Pork Simmered in Caramel Sauce


Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This is inspired by those wonderful braised caramel dishes from Vietnam. The meltingly soft pork and caramel poured over rice is a fantastic combination. It also works well with chicken thighs instead of pork. A really good grind of black pepper on top is essential to help balance out the flavour.


  • 650 g (1 lb 7 oz) boneless pork belly, skin removed
  • 250 g (9 oz) palm sugar (jaggery), crushed
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • half a lime
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into julienne
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and cut into julienne
  • 1 small handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves


    To make the caramel sauce, heat the sugar and a little water in a heavy-based pot, shaking often, until light golden brown and just caramelised. Remove from the heat and add the fish sauce and a little more water. Return to the heat briefly, season with freshly ground pepper and leave it to cool.

    Cut the pork belly into eight even pieces. Add the meat to the cooled caramel sauce, mix well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender. Season with a squeeze of lime juice. Spoon the pork and some of the caramel into a bowl and sprinkle with some more pepper, the spring onions, chillies and coriander leaves to serve.