Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sup Do Bien - Seafood Soup

Would you like soup or salad? Soup please! Indeed I am a soup fanatic! I could be sitting in 90 degrees weather and I'd still order a steaming hot bowl of soup. Not only are they delicious but I just love the whole soup concept. You don't need the best cut meats or the finest vegetables. Just use what you have and throw it in a pot. Soup is about slowly cooking the ingredients and extracting all the unique flavors. Cooking with love :)

Seafood soup is often serve as a starter for wedding banquet. You can find them on most Chinese menu but most of the time you don't get actual seafood or very little of it. This soup reminds me of Sup Mang Cua but more subtle. The crab flavor just stand out more in a soup. Since it's home made I just had to use whole scallops and shrimps! Enjoy!


1/2 lb shrimps peeled
1/2 lb bay scallops
1/2 cup of peas and carrots mixture
1 cup of tofu cubed
1 cup of mushroom quartered
1 cup of white fungus rough chopped
2-3 chicken legs (you can also use 3-4 can of chicken broth instead)
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced scallion
egg whites (or whole eggs)
fish sauce
chicken bouillon
ground pepper
corn starch

1. Cook the chicken legs in 6 cups of water to make a stock.
2. Taste the stock with salt, sugar, fish sauce, and chicken bouillon. It's ok if it is a little bit salty because once you the vegetable and corn starch it should balance it out.
3. Heat up a pan with cooking oil, scallion, and garlic. Add scallop and shrimp and saute with ground pepper, sugar, and a bit fish sauce. You don't have to fully cook them.
4. Dissolve about 1/2 cup of cornstarch with cool water.
5. Add cornstarch mixture to the soup and stir. The soup should thicken, then add the rest of the ingredients. If the soup is too thick then add a little bit of water until it's to your liking.
6. You can add more fish sauce and ground pepper at this point.
7. Add the eggs at the end and stir into the soup. You can just turn off the heat and the eggs will continue to cook.
8. Garnish with some green onions and you are ready to serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banh Bao - Steamed Pork Bun

Banh Bao is a Vietnamese variation of a Chinese delicacy, Baozi. They are steamed buns filled with different meats and sweets. You often find mini steamed buns at Chinese buffets with a sesame paste or a yellow custard filling. Walk into any Chinese bakery and you can fine these beautiful plump buns filled with delicious BBQ pork, char siu. The Vietnamese version is usually filled with a seasoned pork mixture, chinese sausage, and eggs. I like eating my banh bao a certain way by tearing it in half and eating the filling first. My favorite part is the shell so I like to save the best for last.

My mom doesn't like making banh bao very often, but now I understand why. It is very time consuming because you have to wait for the dough to rise, make them, and then steam them. I used to watch my mom make these late at night so they will be ready for breakfast the next morning. I remember her making them for the very first time and they still turn out flawless. The buns are a beautiful white color and soft when you bite into them. I should have paid closer attention because I had a hard time getting them to stay close after steaming. Overall I was satisfied with the outcome and I'm begining to like playing with dough.


1 bag banh bao flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1/2 lb of pork
1/2 medium size jicama diced
1/2 medium size yellow onion diced
1/4 cup of black fungus soften with warm water and then diced
2 chinese sausage link
1 can of quail eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
a couple dash of fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon

How to make the dough:

I used the instruction found on the bag

1. Save 1 tablespoon of flour for later use.
2. Combine sugar, flour, and milk.
3. Knead dough for 15 minutes.
4. Add cooking oil to dough and continue to knead for 10 minutes.
5. Wrap up the dough and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.


1. Combine pork, onions, jicama, black fungus, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Taste to your liking.
2. Cut each sausage link into 10 smaller pieces.
3. Rinse quail eggs.

How to make the bun:

The bag states that you should be able to make 18 buns. I didn't really portion uniformly because I made a few mini buns, a few standard size, and some without fillings. Basically this was a trial cooking of banh bao :) I do suggest you getting a small rolling pin because it's a lot easier to work with.

1. Cut the the dough into smaller portion to your liking and roll it into a ball. Make sure you cover whatever you are not working with because they will harden.
2. Flatten the dough with your palm and then use the rolling pin to shape and flatten your dough more evenly. This is a good time to use the flour you saved from before. Rub some on the rolling pin and the surface you are working on.
3. Once you get it into a flat circular shape, you are now ready for the filling. Scoop about 1/2-1 tablespoon portion of the pork mixture. Add the chinese sausage and quail eggs as well.
4. Begin bringing the corner of the dough to the middle and scrunch them together. Twist and seal the dough together.

It takes about 10 minutes to steam a batch of 5 buns. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Canh Ga Chien Chua Ngot - Sweet and Sour Chicken Wing

When I was younger my mom used to make chicken wings for my brothers and I. We all loved it so much and it was so addicting to eat. The sauce was always perfect with the right amount of saltiness, sweetness, sourness, and of course it was spicy. This was the one messy thing I did not mind eating. Goes great with a bowl of rice, enjoy!


20 Chicken wings/drummettes
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 table spoon of vinegar
chili paste to your liking
1 tablespoon of garlic
cooking oil

1. Deep fried all the chicken.
2. Absorb some of the oil with paper towel.
3. In a large pan combine oyster sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and chili paste over medium heat. Constantly stir the mixture so it does not burn.
4. Add the chicken and toss. Make sure every bit of the chicken is coated in the sauce.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sup Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu - Shrimp Wonton Soup with BBQ Pork

I was hoping to have some leftover xa xiu from the hu tieu because that will give me a chance to make more food. I've been wanting to make some wonton soup for a while now because I love getting them at Chinese restaurant. One of the places I've eaten at actually use xa xiu in their wonton soup so this works out very well. I like wonton soup because it's light yet filling to eat. Some are made with a subtle chicken broth while others are flavored with the fragrant sesame oil. I particularly love the buffet version that has a hint of soy sauce. I made a pork broth since I still have extra bones but I'm sure chicken broth will be just as good. Nothing beats homemade soup so enjoy!


1 lbs of pork neck bones
2-3 quart of water
2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1-2 teaspoon mushroom bouillon (i'm sure chicken will work as well)
a couple dash of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1. Rinse bones with plenty of salt.
2. Pre-boil bones.
3. Let bones simmer in water with the reck of the ingredients


wonton wrappers
1/2 lb of shrimp
a couple dash of salt
ground pepper
finely minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon of mushroom bouillon
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce (optional but it helps to bind the shrimp together)
1 teaspoon of sugar

1. Cut the shrimp into smaller pieces.
2. Add the dry ingredients, oyster sauce, and green onions to the shrimp and mix.
3. Scoop a teaspoon of shrimp mixture to a wonton wrapper. Bring all the corners of the wrapper to the middle and twist.
4. Add to the broth to cook.


1. Pan fry the prepared xa xiu. Sliced thinly and add to the bowl before cooking(avoid adding to the soup while still cooking because you will lose some of them yummy flavor).
2. Chopped green onions for garnish.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hu Tieu - Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup

I had an awesome bowl of seafood egg noodle soup (mi do bien) at Hai Ky Mi Gia at Eden Center in Washington D.C. My friend got the dry version (mi kho) so I had a few bite of it too. I am now a fan of mi kho, especially the sauce that came with it! My intention for this weekend is to try to recreate the mi kho I had at HKMG. I just couldn't get the sauce right and the sauce really makes this dish. It’s a good thing I have a backup and made the broth version with hu tieu noodle.

Hu Tieu is to south Vietnam as Pho is to the north, and Bun Bo Hue is to central Vietnam. Hu tieu stalls are EVERYWHERE in Saigon. There are so many version of hu tieu such as Nam Vang, My Tho, bo vien, xa xiu, do bien, and so on. I actually prefer some hu tieu to pho because I like having a variety of meat and toppings and of course the chewy texture of the noodle. I will continue to practice for the mi kho but until then enjoy a steamy bowl of hu tieu!

2 lbs pork neck bones
1 cup of dried prawns (rinse and soaked in warm water)
1 dried squid
1 small daikon ( cut into small portion)
1 yellow onion (charred)
rock sugar
fish sauce
msg (optional)

1. Rub bones with plenty of salt and rinse with cold water.
2. Pre-boil bones, then repeat step one wit
hout using salt.
3. Return bones to a pot of water. Let bones
simmer and remove as much scum as possible.
4. Add dried prawns,daikon, and yellow onion.
5. Taste broth with salt, rock sugar, and msg.
6. Let the broth sit for an hour or two.
7. Retaste broth, add fish sauce if needed.


xa xiu
shrimp (Tiger Shrimps are great because
they are plump and sweet!)
quail eggs (optional)
ground pork

How to make Xa Xiu:

1 lb pork shoulder
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon of five spice
1/2 talbespoon of sugar
1 package of xa xiu seasoning
couple dash of salt
1/2 cup of water

1. Rub a little bit of salt on the pork.
2. Combine garlic, five spice, sugar, water, and xa xiu seasoning to make a marinade.
3. Let pork shoulder marinade for as least 1-2 hours.
4. Then pan fry when ready to eat.

How to prepare other toppings:

1. Use 1 can of quail eggs. Rinse and boil the eggs before eating.
2. Use 1lb of squid and cut it to your liking. Pre-
cook the squid by boiling in water.
3. Sauteed 1/2 lb of ground pork with minced shallots, sugar, ground pepper, and fish sauce.
4. Prepare 1 lb of shrimp. I like cooking them in the microwave so it retains the sweetness.


green onion
bean sprout (optional)
lime (optional)
fresh chili (optional)

I use tapioca noodle from the asian market label as Hu Tieu My Tho. It doesn't require any boiling (but i'm sure it depends on the brand). I just soak it in warm water for 30-45 minutes. Once you pour hot broth over the noodle it will be soft and chewy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ca Hap Xi Dau - Fish Steamed in Soy Sauce

Some friends and I recently went "camping" at Virginia Beach.    I guess you can't really call it camping since half of us brought our laptop, ipod, and coffee maker.  We did, however, made it up by catching our own fish and cooking them in a "fire pit".  Between the five of us we managed to accumulate 23 croakers for dinner.  The plan was for each of us to create a dish of our choice. We made a quick stop at a near by asian market to gather a few ingredients.  The first thing that came to my mind is steamed fish in soy sauce with ginger and green onions, commonly found at Chinese restaurant.  After several hours of scaling and gutting our fishy, we finally got to play.

We eventually ate all 23 croakers and some even vow to not eat fish for a really long time. Overall it was a fun experience and you definitely could say we were roughing it!

Ca Hap Xi Dau - Fish Steamed in Soy Sauce

5 small croakers
2 stalk of green onions cut into 1 inch portion
1 table spoon of ginger cut into thin strips
1 cup of soy sauce
1-2 tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of cellopane noodle soak in warm water
a couple of ice cube
heavy duty aluminum foil

1.  Use the foil two make a steamer.  Make two batch so it will steam more quickly.  
2.  Place 2-3 fish in enough foil to complete wrap around the fish.  
3.  Combine soy sauce and sugar and mix together until sugar is dissolved. 
4.  Stuff enough cellophane noodle in the belly of the fish.
5.  Pour the soy sauce mixture on each fish.
6.  Top off the fish with ginger and green onions, you can even stuff some in the belly of the fish.
7.  Place a few ice cube in the foil along with the fish (A neat trick I learned to help the fish stay moist).
8.  Wrap up the fish in the foil and throw in the oven (in this case the fire pit) for about 30-45 minutes. 


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Recipe Index