Thit Heo Kho Trung (Braised Pork Belly in Pear Cider, Coconut Juice & Egg)

A comforting and indulgent Vietnamese dish, often cooked at New Year.  Traditionally kept on the stove top and reheated twice a day (add a little water if need to stop it being too salty). Recipe courtesy of Uyen Leluu.

Ingredients (serves 4)                                                                  

500g pork belly, chopped into inch or less cubes
5 shallots or 1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch black pepper
4 birds eye chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 bottle pear cider
1 can coconut juice
150ml coconut milk – optional (to thicken and make creamy)
12 quail eggs and/or 4 hen eggs
1 tbs coconut caramel
Three Crabs fish sauce to taste
pinch black pepper

Method

Remove the rind from the pork but leave some fatty bits.  Marinade in the blended shallots or onions, garlic, chilli and fish sauce.  Leave for at least half an hour.

Sweat off the shallots, add the meat to brown off, then pour in the pear cider and coconut juice.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Remove scum, cook on simmer.  Season with Three Crabs Fish Sauce to taste.

Meanwhile hard boil and peel eggs.  Add to the pot and simmer for at least 2 hours (4 is better).  If you want a creamy texture and taste, add coconut milk.  Make sure you have a good balance of sweet and savoury, add some black pepper and the coconut caramel for colouring.

Serve with steamed rice.  Also nice with a fried egg.

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