Thursday, January 21, 2010
My dad requested Mi Quang during my last trip home but I was unable to stay for very long. I wanted to make it up to him by using king crab legs. My dad chuckled at the thought of using crab legs since Mi Quang was created during tough times. To his knowledge Mi Quang was made when people were trying to conserve food. They used ingredients that they have lying around.
Mi Quang is not quite a soup but it's not eaten like Hu Tieu Kho either. A little broth is added to the bottom of the bowl to moisten the noodles. My mom is not a fan of eating Mi Quang that way, she likes noodle in soup. I wanted to make a savory broth with the sweetness of different ingredients that when combine you have the perfect balance of flavor. I want people to be able to smell the sweet aromas when they inhale the steams from the bowl. To satisfy my mom liking this broth is great eaten as a soup as well. I hope you enjoy my spin on Mi Quang!
1 whole garlic bulb
5-6 bulb of shallots
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 teapoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
The seasoning is extremely simple! I used a lot of garlic and shallot to fragrance the broth as well as the proteins. I first extract color from the aneeto seeds in cooking oil. Then I sauteed garlic and shallot in the oil and seasoned it with sugar, fish sauce, and some red pepper flakes. Half of the mixture will go straight into the broth and the other half will be used to marinade with the proteins.
1 lb of pork bones
1 daikon (cut into threes)
1 small can of sliced pineapple
rock sugar (about the size of a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of mushroom seasoning
2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/2 garlic/shallot mixture
I love using daikons in my broth, it sweeten the broth in a way that bones cannot. Sliced pineapple gives the broth a tartness. Start out by pre-boiling the pork bones with plenty of salt. Remove and rinse with cool water. Add bones to a pot of water along w/ daikons and salt. Let simmer for about 30 minutes and remove any scums. Add rock sugar, mushroom seasoning, and fish sauce. Let this simmer for about and hour. Add the the garlic/shallot mixture and pineapple slices and let broth continue to simmer on low heat until you are ready to serve.
1 lb of shrimp with head
2 lbs of king crab legs
1 lb of pork belly
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 of the garlic/shallot mixture
a couple dash of salt
I used sliced pork belly, shrimp with the head intact, and king crab legs. I marinade the sliced pork belly with salt, fish sauce, sugar, mushroom seasoning, and half of the oil mixture for about an hour.
Heat up cooking oil in a pot, add the pork first. Sauteed for about 10 minutes and then add the shrimp. Add about a cup of water and let it come to a boil and then add the crab legs. Cover the pot with a lid to cook the crab leg. Shake the pot a couple times to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Once the proteins are cooked you will have a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pot. Drain the liquid right into the broth. This will give the broth so much flavor from the crab legs and the shrimp heads.
1 package of Pho noodle
Unfortunately there are no fresh noodles for Mi Quang in Indiana but Pho noodle will do just fine. I usually color the Pho noodle with food coloring but I ran out of yellow so I used turmeric powder instead. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of turmeric powder into warm water. Submerge the Pho noodle into the water and let the noodle soak until soften.
How to Serve
1. Start with warm noodles in a bowl.
2. Lay some pork belly, shrimps, and crab legs on top of the noodle.
3. Add boiling broth to the bowl, however much you want.
4. Top it off with some green onions and serve with a plate of fresh greens.
I know I'm missing some ingredients, and to some they may be key ingredients. Banh Da (sesame cracker) is often serve right in the bowl of Mi Quang but I was unable to find any Banh Da. I also did not have any crushed peanuts to sprinkle on top but it did not make big differences to me since I have sweet crab legs to munch on :) Enjoy!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I'm not a sweets person so I pass on desserts about 99% of the time. My parents, on the other hand, are major sweets junkie. they especially love to eat che! I never really got into making Vietnamese dessert but I really do want to change that. But if you ask anybody in my family they will vouch that I can whip up a good cup of Che Thai.
Che Thai is a Vietnamese adaptation of a Thai dessert. I much prefer the Vietnamese version because the Thai version is too sweet for me. It's basically fresh fruits in a coconut/milk mixture. Back in Vietnam you can pretty much smell this dessert a mile away because it often contain durian (sau rieng), a very pungent fruit. In fact if you are not eating true Che Thai if it does not contain sau rieng according to my mom. I grew accustomed to the the Americanize version you often find a Vietnamese bakeries where it is more milk base. Half and half milk is often used because it's a lot more "beo", beo is the Vietnamese term to describe food that are rich and fatty.
We don't have the pleasure of using fresh fruits but canned fruits will do. I usually stick with jack fruits, logans, lychees, coconut gels, and palm seeds. You can add a variety of other things such as tapioca pearls, agar strands, thach (Vietnamese jello), and etc. I like playing around with Knox gelatin because if you make it just right it does have this chewy texture that I just love. I had a a lot of variations of Che Thai, and I try to incorporate different elements I like. I'm always careful not to make it too sweet. It must be the right about of sweetness, to the point where you can down couple cup without feeling overwhelm. You can definitely make this dessert ahead of time because it always taste better the next day. This is such a versatile dessert so please play around with this recipe!
I found these "green worm" dessert at our local Vietnamese market, and it would look so pretty in the Che Thai. I also picked up some food coloring so I can play around with the colors, too bad the pictures did not turn out too well due to my awful lighting. Don't worry it still taste great! Just add some crushed ice and you have yourself a refreshing treat.
1/2 gallon + 4 cups of 2% milk
1/2 gallon of half and half milk
1/2 can of coconut milk
2 can of jackfruits
1 can of logans
1 can of lychees
1 jar of coconut gel
1 jar of palm seeds
1 box of Knox gelatin
food coloring (optional)
1. Boil 3 cups of milk with 3 tablespoon of sugar.
2. Sprinkle for package of gelatin on top of 1 cup of cold milk.
3. Combine boild milk and cold milk and stir until everthing dissolved.
4. Add a couple drops of red food coloring.
5. Pour in a container and freeze for about 20-30 minutes.
1. Drain and sliced all the fruits into smaller pieces (except for coconut gel and palm seeds).
2. Combine 1/2 gallon of 2% milk, 1/2 gallon of half and half milk, 1/2 can of coconut milk, 1 cup of sugar, and couple drop of green food coloring. Stir everything together.
3. Pour int he whole can of palm seeds even the syrup, the same goes for the coconut gel.
4. Add the sliced fruits.
5. Take the gelatin out of the freezer and cut into 1cm cub. Add to the milk.
6. Give it one last tasting, add more sugar if you like it sweeter.