A: Welcome to Food Delight, where we bring you recipes to spice up your daily menu.
B: Hello you guys. These days, the streets are busier than normal, with people hurrying to wrap up their work for 2018. It’s almost time for our Lunar New Year.
A: That’s why in today’s program, we introduce you to a signature dish, which is traditional fare for Vietnamese Tet. Can you guess, B?
B: Well, there are several dishes that can be made during the Tet holiday. Can you give me a hint?
A: If you’ve been watching MasterChef USA, you know the breakout star of the third season in 2012 is Christine Ha, a Vietnamese-American cook who’s been turning out stunning dishes despite being legally blind. The dish that I want to introduce today is one of her three-course dishes she made in the finale.
B: Well, it’s easy as pie. It has to be the braised pork belly entrée. That was the dish Ha cooked for her initial MasterChef casting call, and it was also the dish she cooked for the judges in the finale. Cooking the same dish at the 2 most important stages of one competition, uhm, the dish must has a story, I think.
A: Good guess. Ha said that the dish, Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs is the quintessential comfort food of her youth. That was a dish her mother cooked at least once a month. She never realized how much she loved that dish until she was older and found herself deeply nostalgic for her mother’s cooking. So, I think cooking the dish twice was her homage to her mother’s cooking, spirit, and life, and is also what made her MasterChef journey come full circle.
|Braised pork with eggs is not only a typical Vietnamese home cooked dish, it’s also one of the traditional dishes served during the Tet holiday in Vietnam (Photo: Busy.org)
B: Braised pork with eggs is not only a typical Vietnamese home cooked dish, it’s also one of the traditional dishes served during the Tet holiday in Vietnam. The ingredient list is short, the items are simple and inexpensive, and yet the flavors are savory and delectable.
A: According to Chef Nguyen Thuong Quan, or Chef Rice, chairman of the Viet Nam Chef Association, this is a yin-yang dish with square pork and round eggs, which could bring luck to people eating it. The ingredients are simple, including pork belly, hard boiled eggs, minced shallot, minced garlic; chopped chili, caramelized sauce, fish sauce, sugar, ground black pepper, vegetable cooking oil, coconut juice, and a cinnamon stick to simmer with the pork to taste.
“Marinate the pork with chopped shallots, chopped garlic, chopped black pepper and chopped red chili, fish sauce, sugar, caramelized sauce and vegetable oil. Toss well then leave it for at least 30 minutes or longer in refrigerator. In a wok, heat oil over medium heat, add the chopped shallots. Stir until the shallots become light brown and fragrant. Add in and stir fry the pork until the outside is brown. Then add the hard boiled eggs, coconut juice and water and bring it to a boil. Let the water just barely cover the pork. Add in the fish sauce, adjust the sauce to taste,” Quan said.
A: The ingredients are available in every kitchen. The caramelized sauce can be found in any Vietnamese local market, or if you’re not in Vietnam, this sauce can be found in several Asian marts.
B: If it’s not easy for you to find, you can totally make it at home as the caramelized sauce recipe is simple. As Chef Rice suggests you just need to combine sugar and oil in a small pan in medium heat to allow sugar to melt.
A: Once the sugar melts completely, the mixture will slowly start to turn a golden brown color, add in warm water, and continue stirring the pan until the caramel becomes a light brown color. Then immediately remove from the heat and put aside. Just like that, you’ll have your caramelized sauce.
|This dish goes well with boiled vegetables and is also a perfect breakfast dish with steamed sticky rice and some fresh herbs and cucumber slices (Source: Eva.vn)
B: The trick to this dish is the longer the cooking time, the more tender the meat and obviously the better the flavor. If you want to make this right, don’t rush it.
“Simmer uncovered over low-medium heat for 1 hour and leave it until cool then simmer again until the pork is tender but still retaining its shape, keep skimming off the excess on the surface. The sauce should be reduced by one third (1/3) and become thicker with a clear, nice caramel color. Transfer the braised pork, eggs and some sauce to a plate, cut the eegs in half. Serve with steamed rice and boiled vegetables. This dish goes well with sticky rice or even bread with fresh vegetables. Tet is coming and we are all waiting for eagerly for it. I will be very happy to know that you can make a traditional Vietnamese pork dish with great flavors to treat your loved one at home,” Quan explained.
A: This dish goes well with boiled vegetables and is also a perfect breakfast dish with steamed sticky rice and some fresh herbs and cucumber slices. The pork is so tender that you can easily break it with chopsticks and the broth is clear and has nice caramel color.
B: Well, if I could name one dish that brings back warm, comforting memories, it would be this one. My always multi-tasking mom often cooked the dish the night before, so that when my foodie father and me woke up in the morning, we got something to eat immediately before getting ready for school or work.
A: And this is also the dish that my mom often makes during the 3 days of Tet. The flavor she produces contains something so special that you can’t forget it and always search in vain for when away from home. If you have any dish that recalls the memories of Tet that you want to share, please let us know by leaving comments on our website. Follow us on our Facebook Fanpage - VOV5 English Service - or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
B: We would love to hear from you. Goodbye.