Instant Pot Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Thịt kho tàu)

August 17, 2018Van
Blog post

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Serves: 6

You won’t find this dish in many Vietnamese restaurants, but every Vietnamese family makes this dish at home, especially around Lunar New Year (Tết). It’s one of the most flavorful and delicious dishes—the pork belly is braised in coconut water and becomes super tender in no time thanks to the Instant Pot. You get that lovely rich color from caramelized sugar and thick soy sauce. Its the perfect meal for those who love a varied experience in terms of texture and flavor—you can move from the fatty pork belly right into the semi-soft hard boiled eggs. I suggest serving this over a bowl of jasmine rice that has been delicately spooned with the delicious broth in which you cooked the pork belly. Serve it with crisp, cold cucumber slices—a fantastic contrast especially in warmer weather months or pickled mustard greens which balances out the richness of this dish.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

You can purchase this steamer basket here.

Instant Pot Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly Recipe

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Instant Pot Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Thịt kho tàu)

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Serves: 6


  • 2½ Pounds Lean Pork Belly, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 9 Large Eggs
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 Cups Coconut Water
  • 7 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Koon Chun Thick Soy Sauce, optional, but it adds a nice flavor and color
  • Thai Chili Peppers, optional garnish


  • 1)

    In a large bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce, minced Garlic, diced Shallots, 1 Teaspoon of Thick Soy Sauce, 2 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt, ½ Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper and Pork Belly pieces. Toss to coat the pork belly in the marinade and set aside.

  • 2)

    Make the semi-soft hard boiled eggs by adding 1 Cup of water to your Instant Pot, place a trivet or steamer basket (purchase here) into the pot and add 9 large eggs. Seal the Instant Pot lid, switch the knob to sealing and choose High Pressure / Manual for 3 Minutes. Once the timer is up, do a quick release of the steam by carefully switching the knob to venting. Once the pin drops, open the Instant Pot lid and move the eggs into a large bowl of iced water and let it cool for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and refrigerate them. Pour out the water from the Instant Pot liner, dry it and place it back into the Instant Pot.

  • 3)

    Make the caramel sauce (nước màu) by placing 7 Tablespoons of Granulated Sugar into the Instant Pot and choose Sauté on the More or High setting. Depending on your Instant Pot model, it can take 5-15 minutes before the sugar starts caramelizing into a nice dark color, keep an eye on it once you start seeing a little color, you want the caramel sauce to almost be the color of coffee, a dark golden brown.

  • 4)

    Add the marinated pork belly and sauté for 5 minutes, stir well to coat the pieces in the caramel sauce. Add 2 Cups of Coconut Water and give it a quick stir. Press Cancel on the Instant Pot to turn off Sauté mode.

  • 5)

    Choose High Pressure / Manual and set it for 35 Minutes. Once the timer is up, let it do a natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then switch the knob to venting to release the rest of the steam. Once the pin has dropped, open the lid.

  • 6)

    Place the 9 eggs into the pot and make sure they are submerged in the sauce. Let them sit for about 15 minutes to absorb some of the flavor from the sauce (Instant Pot should be in Keep Warm mode). Using a fat skimmer (purchase here) you can skim some of the fat and impurities from the sauce. Serve with rice, steamed vegetables, sliced cucumbers or pickled mustard greens. You can garnish with sliced Thai chilis or serve them on the side if you’re also serving kids. Enjoy!

    *If you want the sauce to be clear, place the pork belly and eggs into the serving bowl, pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer, discard the garlic and shallots.

    *You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. The eggs will absorb more flavor and the fat will solidify, so you can remove it easily before reheating and serving.

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓


  • Christy

    November 13, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Hi! This sounds so delicious! I just have one question, as I’m pretty new to cooking pork belly, do I peel the tough skin off before dicing the pork belly? Or do I just leave it on? Thank you so much. I have a pork belly in the fridge, and will make this as soon as I get an answer! Cheers!

    1. Van

      November 13, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      Hi Christy, it’s just personal preference. The pork belly I use already has the skin removed, so you could remove it if you want to. Hope you enjoy it!

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