Delicious Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua Recipe

Ah, there’s nothing quite like the comforting aroma of a savory Vietnamese dish simmering away on the stove. I’m thrilled to share with you my recipe for Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua – Vietnamese Stewed Pork with Coconut Juice. This dish is an explosion of flavors and textures that is sure to please your taste buds and warm your soul.

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I have found that Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua, also known as Vietnamese braised pork in coconut water, is one of the most beloved dishes in the Vietnamese culinary repertoire. It’s a staple dish served during family gatherings, special occasions, or any time people want to gather around a table for something truly delicious.

Like all great Vietnamese dishes, the secret to its unbeatable flavor lies in the delicate balance between salty, sweet, and umami flavors. The use of caramel sauce and tenderly braised pork belly create a rich depth of flavor that is offset by the refreshing notes of lemongrass and coconut water.

Not only does this dish taste and smell heavenly, but it’s also incredibly easy to prepare. Simply throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer away until the pork is beautifully tender.

So come along with me on this culinary journey as we explore the flavors and textures of Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua – Vietnamese Stewed Pork with Coconut Juice. Trust me, this dish will become a regular favorite in your cooking arsenal.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua - Vietnamese Stewed Pork W/ Coconut Juice
Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua – Vietnamese Stewed Pork W/ Coconut Juice

As someone who loves Vietnamese cuisine and has sampled many different dishes, I can say with confidence that Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua, or Vietnamese Stewed Pork with Coconut Juice, is a must-try. This dish is packed with flavors and aromas that will leave your taste buds dancing.

Firstly, the braised pork melts in your mouth and pairs perfectly with the creamy coconut juice that is used in place of regular water. The coconut juice adds a subtle sweetness that helps balance out the saltiness from the fish sauce and soy sauce. The dish also includes a rich and decadent caramel syrup that lends an incredible layer of flavor to the pork belly.

While it may seem intimidating to make this dish at home, it’s actually quite simple to put together, making it an excellent option for busy weeknights or cozy weekends. The ingredients list is short and mostly consists of pantry staples like garlic, shallots, and fish sauce.

Additionally, this recipe can be tailored to suit various dietary needs. If you’re trying to reduce your meat intake, you could easily substitute pork for tofu or tempeh. For those who are gluten-free, swap out the thick soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.

In short, whether you’re looking for a quick dinner fix or want to impress guests at your next dinner party with a unique and flavorful Vietnamese dish, Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua is a surefire winner. So why not give it a try? I assure you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

 A heavenly bowl of Vietnamese stewed pork in coconut juice.
A heavenly bowl of Vietnamese stewed pork in coconut juice.

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua or Stewed Pork with Coconut Juice is a popular Vietnamese dish that requires inexpensive ingredients and simple cooking methods. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this savory dish:


  • 2 pounds pork belly, cut into cubes


  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 5 shallots, chopped

Sauces and Spices:

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup thick soy sauce (caramel sauce)
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar


  • 2 cups fresh coconut water or canned coconut juice
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Juice of half a lemon

Other Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • Salt for seasoning

Note: You can find most of the ingredients in any Asian grocery stores. However, if you’re having a hard time getting some of the ingredients, substitutions will be suggested in the following section.

The Recipe How-To

 It's like a warm hug in a bowl, Vietnamese-style.
It’s like a warm hug in a bowl, Vietnamese-style.

After gathering all the ingredients listed in (3) Ingredient List, it is time to start making our Thịt Heo Kho Nước Dừa!

Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Pork Belly and Eggs

Firstly, clean pork belly and cut it into small pieces. I usually choose a combination of meatier parts and fattier parts for more flavor. Then, hard-boil enough eggs to serve alongside the dish.

Step 2: Caramelize Sugar

Heat up a saucepan on low heat and add 1/4 cup of sugar to it. Constantly stir until the sugar melts and turn golden brown. Then, add approximately 2 cups of hot water into the saucepan to dissolve the caramelized sugar.

Step 3: Marinate Pork Belly

Mix five-spice powder (1 teaspoon), garlic cloves (2, minced), shallots (3, finely chopped), black pepper (1/2 teaspoon), white pepper (1/2 teaspoon), fish sauce (2 tablespoons) and thick soy sauce (1 tablespoon) in a bowl. Then, add pork belly pieces into the bowl and carefully mix them with the marinade.

Step 4: Fry Garlic and Lemongrass

Heat up a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add minced garlic cloves (4) and lemongrass stalks (2, bruised) and fry until fragrant.

Step 5: Add Pork Belly to Pot

Transfer pork belly from the marinade bowl to the pot. Keep stirring until pork pieces turn brown on all sides.

Step 6: Add Coconut Juice, Caramel Syrup, Coconut Water

Add coconut juice (10 oz.), including pulp that adheres to the can’s bottom, caramel syrup from Step 2, and coconut water (10 oz.) to the pot. Mix the ingredients well.

Step 7: Season and Let It Simmer

Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Then, bring the pot to a boil, turn down the heat to low, and let it simmer until the pork belly becomes tender (for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours).

Step 8: Add Hard-Boiled Eggs

Add hard-boiled eggs into the pot for extra flavor. Make sure to gently stir them with the pork belly.

Step 9: Serve and Enjoy!

Once you’re happy with the taste and texture of our Thịt Heo Kho Nước Dừa, turn off the heat and let it rest for a while before serving over rice.

[Continue to (5) Substitutions and Variations]

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness in one dish.
The perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness in one dish.

As a chef, I believe that cooking is all about creativity, and that includes tweaking recipes to fit your personal taste. So, let’s dive into some substitutions and variations for this Vietnamese Stewed Pork W/ Coconut Juice recipe!

– Protein: You can switch up the protein from pork to chicken or beef. Just keep in mind that cooking times will vary depending on the meat you choose.

– Coconut Juice: If you can’t find coconut juice or prefer a milder flavor, you can use coconut water instead. Or, if you want a richer and creamier taste, try using coconut milk instead of juice.

– Sugar: Traditional Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua calls for sugar to create caramel sauce. However, If you’re looking for a healthier option or want to avoid refined sugar altogether, you can use honey or maple syrup instead.

– Spices: If you don’t have access to five-spice powder, you can substitute it with Chinese 5-spice blend or cinnamon powder. You can also add ginger or star anise for an even more fragrant aroma.

– Aromatics: Lemongrass adds a subtle citrusy flavor and aroma to the dish but if it’s not available, you can use lime zest or lime juice as its substitute. Substitute shallots with red onions if they are difficult to find in your local grocery store.

– Heat Factor: For those who love spice and heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top before serving.

Remember that substitutions and variations are an opportunity for innovation and culinary exploration. With the right tweaks, this recipe can be customized to fit any taste preference while still maintaining its essence of Vietnamese braised pork dish with caramel sauce!

Serving and Pairing

 Get ready for an explosion of flavors with every bite!
Get ready for an explosion of flavors with every bite!

It’s time to serve up this mouth-watering dish! Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua, or Vietnamese Stewed Pork with Coconut Juice, is a filling and satisfying meal that pairs perfectly with steaming hot rice.

But why stop there? To add some texture and color to your plate, toss in some fresh herbs like cilantro or Thai basil. These will also give a refreshing taste to the otherwise savory flavor of the stew.

For a complete meal, you can also serve vegetables such as sautéed bok choy or stir-fried green beans on the side. These will complement the pork nicely, while also providing a variety of textures and nutritional benefits.

In terms of drinks, I would recommend something refreshing to balance out the savory flavors of the pork stew. A cold glass of Coca-Cola, or a slightly sweetened iced tea or lemonade would be the perfect accompaniment.

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua is a versatile dish that can also be served on special occasions, such as Lunar New Year or family gatherings. The cozy and comforting feeling that it brings will make your guests feel right at home.

Now that you have learned how to make this delicious Vietnemese dish, it’s time to experiment with your own twist on it! Be creative and enjoy discovering what other dishes it pairs well with.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This homemade dish will transport your taste buds straight to Vietnam.
This homemade dish will transport your taste buds straight to Vietnam.

Making the thit heo kho nuoc dua is a process that requires time and patience. Luckily, it can be made ahead of time and stored until later. In fact, it’s almost better reheated because the flavors have had more time to meld together. Here are some guidelines for storing and reheating:


If you’re planning on making this Vietnamese dish ahead of time, I would suggest making the whole recipe and allowing it to cool before placing it in an airtight container. The dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.


When storing the pork dish, make sure that there is enough moisture in the container. This will help keep the meat tender when reheated. Additionally, be sure to store any hard-boiled eggs separately as they can spoil faster than the pork itself.


There are two options for reheating this braised pork dish: oven or stove-top.

Oven: For best results, reheat the pork in the oven at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes. Place everything into an oven-safe container with a tight-fitting lid and bake until heated through.

Stove-top: If you prefer to reheat on the stove-top, you can do so slowly over low heat. Adding a little bit of water or broth will help prevent the meat from drying out during the reheating process.

No matter which method you choose, make sure that everything is heated through thoroughly before serving. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The aroma of this stew will make your mouth water.
The aroma of this stew will make your mouth water.

When it comes to cooking Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua, the key is in the careful balance of flavors. To ensure your dish turns out perfectly every time, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Firstly, properly browning the pork belly is a critical step in this recipe. Make sure each piece of pork is evenly browned on all sides before adding in the other ingredients.

Secondly, it’s important to use fresh coconut water whenever possible. The sweetness of the coconut water adds a delicious depth of flavor to the dish and helps tenderize the pork.

As for seasonings, adjust them according to your taste preference. Be sure to go easy on salt since fish sauce is already salty as it is. For a subtle tanginess, add a squeeze of lemon juice towards the end.

Lastly, if you want your eggs to soak up more of the sauce, poke small holes in them with a fork or toothpick before adding them back into the pot for simmering.

Remember that Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua is the product of slowly braised flavors that meld together over time. So take your time with this dish and let it simmer on low heat until the pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the sauce has thickened into a rich caramel syrup.

With these tips and patience, you’ll create a true Vietnamese masterpiece that will be sure to impress your dinner guests.

Bottom Line

With its rich flavors and tender textures, Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua is the ultimate comfort food that you need to try. This dish not only brings a taste of Vietnam to your table but also satisfies your cravings for a savory and hearty meal. The combination of slowly braised pork belly, eggs, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and coconut juice creates a harmonious blend of sweet and salty that makes every bite irresistible.

Whether you are cooking for your family, hosting a dinner party, or simply looking for something new to add to your recipe repertoire, Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua is the perfect choice. You can easily adjust the seasonings and ingredients to suit your preference and experiment with different variations such as using coca-cola instead of sugar or adding diced pineapple for a fruity twist.

So don’t hesitate to give this Vietnamese stewed pork with coconut juice recipe a try. With its simple yet flavorful ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you will be able to impress your loved ones with an authentic Vietnamese dish that leaves them wanting more. Experience the richness and depth of flavors in each bite and enjoy the comfort that comes with savoring home-cooked meals.

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua - Vietnamese Stewed Pork W/ Coconut Juice

Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua - Vietnamese Stewed Pork W/ Coconut Juice Recipe

Another Vietnamese recipe my sister in law shared with me. She made this for me the first time she visited my house. She served this w/ an Opo Squash soup to mellow out the saltiness. A simple egg drop soup or broth works just as well. Traditionally a salty meal is served with rice and a soup to blend all different flavors and textures. Please note: coconut juice is different from coconut milk. It can be found in Asian markets. Caramel Sauce is known as Nuoc Mau & can be found at Asian markets too. Thick soy sauce can be used, although it has a saltier less sweet flavor. If you can't find caramel sauce or thick soy sauce you can make it at home. Recipe at the end of the instructions. I prefer to buy it. 🙂
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 587.4 kcal


  • 2 cups coconut juice
  • 2 tablespoons oil, I use vegetable
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, minced -tender midsection
  • 2 lbs pork loin, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce or 2 tablespoons thick soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 -2 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 3 -4 hard-boiled eggs

For Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • Add oiled to a pan heated to medium-high heat, coat bottom of the pan.
  • When oil is hot, add garlic, lemongrass, and shallots.
  • Stir fry about 30 seconds, they will brown.
  • Turn the heat up to high and add the pork in batches.
  • Brown the pork on all sides, transfer to a dish and repeat until all the pork is browned.
  • Add all the pork back to the pan and add caramel sauce, fish sauce, sugar, five spice powder, and the peppers.
  • Stir well and cook over medium heat, it'll take about 2 minutes for it to become fragrant.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Add the coconut juice and enough chicken stock (or water) or cover the pork.
  • Bring it to a boil and skim off the foam that rises while it cooks.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, Covered, for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Check occasionally, add more stock or water if it reduces too much.
  • When the stew is almost done, peel the eggs.
  • Traditionally the eggs are scored with an large X on one end without cutting the egg all the way through.
  • I prefer to just quarter the eggs. It's easier and I like the egg yolk mixed into the stew sauce.
  • Add the eggs to the stew and let it simmer together about 15 more minutes.
  • Serve Immediately.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Do not stir! Swirl the pan gentle to dissolve the sugar.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • When the syrup turns deep brown and the bubbles slow down, remove from the heat and add another 1/4 c of hot water.
  • Return to medium high heat and sit continuously.
  • The caramel dissolves and becomes thick and syrupy about 3-5 minutes later.
  • Stir in 1 tsp lemon juice.
  • Let cool and store covered in a cool dark place.
  • Makes about 3/4 cups.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 310gCalories: 587.4kcalCarbohydrates: 46.1gProtein: 35.3gFat: 28.9gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 1150.6mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 38.9g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Free Of..., Lactose-free, Meat, Pork, Stew
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