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:
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
- 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
Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes.
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).
Heat up a pot on medium heat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Serve with fluffy jasmine rice.