This sweet and savory braised pork with a kick is sure to be a family favorite Vietnamese dish. In this recipe, I teach you how to make the best authentic Thịt Kho Tiêu in under an hour. I’ll also be teaching you how to make your Vietnamese caramel sauce from scratch. This black pepper caramel pork is a quick, easy, and satisfying weeknight dinner that both kids and adults will love!
Easy Thịt Kho Tiêu (Black Pepper Braised Pork) for Weeknight Dinner
Authentic Vietnamese braised pork recipes usually take hours to cook in order to get the pork perfectly tender and to allow all the rich flavors in the sauce and meat to combine. But luckily, this isn’t the case for my Thịt Kho Tiêu. This quick and easy recipe only requires marinating and about 15 minutes of cooking, making it a great choice for a comforting weeknight dinner. It has all the complexity and richness of traditional Vietnamese braised dishes yet comes together in less than an hour – including the time it takes to marinate the meat!
Quick Vietnamese Caramel Sauce (NướcMàu) from Scratch
Instead of buying Vietnamese caramel sauce premade, I highly recommend making your own because it’s quick, easy, and free from preservatives and additives.
To make a deep and nutty Vietnamese caramel sauce or Nước Màu, simply caramelize the sugar in a pot over medium heat. My go-to for this is a clay pot but you can also use a dutch oven. Stir constantly to prevent the sugar from burning and keep a close eye as the color changes. What you’re aiming for is a deep copper color that’s noticeably darker than regular caramel. You can lower the heat when it’s almost finished to prevent the sugar from burning.
I suggest making a big batch of this Nước Màu. It’s one of the mother sauces of Vietnamese cooking and you can use it in many wonderful Vietnamese braised dishes for both color and flavor. With this on hand, you can easily make quick Thịt Kho Trứng or braised caramel pork in English, Vietnamese caramelized pork ribs, and caramelized ginger chicken. It can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for around 1 month.
What to Serve with Thịt Kho Tiêu?
Garnish your Thịt Kho Tiêu with fish sauce, chopped green onions, Thai chili peppers, and of course, even more, black pepper – it is called Black Pepper Braised Pork after all!
At home, we love eating this dish with plain white congee. It pairs wonderfully with the rich, savory pork and the spice from the black pepper. The combination of warm congee and tender braised pork makes for a very comforting and satisfying weeknight dinner.
Quick Thịt Kho Tiêu Recipe | Easy & Authentic Vietnamese Caramelized Black Pepper Pork
- 1 lbs Pork Shoulder Pork Butt
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1-2 tsp Fish Sauce to your liking
- More black pepper – it is called Black Pepper Braised Pork after all 😊
- Thai Chili Peppers
- Chopped Green Onions
- Cut the pork butt into small bite size pieces.
- Add minced garlic, sugar and black pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Last, but not least, add the fish sauce and toss the meat in all the marinade ingredients very thoroughly.
- Marinate at least 30 minutes. If you have time, a few hours would be best.
- Let’s start cooking by making our caramel sauce. Just add 2 tbsp of sugar to your pot and let it melt over medium heat. Once melted, keep stirring the sugar since it burns very easily.
- Once sugar has a beautiful amber color, add your meat with all marinade liquids.
- Toss the meat thoroughly in the caramel sauce and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Then put on the lid and cook for a few minutes.
- Remove lid and stir the meat thoroughly. Try to get all sides of the meat to take on a beautiful brown/amber color. Put lid back on and let it cook again for 2-3 minutes.
- If needed, repeat the above step. But if your meat has gotten a beautiful brown/amber color all around at this time, remove the lid.
- Add boiling water (not cold or lukewarm water – BOILING water) to your pot. Add enough water to almost cover up almost all the meat.
- Continue to let it cook for 8-10 minutes at medium heat.
- Taste test and add additional 1-2 tsp of fish sauce to your liking.
- Now your dish you have a gorgeous looking sauce/glaze since most of the water should have evaporated by now.
- Add hot Thai Chili Peppers and chopped green onions.
- In my family, our favorite way to serve this savory dish is over plain white congee. The plain congee complements and balances the sweet and savory flavor of this dish perfectly.