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Vegan Braised Pork Belly

Vegan Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly - Thịt kho tàu chay

  • Author: Veggie Anh
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minute
  • Yield: 2 people 1x


A plant-based take on a traditional Vietnamese recipe. Vegan 'pork belly' with a sweet and savory caramelized sauce is a staple in Vietnamese households.


Units Scale

Step 1: Vegan pork belly (see full recipe at

Pork fat layer (Coconut Tapioca mixture)

  • 100 g rice flour
  • 120 g tapioca starch
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 300 ml water

Lean meat layer

  • TVP slices: 8 TVP slices (could be more, depending on the size of the TVP)
  • oil for frying

Pork skin layer (bread)

  • 1 small baguette (or cut the baguette into a slice)
  • OR 1 small sheet of yuba (tofu skin)


  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 chili
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mushroom seasoning
  • black pepper
  • 200 ml water or coconut water
  • green onion


Make the vegan 'pork belly'

To make the 'lean meat' layer

  1. Dehydrate the TVP slices by pouring hot water on them and letting them sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse and squeeze out excess water out of the TVP slices. 

To make the coconut 'fat' layer

  1. On a pan on low heat, combine the rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut milk and water.
  2. Keep mixing the mixture until it forms a thick white paste, that is very similar to pork fat. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

To make the pork skin layer

  1. Rehydrate the tofu skin sheet by pouring hot water on top until softened (about a few minutes).

Make the Vegan Pork Belly

  1. To make the vegan pork belly, layer the 3 layers together: bread 'skin' in the bottom, followed by a thick layer of the coconut 'fat', 'lean meat' (tofu or TVP slcies), coconut 'fat' and 'lean meat' tofu. The coconut 'fat' in between each layer will help the layers stick together.
  2. Wrap the vegan pork belly tightly with aluminium foil and steam for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Afterwards, chill the vegan pork belly in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
  4. Cut into thin slices that resemble 'pork belly' slices.

Make the sauce

  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic, and chili pepper.
  2. Add oil to a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, fry the vegan pork belly until both sides are golden, then remove from heat.
  3. On a pot or pan, add some water and the sugar on medium heat, and stir vigorously until the sugar melts and you are left with a caramelized sauce.
  4. Back to the pot, add the minced onion, garlic and chili and stir for 1-2 minutes on low heat.
  5. Add in the fried vegan pork belly slices.
  6. Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, black pepper, mushroom seasoning, coconut water (can sub with water) and mix well.
  7. When the mixture starts to come to a boil, bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes with the lid closed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve the vegan 'pork belly' on a plate, garnish with green onions and chili slices. Serve with a bowl of rice and enjoy!


Leftover can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.

The details on this recipe excludes the time to chill the pork belly in the fridge before cooking.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Make the vegan pork belly: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: vietnamese

Keywords: comfort food, lunar new year, vegan, vietnamese

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