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


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



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


  • 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



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.

Posted by: SV | March 18, 2013

Salmon with tomatoes


This doesn’t take much time at all and heart healthy. You can use fresh or canned tomatoes. Serve with brown rice and a side of sautéed or steamed spinach and you have a meal.

Salmon with Tomatoes
(Serves 4)

• 4 salmon fillets
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ chopped onion
• 1 Serrano or 2 Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
• 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
• ½ – ¾ cup of water
• 4 salmon fillets
• 4 roughly chopped plum tomatoes or 1 can of chopped tomatoes
• Crushed black pepper
1. Heat a skillet pan on high heat. Lightly salt the salmon and sear 2 salmon fillets at a time on both sides (do not crowd the pan). Remove set aside the salmon.
2. In the same skillet, sauté the chopped onions until just lightly translucent. Next, add the tomatoes and peppers and sauté until soft. Add to the tomato mixture, fish sauce, and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmering boil and reduce heat to medium. If you would like it more saucy, add the additional ¼ cup of water.
3. Place the fish fillets into the tomato mixture and cover. Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add cracked black pepper to taste.

Posted by: SV | February 10, 2013

Coconut Candy


“Tet” or Chinese New Year is the only time of the year you will see coconut candy (mut dua) sold at the Asian markets. As kids, we loved this treat. If you head out to your local Asian markets, especially Vietnamese, you will probably find it in the next few weeks. Enjoy!!

Posted by: SV | January 26, 2013

Napa Cabbage Salmon Soup


Napa Cabbage Soup with Salmon, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

Here, instead of the chicken breast in my other cabbage soup recipe, substituted this with two salmon fillets.

Napa Cabbage Soup with Salmon

(Serves 4-6)

  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 whole napa cabbage sliced into 1 inch rings
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 sprig of dill, roughly chopped
  1. To a hot 6 quart stock pot, add the fillets of salmon.  Gently brown on both sides.  Once golden brown on both sides, remove and set aside.
  2. To the pot, add the chopped onion and give it a quick stir to soften the onion.  Then add to the onion, water and salt.
  3. Once the  stock mixture comes to a gentle boil, reduce to medium heat.  Add the sliced napa cabbage, fish sauce, and black pepper to the stock.
  4. Cover and simmer, about 10-15 minutes or more until the napa cabbage has softened a bit.  Break the salmon fillets into bite size pieces and return it to the soup.
  5. Few minutes before serving, add to the soup the roughly chopped dill to the broth.
Posted by: SV | October 31, 2012

Sticky Rice and Chinese Sausage

Sweet Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

This is simple comfort food! You can swap the coconut milk for water if you would like to cut some calories.

Sweet Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage

Serves 4

  • 2 cups of glutinous or rice (soak in warm water for at least 1 hr)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of lite coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 4-6 links of Chinese sausage (thinly sliced at a diagonal)

Drain the glutinous rice in colander.

In a non-stick pan, add the drained rice, water, coconut milk, salt.  Turn heat to medium high and cover with lid, periodically stir the rice.  Rice is done when rice is sticky and translucent. Remove the rice from the stove.

While the rice is cooking, brown the sliced Chinese sausage in a skillet on medium high heat.

Top the cooked sweet rice with the Chinese sausage and served with soy sauce and/or sriracha if desired.

This can be served at room temperature.

Posted by: SV | August 31, 2012

Chinese Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce

Chinese Brocoli, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

Gai lan (or kai lan) is often referred to as Chinese broccoli.  It doesn’t look anything like the Western version of broccoli although has similar tastes sans the broccoli flower.  Great for a stir-fry dish.  Use gai lan as you would in recipes with bok choy.  You can find gai lan at some local grocery stores now.

This recipe is vegetarian but you can easily add chicken, beef, or pork.  I would stir-fry the meat first and then proceed with the rest of the recipe below.

Chinese Broccoli (gai lan) with Black Bean Sauce
(Serves 4-6)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch (~1 pound) of gai lan, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz of sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp of black bean sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil in a large 12 inch skillet or larger over medium-high heat.

2.  Add chopped garlic, give it a quick stir.

3.  Add the gai lan and mushrooms.  Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the gai lan cooks down a bit.

4.  Add black bean sauce and chicken broth.  Stir for about 2-3 minute over medium heat, until gai lan turns bright green.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Posted by: SV | March 27, 2012

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice, originally uploaded by simpleviet.

Remember the trick to making fried rice is to use COLD rice.  I usually use leftover rice or cook the rice the day before I plan to make fried rice.  If you want fried rice but don’t have any left over rice, you can spread the warmed/cooked rice onto a baking sheet, let it cool for 10-15 minutes before sticking in the freezer for an hour or so to.  Cold rice tends to form clumps so use your hands to squeeze the clumps to separate the rice before adding to the pan.

Fried rice is a great way to make use of extras or left over ingredients.  You can follow the basic recipe to make plain fried rice by not adding veggies, meat, or shrimp.

Tip: If you don’t like the carrots or peas, you can substitute instead other veggies like red or yellow peppers.  Be careful not to over stir-fry the rice – more than 10-15 minutes you will have dried out fried rice.

Vietnamese Shrimp Fried Rice

(Serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp of oil
  • 1 lb of peeled shrimp
  • ¼ cup of chopped onion or shallots
  • 3 cloves of smashed or chopped garlic
  • ½ cup of finely chopped carrots
  • 6 cups of cold, cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

1.  Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the peeled shrimp and stir-fry until half-cooked.  Remove the shrimp and set aside.

2.  Add remaining oil to the skillet bring to a sizzle.  Add chopped onions/shallots to the skillet and give it a quick stir until softened.  Next, add chopped garlic and chopped carrots.

3. To the stir-fried carrots, add the cold, cooked rice to the fry pan and frequently turn the rice with a spatula for about 3-5 minutes.

4.  Add to the fried rice the half-cooked shrimp and turn the rice mixture regularly over the next 2-3 minutes.

5.  Create a hole in the middle of the pan by pushing the rice mixture to the sides of the pan.  Crack and egg in the hole and with the spatula give it a few stir until the egg is scrambled.  Now incorporate the scrambled egg into the rice mixture.

6.  Once the rice seems to have softened and is emitting steam, add oyster sauce, fish sauce, crushed black pepper and frozen green peas.  Stir-fry for about 1-2 minute over medium heat to thoroughly mix the fried rice.

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