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July 2016

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs Braised in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Thit Kho Trung is the ultimate frugal Vietnamese comfort food. Ask any of your Vietnamese friends and they will be familiar with this dish. Thit Kho Trung is basically pork and hardboiled eggs, braised in a caramelized fish sauce, best served with white rice. My mom typically uses a fattier cut of pork, like a pork shoulder or pork butt, but I don’t like fatty meats. There’s just something off-putting about the texture of fatty meats. I typically use a lean pork roast for my Thit Kho Trung. Don’t tell my mom though because she would be appalled – fat is flavour in Vietnamese cuisine and I am committing a major faux pas by using a leaner cut of meat!

On the “Moving Pieces” scale, this is a 1. It’s so easy and so cheap to make. Just a few eggs, a cut of pork that you can typically get for under $10, a few inexpensive ingredients to build the flavour and some rice, and you have yourself a hearty, traditional Vietnamese meal.

The recipe calls for one can of Coco Rico, and that’s one ingredient that most people might not be familiar with. Coco Rico is a coconut flavoured soda, and you can find it at any Asian food store (Ngoy Hoa, the Asian food store on 1580 Albert St is the place to go if you’re from Regina). It looks like this:

Coco Rico

 

It may be available at Superstore as well, but I’ve never looked there. It is definitely not sold at Sobeys, Safeway, or Co-op.

Give this Vietnamese comfort dish a try and let me know what you think!

Thit Kho Trung (Pork and Eggs Braised in a Caramelized Fish Sauce)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • A pork roast (around 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 can of Coco Rico

Instructions

1

Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes.

2

Marinade the pork with the minced shallot, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, a pinch of black pepper (I just do a couple grinds on the pepper grinder), and the onion powder. Let the pork marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (I usually marinade it the night before).

3

Heat up a pot on medium heat.

4

Once the pot is hot, add 2 tbsp of sugar. Let the sugar melt and caramelize into a rich brown caramel colour. Be careful not to burn the sugar though! Lower the heat if you think it's getting scorchy.

5

Once you've achieved the caramel colour, add the pork into the pot, marinade and all. Incorporate the pork into the caramelized sugar, coating the pieces of pork.

6

Pour the can of Coco Rico into the pot to cover most of the pork. If there's not enough soda to cover the pork, I usually add another half a can of water into it. Leave the pork to braise in the sauce on medium-low heat.

7

Now prepare the eggs. The eggs need to be a little on the medium-boiled side, because we will be adding it to the pork for some additional braising. This is how I do it: I put my eggs in a pot, cover them with water, put a lid on it, and put it on the stove on high heat. When you hear the water at a steady boil underneath the lid, turn the stove off and leave it for ten minutes. After ten minutes, rinse the eggs with really cold water and peel them.

8

Add the eggs to the pork, making sure to dunk them in the sauce (we want the eggs to absorb the sauce and turn a light golden brown).

9

Add 1 more tbsp of fish sauce into the pot and continue to simmer the pork and eggs on medium-low heat until the meat is nice and tender, about 30-40 minutes. There might be some foam on top from the carbonation of the Coco Rico - just skim the foam off the top.

10

Serve with fluffy jasmine rice.

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef)

Bo Luc Lac

Bo Luc Lac (translated to be Shaking Beef) is my absolute favourite Vietnamese dish, so obviously it has to be my first recipe post on this blog! This is my husband’s favourite Vietnamese dish that I make, and he’s even learned to pronounce it with a perfect Vietnamese accent!

Bo Luc Lac is pan-seared, marinated cubed beef, served over a bed of greens (I usually use arugula, but watercress works well too), with tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled onions. I always serve it with white jasmine rice and a soy chili dipping sauce. Why is it called Shaking Beef, you ask? Because you’re supposed to quickly sear the beef in the pan, shaking it around. I know, Vietnamese translations are so literal!

The best way to enjoy this dish is to ‘build a bite’ and experience all the ingredients in one bite – the warm marinated beef, the pickled onions, the bitterness of the arugula, the refreshing tomatoes and cucumbers, and the saltiness of the dipping sauce.

You can probably use any type of beef, and I’ve experimented with cheaper cuts of beef before. However, my favourite cut of beef to use for this recipe is a ribeye steak.

On the “Moving Pieces” difficulty scale, I would rate this as a 2 out of 5. It’s very simple to assemble, and the only thing that requires cooking is the beef itself. The only reason why it’s not a 1 out of 5 is because you need to remember to marinate the beef the night before, or at least the morning of, in order to get the best results.

As for cost factor, it’s a little more expensive than most weekday meals that I make because I like to use ribeye steaks. I’ll usually wait for ribeye grilling steaks to go on sale at Sobeys, and will pick up a couple steaks when they are around $10-$13 per steak (I don’t usually look at the weight of the steaks). I’m pretty sure I can find a better deal on this, either from a different grocery store or buying in bulk from Costco, but I haven’t really looked into it yet.

Shaking Beef

I hope you enjoy my favourite Vietnamese dish. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or to let me know what you think!

Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef)

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 rib eye steaks, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • Arugula
  • White vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha chili paste

Instructions

1

Marinate the beef with 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp sugar, the minced garlic, minced shallot, 1 tsp of fish sauce, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Refrigerate and let marinate overnight.

2

Thinly slice the red onion and place in a small bowl. Pour enough vinegar in to cover the onion and add a 1 tbsp of sugar. Mix well. Let it sit until it's time to plate the dish.

3

Slice tomatoes and cucumbers and line a big plate. I like to line my plates a certain way, as seen in the pictures, but you can plate however your heart desires! Fill the middle of the plate with a bed of arugula.

4

Make the soy chili dipping sauce. I don't usually measure but I just add some soy sauce to a small dipping dish and a couple squirts of Sriracha.

5

Heat up a wok or frying pan with the vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add the cubed beef (including the marinade) and sear all sides of the meat. I like my beef medium-rare, so I just make sure it's seared and brown on all sides and then I take it off the heat. I've never really timed it, but it's pretty quick - no more than 7-8 minutes.

6

Pour the cubed beef and all the pan juices onto the bed of arugula. The pan juices and hot beef will wilt the arugula and dress it with amazing flavour.

7

Top the beef with the quick pickled onions.

8

Serve with bowls of fluffy jasmine rice and use the soy chili dipping sauce to dip the beef and the vegetables.