“This is a very traditional Vietnamese dish called ‘Thit Kho’, juicy pork belly slow-braised in young coconut juice. If you can’t get fresh coconuts, you can buy the coconut water in a tin from your local Asian market. Make sure to read the back and purchase ones with no added sugar.” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom
- 500 g boneless pork belly
- 50 g white sugar
- 1 litre young coconut water
- 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
- 3 spring onions (scallions), white part only, bashed
- pinch of salt
- ½ tsp finely ground white pepper
- 3 red bird’s eye chillies, left whole
- 4 nasturtium leaves, to garnish
- pickled vegetables and steamed rice or crisp baguette, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cut the pork belly into 2 cm x 4 cm pieces and set aside.
To make the caramel, place the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a large saucepan over high heat. Simmer until a dark but not burnt caramel forms, then carefully add the pork pieces to the pan. Stir to coat the pork in the caramel, then add the young coconut water. Slowly bring to the boil, skimming off any fat and impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat to low, then add the fish sauce, spring onions, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1½ hours or until the pork is very tender. Add the chillies in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Transfer to a serving plate, then garnish with nasturtium leaves and serve with pickled vegetables and steamed rice or baguette.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgi Larby.
Rockingham black/white side plate from Tomkin.