Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Basic Pork Broth recipe

Basic Pork Broth Recipe

Pork is a staple in Viet cuisine.  The word for meat thit without any qualifying adjectives usually signifies pork.  At the heart of many Viet noodle dishes and soup is a rich pork broth.  (FYI non-vinamese people, pho is the only aberration. Almost all vinamese noodle soups are made from pork bones even that wierdly named Bun Bo Hue|Hue-style beef noodles.) The basic recipe calls for pork bones or hocks, carrots, onions, fish sauce & sea salt.  To this base can be added the spices for the variations; for example, bún bò Huế (Huế-style beef noodles) calls for a paste of shallots, lemongrass, Hạt điều|achiote oil (aka annatto), garlic, & chilies.

(Note: Pork hock/feet will give you a collagen-rich broth that will congeal very nicely in the fridge; to achieve this, a longer cooking time is needed than with bones.  Neckbones in and of themselves will make a great bone broth though they are typically combined with meatier cuts like stew cuts, shoulder cuts, etc for a meatier flavor.  As always, organic, sustainably-raised, heritage breed meat just tastes better.  If you are using conventional/industrial farmed pork, my mom recommends that you acidulate the bones/feet & any meat overnight with lemon juice to "sweeten" the flavor, i.e. remove the stress hormones present at butchering and strip any chemical additives in the raising and processing.  If you are acidulating, ACV during the cooking process is not needed.)


  • 1.5 lbs pork hock/feet (cut into rounds), neckbones, and/or stew cut pork
  • 5 qts of water
  • 1 onion with skin removed, can carmelize but not necessary or 2 shallots
  • 1 carrot
  • 2-4 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 handful of sea salt
  • splash of apple cider vinegar (optional to demineralize bones)
  • optional spices (ginger, gieng|galangal, keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic, etc)
Rinse off the bones and place in the stock pot or pressure cooker.

If using a stock pot, bring to a boil and skim any scum.  Simmer at a low boil for 1.5-2.5 hours until the skin/collagen renders.

If using a pressure cooker, low boil for 1-1.5 hrs.  Skim the scum.

Add more fish sauce and sea salt to taste.

Today, I'm making khao soi--a north Laotian fermented bean paste noodle soup which I reverse-engineered and free-handed/improvised based on what I tasted at Vientiane Cafe using tương cự đà|Northern style fermented soybean sauce, organic fermented miso, and organic fermented natto.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

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