Coconut slow-braised pork is my mother’s favorite go-to dinner dish when she’s cooking for her family of six. Take the time to braise a slab of pork sirloin. You’ll get tender, fall apart meat that isn’t too high in fat. The Vietnamese name for this is “thit kho.” It’s usually eaten year round, and we also make it on holidays. The original recipe calls for hardboiled eggs and caramelized sugar. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve done away with both. I’m happy to report, the dish didn’t take any major flavor hits! Besides, what can go wrong when you’re slow-braising pork in coconut water for an hour? Not much.
Fair warning: It’s a Vietnamese dish and involves fish sauce. I know. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I was raised on this stuff and have a small soft spot for it. Every culture has a unique way of adding more “umami” or “savory” flavor to food, and this is ours. It’s like a stand in for soy sauce, bacon, ripe tomatoes or cheese. 🙂 Give this recipe a try whether you’re a fish sauce lover or just culturally curious. Definitely try it if you often think, “well, what the heck can I do with fish sauce?!”
Coconut Slow-Braised Pork
- 2 pounds pork sirloin , cut into 1-2" chunks
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 green onion stalks , roughly chopped
- 2 cups coconut water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Red pepper flakes (optional garnish)
Fill a pot half with water and bring it to a boil. Stir in the the pork, allowing it to cook for 30 seconds. It’s possible to skip this step but my mom swears by it. Drain the pork, and set aside.
Add cooking oil, garlic and half of the green onions to the pot. Cook for one minute over medium-high heat. Add the pork back into the pot. Cooking for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the coconut water and fish sauce. Lower the heat to medium and partly cover with a lid. You’ll want some liquid to escape. Allow pork to braise for an hour.
Sprinkle with remaining green onion and red pepper flakes. Serve with rice and your choice of vegetables.