Vietnamese Mint Recipes

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Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls) Recipe

The bì cuốn chay is a blend of bì chay, thick rice vermicelli noodles, baby cucumber sticks, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil wrapped in a bánh tráng (rice paper disk). It is served with a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce called nước chấmnước mắm (fish sauce) or a peanut sauce (recipe follows in the tip section).

We had some bì chay yesterday. I served it with bún (thick rice vermicelli noodles). When served together, it is called Bún chay. In many ways, the dish is basically a deconstructed spring roll. That made deciding what to do with the leftovers really easy.  Without much effort, you'll get two meals out of the same dish. And did I mention that it is absolutely delicious?

If you crave the fried version for your main course, check out the recipe here.


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Bi Chay (Shredded Tofu and Crispy Mock Pork) Recipe

Bì chay is probably one of my favorite Vietnamese vegetarian street foods. Not only is it a popular everyday eat, but it is also very common at temples. It's a mix of fried Asian ingredients such as tofu, taro, potatoes, jicama and fine vermicelli noodles. The whole mix is topped with dry toasted jasmine rice mill. It gives a nice aroma and chewy texture to the blend.

Whenever I pack sandwiches for a picnic, I either make the good ol' cheese and vegetable sandwich or an Asian-style sandwich, which is called bánh mì chay. It is a Vietnamese-style baguette sandwich stuffed with bì chay, pickled daikon and carrots, and green sliced chiles.

You can also simply eat bì chay with bún (bún chay), the vegetarian equivalent of bún cá chiên (fried fish with vermicelli rice noodles). 

If you want to serve this as a appetizer (bì cuốn chay) for a vegetarian crowd, just wrap the bì chay in rice paper and create little spring rolls.


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Vietnamese Egg Roll Recipe (Cha Gio) Recipe

Just like the vegetarian eggroll recipe, the meat-filled version is perfect as an appetizer when you have a big party. It's also a great way to get the little ones acquainted with cooking. It's one of my earliest memories of being in the kitchen.

Preparation is fairly simple and will resemble an assembly line. The filling is essentially mixed together raw and then it's on to assembling, folding and frying.

My littlest sister-in-law turned five this week and we're going to have a birthday party this coming weekend. We're making the mini variety for this occasion because it's a better size for the kids and all around works great as an appetizer. We'll be making between 100 and 200 eggrolls and I guarantee that there won't be any leftovers.


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Vietnamese  Dipping Sauce with Fermented Fish Sauce Base (Nuoc Mam) Recipe

Vietnamese dishes are generally very healthy. They are usually composed of a starch like noodles or jasmine rice, a meat or fish, a bunch of greens and the whole meal revolves around a strong-flavored dipping sauce called nước mắm. The main ingredient is made from fermented fish sauce, which is rich in calcium and salt. The smell is very pungent. It's a very common flavoring in Vietnamese cuisine.

I made some bún cá chiên, literally rice vermicelli noodles with fried fish. I love to dip the crispy fried fish in the nuoc mam sauce. The fish absorbs all the sauce and it's divine.

Just add pickled daikon radish, carrots, coarsely crushed peanuts, some Vietnamese mint, grilled beef (or fried tofu for vegetarians) and you get a fresh healthy meal in minutes!!

 


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Tofu Banh Xeo (Vegetarian Vietnamese Crepe) Recipe

Tofu Bánh Xèo is a vegetarian Saigon crepe. It's is a South Vietnamese dish. The exact translation is a "sizzling cake that is deflating". The Bánh Xèo crepe has a rice flour base with coconut milk. It's a lot thicker than the French version but just as delicious. The crepe has an earthy flavor, so It's always a savory dish filled with a lot of vegetables.

I've noticed that a lot of Vietnamese dishes have French influences as a result of years of colonization. The preparations are French, but the ingredients are Vietnamese. For example, the beef fondue, called bò nhúng dấm in Vietnamese, uses a fermented shrimp paste in the sauce.

Prepare this very exotic and healthy meal for your family and friends.  You'll have another recipe in your arsenal for Sunday brunches and dinners alike.


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