Monday, April 12, 2010

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Rice with Pork Chop and Steamed Egg Omelet)

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 1

Except for the time- and ingredient-intensive Vietnamese soups, most of my cooking is pretty simple. Rice, sauteed greens and/or a quick soup, and some kind of meat. While my cooking has certainly improved through the years, getting a basic meal on the table was never a problem.

I won't mention you-know-who and her 30-minute meals and her inane acronyms, except for the fact that a basic meal really doesn't, or shouldn't, take more than half an hour to put together.

Recently, cousin Q's older brother's wife's friend, Cristina of Spaz Attack, ranted about how difficult it was for her to get dinner on the table. Her diatribe was just too funny not to share.

Granted, I don't have two little boys running afoot, but instead of looking at my food pictures, just try cooking. It's easy! You don't have to marinate meats ahead of time. You don't have to chop onions and garlic into uniform pieces. Just get in the kitchen and do it.

I'm not trying to make light of her frustration. I've heard from several readers who said they thought cooking was difficult until they started making my recipes. With good results! And the first time they were able to feed their significant others and children filled them with such joy. I love hearing these stories!

I think as women, we're just too hard on ourselves. Cue freshman year Women's Studies and "The Second Shift" by Arlie Hochschild with Anne Machung. While we've made some strides with gender equality, all too often, cooking falls to women. After a long day at work, women have to work a "second shift" to get food on the table, clean the home, and take care of their kids. I hear from enough male readers who are in the kitchen that I know that's not always the case.

Heck, even for single people, sometimes at the end of the day, it's exhausting. But, we all have to eat. Might as well learn how to cook and feed yourself and/or your family too.

Let's start with simple pork chops. A pack of two cost me a little more than $2 so they're cheap. Pan-fry them and you're done in 20 minutes. If you're industrious, make this while Cha Trung (Vietnamese Meatloaf Steamed Egg Omelet) is steaming and you've got rice, meat, and side dish in half an hour.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 2

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Rice with Pork Chop and Steamed Egg Omelet)

For 2 pork chops, you'll need:
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp Indonesian Kecap Manis or 1 tsp Chinese Oyster Sauce and 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Serve with Cha Trung (Vietnamese Meatloaf Steamed Egg Omelet)

Finely chop the shallots and garlic. Turn the heat to medium, add a drizzle of oil, and toss in the alliums. Add about 1 tsp of Indonesian kecap manis or Chinese oyster sauce and 1/2 tsp of sugar. I like using kecap manis because it's already sweetened so I don't need to add sugar and it gives a nice color to meats. Add 1 tsp Vietnamese fish sauce and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 3

When the shallots have softened, add the meat and the marinade into the pan. No real marination necessary. Don't worry. Twenty minutes of cooking is plenty of time for the pork chops to absorb the marinade.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 4

Add about 1/2 cup water or about halfway up the side of the pork chops.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 5

After 10 minutes, flip.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 6

After 10 more minutes, most of the liquid will be gone.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 7

At this point, I swipe the pork chops around the pan to absorb the marinade and caramelized shallots.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 8

Plate and serve with rice, steamed egg omelet if you made it, and sliced tomatoes or other veggies.

Com Suon Cha Trung (Vietnamese Pork Chops with Steamed Egg Meatloaf) 9

Dinner in less than half an hour.


My other Vietnamese pork dishes:
Suon Kho Xa Gung Toi Ot (Vietnamese Braised Pork Chops with Lemongrass, Ginger, Garlic, and Chilies)
Suon Kho Xi Muoi (Vietnamese Braised Pork Chops with Preserved Plums)
Thit Heo Kho Dau Hu (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Tofu)
Thit Heo Kho Mit (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Jackfruit)
Thit Heo Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs)

1 year ago today, Spaghetti alla Bolognese.
2 years ago today, Southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy redux.
3 years ago today, Chicken Fingers.


  1. hi wc - what great recipe - so simple! i love oyster sauce too. i love cooking - whether it's something elaborate or really simple, i enjoy making people happy with my food. and if they don't like it, they can just @#$%!!!!! ha ha, but seriously, i consider it a labor of love whether it takes 1 hour or half an hour or whatever. for me, it's more economical that going out to eat, plus you can control the sodium/sugar in your food.

  2. love how constant you are...just wanted to stop by and tell you what a great addition to my day you've been.


  3. I can see how a thick braised pork chop can skip the marinating process, but what about a thin grilled/fried chop? They never taste very good for me without at least a few hours soaking in something (or maybe a dry rub).

  4. I do understand your friend's frustration on the whole cooking issue. I've been there, at least half my life. Nowadays though, I -have- to cook if I don't want to set my allergies off badly. It's a lot less problematic for me since my gluten-intolerance/shellfish allergy isn't so bad, but for some people, they have no choice but -to- cook. And good recipes, like this one, are easily gluten-free adaptable. :) Just swap out the Kicap Manis, and use a gluten-free oyster sauce or some tamari.

    I enjoy cooking, so it's a bonus for me, but when I had nothing else -but- to learn to cook for my allergies, it was 3 years of endless frustration! Which is why I enjoy cooking for people now.

  5. I really like this recipe; I'll definitely try it some time. I think nuoc mam just makes everything better.

  6. Can't wait to try this ... especially no marination. This will definately be on my next weeks menu ... Yay!!

  7. Interesting way of cooking the pork chops! I, for being a person that now rarely eats Vietnamese food (other than my last post about Las Vegas), haven't seen pork cooked in any other way other than charbroiled at restaurants.

    RR's 30 minute meals are not just 30 minutes. There is already work cut out including washing the veggies earlier!

    I think cooking is easy and simple. The only time consuming part for me is washing the dirty dishes!

  8. CC,
    Haha! Not because it was a well-formed recipe. Just throwing whatever I have on hand together for a quick meal.

    Awww! Thanks! That was so sweet.

    For thin pork chops, I usually do a lemongrass marinade and quick grill. So it's more dependent on what you put on top for flavor.

    I have my moments too. Some days, it seems too much work even to make this! But other days, I just have to be in the kitchen because I need to cut and chop and cook.

    Tigger Mum,
    Haha! Yeah, not a real recipe. A throw-together one.

    Oh I hate washing the dishes. Or rather, I hate putting them away. I don't mind washing them so much. But the only way I can wash is if the dish rack is empty and I'm so lazying about putting them away. Probably because it means I'd have to do the dishes. :P

  9. I have been thinking of a recipe my mom and grandma used to make. It's trung hap but also consists of a type of fish that they smash and mix into it. I can't seem to find it anywhere. I don't remember the name either. Maybe you know what I'm referring to?

  10. Jennifer,
    You mean salty fish? Like in salty fish fried rice? I've seen dried salted fish at the stores but haven't bought any to try and see which one it is yet. I like salty fish in steamed eggs and fried rice so at some point I really should buy a package and see how to prepare it.

  11. Well, I remember it's a very strong smell fish. It's not dried. It's a dark color. You have to crush it with a mortar and pestle to crush the bones in it. Then you mix it with some eggs and then pour it all into a bowl and steam it in a pot of water. It's been bugging me for months now.


  12. Jennifer,
    You know, I think it's a mam you're thinking of. Then you add dollops of ca man into the steamed egg. I'm just not sure where to get the salty fish mam, or rather what the jar or packaging looks like. I remember dining at a restaurant in Portland that had really delicious ca man they served with fresh conch. My parents loved the salty fish more than the conch and ordered two plates because it was so tasty. Maybe it's not a dried salty fish after all in the fried rice either because I know there's small black specks. Must keep an eye out! Do let me know if you happen to find it too!

  13. This is one of the meals I have to order when I'm strolling around Cabramatta. I have never had this meal at home, my mum always said it's because some food tastes better when other people make it. haha!

    I'm definitely giving this a try and serving it to my in laws! Thanks for the recipe. Looks so yummy!

  14. Tina,
    Food does taste better when someone else cooks for you, but sometimes, you just gotta do it yourself.


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