Món ngon đón năm mới...
Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Boiled Eggs) is a classic dish in Vietnamese's daily meal but it's also a must-have dish to enjoy during the lunar new year. With the new year fast approaching, most of the families in Vietnam are preparing a big pot of Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu to enjoy for at least the first three days of new year.
The bamboo shoot imparts a strong scent during the preparation and cooking process so if you are not familiar with this be warned! Alternatively you can use fresh bamboo or bamboo shoots from the can.
My first impression of "Thịt Kho Tàu" was that it originated from China but after careful research, I found out this dish is a hundred percent Vietnamese. It actually originated from South Vietnam (miền Nam Bộ). Based on a famous writer Binh Nguyen Loc, the word "Tàu" means "lạt" compare to the rivers Cái Tàu Thượng and Cái Tàu Hạ are the two rivers that has saline water (nước lợ). Thịt Kho Tàu translates to "Braised Pork in Light Sauce". So there's my contribution to Vietnamese history for you. And if you have already committed that to memory, let's cook!
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RECIPE: Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu
2-3 lbs Pork Belly or Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt, cut into big chunks about 2 inches
3 cans Coconut Soda (coco-rico brand)
7-8 tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon fresh Cracked Pepper
2 tablespoons minced Garlic
2 tablespoons minced Shallots
10-12 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled
a bunch of Dried Bamboo Shoots, optional
Preparing Dried Bamboo Shoots
Rinse dried bamboo shoots a few times and soak it at least overnight or two days. Next day, rinse it again and bring it with water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook it over low heat for at least an hour or until bamoo shoots are tender. Rinse again and shred it into thin strings. Set aside.
Marinate meat with garlic, shallots, fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
In a wide bottom pot, bring coconut soda to a boil. Add meat, eggs and dried bamboo shoots (if used) to boiling coconut juice and bring it back to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer it without the pot cover. Covering the pot while simmering will make the broth less clear. Skim frequently will further your chances for a clearer broth.
Continue braising for about an hour or until the meat is tender. Make sure to swirl the pan and gently turn the meat and eggs occasionally to cover the meat and eggs evenly in broth. The eggs and meat shouldn't break or fall apart after braising. You will notice the broth will slowly start to turn a natural amber color due the to coconut soda and sugar so you don't need to add caramelize sugar (nước mầu đường) as it will make the color of broth, meat and eggs darker and ruin the beautiful amber color you would other wise get.
Happy the-year-of -the-dragon New Year!.