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My mom recently visited me in Chicago and asked what I wanted to eat. Immediately I had childhood cravings of her soy, which is a sweet sticky rice. It's a very simple sweet rice that requires minimal ingredients. 


Yellow soy
1. Soak grains overnight. Place 1-2 cans of coconut juice in the refrigerator overnight to harden the juice. 
2. Add mung bean. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt. 
3. Scoop out the coconut juice into a small boil. You can also substitute in 1 fresh coconut. Add 2-3 soup lades of sugar to the boil and mix. 
4. Add to taste the coconut and sugar combination. 

Red soy 


You can make the sticky rice less sweet and eat with a sugar, salt, peanut topping. My mom initially made the soy less sweet than I would have liked. She then created a sugar, salt, peanut topping mix and we used that as a dipping for the sweet sticky rice. It worked out well! 


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Pho is the quintessential Vietnamese soup that every mom knows how to make. It simmers over hours to create a delicate broth. Surprisingly, it is very easy to make!

Ingredients
- pho seasoning bag (heat over skillet to wake up the aromatics)
- rock candy sugar (about 1-2 inch chunk)
- salt (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- beef ox tail bones (about 2-3)
- pork bones
- fish sauce (optional)
- ginger
- 3-4 onions


1. Clean beef ox tail bones and pork bones. Submerge in cold water, add salt and vinegar. Rinse and exchange water. Do this twice.

2. Boil water, when it comes to a rolling boil - add bones. Parboil the impurities out for 2-3 minutes. Dump out the bones and water into a clean sink.

3. Wash bones again in cold water. Lightly scrub off the residues with your fingers.

4. Boil a pot of hot water, on high heat. Heat ginger and 4 onions over fire to make it more aromatic. Add 1 large ginger, 4 onions that have been grilled on the stove.

5. Add rock candy sugar. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt. When it boils, remove impurities.

6. After sufficient impurities removed, turn to low-medium heat for 2-3 hours.

7. When almost done, add seasoning bag into the broth for about 15 minutes. Can add 1-2 splashes of fish sauce. Promptly remove the season bag, onions, and ginger.
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This technique is a solid foundation for getting a clean, soup broth for any pork or beef bone-based broth.

1. In a large bowl, add raw bones and fill with cold water. Add salt and vinegar to clean and lightly scrub.
2. Rinse 1 additional time with cold water.
3. In a large stock pot, boil water. Add bones to the broth. Boil for about 2-3 minuets to remove the impurities.
4. Dump the bones and water into a clean sink and rinse the bones with cold water to remove any residue. Best to also lightly rub off the residue with your hands. 
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Store bought meat has been handled in so many ways and by so many people. My cousin is obsessed with cleaning everything she buys from the grocery store before cooking with it.

This tip can be done for any meat and seafood.

1. In a large bowl, add meat. Fill with cold water. Add salt and vinegar.
2. Mix the meat around in the salt and vinegar combination.
3. Rinse out the water and add more water in. You can repeat this with 1-2 cycles of water but no need to add salt and vinegar each time.
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This is one of my husband's favorite dishes that my cousin makes. He requests it almost every time he's in Chicago. It is a VERY simple recipe and warms up the stomach (and heart)!

Moc is a pork-based meat paste that you can shape into meatballs. I use frozen ones that my mom sells at her store.

Ingredients:
- 3-4 onions (grilled on stove)
- fish sauce
- rock sugar - about a 1-2 inch chunk (and additional sugar at the end for tasting as needed)
- salt (about 1-2 tablespoons)


1. Bring a pot of hot water to boil on high heat. Add parboiled (and cleaned meat) to the pot.
2. Add the onions, salt, and rock candy to the broth and let boil. Remove the bubbles that are created to purify the broth.
3. Once the broth is more clear, turn the heat to low-medium and simmer for 1.5 hours.
4. In a separate pot, boil about 2 large ladles of fish sauce. Add to the broth (a little at a time to season).
5. Add moc and re-season the broth as needed with salt and sugar.


Enjoy over some noodles, can add deep fried onions and red chili flakes as toppings! 
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This is a very simple soup for busy week nights that takes less than 20 minutes to make with little ingredients.

You can use any variation of boc choy vegetables.


Ingredients
- salt
- chicken builloin
- fish sauce
- moc
- vegetables

1. Boil hot water
2. Add chicken bouillon, salt, and fish sauce to taste
3. Add moc
4. When moc is almost done, add vegetables.
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This is a basic marinade for meat that my cousin taught me. I call it Australian beef stir fry because she's from Australia but it really is just a simple, basic marinade for beef stir fry.

She used beef flank purchased at Costco, thinly sliced. The first time I sliced this, I accidentally did it WITH the grain which made it extra chewy. Be sure to slice it ACROSS the grain!

It is a great stir fry base with any vegetables. I believe we used a box choy but can be substituted for broccoli or whatever you want.

Sorry there are no good measurements, this is done to taste. We didn't use salt because of the chicken bouillon.

Ingredients:
- beef flank
- maggi sauce (?2 tablespoons)
- garlic powder (?1/2-1 tablespoon)
- oyster sauce (?2-3 tablespoons)
- fish sauce (just a few splashes)
- olive oil (~1-2 tablespoons)
- chicken bouillon (?1 tablespoon)

1. Slice beef flank across the grain.
2. Add oyster sauce, Maggi sauce, garlic powder, fish sauce, olive oil, and chicken bullion to taste.
3. In a large wok or skillet, on medium-high heat add some oil and add meat to stir fry. When almost done, remove from skillet.
4. Add oil and vegetables and cook until soft. I add some oyster sauce for seasoning.
5. When vegetables are almost done, add meat back in and re-season to taste. 
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I've been a little mesmerized recently by Julia Child's French Cooking. This is the dish that made her fall in love with French cooking. As I came across this simple recipe online, I realized it's quite similar to the fish my Mama Tica used to make me in Costa Rica.

The difference is - this fish emphasizes butter, butter, and yes, butter.

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 6 4-ounce skinless, boneless sole or other thin fish fillets, patted dry
- kosher salt (to taste)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees and place large baking sheet inside
2. Place flour onto large, shallow plate. Season both sides of fish fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge fish in flour, shaking off excess.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter into bubbling. Place half of the fish fillets in the pan and cook until just done, 2-3 minutes per side, then transfer to the plate or baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
4. Add 2 more tablespoons clarified butter to the skillet and heat until bubbling, then cook remaining fillets. Wipe out the skillet.
5. Arrange fish on warm serving platter. Top with parsley. In a reserved skillet, heat remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter until bubbling and golden, 1-2 minutes, then pour evenly over fillets.
6. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges on the side.
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This is a VERY easy recipe to make for those busy week nights and also requires minimal prep and ingredients! Stumbled upon this NYT Shrimp Scampi recipe and it's a keeper! 


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine or broth
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ¾ pounds large or extra-large shrimp, shell on (preferably) 
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley (or grind) 
  • OPTIONAL: 
  •  Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
  •  Cooked pasta or crusty bread
PREPARATION
  1. 1. In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine or broth, salt, red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper and bring to a simmer. Let wine reduce by half, about 2 minutes. 
  2. ** I actually made this with chicken stock and it turned out great! Only reduced for 1 minute or so with chicken stock. I did everything to taste rather than the measured ingredients because I had much less shrimp. 
  3. 2. Add shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink, 2 to 4 minutes depending upon their size. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and serve over pasta or accompanied by crusty bread.
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I didn't go home for Thanksgiving this year. Instead, my friends met me Chicago and we created our own Thanksgiving meal. My friend got this recipe from a cookbook and we decided to make it. The verdict? A win! A recipe I will add to the cookbook. 


Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

- 2.5 lbs (about 2 loaves) high quality sandwich bread or soft Italian or French bread, cut into 3/4 inch dice (about 5 quarts)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1.5 pounds sage sausage, removed from casings (I used Italian sausage) 
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 4 large celery stalks, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated (about 2 teaspoons) 
- 3/4 cup minced fresh sage (or 2 teaspoons dried sage)
- 4 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken or turkey stock
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Adjust oven racks to lower- and upper-middle positions. Preheat oven to 275. Spread bread evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. Stagger pans on oven racks and bake, rotating pans and stirring bread cubes several times, until bread is completely dried, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase oven temperature to 350. 

2. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides (don't allow butter to brown), about 2 minutes. Add sausage and mash with stiff whisk or potatoes masher to break it up into fine pieces (largest piece should be no greater than 1/4 inch), 8 minutes. 

3. Add onion, celery, garlic, and sage. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add half the stock. 

4. Whisk remaining stock, the eggs, and 3 tablespoons of parsley into medium bowel until homogenous. Stir constantly with wooden spoon, slowly pour the egg mixture into sausage mixture. Add the bread cubes and fold gently until evenly mixed (may want to decrease amount of stock).

5. Use part of stuffing to stuff the bird if desired. Transfer remaining stuffing to buttered 9x13 inch baking dish (or 10x14 inch oval dish). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until instant thermometer inserted in center of stuffing reads 150 F (about 45 minutes). Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown and crispy on top. 

6. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve. 
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