Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I've recently been introduced to this lovely dish, originated from the city of Hue. My parents never had this dish while they were in Vietnam, which led to my late meeting with this dish as well. It's crazy how vast the Vietnamese cuisine is for my parents in their 60's have not had this dish. Being from the North and migrated to the South when they were very young may have an impact. I am truly overjoyed that we have finally met because I know we will be friends for a very long time.
This dish can be eaten with rice noodles or rice, but I always prefer noodles over rice. In Vietnam, the baby clams are picked right out of the freshwater and steamed with lemongrass. I can imagine how fragrance and fresh the baby clams taste. Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury here in the States, often have to settle for canned our frozen clams. Even so, I still love eating Bun Hen. I love that this dish requires fresh vegetables and herb, and can be eaten with sesame rice cracker. The clams is sauteed and seasoned with shallots, garlic, and black peppers. Like most bun dish, there needs to be a sauce. It's not he limey fish sauce that we have become familiar with. For this dish, we make the sauce from fermented fish paste (mam ruot) and the clam juice. The sauce is salty and pungent, but is needed to bring this dish together.
I've tasted Bun Hen made by different people, and there are certainly some differences. Some seasoned the clams a lot more and some makes a lighter sauce than others. But no matter how different each Bun Hen taste, the one thing that makes the dish so delicious is the vegetables and herbs. I always tell people that herbs is an essential ingredient to Vietnamese cuisine. I cannot claim that this recipe is authentic, but this what I have come up with after tasting different Bun Hen. Perfect dish for the summertime, enjoy!
3 10 oz cans of baby clams
fermented fish paste
1 tablespoon of minced shallots
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
sesame rice cracker
1. Cook the vermicelli rice noodles and let it dry. If you are using rice, cook the rice a little bit dryer than usually. Mushy rice will ruin this dish.
2. Open the canned clams and drained the liquid, setting the liquid aside to make sauce.
3. Washed all the vegetables and herbs, and let dry. The lettuce and herbs should be chopped for easier eating. You can mixed the two together as well.
4. In a pan, heat up about two tablespoon of cooking oil. Add 1/2 of the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrance. Add the baby clams to the pan and sauteed together with the shallot and garlic. Seasoned the clams lightly with some of salt, sugar, black pepper and chili powder. I like to eat spicy food, therefore you can omit the chili powder if you do not like spicy food. Continue to cook this mixture, and if like it a little burned you can cook the clams a little longer.
5. In a small pot, heat up two table spoon of cooking oil. Add the remaining garlic and shallots and sauteed until fragrance. Add the juice of the canned clams (about 2 cups) to the pot, and then stir in 4-5 tablespoon of fermented fish paste. I added 2 tablespoon of chili powder for spiciness. Once the sauce has come to a boil, turn off the heat.
6. In a bowl, add rice noodles, vegetables, cucumber and herbs. Scoop however much of the sauteed clams you want on top. Add some sesame rice cracker and then add sauce to your liking. You can cut in additional chili if you like it really spicy. Mix everything together and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Bo Kho would probably not make my top 20 of favorite Viet food to eat because it's simply too heavy for me. I prefer eating pho or bun bo hue over bo kho, but stews are great during the cold Indiana winter. The day after the party, I brought home some bo kho to my family. My sister-in-law showed me a great way to lighten a hearty bowl of bo kho and it made it so incredibly delicious. She squeezed two lime wedges to a bowl of bo kho and top it with lots of cilantro. The lime and cilantro added depth and tanginess to the broth. I didn't even care about the star of the dish, the shank, it was all about that broth. If you haven't tried lime and cilantro with your bo kho, you have to give it a try!
2 lbs of beef shank
2 stalk of lemongrass (cut into 4 and then crushed)
1 can of coconut juice
1/2 can of 6 oz tomato paste
6-7 carrots (cut into 1 inch pieces)
Marinade for 2 lbs of beef shank:
3 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of chili powder (this depends on the spice level of your chili powder and how spicy you want it to be)
1/2 tablespoon of minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoon of bo kho seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Cut up the beef shank into cubes. Keep in mind beef shank shrink during the cooking process.
2. Marinate the beef shank with the marinade over night if possible or at least 2-3 hours before cooking.
3. In a large pot, heat up a little bit of vegetable oil and pour the marinated beef shank in the pot. You want to brown the outside of the meat.
4. Once the meat has brown evenly, add about 80% of the tomato paste and leave the rest for later use. Coat the meat with the tomato paste.
5. Add enough coconut juice to cover the meat. Put a lid on the pot and let this simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. The coconut will add sweetness to your broth and help tenderize the shank.
6. Add water about 12 cups of water to help dilute the seasoning. For a more flavorful broth, replace 8 cups of water with two cans of chicken broth.
7. Add two bay leaves and lemongrass stalk to the pot, season the pot with additional salt, sugar, mushroom seasoning. I added 1-2 teaspoon of salt, 3 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning. Remember to taste your food!
8. In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of cooking oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the bo kho gia vi to the oil and let the gia vi cook in the oil. Be careful not to let it burn. Once the oil and bo gia vi marry together, add that mixture to the pot.
10. Add the carrots and turn the heat down low. If you put the lid, on the carrots will cooked pretty fast. You don't want to overcook the carrots and become mushy.
11. Heat up another tablespoon of cooking oil in the pan. You want to add the remainder of the tomato and more minced lemon grass tot he oil. You want the minced lemongrass to become fragrance and the tomato paste to color the oil. You will add this mixture to the pot and achieve the pretty red color and the lemongrass will fragrance the broth some more.
12. Prepare yourself a bowl of bo kho with French baguettes or rice noodles (hu tieu).
13. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions, squeeze a little bit of lime to your bo kho .
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Over a year ago I caught Luke Nguyen's cooking show while eating dinner at my friend's place. He was making ga xa ot and by the end of the show our boyfriends complained why we never made them this dish. Truthfully my mom never made this dish for me growing up, we always had ga kho gung (ginger chicken). I was just about to make ga kho gung for dinner tonight, and then I realized I still need to make ga xa ot for my boyfriend to try. I promise I do not always put off things this bad!
1 whole chicken cut into smaller pieces
4 tablespoon of minced lemongrass (the frozen kind)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon of mushroom seasoning
1/2 tablespoon of chili power
4 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of onion power
1/2 cup of fish sauce
chile paste (ot sate)
2 stalk of lemongrass cut into inch peices
1. Marinade for as long as you can, but 2 hours should be fine.
2. In a pot caramelize at 4 tablespoon of sugar, this will give the chicken some color.
3. Add the chicken, marinade and all to the pot. Let this cook on low to medium heat.
4. Add the lemongrass stalk to the pot.
5. Add as much ot sate to your preference of spiciness.
6. Make sure you flip each of the chicken pieces so they get some color.
7. Cook until chicken cooks through and sauces reduces. If liquid reduces to quickly you can add little bit of water or chicken broth.
Posted by Thuy at 6:31 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
My family is very fond of this salad, unfortunately we do not have access to good Vietnamese beef jerky in the Midwest. This recipe calls for a specific kind of beef jerky. It's red in color and it's wet not dry like what you would think. My aunt uses the Bach Cuc brand she get from out of state. I recently visited Seattle and notice the same brand at the Vietnamese market in Seattle. Even though it's $10 per package, I just had to get a few bag to bring home. Thai basil is also a must have for this dish, you cannot substitute basil for another herb. You only have to worry about three ingredients; Thai basil, green papaya, and Vietnamese beef jerky.
Hand downs, this is the easiest Vietnamese salad to make. There is literally no cooking involve, except to boil some water to make the sauce. You just prepare all the raw ingredients, cut the beef jerky into strips, and then prepare the sauce. The hardest part to this recipe is making the sauce, it's always the sauce! I've tried quite a few sauces from restaurants and my aunt, and it never quite satisfy my taste buds. So I've experimented a few time and came up with something I like very much and it was well received by my family. I hope you will enjoy this easy and refreshing salad, just in time for summer!
1 green papaya julienned
Thai basil rough chopped
Vietnamese beef jerky
1. Soak the julienned papaya in water. Papaya tend to very slimy, so you'll want to change the water a couple time.
2. Once the the papaya is clean and ready to eat, you'll want to squeeze all the excess water out of it. The best way is to use paper towel to help absorb the water. Place the already squeezed papaya in a clean container.
3. Remove beef jerky from package and cut the jerky in smaller strips.
4. Prepare the sauce, recipe below.
5. Put some already prepared papaya in on a plate, top off with some chopped Thai basil and beef jerky strips. When you are ready to eat add the sauce to your liking, mix, and enjoy!
How to make the sauce:
1/4 cup of water
1-2 clove of garlic
2 tablespoon of sugar
1.5 tablespoon of soy sauce
3/4 tablespoon of rice vinegar
fresh chili or chili paste
1. Crush the garlic with a mortar and pestle (or a knife).
2. You'll want to cook the garlic into the water on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
3. Discard the garlic and just keep the garlic infused water. Remove to a bowl.
4. Add the sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to the water. Mix everything together.
5. Add chili to your liking for some heat.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Even though I have already posted a recipe for Banh Canh Cua, this version is more authentic. The other version is like a quick fix, this version will take some time but it's definitely worth the extra effort.
The other day I went to our local supermarket looking for ingredients to make dinner. I wasn't really looking for any specific ingredients, kinda hoping something would jump out at me. As I was walking through the seafood section, I notice a sign, "wild caught stone crabs". They were running a stone crab claws special for $7.99 a lb. There were around 4-5 five claws per package and each package ran around $7-$8. I knew this is what I have to make for dinner, so I grabbed five packages with the largest claws.
After coming home, my sister-in-law looked through our freezer outside and dug up two dungeness crab parts. We use the meat a couple weeks ago to make Tamarind Crabs, and save the head with all the eggs for later use. There was no other option, these ingredients screamed Banh Canh Cua.
Instead of buying premade noodles, I wanted to make the noodles from scratch out of rice and tapioca flours. Again this took extra time but it's really not hard. It taste so much better than the premade noodles. The broth is a little tricky because I use some left over ingredients and then frozen stone crabs. The frozen stone crabs are already cooked so it's not going to give off a lot of crab flavor. Using mushroom will also give sweetness and lots of flavor to the broth. If you do not have access to stone crabs just use two whole dungeness crabs. On some occasion, Costo sells whole frozen dungeness crab for around $10 each.
For this recipe, I'm going to list what I did with my ingredients (5 lbs of stone crabs claws and 2 head parts of the two dungeness crabs). Since most people will not have the heads of two dungeness crabs laying around, I'm also going to list the procedure if you were going to use two whole dungeness crabs. I'll try not to sound confusing but please let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!
3 cups of rice flour
2 1/2 cups of tapioca flour
1/2 cups to the side
a big bowl
1. Sift together 3 cups of rice flour and 2.5 cups of tapioca flour.
2. Slowly add boiling water a little bit at a time to the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon work the flour and boiling water together. You want to add enough water to form a dough that you can knead and then flatten.
3. Once you have achieve a texture where you can mold the dough, split the dough into smaller balls (about the size of racketball).
4. Use the rolling pin to flatten the dough balls and then cut the flatten dough in half. With a knife cut the half sheet of dough into 1 cm strips.
5. Store the noodle in a container and sprinkle tapioca flour in between noodles so it doesn't stick together. The additional tapioca flour will help thicken soup later too.
2 lbs of pork neck bones
5 lbs of stone crabs
the hard shell and it's content to two dungeness crabs
1 teaspoon of of minced shallots
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
4 cup of mushroom quarters
1. Steam the stone crab claws and save the liquid that is produced. Let the claws cool.
2. Preboil the pork bones with a good amount of salt. Re
move the pork from the dirty liquid and rinse under cold water.
3. Transfer the pork bones in a big pot filled with water. Let bones simmer in water up to 2 hours.
4. If you are using dungeness crabs, you want to remove the hard shell and scrape as much of the yellow content from the shell. You then would want to steam the crab meats and save the crab liquid for later.
5. Add the dungeness shell I just cleaned out into the broth. Add all the liquid produce from steaming the crabs.
6. Taste the broth with salt, rock sugar, and mushroo
7. Heat up some cooking oil in pan and fragrance the minced garlic and shallots.
8. Add the head/egg content of the two dungeness crabs to the garlic and shallots. Sauteed the egg content until fragrance.
9. Add the content to the broth, which will give the broth some color.
10. Add the mushroom.
11. Taste the broth with additional fish sauce if needed.
12. Crack the claws and remove the meat.
13. Rough chopped the green onions and cilantro for garnish.
14. Like the previous recipe, you should prepare each bowl individually. Whenever you want to cook up a bowl, transfer the broth to a separate pot. Once the broth comes to a boil add the noodle and then turn down the heat. Make sure you stir the noodle around with a spoon or it's going to stick to the bottom. The noodle and extra tapioca powder will thicken the broth so add additional broth if needed.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
My mom makes the best dua chua (pickled mustard green), I swear i'm not bias! I have eaten others and it never compares to my mom. It always lack one of the following; texture, color, or taste. Good dua chua must come out crunchy, if there is no crunch when you bite into it something went wrong during the pickling process. The color should be yellowish green, like an olive green. Finally it should taste sour and not too bitter. She knows I love her dua chua, so every time I visit she has a tub for me to take home.
There are a lot of different ways to use dua chua in Vietnamese cooking but my favorite is to sauteed it with beef. A while ago one of my reader asked me to post a recipe on canh dua chua (pickled mustard green soup). I will get to that recipe the next time I have access to my mom's dua chua.
For this recipe you want to use a fatty cut of beef with a little bit of tendons, I like to use beef chuck. Not only will it give the dish more flavor but I just love the chewy texture with the crunchy mustard green. During Lent I also like sauteing pickled mustard green with squids, I will save that for a future post.
I have to say there's something very addicting about dua chua. The dua chua give a sourness to your dish that is very pleasing to our taste buds. The liquid that is produce from the pickled mustard green and beef marry together and become this wonderful sauce. I can seriously just eat the sauce alone with white rice and you can still taste the beef and pickled mustard green.
1 lb of beef chuck cut into thin strips
2 cups of pickled mustard green
2 medium tomatoes (cut into smaller chunks)
4 stalk of onions (cut down to 1 inch)
2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 teaspoon of minced shallots
1. Marinade the beef with the garlic, shallots, and 3 tablespoon of fish sauce for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat up cooking oil in a pan/wok.
3. Once the pan is hot enough add the beef and stir. You don't have to cook it all the way through but enough to brown the outside.
4. Add the pickled mustard green to the beef and add 3 additional tablespoon of fish sauce.
5 At this point there should be a lot of liquid produce in the pan by the beef and pickled mustard green. Let the beef and pickled mustard green braise in the liquid on medium to low heat for about 10 minutes.
6. Add the tomatoes and let it cook down.
7. At the very end add the green onions.
8. Enjoy with a bowl of rice!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Ga Kho Gung is a dish that brings a lot of laughs to my family. My mom goes to work really early in the morning and she usually wake up extra early to prepare lunch in advance for my the rest of the family. On occasion when she doesn't get the chance to cook in the morning my dad becomes the cook for that day. Even though my dad has great taste in food, he cannot cook. Whenever I come home after school and see fried eggs and boiled green beans on the dining room table, I know my dad made lunch that day. Sometimes it's edible, other times it's not. My dad likes to flavor his cooking with only one ingredients, salt. My mom and I always have a good laugh anytime my dad cooks.
One afternoon I came home from school to a huge pot of ga kho gung. It was incredibly good! When my mom came home from work I complimented her pot of ga kho gung. She, however, did not make the ga kho that day. We both thought for sure it cannot be my dad, but who else could it be? The next day, I praised my dad on his ga kho. It made him really happy to hear that both my mom and I love his ga kho. When I came home after school that day, my dad had made another pot of ga kho. Again it was delicious. The next day I told him again he did a great job on this chicken. After school of that day, again there was another pot of ga kho. My dad made ga kho FIVE days in a row! Even my brothers, who never really have much to say about food were getting tired of chicken. That weekend we had an emergency family meeting with my dad. No more ga kho please! My dad learned a valuable lesson that day, less is more. Recently, my sister-in-law reported that my dad had pulled another ga kho week at home. It made me laugh but that's my dad!
The process to make Ga Kho Gung is very similar to Thit Heo Kho. You basically braise the chicken in the same caramel sauce and then add ginger. The ginger turn the caramel sauce into a totally different flavor. This is a great recipe if you like spicy food, adding chilli powder to the chicken elevate the flavor even more.
1/2 chicken (fat trimmed , chopped into smaller chunk with the bones)
1 small knob of ginger (julienned)
1 shallot (minced)
chicken broth or water
chili powder (optional)
1. Marinade the chicken with the minced shallot, 4 tablespoon of fish sauce, 2 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Let chicken marinade for an hour or so.
2. Heat up a pot on medium heat.
3. Once the pot is hot, add 2 tablespoon of sugar. Let he sugar melt and caramelized.
4. Add all content of the marinaded chicken to the caramelized sugar. Make sure every pieces of the chicken is coated with the sauce. The caramel sauce should give the chicken some color.
5. Add enough liquid to the pot to braise the chicken (enough liquid to barely cover the chicken). I like using chicken broth or you can use water.
6. Add the ginger and turn the heat down a bit to let the chicken simmer in the liquid.
7. Let the liquid reduce into a rich sauce.
8. Once the cooking process is done, top some black pepper on top.
Serve with white rice and enjoy!