Vietnamese Recipes

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Carrot Bean Curd Rolls Recipe

Carrot Bean Curd Rolls

04.30.15 by Jackie

My husband Lulu hasn't been traveling at all for work these days, so I'm back to my old habits.  I often attempt a similar meal to his, even though he's a vegetarian. That way we can "share the meal" and we can give each other feedback about the food. Last night, I made turkey rolls that I wrapped in carrots. My vegetarian substitute is dried bean curd. So what is dried bean curd, you may ask? Contrary to what you might think, it's not made directly from tofu; it's a more pressed version of soybeans and  is usually smoked; it contains 40% less liquid than standard firm tofu. It's packed with protein, super healthy, yet still flavorful and it's a great meat substitute.

I prepared the filling of the rolls with the dried bean curd, fresh wood ear mushrooms, onions that we grow in our garden and Japanese sweet potatoes for natural sweetness. Remember, you eat with your eyes first! So I enhanced its look by wrapping the rolls in carrot to give them a fancy flair. You'll be surprised; it's not that complicated to make a dish look a bit more appealing. I'll be sharing the meat version tomorrow. Stay tuned!


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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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Vegetarian Siu Mai Recipe Recipe

Vegetarian Siu Mai Recipe

04.08.15 by Jackie

This is my interpretation of vegetarian siu mai. The Asian dumplings are often filled with meat, so this is my attempt to create a toothsome, equally flavorful appetizer without meat. To do so, I prepared and filled the siu mai pockets with bean curd, jicama, shiitake, wood ear mushrooms, green onions, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Shaping dumplings with a vegetarian filling while preventing them from collapsing once they were steamed was a bit challenging. I used silicon mini muffin liners to avoid a possible culinary disaster and keep them appealing. Sometimes, thinking outside the box can be a life-saver for the home cook that I am!


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Homemade Banh Beo (Steamed Rice Cakes with Shrimp) Recipe

Bánh bèo is a Vietnamese specialty made with individual, thick, steamed rice cakes. The recipe is not that complicated but preparing each rice cake can be time-consuming. The batter is made from combined rice flour, tapioca starch and corn starch. I used tiny, one-ounce porcelain dipping bowls to steam the rice cakes. Once they were cooked, I brushed them with onion-flavored oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Little Aria helped with brushing the rices cakes with oil while I unmolded them; it made the preparation all the more fun to have her around, getting her hands dirty. 

The second step is the filling, which is traditionally made with dried shrimp flakes, fried shallots and green onions. You could make a vegetarian version using mung beans. Lastly, a drizzle of nước chấm (fish sauce) and chopped Vietnamese mint (rau thơm) complete the festive dish.


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Garlic Noodles Recipe

Garlic Noodles

03.19.15 by Jackie

Little Aria's favorite dish of the moment is a good noodle stir fry. It's super easy to prepare and I'll show you how to master this dish using 3 main flavorings: garlic, green onions and some chiles.

The secret is to fry the garlic first. You have to make sure you don't burn it or the noodles will have an acrid taste, which could be very unpleasant. If this is the case, simply throw the garlic away, wash the pan and start over. The other key is stir fry the noodles over high heat; you could also add a dollop of butter at the end for extra richness, if you like. 


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