Straw Mushrooms Recipes

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Vietnamese Vegetarian  Pate Recipe Recipe

This is a recipe that didn't make it into the Bánh Mì cookbook, my second publication that is already available for pre-order. I prepared a vegetable and tofu pâté that's often used in vegetarian bánh mì  sandwiches. This dish is called tàu hũ chưng in Vietnamese. I mixed tofu and a mirepoix of vegetables, which is a combination of coarsely chopped carrots, onions, leek, celery and mushrooms. The preparation is steamed then baked until firm.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been posting a vegetarian recipe each Monday. It’s part of an effort on my part to eat a little bit healthier by reducing my meat consumption. So from now on, you'll find a vegetarian recipe every "Meatless Monday".


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Banh Hoi Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Thin Rice Vermicelli Noodles) Recipe

Bánh hỏi is a Vietnamese specialty dish. It's composed of very thin rice vermicelli noodles, often steamed and seasoned with fried green onions. They’re usually served with barbecued beef or pork but for my husband who's a vegetarian, I accompanied them with a combination of sautéed tofu, bamboo, jicama, carrots and straw mushrooms. That's why I call this dish bánh hỏi chay (hint: chay means "vegetarian" in Vietnamese).

As a child, I remember having this dish at celebrations, though I don't really know why. I make it pretty regularly in our home because in my opinion, it's very simple to prepare and always enjoyable.


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Tau Hu Chung: Vietnamese Vegetarian  Pate Recipe Recipe

Tàu hũ chưng is one of the many vegetarian equivalents you can find to Vietnamese meat dishes. As I mentioned last week, Tết is coming soon (January 23rd), and you're supposed to eat vegetarian for the days just before and after the Asian New Year. Usually, I would make mắm chưng thịt (Vietnamese-style meatloaf). This dish is similar, using ingredients such as mushrooms, bean thread noodles and cilantro, but paired with mashed tofu.

The mixture is first steamed, then baked for a few minutes in the oven so the top is slightly golden and dried out. It's almost like a tofu pâté that can be enjoyed with rice and a bowl of canh (soup) on the side.


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Muop Tau Hu Xao Recipe (Vietnamese Loofah and Tofu Stir-fry) Recipe

Mướp tàu hũ xào (loofah squash and tofu stir-fry) is a standard in Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine. Mướp (Vietnamese Loofah) is stir-fried along with tofu in black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce. The dish is seasoned with soy sauce and fried garlic. I also added straw mushrooms as a foil to the loofah. It's a very quick and easy dish I often make when I'm in a rush and I want a tasty, healthy meal.

Vietnamese loofah is a very common vegetable in Vietnam that is also used a lot in making canh ("soup" in Vietnamese) because of its natural sweetness and tender texture. You won't be disappointed by this, and if you like it, it’s easy to put together non-vegetarian versions.

 


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Braised Straw Mushrooms (Nam Kho Ca Recipe) Recipe

Nấm kho cà tô mát, which translates to "braised mushrooms in tomatoes" in Vietnamese, was my late grandma's (Bà Ngoại) specialty. Bà Ngoại was an excellent cook; she mastered vegetarian cooking in particular. This dish resembles sweet tomato beef because of the texture of dried straw mushrooms in the sweet and sour sauce. The preparation is fairly simple. A lot of garlic and a fair amount of different soy sauces (zesty, sweet and salty) really make the dish flavorful. The sweetness and tanginess from the fresh tomatoes gives the final touch for this quick side dish.

As a child, I didn't come often to Vietnam to visit my grandma but I always remember all the wonderful stories she told me. Bà Ngoại used to be the director of a Saigonese school and was proud to educate and empower Vietnamese women through various disciplines, including culinary arts among others. I remember she was a very strong-minded lady who really represented the essence of Vietnam. I'm not saying this just because she was my grandmother, but she was such a great role model, always dedicated to excellence and so devoted to her children, especially during times of crisis. She was an admirable woman.


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