About this recipe:This dish is very popular in Vietnamese households for everyday eating but is also traditionally served during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The longer you cook the pork belly, the more tender it becomes.
1kg pork belly, cleaned and cut into 3cm pieces with layers of skin, fat and meat
2 tablespoons sugar
5 shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
375ml coconut water
6 hard boiled eggs
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In a large wok, heat the sugar over medium heat until it melts and caramelises into a light brown syrup. Don't let it burn! Add the pork and raise the heat to high. Stir and cook to render some fat then add the shallots and garlic.
Add the fish sauce and black pepper to taste and stir to evenly coat the meat. Pour in the coconut water and bring to the boil. The liquid should reach about 3/4 way up the meat.
Add the eggs and simmer covered over low heat for at least 1 hour, until the pork is tender. Check occasionally that the liquid doesn't evaporate too much. Add water a little at a time if the sauce is drying out.
Remove from the heat and let the dish stand for at least 10 minutes. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce and serve with rice.
If you make this dish ahead, the fat will congeal on the surface making it easier to remove it, and a little healthier! This also allows the flavours to meld a little more.
100% pure coconut water, like Vita Coco, is available online or in some Whole Foods, Holland and Barrett and Waitrose stores.