Rice Recipes

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Banh Gio Recipe (Steamed Meat Rice Cakes) Recipe

In Vietnamese cuisine, just as in many other types of cuisines, the use of banana leaves in cooking dates back centuries. Back when there was no aluminum foil, parchment paper or wax paper, the thick leaves were what cooks used to pack, steam, grill, bake and serve their food. Isn't that a smart, eco-friendly way to make good use of biodegradable, natural materials? Plus, the banana leaves give awondderful additional aroma to the food. If you ever visit Vietnam, you'll notice how commonly food is wrapped in banana leaves. Bánh giò is no exception, and it's one of my favorite Vietnamese street foods.

Bánh giò is a steamed rice cake, often filled with meat. This time, I filled them with ground chicken (a more authentic version would use pork). In any case, the meat is cooked with wood ear mushrooms. It's not the prettiest meal, but it's a flavorful, earthy (thanks to the mushrooms), light, gluten-free dish.

The key to achieving the perfect texture is to add a bit of cornstarch to the rice flour to firm up the dough, then flavor it with warm chicken broth and cook it on the stove before shaping the rice cakes.

Steamed Meat Rice Cakes Recipe with Picture


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South Indian Spiced Lemon Rice Recipe Recipe

I've had South Indian lemon rice several times and always wondered how it was made. Naively, I thought the rich yellow hue of the rice came from the abundance of lemon in the dish. In fact it's because of turmeric. I finally learned the recipe from my husband Lulu's aunt, Sara. We get along great; we're the same age and Sara is so much fun to be around.  

The preparation requires 3 steps. First, making lemon rice is a great way to use leftover cooked basmati rice. Separate and massage the grains of rice and season them with turmeric, lemon and red chili powder. Then comes the baghar (which translates to "tempering," which involves frying chana dal (dried chickpeas), red dried chiles, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions and cashew nuts. Lastly, the yellow rice is added, then flavored with a generous amount of ghee (clarified butter). A last drizzling of lemon juice provides a touch of tanginess to fragrant, spicy rice. Our family loves it!

For extra richness, you could sprinkle a bit of coconut powder at the end or serve the rice with coconut chutney and raita (Indian yogurt sauce)


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Tofu Fried Rice Recipe Recipe

Tofu Fried Rice Recipe

02.18.14 by Jackie

I often find myself with a lot of leftover jasmine rice. At the end of the day, if the rice cooker is still full of rice, I unplug the machine, let the rice cool to room temperature and store the rice in the refrigerator. Last night was no exception, so this morning I gathered the cooled rice and made cơm chiên chay (Vietnamese for "vegetarian fried rice") and added tofu for extra protein.

For this version, I added vegetables I had readily available such as carrots, peas and sugar snap peas. You could combine the vegetables of your choice. Simply make sure you don't choose any "watery" vegetables such as bok choy, or the rice will turn mushy and soggy. 

Baby Aria absolutely loves fried rice. I never have to feed this dish to her. She scoops the rice into her spoon and asks for more! 


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Salmon Orzo Salad Recipe Recipe

Salmon Orzo Salad Recipe

10.22.13 by Jackie

Today, I prepared a salmon orzo pasta salad. The dish is fairly simple. I broke baked salmon into large pieces and combined them with orzo pasta and a variety of vegetables such as zucchini, corn, roasted bell peppers and string beans.

Baby Aria has a good appetite and given that she's more of a toddler now, she’s able to eat whatever we eat. She's becoming independent and discovers the textures, colors and tastes of new foods every day, especially since she's able to pick up food with a spoon and eat by herself. With dishes like this one, feeding kids nutrient-rich, colorful foods couldn't be easier!


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Vegetarian Fried Rice Recipe (Com Chien Chay in Vietnamese) Recipe

Yesterday, we had a lot of relatives over and after dinner there was leftover steamed jasmine rice. I wasn't going to let the rice go to waste; I usually make cơm chiên chay ("vegetarian fried rice" in Vietnamese). That way my husband Lulu and his sisters who are all vegetarians, can make it disappear!

I also happily discovered that baby Aria absolutely loves fried rice. I’m thrilled because this dish is super easy to prepare. Once you know the tricks to keep the rice from turning soggy and mushy, you can make it as often as it pleases you, with whatever veggies you have on hand.

For this version, I mixed carrots, peas, corn, red and green bell peppers, green onions and diced fried tofu with the jasmine rice. I didn't add any egg so the rest of the family could enjoy it as well.

As a child, Maman would always tell us kids not waste food; it's "tội chết" ("dreadfully sinful" in Vietnamese). As an Asian mom, I'm definitely keeping the family "tradition" and teacingh the same ethic to my daughter Aria. 


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