Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cha Trung (Vietnamese egg meatloaf)

We had a great dinner last night with this Cha Trung (egg meatloaf), at least I know my husband did because it is one of his favorite dish. I prepared and marinaded the meat the night before, so last night dinner was a breeze to make. It is quite easy to prepare and simply delicious with some steamed rice. You can either bake it in the oven or steam it in the steamer, whichever method you choose, the result will be some moist, delicious egg meatloaf. 
Cha trung is typically accompanied with grilled pork (thit nuong), shredded pork skins (bi) and together they are served with broken steamed rice (com tam). This southern Vietnamese dish can be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner. For different variations, you can also add salted duck eggs to make "Cha trung muoi" (salted egg meatloaf) or some crab meat for a fancier version called Cha cua. Give it a try and I'm sure you will enjoy it!


1. 3/4 lb for ground pork
2. 1/2 bundle of clear vermicelli (mien or bun tau)
3. 1 oz of dried wood ear mushrooms (nam meo)
4. 5 eggs (save 2 yolks for the top layer)
5. 1/2 yellow or white onion (finely minced)
6. 2.5 tsp fish sauce, 3 tsp sugar, 1 tsp of sweet soy sauce, 1 tsp mushroom seasoning, garlic powder, black ground pepper.

Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms and clear vermicelli in a bowl of warm water until soften (takes about 15-20 minutes). Mince the wood ear mushroom and cut the vermicelli about 1 inch long in length. 
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl (except for 2 egg yolks). Mix well and transfer to a baking mold or a steaming bowl. 

If you choose the steaming method, steam the meatloaf in a water bath steamer for about 45 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, beat the reserved egg yolks and spoon it on top of the meatloaf, make sure it cover the meatloaf evenly. Continue steaming the meatloaf uncovered for about 10 minutes until the egg yolk layer dried up, then cover the lid for about 5 minutes before turn off the heat.
For baking method, preheat the oven to 375F and bake the meatloaf in a water bath for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat the same steps for the egg layer during the last 15 minutes of baking.
Remove from heat and let cool a little bit until you can handle and unmold the meatloaf. Slice and serve hot with rice, grilled pork and fish sauce.

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