Recipe: Braised Pork Belly
Braised pork belly is a traditional Vietnamese dish usually served during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Nowadays, it is one of the staple dishes in many Asian households during meal times.
It is comfort food that is both sweet and savoury with tender meat slices. The meat is simmered in a caramel sauce which is made from white sugar and water. Some boiled eggs can be added to complete the braised dish and eaten with a hot bowl of rice. With pickled mustard greens (dua cua) at the side, it provides a crunchy texture and balances out the richness of the meal. Raw vegetables such as sliced cucumbers or tomatoes will give a similar effect too.
For better results, pork belly with bones can be used as it is provided extra richness to the braised dish. The pork belly will become more tender the longer it cooks and the flavours will combine well. Create this savoury-sweet dish at home and enjoy with warm rice and fresh vegetables.
Ingredients (6 servings):
- 1 kg of pork belly (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 4 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of cooking oil
- 3 large shallots (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 200-300ml of water
- 6 hard-boiled eggs (peeled)
- ½ cup of sliced green onions (optional)
- Ground black pepper
- Heat cooking oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Next, add the pork belly and mix them well. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add fish sauce and about 200 ml of water. Water can be added if needed until the pork is nearly covered. Add salt and black pepper according to taste. Then, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for another 10 minutes with occasional stirring of the mixture.
- In the meantime, make the caramel sauce in a small pot. Combine sugar and two tablespoons of water. Heat the pot on medium heat and let the sugar melt till it turns to a golden brown. Stir the mixture occasionally as the caramel turns brown like light maple syrup. Turn off the heat.
- Add the caramel sauce to the braised pork. Gently stir the caramel and pork until they mix well. Let the pork simmer on low heat for another 45 minutes and stir occasionally.
- Next, add the boiled eggs and cook for another 10 minutes. Make sure to turn the eggs occasionally for it to turn brown evenly. Add the sliced green onions and turn off the heat. Serve with warm rice and enjoy!