I knew I had missed a few months but didn’t realize it hadn’t been since April!!! Will try to do better with more regular postings.

Thought I would try out pea shoots and oyster mushrooms today – it was so fresh looking at the market!


Stir-fry of Pea Shoots and Oyster Mushroom with Chicken

(Serves 4-6)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb of oyster mushroom, sliced
  • 1 lb of pea shoots
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/c cup water or chicken broth
  • cracked black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and quickly sauté the garlic. Add chicken and stir-fry until light brown.
  2. Add the mushroom, pea shoots and stir-fry for two minutes.
  3. Add to the stir-fry the fish sauce, oyster sauce and the water/chick broth, and cracked black pepper. Stir-fry for another 2-3minutes until the pea shoots become bright green.
Posted by: SV | April 19, 2015

Bun rieu

Bun Rieu

Think of this as a tomato based broth with seafood over thin rice noodles. The best way to enjoy this dish is to load the noodle soup bowl up with lots of shredded greens.  This is a bit simpler version that previously posted.

Tip: Use the largest stock pot possible.

Tomato Crab Noodle Soup (Bún Rieu)

(Serves 6-8)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 8 tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp of cracked pepper
  • 6 quarts of water
  • 8 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (2 tsp for medium spiciness)
  • 1 cup lump crab
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup dried shrimp, finely grounded
  • ½ cup of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ lb of washed bean sprouts
  1. In a large stock pot, heat up the oil to sautee the green onions and garlic. Once the onion mixture is fragrant, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat until the tomatoes are partially cooked.
  2. Cover the tomato mixture with the 6 quartz of water.   Add fish sauce, vinegar and the tamarind paste. Bring to a gentle boil.
  3. In the mean time, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and add fold in the the ground up dried shrimp.
  4. Reduce the heat to the broth until it comes to a slow simmer. Then gently pour the egg mixture on the top of the broth. You want the egg mixture to float and become a ½-1 inch layer on top of the broth.
  5. Prior to serving, prepare the noodles, the greens platter, and shrimp paste mixture as suggested below.
  6. To serve the noodles, ladle the broth and chunks of the egg mixture on top of the rice noodle bowl and garnish.   Everyone is encouraged to add a generous handful of the shredded greens and shrimp paste mixture to taste. A squeeze of lemon for those who want a little more sour note.


  • 4 quarts of water
  • 1 package of thin rice noodles (14 oz)


  • 2 sprigs of green onion, chopped
  • ¼ onion sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Lettuce/Greens Platter

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • ¼ head of red cabbage, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

Shrimp Paste Sauce

  • 2 tbsp shrimp paste
  • ½ a lemon juiced
  • 4-5 Thai chili peppers, sliced
Posted by: SV | February 18, 2015

Shredded pork


A piping hot bowl of rice topped with dried shredded pork (ruoc thit cha bong) brings back memories of my dad. Dad loved all things salty and this was one of his favorite things. You can use pork butt or boneless pork chops. I usually try to trim as much of the fat as possible off the pork.
This will keep on the counter for about a week or refrigerated for a few weeks.
A large skillet with a lid will do the job here but a 5-6 quart enamel cast iron pan such as Le Creuset is preferable since you will be braising the meat.
You will need a mortar and pestle. Even better would be a molcajete!

Shredded Pork Topping (Ruoc Thit Cha Bong)
6-8 cups

• 2 lbs of boneless pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp black pepper to taste
• 4-6 tbsp fish sauce (depending on taste)
1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Place a small batch of cubed pork into the pan, sprinkle generously with salt and sear the meat on both sides. Remove and set aside. Repeat until all the meat has been seared.
2. Return all the seared pork back into the skillet and cover. Continue to braise the meat over medium to medium high heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Occasionally stir the meat with a wooden spoon. The meat is finished when you stir the pan and the meat starts to fall apart and most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Remove from heat. Place about 1 cup of meat at a time into a large mortar and pestle to grind it until finely shredded. Repeat this process for the rest of the meat.
4. Return the shredded meat to the skillet over high heat. Generously drizzle fish sauce over the shredded meat. Continually stir until the mixture is dry.
5. Serve as topping to steamed white rice. Place into a glass containers for storage.

Posted by: SV | November 30, 2014

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles (Pho Xao)

Pho Xao

Pho usually refers to Vietnamese rice noodle soup. However, there is also a stir-fried version using the same wide rice noodles. As with most stir-fries, you can use any mix of vegetables and/or meat with the noodles.
Stir-Fried Rice Noodles/ Pho Xao
(Serves 4-6)
• 1 package of pho noodles cooked and rinsed (wide rice noodles)
• 1 chicken breast, sliced
• ¼ lb of pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
• 3 chopped cloves of garlic
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 carrot, julienned
• 1 cup of julienned jicama
• ¼ lb of peeled shrimp
• 4 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 tbsp oyster sauce
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• ½ cup water
• 1 sprig of chopped green onion (reserve some for garnish)

1. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat.
2. Add meat to hot pan and stir-fry until lightly brown (3-5 minutes)
3. Add garlic to the meat in the pan and give it a quick stir. Next, stir in the vegetables. Once the vegetables have slightly softened, add the shrimp to the mixture. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper and water. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce starts bubbling. Toss in the cooked rice noodles.
5. Garnish with reserved green onions and serve immediately.

Posted by: SV | August 31, 2014

Steamed bread roll


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


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

Chao thit bo.jpg

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.


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


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.

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