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Vietnamese Caramelized Pork recipe (Thit kho recipe)

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork recipe (Thit kho recipe)
16 January 2015 Niels Eric

Caramalized Pork

Caramelized Pork – Thit Kho Recipe

Let me tell you about this Thit Kho Recipe. Imagine yourself riding on a small motorbike through the rice paddies and hills in Vietnam. As a part of our 9 months travel we happened to be doing that quite often. Exploring a beautiful country by just riding out there into to the inland, hiking through dense jungle to mountain tops or enjoying the chaos in Vietnam’s larger cities.

When we got back from a long hike (after nearly getting lost in the jungle) we found ourselves a nice little restaurant where we tasted our first caramelized pork (Thit Kho) from a claypot. Yummy! That was a well deserved dinner after a jungle workout. As you probably know by now, we wrote down the dish so that we could be making this ourselves when we go back home. Here it is, this Thit Kho or caramelized pork will definitely get you through the weekend!



Jungle and paddies in Vietnam



What is Thit Kho?

This is the Vietnamese name of this dish which basically translates to something like “braised meat” and is usually done with pork belly. The recipe is also know as Vietnamese pork belly. The secret to make this caramelized pork recipe successful, lays for a big part in the caramelization part.

Preparing this dish starts off with melting sugar in a pan. When the caramel has a perfect golden brown color the caramelization process must be stopped quickly by adding water to the caramel.

The other half of a successful Thit Kho recipe lies in the marinade for the meat. You can use many spices to give the meat its taste. This version uses basic ingredients and is a common way of preparing this dish in Vietnam as well. Just mix some garlic, ginger, onion, chili and fish sauce together with the diced pork and let it marinate for at least one hour…easy.


marinate the pork


Thit Kho To

The result..


I’d love to know what you think of this Caramelized Pork recipe! Leave a comment and rate this recipe below!


How to make Thit Kho?

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork (Thit kho to)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy but oh so delicious caramalized pork from Vietnam
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound cubed pork belly (or sliced pork shoulder)
  • 2 tbsp spring onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp hot chilli, sliced
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp (optional) Coconut flakes (or fresh coconut)
  • bunch of polygonum leaves for garnish
  • 1½ cup (300gr) pandan rice
  1. Mix together the fish sauce, garic, spring onions, ginger, chilli and pepper and marinate the pork for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat the sugar in a pan over high heat. Stir until it melts and turns a golden brown. At the exact moment that the caramel is beautiful brown, immediately add the water to it.
  3. Add the pork (and coconut)
  4. Turn down the heat to low and let simmer. Turn the meat occasionally and let the sauce reduce. With pork belly it could take up to 45 minutes to be fully cooked through, pork shoulder should be quicker. You know when it's done when the pork becomes reddish. If the sauce gets too dry, add some extra water.
  5. Meanwhile cook the rice by following the instructions on the packaging.
  6. Enjoy!



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Comments (3)

  1. I seriously do not cook with pork enough. Thanks for the inspiration and recipe – I have to make this dish!

  2. celyn 6 years ago

    oh wow I am definitely trying this out! sounds so good and simple to make! thanks for sharing, bookmarking this now!!

    • Author
      Niels Eric 6 years ago

      Thank you Celyn! Let me know how it was!

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