Braised pork with young coconut (Thịt kho tàu)

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Thịt kho tàu
Recipe notes: Thịt kho tàu is a southern Vietnamese recipe, popularly sold on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) <p> This recipe is from Hanoi-based <a href="">Chef Didier Corlou</a>, owner and chef behind La Verticale and the recently-opened Madame Hiên. Chef Corlou, born in Brittany and who first arrived in Vietnam in 1991, is a master of mixing combining French and Vietnamese ingredients and techniques.
1 ½ lb (750g) boneless pork shank, leg or shoulder, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes 1/3 cup (3oz/90g) sugar 2 coconuts, preferably young coconuts, or about 4 cups (32fl oz/1l) coconut water 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2/3 cup (5 fl oz/ 150ml) fish sauce 6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled 1 fresh long red or green chili, seeded and thinly sliced 1/3 cup (1/2 oz/15g) coarsely chopped Chinese (flat/garlic) chives 6 scallions (spring onions) including green parts, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
Place pork in a medium casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar and refrigerate for 1 hour. Traditionally, any rind is retained to enrich the juices, but discard if preferred. Pierce the tops of the coconuts and drain the coconut water. Cut away the tops. Scoop the gelatinous flesh from inside shells and cut into small cubes. Heat oil over a medium heat, cook pork, stirring, until lightly golden on all sides for 3-5 minutes. When the meat begins to brown because of the sugar, add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut water, fish sauce and the coconut meat. Bring to a low boil, immediately reduce to a low heat, partially cover, and simmer very gently until pork is tender and liquid is reduces by half, about 2 to 2.5 hours. Add hard-boiled eggs during the last 30 minutes. Garnish with chili, chives and scallions.
30 minutes
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