Happy Lunar New Year – 2015! Thit Kho – Caramelized Pork Belly

IMG_2170I was only 3 when I left Vietnam . . . so I don’t remember much about how life was really like  . . This is one of those dishes that I think embodies Vietnamese cuisine.  Fatty pork, a brothy stew that is salty, sweet and satisfying . . . mashing a tiny, but deadly Thai pepper into your bowl . . . dipping pickled mustard greens, cucumbers and boiled cabbage in the sauce.  Growing up, I used to love when mom would make this dish, not really because of the pork – I wasn’t a huge fan of fat, or meat in general until early adulthood.  My sister and I LOVED the boiled eggs in the stew!  The yolk was always so creamy and delicious and I could’ve eaten this with rice all day, every day!

I am hosting a Feastly event to celebrate the Vietnamese/ Chinese New Year this Friday–yikes–tomorrow!!  Feastly is new in my life, but it feels like a familiar friend from times long past because I am the hostess in my circle of friends. 🙂 This is what I do, and do well!

I am super excited about having old friends, new friends and strangers, who will surely become friends to my dinner table to share my food stories and EAT! 

If you’ve tuned in to my Facebook wall, you’ll remember that back in November, I auditioned for the Next Food Network Star show and submitted a fantabulous cooking video (shot and directed by the very talented Mr. Armendariz).  Thank you all so much for the love, support and well wishes for this dream to come true.  Unfortunately, I have not heard a peep back from the casting people.  Kinda sucks a bit to not hear anything :/  not even a brief:  We’re sorry, but we’ve decided to go in a different direction or even:  Yeah, we’re passing.

No regrets!  It was so much fun being in front of the GoPro cooking, talking, laughing!  I wish we had uploaded a bloopers reel–a couple of vodka shots and beers loosened Cuc right up! 

This Feastly event is going to ROCK YOUR SOCKS off! A reporter from FOX26 is coming to dinner to shoot a segment on Pop-Up Dinners in Houston and Cuc!  Yeah, I guess local celebrity chef ain’t too shabby ;P

Cheers to health, happiness and prosperity for you and your family throughout 2015!  As for me, I spent the entirety of 2014 CHASING LIFE!  My first year in Rodeo, Trips to San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Beaver Creek, Celebrating my 40th, Supper Clubs . . .  it has been an ahhhmazing year!

I started this blog with the intention of sharing one of my most favorite recipes, so here it is!

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Thit Kho - Caramelized Pork Belly
Serves 4
A traditional Vietnamese dish; tasty, satisfying and a great component of a Vietnnamese family style meal!
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
BUY
  1. 1-2 lbs Pork Belly or Pork Shoulder if you don’t want ALL of that fattiness
  2. 6-10 eggs
  3. Oyster flavor sauce
  4. Fish sauce
  5. Minced garlic
  6. 1 large yellow onion
  7. 1 Can of bamboo shoots
  8. Garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper
  9. Cracked black pepper
  10. Sesame oil
  11. Sugar (1/2 cup)
PREP
  1. Cut onion into big chunks
  2. Wash and pat dry pork, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  3. In a large bowl, mix ½ cup oyster flavor sauce, 2-3 tbsp of fish sauce, a few shakes of the garlic powder, onion powder and white pepper, 1 tsp of sesame oil
  4. Add the pork to the mixture, coat well. Cover and place in fridge for an hour to marinade. *Overnight marinating is best, but not necessary.
  5. Soft-boil the eggs. Let cool, peel and set aside. They will finish cooking when placed in the pork broth.
CUC
  1. In a saucepan, using ½ cup of sugar and water, create a dark caramel sauce for the base of this dish (2 tbsp of thick soy sauce can be substituted)
  2. Add the marinated pork to the pan and braise the meat
  3. In a large stock pot, add minced garlic and sesame oil to coat the bottom. Let sauté, but do not burn.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan to stock pot.
  5. Add 2-3 cups of chicken broth (water is fine if you don’t have stock). Enough water to cover the meat in the pot.
  6. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium-low to cook slowly. Broth will start to thicken. Cook until meat is tender (usually an hour – 1 ½ half).
  7. Add drained bamboo shoots and chopped onion (Let onions soften to your taste)
  8. Add boiled eggs and stir gently as to not break the eggs.
Notes
  1. Serve with a bowl of jasmine rice and a side of pickled mustard greens. *If you enjoy spice, mash up a tiny Thai pepper in your broth!
Just Cuc It! http://justcucit.com/

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