My interest in Vietnamese food has risen tenfold in the last year. The first time I consciously created a cuisine from this country it was cold fried lean pork mince, mixed with a tangy, salty sauce of refreshing lime, the ubiquitous fish sauce, and fresh red chillies. Served cold on top of lettuce leaves it is classic Vietnamese finger food, and incredibly healthy.
Today I decided to create this recipe, based on a recipe in 'Vietnamese Food' by Bobby Chinn, as I had finally managed to hunt down the must have ingredient that gives so many Vietnamese dishes the true ring of authenticity - palm sugar. The recipe is in 2 parts. First you need to create a caramel sauce, before braising the pork in a broth of sauce, of which the caramel sauce is the main ingredient.
It was a pleasant meal to eat - the salty, peppery pork and the sweetness of the 'broth' complemented each other really surprisngly well. At £1.30 per individual serving, it is something I will be making again and again, perhaps though with leaner cuts of meat.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: Approx 45 min - 55 min
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
100 g Palm Sugar £1.00
90 ml Hot Water
1. Melt sugar in saucepan on VERY LOW heat until melted
2. Turn heat to high and allow to brown and caramelize, swirling pan constantly
3. Once it begins to smoke, remove from heat and add water.
COOKING THE PORK
200g Pork Belly, cut into small cubes (skin removed) £1.40
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
3/4 tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
100g Rice 20p
1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the pork in a saucepan; add half the warm caramel sauce
2. Mix and leave for 5-10 min
3. Stir saucepan of meat over medium heat for 10 min
4. Pour in 110 ml water; add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and remaining caramel sauce
5. Cover and braise over low heat for approx 30 min, or until pork is cooked through
6. Cook desired amount of rice (I used 100g for 2 people)
7. Serve braised pork over bowl of cooked rice. Pour over remaining juices
This recipe served 2 adults
Cost Per Individul Serving £1.30
Make more of the caramel sauce than required for this recipe and freeze the surplus in small batches, as many Vietnamese recipes require small quantities of this sauce