vietnamese food speciality that seems simple to prepare. It just needs marinating, frying and slow cooking until the sauce is sticky and tastes savoury sweet and looks glazy.
I have added hard boiled eggs, to cut down the chances of eating too much of the pork belly which could be too fatty. But, no worries, you can use pork shoulder meat instead. Cook them till fork tender and the sauce caramelised, is exotic. This is a flavourful, appetising dish to go with a plate of steaming hot rice and some refreshing salad.
I am sure that I will be cooking this during festive times as it can be prepared way ahead of meal time. Best is this dish can be prepared earlier and frozen [without the eggs] up to 1-2 weeks. Using coconut water gives an added sweetness and richness to the dish.
500 gm pork belly or pork shoulder meat - cut bite size pieces
3-4 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
3-4 hard boiled eggs
30-50 gm palm sugar [gula melaka]
700-1000 ml coconut water or water
1 stalk spring onions - chopped for garnishing
some chopped red chillies for garnishing
3 tbsp fish sauce to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce to taste
- Pound or blend coarsely the shallots, garlic and red chilli. Squeezed out some juice from half portion of the paste to marinate the meat pieces. Add in seasoning and mix in the remaining pounded paste and leave to marinate for at least an hour or more.
- Caramelise palm sugar in a wok, pick up the pieces of meat to fry in the caramelised palm sugar until brown and firm. Add in the remaining marinade. Stir fry to mix well and aromatic.
- Add in hard-boiled eggs and enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to boil, cover with lid and braise for about 40-45 minutes until the meat is tender, sauce is thick and glazy. Remove lid to stir the meat pieces a few times to ensure even cooking. When necessary, add some water if the meat pieces are not tender. The dish is done when the sauce thickens over high heat towards the end of cooking time.
- Dish up to serve, garnish with chopped red chillies and spring onions.