I recently asked the baes who follow me on Instagram what recipes they wanted to see more of (I just hit 1k there! Follow me at @bun.bobae if you’d like to interact with me more.) Overwhelmingly, people were asking for easy weeknight recipes you can make in 45 minutes or less. And I’m here to deliver! This Vietnamese Ground Pork in Tomato Sauce, or thịt băm sốt cà chua, is in regular rotation at my place. It uses only a few ingredients that I usually always have on hand, so when I don’t know what to make, I make thịt băm sốt cà chua!
Vietnamese ground pork in tomato sauce can be served a variety of ways. It’s extremely comforting over a bowl of hot white rice. Are you cutting back on carbs? This sauce tastes delicious over some finely shredded lettuce as well! I’ve even eaten it over vermicelli noodles and pasta.
Vietnamese Ground Pork in Tomato Sauce (Thịt Băm Sốt Cà Chua): Step-by-step instructions
This recipe uses ingredients you likely already have with you. I always keep a little bit of ground pork in the freezer because it’s one of my most used proteins. You can easily sub ground chicken if you don’t eat red meat. If you’re vegetarian or plant-based, you can sub crumbled up tofu or a plant-based ground meat alternative. Just alter the cooking time accordingly!
Start by seasoning the ground meat/your protein of choice. As always, I season with my holy grail mix of ingredients: fish sauce, garlic, shallot salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside before you dice the tomato and onion.
Start by sweating the onions. Then, add the diced tomatoes and cook down until the tomatoes are soft and have lost their shape. If you like spicy food, you can add some chile flakes here as well. The chile flakes will also help develop a deep red color in the dish.
Add the ground beef in and break it up into the sauce. If it seems a little thick, add a splash of water, chicken or vegetable stock (whatever you have around). My dad likes his thịt băm sốt cà chua thinner and more liquidy. I like mine a little thicker. If you want to punch up the tomato flavor and get a prettier color, you can add a squeeze of tomato paste.
After everything has bubbled away and the flavors have melded nicely, turn off the heat and add a handful of scallions to the sauce.
The beauty of this Vietnamese ground pork in tomato sauce is that it’s so versatile. If I don’t have ground pork, then I’ll use ground beef. I don’t usually add tomato paste, but I had some around and decided I wanted it the tomato flavor to be stronger. If you like onions, make the sauce mostly onions. If you like fresh tomato flavor more than tomato paste flavor, buy more tomatoes to add.
Vietnamese Ground Pork in Tomato Sauce (Thịt Băm Sốt Cà Chua)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb ground pork (you can sub any other ground meat, crumbled tofu or a plant based substitute)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large tomato diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 tsp chile flakes (optional)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
- 1/4 cup water, vegetable or chicken stock (optional)
- 3 stalks scallion, finely chopped
- Season the ground pork with salt, pepper, shallot, garlic and fish sauce. Set aside and dice the vegetables
- In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, sweat the onions in 1 tbsp of oil and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomato and the optional flakes. Simmer and let tomatoes break down for about 10 minutes.
- Add the pork mixture and stir to break down pork into small pieces. Add a splash of stock and some tomato paste for a deeper flavor. (optional) Simmer for another 10 minutes until pork is fully cooked and the flavors have developed.
- Turn off the heat and wilt chopped scallions into the sauce
- Serve with rice, over salad, with noodles etc.