Vietnamese-style caramel pork

Vietnamese-style caramel pork

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(41 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4

Stir-fry chunks of pork with shallots, ginger and chilli in a wok then add fish sauce and brown sugar for a sweet, sticky and spicy sauce

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal350
  • fat20g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs19g
  • sugars19g
  • fibre0g
  • protein24g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 500g pork shoulder steaks, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to taste
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…

  • 1-2 tsp chilli sauce (we used sriracha)
  • 4 spring onions, halved and shredded lengthways
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • steamed rice, to serve



    Rice is a grain, the seed of a type of grass, which is the most widely grown and the most…

  • pak choi, to serve
    Pak choi

    Pak choi


    This member of the cabbage family has a number of different names, including…


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok over a high heat and stir-fry the pork in batches until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  2. Turn the heat right down and add the remaining oil, then stir in the shallots, ginger and chilli. Cook over a low heat for a couple of mins until just starting to soften. Add the sugar, fish sauce and 200ml water to the pan and stir everything together. Bring to the boil, stirring, so that the sugar dissolves, then return the pork to the pan. Bubble vigorously for 8-10 mins until the sauce thickens to coat the meat and become glossy. Taste and stir in a little more fish sauce, if needed, along with the chilli sauce. Sprinkle with the spring onions and serve with steamed rice and pak choi.

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Comments, questions and tips

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24th Mar, 2019
Thank you to grimcooking for suggesting marinating the pork beforehand. This worked well for me and I did not add any extra sriracha at the end. In terms of water, less is definitely more and I only added about half a teaspoon of sugar. I threw in some sugar snaps for extra colour and texture and with all that... a lovely dish served with noodles.
5th Dec, 2016
This recipe was almost indigestibly sweet. The balance of flavours was totally wrong. I would suggest halving the amount of sugar.
8th May, 2016
A very interesting dish. Our kids loved it, I'm not a big fan of sweet dishes but it was tasty. Would definitely have it again but with a touch less sugar.
4th May, 2016
Dangerously good dish. I've done this dish 5 times and it was amazing. But be careful. You can reduce the liquid for more than 10 mins, but never leave it unattended, even for 1 minute. I did, and I ended up with toffee pork. Ruined dish. Almost ruined pan. And a burnt tongue, because I thought I'd taste it. Make sure the sugar is bang on weight.
17th Feb, 2016
I found this very tasty and have to disagree with grim cooking. The sauce was spicy and sweet and far from bland. I served the pork dish with steamed pak choi and jasmine rice. I have to say the sauce was on the thin side and I did bubble away furiously for 10 minutes at which point I decided to stop for fear of ending up with no sauce for the rice at all. However I would 't say that detracted from the recipe in any way.
23rd Jan, 2016
Unfortunately, BBC is not that great at Chinese recipes... This was bland and too wet. Adding water did not help to produce the chili sauce glaze visible in the photo. Without cornflour, you are likely to have blandly flavoured water with no texture. I would suggest reducing the water. I would also suggest marinating the pork before frying. Maybe some light soy sauce, sriracha, and cornflour to add basic crisp to the pork when frying.
22nd Apr, 2015
Added a few mushrooms and mangetout to bulk up the veg' content. Reduced the sugar and a fab time had by all.
choccylab's picture
13th Apr, 2015
Yummy! This was delicious and really easy. Might make it with chicken next time. I used 1 tsp of Levi Roots scotch bonnet sauce. Was plenty hot enough!
11th Mar, 2015
Me and my partner loved this. I was impressed how easy it was and so tasty, a keeper in this house!
30th Nov, 2014
Tasty dish but a little too sweet for me. Would be good in smaller quantities alongside something more savory.


11th Mar, 2019
Would this still work if I swapped out the pork for tofu or Quorn?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Mar, 2019
Thanks for your question - we haven't tried this with tofu or Quorn pieces but it should work fine. You may need to adjust the cooking time a little when you return the tofu or Quorn to the pan. Look at the pack instructions for recommend cooking time.
Julie Lumsden
12th Feb, 2019
Do you think I could make this exact recipe with beef instead of pork x
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Feb, 2019
Thanks for your question. We wouldn't recommend cooking beef as long so would suggest bubbling the sauce vigorously without the meat and then adding for the last few minutes.
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