Posted by: SV | August 31, 2014

Steamed bread roll

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This is courtesy of Mom. It’s an interesting twist on a spring roll. A good choice for appetizer or even a main dish. You will need to have some French bread on hand and a steamer. Vietnamese baguettes are preferred since they are made with rice flour and will be lighter than traditional French bread. I do find that Whole Foods baguettes are on the lighter side so a good substitute if you are not near an Asian market.
Note that this comes together pretty quickly so make sure you are ready to serve within minutes of cooking. It’s good with a plateful of herbs for garnish – mint, chives, cilantro, etc.
You can make this totally vegetarian by skipping the shrimp

Steamed Bread Roll (Banh mi hap)
(Serves 4-6)

• 3 fresh, crispy baguette of Vietnamese French bread used for subs
• Handful of fresh mint (garnish)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1/3 cup of chopped onion
• 1 lb of medium size shrimp roughly chopped
• 1/2 lb of ground pork
• 1 carrot finely chopped
• 2 cups of finely chopped jicama
• 1/2 tsp salt
• black pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• Red or green leaf lettuce washed and dried
• Pickled relish of daikon and carrots (optional)
• Sweet fish sauce and/or peanut sauce for dipping

1. Slide the bread diagonally about ½ inch thick and set aside with a steamer ready to go and a plateful of greens ready for garnish
2. Heat oil in skillet and lightly sauté the chopped onions. Add in the carrots and jicama. Once the vegetables are half cooked, add in the shrimp and pork. Lastly, add the seasoning – salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Cook on medium low heat.
3. While the shrimp and pork mixture is finishing up, steam slices of bread until they are soft and a little on the sweaty side (not soggy). This should take less than a minute in a steamer.
4. Begin plating by placing the steamed bread on top of a leaf lettuce, then spooning the sautéed mixture on top of the bread. Garnish with pickled vegetables and mint leaves. Serve with sweet fish sauce and/or peanut sauce.

Posted by: SV | July 31, 2014

Vegetarian Crispy Egg Noodles

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One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is is ‘Mì Xaò Dòn’ or crispy egg noodles. Today, I’m sharing with you a vegetarian version of crispy egg noodles. You can use any mix of in season vegetables. You can also consider including proteins such as fried tofu or Seitan Korean beef.

I’ve used pea shoots as a garnish, if it is unavailable at the Asian market you can substitute regular sprouts.

Tip: Remember to serve the cooked noodles immediately or else it will not be crispy.

Vegetarian Crispy Egg Noodles (Mì Xaò Dòn Chay)
(Serves 4)

• 1 package of Chinese thin/ramen style egg noodles for pan-frying (8oz)
• 5 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 package of Seitan Korean Beef (1 lb – optional)
• 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic
• ½ onion sliced
• 1 sliced red pepper
• 1 small package of sliced mushrooms
• 1 bunch of baby bok choy, cut diagonally 1 inch
• 1 tsp of oyster sauce
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 2 tbsp of soy sauce
• 1 cup of chicken stock or water
• 2 tbsp of corn starch
• 2-3 sprig of green onions, chopped
• ¼ lb of pea shoots (optional)

1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for the egg noodles. At the same time, heat 2 tbsp of oil in another large skillet for the stir-fry.
2. Gently fluff the soft egg noodles with your fingers before placing in the hot fry pan. Fry on medium high heat until the noodles are golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes on each side. While the noodles are frying, start the stir-fry. Remember to periodically check on the noodles and flipping it to the second side.
3. In the second large skillet being heated on medium-high heat, add Seitan Korean Beef, garlic, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, and bok choy.
4. In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock and corn starch.
5. Drizzle the sauce over the stir-fry mixture and bring it to a boil – periodically stirring the pan to incorporate the ingredients. When the bok choy turn bright green and the sauce is thick remove the stir-fry from the heat.
6. At this time, the egg-noodles in the other pan should be golden brown on both sides. Place the disc of egg noodles onto a platter and top with the just finished stir-fry. Add the green onions and pea shoots for garnish.

Posted by: SV | June 30, 2014

Chao Thit Bo

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If you like oatmeal or grits, you will probably love chao. Chao is an easy to digest rice porridge that is simple to make.  A perfect Vietnamese comfort dish for when you are not feeling good…

Beef and Rice Porridge (Chao thit bo)
Serves 4-6

• 10 cups of water
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 tbsp salt
• 1 cup of uncooked white rice (jasmine or long grain)
• 1 cup of ground beef or thinly slide beef
• 1 sprig of chopped green onion for garnish
• Sliced onion for garnish

1. In a large stock pot, add water and bring to rolling boil
2. Add onion, salt and uncooked rice to the pot. Once the pot starts boiling again, reduce the heat to low simmer and stir regularly for 30-45 minutes.
3. Add the beef to the porridge. Continue to simmer the porridge over lower heat for another 15 minutes. The porridge is finished once it has reached a thick, creamy white consistency and not watery.
4. Laddle the porridge into serving bowl and garnish with the chopped green onion and sliced onion if desired.

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This is a simple vegetable stir-fry that can be used as a side with other main dishes. The traditional dish utilizes shrimp paste and will give the dish a more complex and deeper flavor. However, it is quite pungent so I’ve opted for the fish sauce instead since that will probably appeal to more people! If you would like to go with the shrimp paste, use about 1-1.5 tablespoon of shrimp paste instead of the fish sauce.

Vietnamese Water Spinach Stir Fried with Garlic/Rau Muong Xao Toi
(Serves 4-6)
• 3-4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp sesame seeds
• 4 chopped cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
• 1 bunch of water spinach, (wash and remove stem)
• 3-4 tbsp fish sauce

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brown sesame seeds first. Then add the sliced garlic
2. Add water spinach/rau muong to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until it is bright green.
3. Drizzle fish sauce over the water spinach/rau and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with steaming white rice.

Posted by: SV | February 28, 2014

Chicken Curry (Ca ri)

 

Chicken Curry, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

This is truly a fusion dish – Indian, Vietnamese and French influences.  Even if you are not a fan of curry, I think you might like this.  Key to making this dish is the curry powder, fish sauce, and lemon grass and to serve with a nice crusty baguette of French bread.  You’ve probably never had curry served like a soup and the bread to soak up the curry broth!  Of course, you can rice can be served with the curry if you prefer.

I’ve tried to lighten this dish by removing the skin and using olive oil to lightly fry the chicken.

Tip:  To save some chopping time, you can put the lemongrass, ginger and shallots in a food process and give it a whirl.  Also, I rinse the food- processing bowl with the 1cup water and then add it to the pan.

Vietnamse Curry Chicken (Ca Ri)

(Serves 4-6)

3 stalks lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped

1 piece of ginger peeled, about 1 inch

3 shallots

2 tbsp olive oil

1 whole chicken, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp crushed black pepper

3 sweet potatoes peeled and quartered

3 red potatoes, halved

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

3 cups water

1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz)

5 tbsp fish sauce

1.  Pulse lemon grass, ginger and shallots in a food processor until finely chopped.  Set aside.

2.  Heat oil in a large saucier or stock pot pan over medium high heat and place the chopped chicken pieces into the pan.  Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.  Fry until each side is lightly brown.  Set chicken aside.

3.  In the same pan, stir-fry the lemon grass mixture and curry powder until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

4.  Place the cooked chicken, potatoes and carrots into the pan and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

5.  Add water, coconut milk and fish sauce to the pan.  Bring to a gentle boil and then lower the heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add a little more water if the sauce is too thick.

6.  Serve with crusty French bread and/or Jasmine white rice.

Posted by: SV | January 31, 2014

Vietnames Pickled Eggplant

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Vietnamese Pickled Eggplant 

Vietnamese pickle eggplants are made via fermentation.   This is a relatively simple method and takes about 3-4 days to ferment.   During the summer months at the farmer’s market or Asian markets you will see small eggplants the size of golf balls or smaller, usually the white or Kermit Eggplants.

Serves 4-6

Pickled Eggplants:

  • ½ lb of Kermit Eggplant
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tbsp salt

Wash and remove the stems from the eggplants.  Leave them whole, do not cut.  Fill a large glass jar with eggplants until you cannot fit any more in – snug fit is good.  Mix the water and salt together in a bowl or measuring cup.  Slowly pour the salt-water mixture into the jar filled with eggplants.  Make sure that the eggplants are submerged under the salt water mixture (e.g., crossing two shortened wooden kabab sticks).  Tightly seal the jar and leave out at room temperature for 3-4 days.

This can be served with soups such as Rau Day or Mong Toi.

Posted by: SV | November 28, 2013

Chicken Soup with Clear Glass Noodles (Mien Ga)

Miến Gà, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

The soup is quite simple to make, most of the time is spent on making the chicken stock.  If you have homemade chicken stock, it will take you less than 10 minutes to put this meal together.

Although this recipe is with noodles, the broth is just as good over rice.  The noodles can be found at Asian market, commonly called:  Mung Bean Threads/Noodle/Vermicelli, Glass Noodles.

Chicken Soup with Clear Glass Noodles (Miến Gà)

(Serves 6-8)

  • 5 quarts of water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 large chunk of ginger, cut into slivers
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • crushed black pepper to taste
  • 8 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 package of clear glass noodles
  • 2-3 sprig of chopped green onion for garnish

1.        Bring water to boil in a medium size pan.  Add to the  boiling water, the chicken, whole peeled onion, ginger and salt.   Bring to a gentle boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Skim off any fat and particles that comes to the top.

2.        Remove chicken once it is cooked (no blood oozing from thigh region) and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, remove chicken from the bone, shred or thinly slice and set aside.  Return the chicken carcass to the broth and simmer for another hour before discarding the bones.

3.        Add crushed black pepper, fish sauce to stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

4.        Meanwhile, soak the clear glass noodle in hot water about 20 minutes before serving.

5          When ready to serve, drain the noodles and prepare microware safe bowls with a single portion of noodle and few pieces of  chicken.   Microwave each bowl for about 20 seconds and then ladle soup over noodle.  Garnish soup with chopped green onions and/or cilantro.

Posted by: SV | October 31, 2013

Mahi Mahi Fish Stew

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This is a very quick Vietnamese fish stew or  ‘cá kho nuoc’.  Done in 10-15 minutes!

Fish options to consider are catfish, halibut, or salmon.

As with most dishes, ‘cá kho’ is best served with a piping hot bowl of rice.

Mahi Pineapple Fish Stew/ Cá Kho Nuoc

(Serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs of chopped green onion, separate white and green parts
  • 2 tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped pineapple
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 mahi fillets
  • crushed black pepper

1.  Heat olive oil in a skillet pan on medium high heat.  Sautée the white part of the green onions until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and pineapple and sauté until soft.  Add to the sauté mixture, sugar fish sauce, and water.  Bring to a simmering boil and reduce heat to medium.

2.  Place the fish fillets into the sauté mixture and cover.  Simmer on medium heat for 6-7 minutes.

3. Garnish with remaining chopped green onions and serve.

Posted by: SV | July 30, 2013

Papaya Salad

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You can purchase green papayas from Asian Markets.  Make sure it’s green and not ripe.  You will need a mandoline grater which will make grating so much easier than trying to slice the papaya into match stick.

Papaya Salad

Serves 6-8

Salad:

  • 1 medium to large papaya, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated (optional)
  • ½ lb of  cooked strips of pork (e.g., pork tenderloin)
  • ½ lb of cooked shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • crushed black pepper to taste
  • 10-12 mint leaves, set aside a few for garnish
  • 1-2 cups of sweet fish sauce (recipe below)

In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to let the salad marinade.  Garnish with mint.

 

Sweet Fish Sauce:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh Thai chili (or ¼ tsp of hot chili peppers flakes)
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 ½  cup warm water
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice with pulp (1 lime)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp shredded carrots for garnish

Either finely chop garlic and pepper OR use a mortar and pestle to grind garlic and hot pepper.  If you are using pepper flakes, no need to grind.  Place the chopped or ground garlic and pepper into a small bowl then add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing.  Stir well until sugar dissolves.  If the sauce is not quite sweet enough add a bit more sugar.  If the sauce is too sweet and not tangy enough for your taste, add some more lime juice to cut the sweetness.

 

 

 

Posted by: SV | May 31, 2013

Mustard Green Soup

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Mustard green is quite common in the South.  It is an acquired taste, a little on the bitter side – similar to watercress.  You can substitute with regular spinach.

For this recipe, I’ve used beef short ribs to get the benefit of the bone.  Note that this will require more cooking time similar to using Angus beef stew cut.  Be sure to slow simmer the meat for about an hour and add 1-2 more cups of water.  Sliced or ground beef is the best choice if you are short on time.

Mustard Greens Soup (Canh Ci)

Serves 4-6

8 cups of water

1 lb beef short ribs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp crushed black pepper

1/3 cup diced onion

1 lb washed and roughly chopped mustard greens

2-3 tbsp fish sauce

1 sprig of green onion, chopped

1.  To a pot of boiling water, add salt, black pepper, chopped onion, and the short ribs.  Reduce the heat and maintain a slow simmer for about an hour.

2.  Remove the short ribs and let cool.  When the ribs have cooled, peel the beef off and discard the bone.  Slice the beef into bite size pieces and return the sliced beef to the stock.  Add to the stock, the mustard greens and fish sauce.

3.  Add more water if needed and bring the soup to a gentle boil.  Garnish with chopped green onion if desired. Serve with rice.

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