Eating

Inspiration reaches across states, cultures, flavors

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IMG_2553 Today I was reading Suvir Saran’s blog and saw his roasted egg dish: http://suvirsaran.typepad.com/suvir/2008/04/eggs-and-kerala.html and I was immediately reminded of Thit Kho Trung though the only common ingredient is egg. Something in his nostalgic tone, in the intensity of his photos made me think of this dish that I have grown up eating at the familiarity of my parents’ home, to the home of the pastor’s wife that babysat my brother and me, to my own kitchen where i’ve tinkered and tempted with this earthy, homey, satisfying dish.

The ingredients here are so simple. The flavors, so direct and unadorned. The meat and egg and tofu greet your mouth with a warm embrace as if you had always known each other and haven’t seen each other in years. Tonight i play with this meal again, feeling inspired and transported by the stories and images of another chef’s blog.

Ingredients:

– 3 -4 lbs thick cut of pork – I used country style boneless ribs
– 6 eggs
– 1 block of tofu
– 1 inch piece of ginger root
– 1 stalk lemongrass
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 TB olive oil
– garlic salt, black pepper
-2 cans sprite (or coconut soda if you can find it)
– 1 small can chicken broth

1. Cut pork into chunks about 1 inch square. season with garlic salt and toss to cover.

2. Slice the tofu into chunks and saute in pan with olive oil, garlic salt pepper. Flip once to get both sides crisp. Set aside.

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(I could seriously eat this entire pan of tofu. It is sooo tasty like this!!)

3. In a large pot, add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 TB olive oil and heat. Chop ginger into matchsticks and add to pot. As edges of sugar turn golden brown, stir quickly and add the meat, stirring vigorously to coat all and begin cooking.. about 5 min stirring about.

4. Add soda and chicken broth. Add 2 inch segments of lemon grass stalk. Add eggs, complete with shell. Add Tofu. And heat again to boil. It will look like below, kinda gross. You can scoop off any of the scum that rises to the top.

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5. Once it hits boil, take heat down to medium and cover with the lid ajar. Cook for about 30 min at this temp, scopping off scum as necessary.

6. Remove eggs from pot, peel them and put them back in the pot. If your sauce level is low at this point, you can add some more water or chicken broth. Just remember to check the saltiness. Add some black pepper. Cook for another 15 min.

7. Your food should be ready when the sauce has reduced down like this:

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You can see here how the eggs and tofu pick up the caramel flavor and color of the meat and sauce.

Ideally this is eaten with white rice, pouring the sweet and salty sauce over the rice to be soaked up delightfully. However, trying to keep it healthier, I ate mine with some boiled cabbage that was also quite wonderful and a bit more healthy.

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I hope you’ll enjoy this very quotidian Vietnamese meal and embrace its simple, but warm nature!

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