Vietnamese stuffed tomatoes are a personal favourite of mine. The tomato sauce is a staple from my childhood, and I’ve made many dishes using it as a base. Growing up, my family made this dish with just cut belly pork.
When I went to school in Cambodia, our families would deliver us our 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 I remember the days when this dish was packed were my favourite. All my friends were jealous, as it was a distinctly Vietnamese dish their families never made. I used to ask my family to always pack me extra if they made the dish so I could share it with my friends.
Moving back to the UK, I had a lot less Vietnamese food. Vietnamese food often relies a lot on super fresh or sometimes quite exotic ingredients. It wasn’t until I left home and moved to London that I was re-introduced to this dish. My first landlord was Vietnamese and would often cook it.
Since then this has been one of my 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