Thit Ko or Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs, is a dish that utilizes a lot of your pantry ingredients to make something delicious and flavorful. Thick and juicy cuts of pork belly combined with some hard-boiled eggs in a coconut and caramel type sauce for that pleasant experience.
No matter who you are or where you came from, if you’re family is Vietnamese, they will usually have their own special recipe for Thit Ko / Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs.
After all, Thit Ko is a dish that is commonly enjoyed by people from all over Vietnam, especially during the Lunar New Years when the entire family gets together and have some fun.
Now my family being half Vietnamese, we only make this dish during special occasions. Typically during the times when our relatives come visit or if some really close friends come by as well.
In fact, one of my memories of this dish revolves around me and my friend, who was the kid of my so-called “Aunt though not related”. It was my first time meeting this kid and I had no idea who he was or how he would be.
The only thing I knew was that my parents kept telling me to pretend that he is my cousin.
Well dinner time came, and my parents had made Thit Ko. I knew immediately that I wanted to eat the eggs as eggs are some of my most favorite foods to eat ever. As I was reaching for the eggs, I see my friend reach for the eggs as well.
Long story short, he loves eggs just as much as I do.
We spent the entire night competing with each other on who can eat the most eggs. Me being a tiny kid at that time just refused to lose. So I ended up stuffing myself while he gave up already. This ended up being a bad decision as I had the worst stomach ache ever.
But the important thing was that I had won against that kid!
Anyways, I can ramble on for hours and hours, but I’m sure you all would be tired of that. So let’s jump ahead and go directly into how our family makes this delicious Thit Ko dish.
I guarantee you and your family will absolutely fall in love with it.
What Is Thit Ko
What is Thit Ko / Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs you might ask?
Well for starters, Thit Ko is a popular food dish served most commonly during Lunar New Years. It’s a dish that can be made in a huge batch and lasts for quite a few days which is primarily why everyone loves to eat this dish.
Depending on how you like your meat, people will either use pork belly, pork shoulder or any other related cuts. But the most common type of meat to use is definitely the pork belly.
The meat is then usually accompanied by some hard-boiled eggs where they will then be braised together in a sweet and savory sauce.
Typically to get that dark golden color, a darkening sauce will be used which will most commonly be (Nuoc Mau). But if you don’t have that, dark soy sauce can also be used in a pinch.
The entire dish will be braised for multiple hours until the meat becomes fall-apart tender and is bursting with tons of flavor.
Thit Ko is beloved by all Vietnamese families world-wide and is a dish that everyone will enjoy. It does take awhile to make, but the entire process is extremely simple and easy.
Should You Use Coconut Soda or Coconut Water
Should you use Coconut Soda or Coconut Water?
Well in all honesty, this can depend greatly.
After all, many families make their own Thit Ko in a variety of different ways. Some prefer the use of coconut soda while some prefer the use of coconut water. The end result however will mostly be the same maybe with a slight difference.
In my opinion, coconut water produces the best results if you are trying to make this dish.
However I know that depending on where you live, sometimes you are not able to get this delicious ingredient. In which case, coconut soda will work just as well for this dish.
I tend to use coconut soda for this dish because it is a cheaper ingredient to get and also because almost every store I visit will carry this product.
Where as coconut water, in my area at least, it is a seasonal product. There are some stores that carry it year round, but they charge an arm and a leg for it. Which I will refuse to pay for something that is overpriced.
That is why in this recipe, we will be using coconut soda. But if you prefer to use coconut water, then that is fine as well.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Use of fish sauce adds for a really unique and intricate flavor which everyone will love.
- By adding in some coconut soda, it helps add a nice subtle coconut flavor to the entire dish.
- By using pork belly meat as the main ingredient, you’ll get a really soft and delicate bite as well as well as being extremely flavorful and juicy. Top that off with some extra eggs and you have a whole meal to eat.
Ingredients To Make Thit Ko
The ingredients you’ll need to make Thit Ko / Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs can all be easily found at any of your local supermarkets.
Basically, you’ll need the following:
- Pork Belly – 2 Pounds of Pork Belly
- Eggs – 10 Eggs
- Fish Sauce – 3 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
- Chicken Bouillon Powder – 2 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
- Shallot – 1 Large Shallot
- Garlic – 2 Cloves of Garlic
- Coconut Soda – 12 FL Ounce (About 1 Can) of Coconut Soda (Can be replaced with Coconut Water)
- Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau) – 5 Tablespoon of Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau) – (Note: I will be showing you how to make this if you don’t want to buy it.)
Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau) If Making From Scratch:
- Sugar – 4 Tablespoon Sugar
- Water – Up To 1/3 Cup Water
- Salt – Pinch of Salt
- Black Pepper – Pinch of Black Pepper
- (Optional) Dark Soy Sauce – 1 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
And that’s basically it!
How To Make Thit Ko
Making Thit Ko is an extremely simple thing to do.
The process to make this dish is as followed:
Prepping The Ingredients
First thing you’ll want to do is to make your hardboiled eggs. So grab a pot and fill it with water and then add in your eggs. Put the pot over the stove on medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, let it cook for about 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.
Drain the water from the pot and rinse the eggs through with some cold water. This should cool them down. Peel the egg shells from the egg and set them aside.
Now it’s time to prep your meat. Wash your pork belly to clean it thoroughly. Then grab a cutting board and a knife and cut the pork belly into thick 1 inch pieces. Then set it aside.
Now grab your garlic and shallots and mince them up into tiny pieces. Then set it aside.
Making The Thit Ko
Grab a large soup pot and place it over the stove on medium-high heat. Then pour some oil into the pot.
Once the oil get shot enough, add in your minced garlic and shallots and stir things around. Cook them until things start to get fragrant.
Then add in your chunks of cut pork belly pieces. Stir things around and cook the pork belly pieces until they are lightly browned on all sides.
Now pour in your coconut soda, fish sauce, chicken bouillon powder, salt and black pepper.
Then add in water into the pot until the water level rises to above the pork belly pieces. Stir things around. Bring the contents to a boil.
Once the contents start boiling, lower the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes.
During this time, make your Caramel Sauce (Nouc Mau).
Making The Nuoc Mau (Caramel Sauce)
Making Nuoc Mau sauce can be a bit tricky especially if it is your first time making it. Which is why, I always recommend people to just buy this ingredient instead. However if you want to learn how to make this, then here is what you need to do.
Grab a small pot and put it on the stove over medium heat.
Pour in the sugar and stir it continuously. You’ll notice that the sugar will start to clump together and start to change into a caramelish color.
During this time, add in 1 tablespoon of water and stir continuously. Repeat this step a few more times until you have used up the entire water and the Caramel Sauce is dark brown in color.
If it gets too hot, you can lower the heat abit.
The goal here is to try to turn the color into as dark shade of brown as you possibly can.
Once you get a dark shade of brown colored sauce, turn off the heat and get ready to use it.
Continuing Making The Thit Ko
After 40 to 50 minutes have passed, uncover the lid from the pot.
Pour in your freshly made Caramel Sauce (Nuoc Mau) into the pot. Then stir things around.
(Optional) If you want, you can add in 1 tablespoon of Dark Soy Sauce for an even darker color on the foods.
Then pour in your eggs and do a quick stir so the eggs can mix in with the contents of the pot.
Now simply let the contents simmer for an additional hour uncovered. This should reduce the liquid by a bit and really give it the flavor that you want.
Once the hour is up, turn off the heat.
Serve the Thit Ko with some rice and enjoy!
How To Store/Keep For Future Eating
Storing Thit Ko / Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs for future eating’s is a really simple and easy thing to do.
Basically all you have to do is to cover the pot with a lid and transfer it to a fridge where it should be good for around 3 days.
If you want to freeze this dish, you can certainly do so as well, although without the eggs. The braised meat and sauce can be frozen if you put them inside an air-tight container where it can remain good for up to 2 to 3 weeks.
Just a note: you’ll have to know that when you refrigerate this dish, the fat will usually rise up to the top where it’ll solidify. Simply remove the fat or you can leave it there, this is up to you.
Now re-heating is a simple thing to do. Simply bring the pot back to the stove over medium-high heat where it’ll heat up until it is good as new.
FAQS About This Recipe
Yes, the skin on the pork belly for Thit Ko is totally edible. It is in fact one of the juiciest and tastiest pieces of the meat you can ever try.
One of the most common reasons why people get chewy pork belly meat is because the meat is not yet cooked enough. Pork belly needs to be cooked for a long time for it to be fall-apart tender. If your pork belly is still a bit chewy, cook it for a little while longer for best results.
The best way to peel your eggs is to cool down your eggs immediately after cooking them with some cold water. Then while the water is running, peel your eggs under the water where the shell would come out extremely easily.
Tips For Making The Best Thit Ko
- For Maximum Flavor, use pork belly instead of other cuts of meat for the tenderest and juiciest bites you’ll have ever tried.
- Cook the entire dish at low heat and for a long time. The longer you cook the dish, the more tender the meat will be.
- If you are able to, try to use coconut water for best results. But if you can’t find coconut water then coconut soda will work just as well.
Thit Ko Recipe (Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs)
- 2 Pound Pork Belly Cut into 1 inch chunks
- 10 Egg Hard-boiled
- 12 FL Coconut Soda About 1 can of coconut soda
- 1 Shallot Minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 3 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
- 5 Tablespoon Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau)
- Salt Pinch of Salt
- Black Pepper Pinch of Black Pepper
- Water As much as needed
- 1 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce Optional
(Optional) If Making Your Own Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau)
- 4 Tablespoon Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Water
Prepping The Ingredients
- First thing you'll want to do is to cook your eggs. Grab a pot and fill it with water. Then place your eggs inside the pot. Bring the pot to the stove over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, let it cook for an additional 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat.Drain the water from the eggs and rinse the eggs with some cold water to cool them down.Peel the eggs and set them aside.
- Rinse your pork belly until it is clean, then grab a cutting board and knife and start cutting your pork belly into 1 inch chunks. Then set it aside.Grab your garlic and shallots and use your knife to cut them up into minced pieces. Then set it aside.
Making The Thit Ko
- Grab a large soup pot and pour some oil into it over medium-high heat.Once the oil is hot enough, add in your minced shallots and garlics. Stir things around until they are evenly cooked and starts to smell fragrant.
- Add in your pork belly chunks and cook them until the pork belly is nicely browned on all sides.
- Then add in your coconut soda, fish sauce, chicken bouillon powder, salt and black pepper. Give it a quick mix. Then add in water until the water rises above the pork belly pieces.Bring the mixture to a boil.Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes.
- After 40 to 50 minutes is up, uncover the lid.Pour in your Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau) and hard-boiled eggs into the pot.(Optional) Add in 1 tablespoon of Dark soy sauce for an even darker color.Mix things around and let it simmer uncovered for an additional hour or so. This is so that the liquid can start reducing and the flavor will get more intense.
- After an hour, turn off the heat.Serve immediately with a side of rice and enjoy!
(Optional) Making Your Own Caramel Color (Nuoc Mau)
- Grab a small pot and bring it to the stove over medium heat.Pour in your sugar and stir it around continuously until it starts clumping together. During this time, you should see the color of the sugar start to change into a brownish color.Add in 1 tablespoon of water and continue to mix things around. Repeat adding the 1 tablespoon of water until you have used up all of your 1/3 cup of water.Continue to stir things around until the color of the sauce becomes a dark brown color.Turn off the heat and use it in your Thit Ko.
Did you try making my Thit Ko / Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly With Eggs? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
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