Vietnamese stuffed tomatoes are a personal favourite of Harriet Sugarcookie. The tomato sauce is a staple from her childhood, and she’s made many dishes using it as a base. Growing up, her family made this dish with just cut belly pork.
When Harriet went to school in Cambodia, their families would deliver them their lunches at lunch time in metal lunch boxes, so they would be hot. It was a very different culture to the West, where kids bring their lunches with them in the morning and it’s normally cold food.
But Harriet remembers the days when this dish was packed were her favourite. All her friends were jealous, as it was a distinctly Vietnamese dish their families never made. She used to ask her family to always pack her extra if they made the dish so she could share it with her friends.
Moving back to the UK, she had a lot less Vietnamese food. Vietnamese food often relies a lot on super fresh or sometimes quite exotic ingredients. It wasn’t until Harriet left home and moved to London that she was re-introduced to this dish. Her first landlord was Vietnamese and would often cook it.
Since then this has been one of her go-to dishes for dinner. It’s so quick and easy to make, and it stores well in the fridge to be heated up again.
For the stuffed tomatoes:
- 4 big tomatoes
- 300g of minced pork
- 1 onion
- Fish sauce
- Lemon or lime juice
- Cooked rice
- String beans
- Quail eggs
- Cooking Oil
- To make the tomato filling, dice your onion and add it to a bowl with the minced pork. If you don’t like pork, minced chicken or beef also works.
- Add a tablespoon of fish sauce, salt and pepper and mix. I know some people who like to add mushrooms, vermicelli noodles and all sorts to this mixture, so you can be quite liberal and creative with the mind filling.
- Cut your tomatoes in half down the middle.
- Scoop out all the inside of the tomato so they are hollow. Set the scooped out insides to the side, you’ll need this later.
- Stuff the hollowed tomatoes with the mince. Really pack down the mince as much as you can as this will help with the cooking.
- In a pan, add your cooking oil. On a medium high heat, add the tomatoes meat side up.
- After about a minute, flip them over meat side down. Let the meat brown for a bit, then add the tomato insides you saved from earlier.
- Add half a cup of water (you can always add more later) and bring everything down to a simmer. I added a lid to the pan to let it steam, but you don’t have to. Cook everything for about 20 minutes.
- For the runner beans, just boil them until they are cooked, about 10 minutes. Take them out and cut them into bite sized pieces. Bundle them together.
- After they have cooled down you can wrap them into their bundles with ham or cheese.
- Boil the quail eggs for 3 minutes