BANH CUON {STEAMED RICE ROLLS}

I will admit that this is a bit time consuming to make but the results are definitely worth it for me. Then again, I think cooking is a labor of love and I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Also, make sure you use a good non-stick pan. The first time I made this, I used a cheap non-stick pan and the batter just stuck to the pan. I HIGHLY recommend Calphalon’s Unison SLIDE non-stick pans. I’m pretty anti non-stick pans cause the thought of the teflon scratching off freaks me out but I’m glad I just bit the bullet and purchased these Calphalon pans. It definitely made making the banh cuon a piece of cake!

Prep the garnishes.

Cook the filling.

Cook the banh cuon in a good NON-STICK pan.

Flip the banh cuon onto a cutting board and wrap it up.

Roll it up like a burrito and serve with the garnishes.

Banh Cuon {Steamed Rice Rolls}

Source: Lo Huynh (2 servings)

Ingredients:

Nuoc Mam Cham:
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lime juice or white distilled vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce {Rooster/sriracha brand}

Garnishes:
½ bunch cilantro , chopped
¼ pound Vietnamese ham, cha lua, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup bean sprouts, blanched
1 each Persian cucumber, julienned

Hanh Phi {Fried Shallots}:
2 each shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
or
2 tablespoons pre-made fried red onion

Filling:
½ pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup wood ear fungus, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained, and chopped
¼ each yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rice Crepes:
1 package Banh cuon flour, follow directions on package
or
1 cup rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:
1. Make the nuoc mam cham by mixing all the nuoc mam cham ingredients together. Set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Prep the garnishes and set aside. Blanch the bean sprouts by bringing a pot of water to boil, add the bean sprouts, and then quickly remove and drain.
3. For the hanh phi {fried shallots}, thinly slice the shallots. Over medium high heat, in a small sauce pan, add the 2 tablespoons canola oil and add the sliced shallots. Cook the shallots until it is golden brown and crispy. Remove the shallots but leave about 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in the pan. Set the shallots aside.
4. In a bowl, mix all the pork filling ingredients together.
5. In the sauce pan that the shallots were fried in, over high heat, add the ground pork filling mixture and saute until the pork is brown and fully cooked. Set aside.
6. For the crepes, follow the directions on the banh cuon package. Also, use only half the package if you’re only cooking for 2 servings.
7. If you want to make the banh cuon batter from scratch, whisk the 1 cup rice flour, 1 cup tapioca starch, 2 1/2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon canola oil in a bowl until throughly mixed.
8. Over medium high heat, in a nonstick pan, lightly oil the pan. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter and swirl to coat the pan. Cover the pan and cook for about one minute. Once the crepe is cooked, flip it onto a cutting board. Start on your next crepe.
9. While the new crepe is cooking, add the filling to your cooked crepe and roll it up like a burrito. The rolls should be somewhat translucent.
10. Continue cooking the crepes this way until you finish the batter.
11. Serve the banh cuon by topping it with the hanh phi {fried shallots}. Garnish with cilantro, blanched bean sprouts, julienned cucumbers, and Vietnamese ham {cha lua}. Serve with the nuoc mam cham on the side.

HU TIEU NAM VANG {PHNOM PENH NOODLE SOUP}

Whenever I hit a pho restaurant, if there’s hu tieu on the menu, that’s usually what I’ll order. Luckily, I prefer my home version cause I don’t cook it with msg which is prevalent in these restaurants and I’m not left feeling crappy. Also, hu tieu is usually served with pork liver but I left it out cause I don’t think my husband is a big fan of liver. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my version! xoxo.

You seriously just throw the bones and carcasses in a pot. How easy is that?

Then you skim off this scum.

So while your broth is simmering away, you can start prepping the toppings that go into the soup.

Slice your shallots.

Then fry the shallots.

Cook the ground pork in some of that nice shallot oil.

Slice the char siu.

These were the rice noodles I used.

Now you can put your bowl together.

And then ladle this beautiful broth over your noodles and toppings!

Hu Tieu Nam Vang {Phnom Penh Noodle Soup}

Source: Lo Huynh (6 servings)

Broth:
1 each chicken carcass
1 pound pork spareribs or bones
18 cups water
1 large yellow onion, cut in half
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ounce dried shrimp, rinsed
1 each dried squid, rinsed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 inch, ounce rock sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

* NOTE: Feel free to use 3 pounds of JUST pork bones or feel free to combine chicken bones and pork bones.

Ingredients:
2 large shallots, cooked in 3 tablespoons canola oil until it is lightly brown and golden
½ pound ground pork, sauteed with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper until fully cooked
½ pound char siu, thinly sliced (see recipe below)
18 each large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled, deveined, and poached for about 3 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked
2 pounds fresh rice noodles or tapioca stick noodles, blanched

Garnishes:
1 bunch Chinese chives, cut into 2 inch long pieces
1 stalk Chinese celery, thinly sliced
12 ounces bean sprouts, washed and drained
½ bunch cilantro , chopped
3 stalks scallions, chopped
1 each lime, cut into 6 wedges
2 each serrano chili, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. In a large stockpot, add the bones and water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum that arises to the top and add the rest of your broth ingredients. Bring the heat to a simmer and let this cook for 2 to 3 hours.
2. While your broth is simmering away, prepare the rest of your ingredients.
3. Make the crispy shallots by heating a sauce pan with the 3 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the thinly sliced shallots and cook over medium heat until the shallots turn a nice golden color. Remove the shallots into a bowl and set aside. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the shallot oil in the pan.
4. In the pan that you’ve cooked the shallots in, cook your ground pork with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Break up the ground pork and saute until your ground pork is fully cooked. Set aside.
5. Poach the shrimp by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes or until the shrimp turns a nice orange color. Set aside.
6. Slice the char siu.
7. Strain your broth after it’s been cooking for 2 to 3 hours. Adjust the broth to your liking by either adding more salt or sugar.
8. To serve your soup, blanch the fresh rice noodles for 15 seconds or if you’re using dry tapioca stick noodles {hu tieu noodles dai}, cook the noodles per the directions on the package.
9. Put the noodles in a bowl, add the bean sprouts, sliced char siu, 3 pieces of shrimp, chives, celery, and ground pork.
10. Pour the broth over the noodles.
11. Garnish with the scallions, cilantro, and fried shallots.
12. Serve with the limes and sliced serrano chilies.

*********

Char Siu

Source: Lo Huynh (1 lb.)

Ingredients:
1 lb. pork tenderloin or pork shoulder

Marinade:
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tablespoons Chinese rice cooking wine
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:
1. Mix your marinade ingredients and set aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
2. Marinate the pork tenderloin/pork shoulder in the marinade overnight or for at least one hour.
3. Line a baking pan with foil, place your marinated pork on top of the pan, and in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Farenheit, roast your pork for about 30 minutes. Flip the pork over half way through cooking time.
4. After about 30 minutes, when your pork looks pretty well cooked, pour or brush the rest of the 2 tablespoons marinade that you’ve set aside and roast at 375 degrees Farenheit for an additional 15 minutes until you have a nice dark brown roasted color on your pork.
5. Let your char siu rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing it.

CANH KHO QUA NHOI THIT {VIETNAMESE BITTER MELON SOUP}

I remember as a child, I hated this dish. Actually, I abhorred this dish with a passion. When my mother would make it, I would not touch it. Now as an adult, I find myself craving it. I think that’s when you know you’re officially old, when you start liking things that you hated as a child, and as an adult, you hate the things you loved as a kid, like candy and sour balls.

Canh Kho Qua Nhoi Thit {Bitter Melon Soup}

Source: Lo Huynh (4 servings)

Ingredients:
¼ pound ground pork
1 ounce bean thread noodles, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then cut into 1″ pieces
1 ounce dried black fungus, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then cut into thin strips
¼ each yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 each bitter melon, blanched in boiling water for one minute and then run under cold water.

Soup:
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled

Garnish:
1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro , chopped

Directions:
1. Mix the ground pork, bean thread noodles, dried black fungus, fish sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, and minced yellow onion in a bowl.
2. For the bitter melon, after it’s been blanched and shocked in cold water, cut the bitter melon into 1 1/2″ discs and remove the soft white flesh. Wash the bitter melon and pat dry. Stuff the bitter melon with the pork mixture and set aside.
3. In a pot, add the chicken stock with the fish sauce and granulated sugar and bring to a boil.
4. Add the stuffed bitter melon and cook for fifteen minutes, or until your ground pork is fully cooked.
5. Garnish with the cilantro and scallions.

BANH MI XIU MAI {VIETNAMESE MEATBALL SANDWICH}

Every time I hit a Vietnamese sandwich shop, the banh mi xiu mai would have to be hands down my favorite. My second favorite is the dac biet, which is the one that has the cold cuts in it, and third favorite would have to be the thit nuong which is the grilled meat sandwich. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my version of the xiu mai banh mi!

Banh Mi Xiu Mai {Vietnamese Meatball Sandwich}

Source: Lo Huynh (2 servings)

Meatballs:
½ pound ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ each yellow onion, minced
½ tablespoon corn starch
½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces canned tomato sauce
tt kosher salt
tt fresh ground black pepper

1 each French baguette loaf, toasted and cut into 2 10″ loafs, and then cut in half

Garnishes:
a couple each fresh cilantro sprigs
1 each jalepeno, thinly sliced and white pith removed
¼ cup pickled carrots and daikon
¼ each red onion, thinly sliced
1 each Persian cucumber, sliced into lengthwise pieces

Pickled Carrots and Daikon:
½ cup water
½ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 each carrot, julienned
½ each daikon, julienned

Directions:
1. Mix the meatball ingredients together and shape into 8 balls.
2. Steam the meatballs over boiling water for about an hour, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
3. Mix all your sauce ingredients together in a bowl except for the canola oil and garlic.
4. In a saucepan, add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and saute for about a minute, or until fragrant.
5. Add in your sauce ingredients and cook until the sauce has thickened.
6. Add your fully cooked meatballs to the sauce and cook for another five minutes.
7. For the sandwich, lay the bottom piece of the baguette down first. Then place 4 meatballs on top of the bottom half of the bread. Top your meatballs with the red onions, cilantro, jalepenos, cucumbers, and pickled carrots and daikon. Place your top half of the baguette on top of your meatballs and enjoy!

Pickled Carrots and Daikon:
1. Mix carrots, daikon, water, sugar, vinegar, and salt together and let this sit for 2 days in the refrigerator before serving.

CHA GIO {VIETNAMESE EGG ROLLS}

I LOVE Vietnamese eggrolls.  Why?  Cause they are seriously crazy good.  They’re a piece of cake to make…and after making it on your own, I highly doubt you’ll wanna order them at a restaurant again…unless you’re not a huge fan of frying stuff in your house…then I guess, you can order them out.

These were the wrappers I used. Feel free to use any brand egg roll wrappers you prefer.

Throw all the egg roll filling ingredients into a bowl.

Mix it up.

My set-up.

The first thing I do is lay the filling 2/3 down where the top of the wrapper is versus just placing the filling right in the center of the wrapper. I find this makes for a better looking egg roll and I have more control when rolling it up.

Wrap the egg roll by laying the bottom edge piece first on top of the filling, then the sides, and then roll it up and brush with the egg wash.

Make sure to roll the egg rolls as tight as you can.

Set all the rolls on a plate.

Fry up the egg rolls until they are a nice golden light brown color.

Cha Gio
Source: Lo Huynh
(4 servings)

Ingredients:
10 ounces ground pork
¼ pound shrimp, chopped up
1 each bean thread vermilli, small section, soaked in warm water, drained, and cut into 2-inch sections
1 cup wood ear fungus, soaked in warm water, drained, and julienned
½ each yellow onion, minced
1 each carrot, grated
1 each egg, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 package spring roll wrappers
egg wash {1 egg, beaten}

Directions:
1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in a spring roll wrapper and brush the end of the wrapper with an egg wash to seal the ends.
3. In a pot of canola oil, fry the egg rolls in medium low heat until it turns a nice golden brown.
4. Lay the egg rolls on some brown paper bags to remove excess oil.
5. Serve with some red leaf lettuce and nuoc cham.

GA ROTI {VIETNAMESE STYLE ROASTED CHICKEN}

One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes to eat is ga roti…which is basically a roasted chicken.  This is prolly my 3rd attempt at making this and I think I was able to finally tweak the recipe to my liking…and by liking, hearing the husband tell me he loved it.  I think the biggest secret in making this dish taste specular is that I used a meat tenderizer on the chicken first, so that helped break down the connective tissues and the marinade was able to seep into the meat better, thus producing a very tender and very flavorful chicken.  I hope you love this recipe as much as my husband loved eating it tonite!  xoxo.

Ga Roti {Vietnamese Roasted Chicken}

Source: Lo Huynh (2 servings)

Ingredients:
2 each chicken drumsticks
2 each chicken thighs

Marinade:
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Garnish:
1 tablespoon cilantro , roughly chopped

Directions:
1. Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Tenderize the chicken using a meat tenderizer.
2. Mix the marinade ingredients together and toss the chicken with the marinade.
3. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour to overnight.
4.  Set your oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
5. In a pan, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Once oil is hot, sear the skin side down first until a nice golden brown color and then sear the other side of the chicken pieces.
6. Put the pan in your oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear and your chicken is fully cooked.
7. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and garnish with the chopped cilantro.

CARI GA {VIETNAMESE CHICKEN CURRY}

Potato, some leftover coconut milk, and carrot in the fridge. I looked at those items and thought to myself…craps..I really need to use up that leftover coconut milk before it goes bad. So the only thing i could think of was…cari ga…which translates to “curry chicken”…or i hope that is what it means. i bring upon shame to my mother in my lack of mastery over the Vietnamese language amongst other things. I hope she can find some consolation in the fact that my English ain’t any better.

Okay…enough mumbo jumbo talk…Here’s my recipe or my version of this most delectable dish.

Cari Ga {Vietnamese Chicken Curry}

Source: Lo Huynh (4 servings)

Ingredients:
3 lbs. chicken thighs {i used the thighs with the bones attached}
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass {tender part}, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 shallot, finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chili flakes {i used korean chili powder}
tt fresh cracked black pepper

2 cups coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 bay leaves

2 carrots, peeled and cut on diagonal
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Vidalia sweet onion, cut into wedges

cilantro, chopped

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken with Madras curry powder, lemongrass, garlic, sugar, shallot, sea salt, fish sauce, chili flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper for about an hour.
2. In a stock pot, add canola oil to coat the pot and sear the chicken thighs.
3. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and bay leaves.
4. Bring to a boil and skim off the scum.
5. Reduce the heat and let the chicken cook at a simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. Add the carrots, potatoes, and onions. Cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
7. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with some fresh french bread.

THIT BO KHO {SPICY VIETNAMESE BEEF STEW} WITH FRENCH BAGUETTE

The weather was cold so I decided to cook up some bo kho. This beef stew is perfect for dipping a nice French baguette in.

bokho2

Bo Kho {Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew}

Source: Lo Huynh (4 servings)

1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 2″ chunks
1 tablespoon all purpose white flour
tt kosher salt
tt freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon annatto seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1 each large yellow onion, cut into 2″ chunks
1 inch knob fresh ginger, cut in half
1 stick cinnamon
2 each star anise
1 each bay leaf
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon Vietnamese Indian Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
4 cups water
2 each large carrots, cut into 2″ chunks
1 each large yukon potato, cut into 2″ chunks [optional]

Garnishes:
yellow onion, thinly sliced rounds
cilantro , rough choppd

Accompaniments:
French baguette, toasted
fresh Thai basil leaves
lime, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper and coat with the all purpose flour.
2. In a dutch oven, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil and annatto seeds. Once the seeds release their color into the oil, remove the seeds and discard.
3. Sear the beef in this annatto oil until all sides are browned.
4. Add the chunks of yellow onions, lemongrass stalk, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, bay leaf, Chinese 5-spice powder, Vietnamese Indian Madras curry powder, fish salt, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, granulated sugar, and tomato paste or ketchup. Saute for a couple minutes.
5. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, bring the heat down to a low medium simmer and let the meat cook for an hour and a half.
6. Add the carrots and potatoes and let this cook with the meat for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
7. Readjust the seasonings if necessary.
8. Remove the ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, and star anise.
9. Garnish the beef stew with cilantro and thinly sliced onion rounds.
10. Serve with toasted French bread and a side of fresh Thai basil and limes.

PHO {VIETNAMESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP}

What is there that I can say about pho? Except for that I LOVE it to pieces…almost as much as I LOVe my husband. Growing up, pho was something my family ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and I remember it being a treat when I was a wee lil thing and my parents would take us to some pho restaurant with some number on it, like Pho 54 or something like that, and my sisters and I would share a huge bowl, the bowl that translates into the American word train, and it was great!

Now as an adult, I actually prefer making it at home…that way, I can avoid the msg that plagues the pho that I get at restaurants and I feel good I can give my husband a healthier version of one of my fave foods…and on top of that, I prefer my own homemade pho and I can top it with as much tripe as i want. It really excites me to be able to make something I utterly love from scratch.

* 6 servings

5 lbs beef bones {oxtail, neck, shank, marrow, knuckle}
2 lbs chicken bones
1 piece cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves, lightly toasted
5 whole star anise, lightly toasted
4 ounces rock sugar
5 inch pieces of ginger, roasted in oven or charred on stove
2 each yellow onions, roasted in oven or charred on stove
2 tablespoons sea salt
¼ cup fish sauce

Garnishes:
1 lb fresh rice noodles, blanched
1 lb filet mignon, thinly sliced
1 lb beef meatballs with tendons
½ lb tripe, thinly sliced and blanched
1 each yellow onion, sliced thinly in rounds
3 each green onion, thinly sliced
½ bunch cilantro
½ bunch thai basil
1 lb bean sprouts
1 each lime, cut into six wedges
1 dozen saw-leaf herb leaves
1 each serrano chili, cut into slices
Sriracha hot sauce
Hoisin sauce

Directions:
1. In a pot, add all the beef bones and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes and then remove beef bones from pot. Rinse the beef bones in warm water and place beef bones in a large stockpot.
2. Add chicken bones to the large stockpot.
3. Add 8 quarts of water to bones and bring to a boil.
4. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, rock sugar, salt, and fish sauce to stock pot.
5. Simmer the broth for eight hours. Re-adjust the seasonings if necessary.
6. Strain the broth through a sieve.
7. Serve with blanched rice noodles and garnishes.

VIETNAMESE CHICKEN RAGU

My mom makes this kick a$$ chicken ragu. This is my version of it.

* 4 servings

3 lbs chicken thighs
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Korean chili paste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 11.8 fl. oz. can coconut juice, strain out coconut pulp
1 each star anise, untoasted
1 each carrot, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 15 oz. can sweet peas, rinsed and drained
1 8 oz. can button mushrooms, rinsed and drained

Directions:
1.Marinate chicken thighs with fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, kosher salt, shallots, garlic, and Korean chili paste for at least one hour.
2.Add 2 T. oil to a pot and sear chicken thigh pieces. Set aside marinade.
3.Add the rest of the marinade to the seared chicken pieces and cook until the marinade boils.
4.Add tomato paste and cook for a minute.
5.Add coconut juice and star anise. Bring to a boil.
6.Simmer for 45 minutes.
7.Add carrots, button mushrooms, and sweet peas and cook for another 30 minutes.
8.Adjust seasonings if necessary.
9.Serve with French bread.