Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam) Recipe

In Vietnamese cuisine, if Pho represents Hanoi cuisine in the North, Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam) is one of the perfect candidates to represent Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) cuisine. With its simple yet rich flavors, com tam can easily captivate your taste buds with grilled pork chops (suon), pickled carrots and daikon, fried eggs, and so on. Let me show you how to easily cook Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam) at home.

Vietnamese Broken Rice

What is Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam)

Vietnamese Broken Rice, or Cơm Tấm in Vietnamese, is a beloved dish originating from the vibrant streets of Saigon. Each dish of Com Tam includes cooked broken rice, grilled pork chops (suon nuong), pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber and tomato, and some more accompaniments such as shredded pork skin (bi), steamed egg meatloaf (cha trung), fried eggs, etc. The dressing sauce is fish sauce mixed with sugar, garlic, red chili, lime juice, and water.

When you order a dish of Vietnamese Broken Rice in a small food stall or a restaurant, you always have many options to mix and match to your preference. For example, if you are a fan of shredded pork skin (bi), order a Com Tam Suon Bi (Suon = grilled pork chops, Bi = shredded pork skin). Similarly, you can ask for Com Tam Suon Bi Cha (Cha = steamed egg meatloaf), Com Tam Suon Trung (Trung = Fried Egg), or simply Com Tam Suon. In my homemade Com Tam recipe, it’s actually a Com Tam Suon Trung, with cooked broken rice, grilled pork chops, and fried eggs.

Vietnamese Broken Rice Com Tam
Com Tam Suon Trung (Vietnamese Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chops and Fried Egg)

The Pork Chops can be any type of chop like tenderloin, sirloin, loin, or ribeye. Besides pickled carrots and daikon, spring onion oil and some fresh vegetables will be added to complete the dish.

Ingredients for Com Tam

The most important part of making Vietnamese Broken Rice is cooking the broken rice correctly and marinating the pork chops. Here are the required ingredients:

  • 2 cups broken rice
  • 4 eggs

Pork Chops

  • 300g (10.5oz) pork chops, ideally 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil/garlic oil/shallot oil 15g
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp condensed milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp five-spice powder
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • (optional) 1 tsp annatto oil

Vegetables

  • 100g (3.5 oz) pickled carrots and daikon
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil and 1/2 cup spring onion

Dressing Sauce

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp lime juice/vinegar 5o
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • (optional) 1 tbsp red chili

Instruction

Step 1. Marinading Pork Chops

Because you need to marinade pork chops for at least 4 hours, this step should be the first step.

  • Making aromatic juice from garlic and lemongrass: Peel garlic and cut lemongrass into shorter pieces. Blend them finely with 4 tbsp water, then filter the mixture to obtain the aromatic juice.
  • In another bowl, mix well all other marinades: fish sauce, oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, condensed milk, honey, sugar, five-spice powder, ground pepper, baking soda, and annatto oil. If you lack one of these marinades such as condensed milk, five-spice powder, or annatto oil, don’t worry, you can skip it, or increase other marinades (e.g substitute honey for condensed milk). Although the taste will be affected slightly, it would be much more convenient.
  • Pound the piece of meat to make it thinner, easier to absorb seasoning, and not tough after grilling. Using a pounder would be the best; otherwise, use a pestle or rolling pin to pound it.
  • Marinade pork chops with the above aromatic juice and marinades mixture. Let it sit for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
Vietnamese broken rice Com Tam recipe

Step 2. Preparing vegetables

  • Making pickled carrots and daikon: refer here.
  • Making spring onion oil. Heat up the oil on medium heat; once it boils, add the chopped spring onion in and turn off the heat. Let it cool down so the aroma from spring onion infuses to the oil.
  • Slice cucumber and tomatoes thinly. 
vietnamese-pickled-carrots-and-daikon
Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Step 3. Cooking Broken Rice and Making Dressing Sauce

  • Cooking broken rice is slightly different from cooking other types of rice. Please refer to the detailed guidance on how to cook broken rice for Com Tam here. You’ll need to soak the broken rice for 30 minutes, mix it with water at a 1:1 ratio, and cook it as usual for 20-25 minutes in a rice cooker.
how to cook broken rice
  • For the dressing sauce, mix fish sauce, sugar, water, and lime/lemon juice together and cook over medium heat until boiling. Then, turn off the heat and let it cool down before adding chopped garlic and chili.
Make mỡ hành

Step 4. Grilling Pork Chops

  • Grilling indoors can be challenging due to smoking, so I usually use a skillet covered with aluminum foil as a substitute for a barbecue grill. The effect is nearly similar, but it will save much of your time during the process and cleaning.
  • Grill the slices of pork shoulder over medium heat. Once one side is cooked, flip them. Grill until the pork chops achieve a charred appearance. If the aluminum foil is blackened, replace it with a new one.
Vietnamese Broken Rice Com Tam Recipe

Step 5. Assembling

  • Use a bowl to shape your cooked broken rice into a dome. Flip the bowl onto a prepared plate to unmold the rice. Drizzle some spring onion oil on top and assemble all the accompaniments around the rice. Before eating, drizzle the dressing sauce on top to enjoy.
Vietnamese Broken Rice

Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam) Recipe

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Vietnamese Broken Rice (Com Tam) is one of the perfect candidates to represent Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) cuisine.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broken rice
  • 4 eggs

Pork Chops

Vegetables

  • 100g (3.5 oz) pickled carrots and daikon
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil and 1/2 cup spring onion

Dressing Sauce

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp lime juice/vinegar 5o
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • (optional) 1 tbsp red chili

Instructions

Step 1. Marinading Pork Chops

Because you need to marinade pork chops for at least 4 hours, this step should be the first step.

  • Making aromatic juice from garlic and lemongrass: Peel garlic and cut lemongrass into shorter pieces. Blend them finely with 4 tbsp water, then filter the mixture to obtain the aromatic juice.Vietnamese broken rice Com Tam
  • In another bowl, mix well all other marinades: fish sauce, oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, condensed milk, honey, sugar, five-spice powder, ground pepper, baking soda, and annatto oil. If you lack one of these marinades such as condensed milk, five-spice powder, or annatto oil, don't worry, you can skip it, or increase other marinades (e.g substitute honey for condensed milk). Although the taste will be affected slightly, it would be much more convenient.Vietnamese broken rice Com Tam recipe
  • Pound the piece of meat to make it thinner, easier to absorb seasoning, and not tough after grilling. Using a pounder would be the best; otherwise, use a pestle or rolling pin to pound it.Vietnamese broken rice Com Tam recipe
  • Marinade pork chops with the above aromatic juice and marinades mixture. Let it sit for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.Vietnamese broken rice Com Tam recipe

Step 2. Preparing vegetables

  • Making pickled carrots and daikon: refer here.vietnamese-pickled-carrots-and-daikon
  • Making spring onion oil. Heat up the oil on medium heat; once it boils, add the chopped spring onion in and turn off the heat. Let it cool down so the aroma from spring onion infuses to the oil.Make mỡ hành
  • Slice cucumber and tomatoes thinly. 

Step 3. Cooking Broken Rice and Making Dressing Sauce

  • Cooking broken rice is slightly different from cooking other types of rice. Please refer to the detailed guidance on how to cook broken rice for Com Tam here. You'll need to soak the broken rice for 30 minutes, mix it with water at a 1:1 ratio, and cook it as usual for 20-25 minutes in a rice cooker.how to cook broken rice
  • For the dressing sauce, mix fish sauce, sugar, water, and lime/lemon juice together and cook over medium heat until boiling. Then, turn off the heat and let it cool down before adding chopped garlic and chili.Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong Recipe

Step 4. Grilling Pork Chops

  • Grilling indoors can be challenging due to smoking, so I usually use a skillet covered with aluminum foil as a substitute for a barbecue grill. The effect is nearly similar, but it will save much of your time during the process and cleaning.Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong Recipe
  • Grill the slices of pork shoulder over medium heat. Once one side is cooked, flip them. Grill until the pork chops achieve a charred appearance. If the aluminum foil is blackened, replace it with a new one.Vietnamese Broken Rice Com Tam Recipe

Step 5. Assembling

  • Use a bowl to shape your cooked broken rice into a dome. Flip the bowl onto a prepared plate to unmold the rice. Drizzle some spring onion oil on top and assemble all the accompaniments around the rice. Before eating, drizzle the dressing sauce on top to enjoy.Vietnamese Broken Rice

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 350g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 565

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