Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mì Quảng

Yellow Noodle

1.5 lbs pork bones
2/3 lb pork belly, sliced
12 head-on shrimps (size 36-40), remove shell but save the butter.
1/3 lb small shrimp (shell on)
1 can crushed pineapple
1 T red oil (or red hot chili oil)
8 shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 T crisp-fried shallot
2 T roasted peanut
1 toasted sesame rice cracker
2 green onion, cut into 2-inches length.
4 green onion, chopped
5 sprigs cilantro, chopped
Vegetable oil, fish sauce, salt, pepper, rock sugar
Vegetable for noodle
1 pack of medium or large rice stick
1 t tumaric powder

The broth: Wash and put pork bones into a soup pot, cover with 2-3 quarts water, add 4 shallots and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Skim off foam, add 1 t sea salt, 1 small piece rock sugar. Lower heat and let it simmer for 2-3 hrs. Remove bones and shallot, add 1/2 T crisp-fried shallot and green onion (2-inches cut) in.
The sauce: (picture) Put 1 T oil in a small pot over medium high heat, add 4 minced shallot and 2 minced garlic in and stir-fry until fragrant. Add pork belly in, stir -fry until cooked. Add both shrimps in with its butter, stir-fry until it turns color. Add crushed pineapple in with its juice, season with salt, pepper. Add red oil and ladle broth over to cover the mixture. Season with fish sauce and 1 small piece of rock sugar.
The yellow noodle:
When cook the noodle add in 1 t tumaric powder and 1 T oil. Rinse and season with some sea salt and sugar.

To Serve:
Put some vegetable in the bottom, cover with yellow noodle, pour sauce on top, add some broth just enough to dress the noodle and vegetable because this is not a soup. Top some roasted peanut and sesame rice cracker, sprinkle some green onion and cilantro. Options: fresh queeze lime juice, sliced garlic (raw) and hot chili.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Khoai Mì Cuốn

Cassava Roll

2 cups cooked mashed cassava
2 T scallion oil
8 red lettuce leaves
1/3 cup mint or basil
1 green apple (optional), cut into match-stick strips
12 rice papers (6 inches)
salt, sugar

How to boil cassava: Make a vertical slit on cassava tuber's skin, deep enough to see to white meat. Soak in water for 1 hour. Peel off the skin with your hands or with a knife. It should come off easily. Change water and soak for another hour.
Boil cassava in lots of water for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Discard water and remove inner core, don't use this water because cassava contains the potentially toxic compounds, cyanogenic glucosides which can cause acute cyanide poisoning. Mash cassava with a wooden spoon.
Mashed Cassava with scallion oil: Season scallion oil with some salt and sugar, add to mashed cassava and mix well.
Make a roll: Roll cassava mixture with lettuce, mint or basil, and green apple strips. Dip with sweet and sour fish sauce.

Cháo Trứng Bắc Thảo

Pork and Century Egg Congee

2 cups of cooked rice
6 cups water
2-3 century eggs
1 piece (4 oz) of pork loin
1 piece (2 oz) of pork belly
3 scallions
4 sprigs cilantro
1 piece (1-inch) ginger
fish sauce, salt, fresh ground pepper

I love to make this congee for breakfast from left over rice so I can clean up the rice pot. I sometimes just put cooked rice, chopped century eggs, ground pork, ginger and water into a slow cooker before going to bed and have breakfast ready when I wake up.

Put cooked rice and water into a medium pot over medium high heat, add meat and bring to a boil, lower heat and stir the congee frequently. When the meats are cooked, remove and cut into strips. Season with fish sauce and pepper. Let the congee simmer until the rice broken and the congee is thicken. Some like it thinner ans some like it thicker, adjust by adding water and continue to heat. Season with some sea salt.
Peel and cut the egg lengthwise into 6-8 pieces, add into the congee with pork strips and stir gently. Or you can place egg and pork strip in the bottom of the bowl and pour hot congee over when served.
Top with green onion, cilantro, ginger and pepper.

Mì Xào Giòn

Combination Crispy Noodle

1 bag fresh chow mein
oil to fry
12 shrimps, shelled and deveined
4 small cuttlefish (3-inches height)
1/2 lb pork loin, scliced
2 medium tomatoes, slice lengthwise 1/2 inch thick.
1/2 yellow onion, slice lengthwise 1/2 inch thick.
1/2 small cauliflower, cut into florettes
2 cups chinese flowering cabbage, cut into 3-inches length.
1 cup chinese celery, cut into 3-inches length.
1 can unpeeled straw mushrooms, cut in half.
1 can chicken broth
1 T oyster sauce
1/2 T corn starch, mix with some water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
Vegetable oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar

Step 1: Stir-fry each separately with oil, minced garlic and shallot, salt (or soyce sauce) and pepper. Set them aside.
- pork, shrimp, cuttlefish
- cauliflower, straw mushroom, chinese flowering cabbage
Step 2: Heat enough oil in a sauce pan to deep-fry noodle. When the oil is bubbling hot, add noodle in to deep fry until golden crisp. Transfer to plates.
Step 3: When about ready to serve, Heat a wok or pan over medium high heat, add some oil, minced garlic and shallot, yellow onion and stir-fry until fragrant. Add tomatoes, stir, add chinese celery, stir. Season some salt and pepper. Add everything in, pour in chicken broth and bring to boil. Add oyster sauce. Thicken the sauce with corn starch mix, use a spoon to add corn starch mix until the soup thicken enough. Season with soy sauce and sugar. Pour over the crispy noodle then serve.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chè Chuối Chưng

Banana Coconut Stew

6 ripe dwarf bananas, 3-4 inches length
1/2-1/3 cup boiled cassava, cubed
1 T tapioca strips
1/2-1/3 T tapioca pearl (small)
1/2 can coconut
sugar, salt
1 T crushed toasted peanut and sesame

Soak peeled banana in water and some salt for 10 minutes. Drain and put in a sauce pan, add 2-3 T sugar and a pinch of sea salt in. Marinate for 15-20 minutes. Cover with water and bring to boil over medium high heat. Lower heat, add tapioca strips in, simmer for 5 minutes, add tapioca pearls in. Continue to simmer until all the tapioca turns translucent and the banana tender soft. Add coconut cream in, add sugar to taste. Top with crushed toasted peanut and sesame.

Dwarf Banana

Bánh Tằm Bì

Silk Worm Noodle

2 cups cooked large noodle (or pancit luglug)
1/2 cup porkskin mixture
1 cup lettuce
1 T mint, basil leaves
2 T steamed bean sprout
1 T cucumber, cut into thin strips
1/2 T shredded carrot
1/3 T scallion oil
1/4 T crushed roasted peanut

Arrange cooked noodle topped with scallion oil and crused peanut and all the ingredients in a plate. Mix noodle, porkskin mixture and vegetables and serve with coconut sauce and sweet and sour fish sauce. You can use a separate bowl to mix small portion at a time.

Coconut Sauce
Thicken coconut cream with some cornstartch over medium heat, add some chopped onion and season with a pinch of salt and sugar.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cơm Âm Phủ

Mixed Rice

4 servings

Steamed Rice
4 cup of Jasmine rice
1/2 cup of sweet (sticky) rice

Mix them together, wash, put in rice cooker and cover with same amount of water as you cook the Jasmine rice alone. The sweet rice will help the steamed rice stay moist. This will make more than 4 servings but I prefer to have extra in case someone wants more.

4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Make thin omelets and cut into strips

Pork Belly
1/3 lb of pork belly
1 can coconut juice

Cook pork belly in coconut juice, add a little salt for 30 minutes or until cooked. test with your fork to see if the skin is soft enough.
Cut into match-stick strips

Grilled Lemongrass Pork
1 lb pork shoulder
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallot, minced
1 T minced lemon grass
1 T honey
fish sauce, oil, salt and pepper

Slice pork and marinate with garlic, shallot, lemon grass, honey, some oil, fish sauce, salt and pepper for 2 hours or overnight.
Skew or just lay in baking sheet and grill.
Cut into strips

Lean Pork Sausage
Lean Pork Sausage or Hue Style Sausage can be bought at Vietnamese market or Sandwich store.
Cut into strips

Sweet and Sour Cucumber
2 cucumber
2 T Vietnamese coriander leaves, chopped
salt, sugar, lime juice

Cut cucumber in half and thinly slice them. You can leave skin on or off, I left some skin on to have the deep green color. Sprinkle salt on top and squeeze off cucumber juice. Wash off salt. Season with sea salt, sugar and lime juice. Top with Vietnamese coriander leaves when served.

Dried Shrimp Floss
4-6 head-on shrimps
vegetable oil, salt and pepper to taste

Peel shrimp, remove head but save the orange butter.
Put shrimp and its butter into a small non-stick sauce pan or you can add some oil in. Pan dry over medium low heat until the shrimp turns color (cooked) and dry off with its butter (about 3 minutes). Turn off heat and pound the cooked shrimp until flossed. Pan dry a little more over low heat, the shrimp floss will be nice and fluff.

Mold steamed rice and top with shrimp floss. Arrange the rest as seen in picture.
Serve with sweet and sour fish sauce.

Note: The pink strips you see in the picture are from "nem balls" (grilled pork sausage) I bought in the store to sub for the grilled pork loin that I didn't make enough. They weren't that good so don't bother.

Canh Gà Nấm Củ

Chicken soup with mushroom and vegetables

1.5 lbs chicken neck bone
1 medium yellow onion
1-2 carrot, cut or slice as desired.
1 small chayote, cut same as carrot
6 small shitake mushrooms, soaked and cut in half.
1 small snow fungus, soaked and trim off yellow end, break into small florettes.
5 sprigs cilantro
Fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste

In a small soup pot, cover chicken bones and onion with water, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Clean out any foam that rises. Lower heat and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hrs.
Soak both shitake mushroom and Snow fungus for 1 hr in warm water. Wash and cut as directed.
Remove bones and onion, strain broth. Put back to medium heat.
Add carrot, snow fungus and shitake mushroom in to cook for 4-5 minutes. Add chayote and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Season with fish sauce, sea salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro when served.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Củ Ấu Luộc

Boiled Black Horn Nut

Black Horn Nut, Bat Nut, Devil Pod, Buffalo Nut is the seed pod of an Oriental aquatic plant. They are toxic if uncooked but they are delicous (edible, of course) when cooked with rice and vegetable. I love to eat them boiled just like roasted chestnut. They taste like chestnut but have more texture. An average nut is about 3 inches long.

Cover them in water and some salt, bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

More information about this nut:

Bông Cải Xanh Xào Bò

Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry

2 medium crowns broccoli, cut into florettes
1/3-1/2 lb beef filet
2 big cloves garlic, minced
Vegetable oil, fish sauce, salt, sugar, pepper to taste.

Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices.
Cut broccoli florettes into good bites if they are still big. Wash them throroughly.

Boil 1/2 cup water and cook broccoli for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
If you want to make super green broccoli, you can do this but do it with caution because it's super hot and water might splash.
Heat a thick bottom pan over high heat while boiling a pot of water. When the pan is hot but not smoking hot, pour in boiling water and add broccoli. Broccoli will turn rich deep green as you've seen in (good) restaurant. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Return the pan to heat, add 1 T oil, 1/2 garlic and cook until fragant. Add the beef, blanch them by letting them lay flat for 30 - 40 seconds, and then stirring to separate the pieces. Add fish sauce and pepper to taste and remove when it is nearly cooked (just turns color), about 1-2 minutes.
Add some more oil into pan and the remaining garlic, stir until fragant, add broccoli and sprinkle with salt and sugar, stir fry briefly. It should be tender but crisp. Add the beef back in. Dash some more fish sauce and sprinkle some black pepper to taste.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tương Ngọt

Bean Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2-3 T plum sauce
1-2 T peanut butter
2-3 T broth
2 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Vegetable oil
1 T crushed roasted peanut
1/4 cup pickled carrot and daikon shred
chili paste

Heat 1/2 T oil and add 1/2 minced garlic in to cook until fragant. Add hoisin sauce, stir well, add plum sauce (or apricot sauce) and peanut butter and stir well. Add broth (you can use the soaking liquid from dried shrimps and juice from Sautéing jicama or and broth you have in hand). Stir to cook and mix well. Turn off heat.

To make crisp-fried garlic and shallot oil: Heat 1 T oil in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add remaining garlic and shallot and stir until golden brown. I always make this from scratch but I found the ready made one that is really good (As shown in picture below). You still heat some oil and quickly stir them over heat and remove immediately.

To make sweet and sour shred: Chiffonade some slices of carrot and daikon and soak in sugar and vinegar for 20 minutes.

Top bean sauce with crushed toasted peanut, crisp-fried garlic shallot oil, pickled shreds, chili paste.

Note: The shreds you see in the picture above are not pickled. I tossed in raw ones just to give an idea.

Bò Bía

Vietnamese Pohpiah

1 fresh Chinese sausage, pan seared and cut into thin strips
1 large egg
1 medium jicama, peeled and juliened
2 T fine dried shrimp
1 bunch Taiwanese lettuce, washed and cut into 3-inches length
1/2 cup mint or basil leaves
1 t fried shallot
Vegetable oil, salt and pepper
15 6-inches rice papers

Soak dried shrimp in a bowl with water.
Make a thin omelet then cut into thin strips.
Drain shrimp, save the liquid for later use in dipping sauce. Saute shrimp with some oil, sugar and pepper. Set aside.
Saute jicama over high heat until almost cooked but not soften. Add fried shallot and sprinkle with some pepper. Drain excess liquid if there's any. Save for later use in dipping sauce.
Use method #2 to prepare wrapping paper ahead.
When you are ready to roll, put jicama back on low heat to cook and keep it warm. This roll should be served while jicama still warm.

Arrange your wrapping with lettuce, mint, jicama on top. Roll up paper halfway into cylinder then add yellow egg strips, red sausage strips and a row of orange shrimps. Fold sides of paper inward and continue to roll paper into cylinder.

Serve with bean dipping sauce.

Note: Don't cut the tips of the roll like I did in the picture. I have bad habit to cut off the extra wrapping :) This will allow the oily juice from the roll to drip out.