Vietnamese Food Recipes

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Vietnamese Dessert with Lotus Seeds and Longans: Chè Sen Nhãn Recipe

According to the Lunar calendar, Tết (Vietnamese New Year) falls on January 30th, 2014. It's customary to serve chè (typical Vietnamese dessert) to offer to ancestors during prayers. Today's dessert recipe is chè sen nhãn. It's made from dried lotus seeds and dried longans, which are perfect for the winter season. 

I prepared a syrup sweetened with Chinese rock sugar. It can be thickened with tapioca starch but the quality of the dried lotus seeds and longans I used was so amazing, it was unnecessary. I feel very blessed because I always have family and friends bringing me delicious, exotic ingredients from their travels to Vietnam. I received lotus seeds threaded as necklaces and the longans had been sun-dried and unsweetened. They came out just perfect: perky and plump, with a hint of natural sweetness. I could have eaten bowls and bowls of this lovely chè.


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Zucchini Tofu Recipe Recipe

Zucchini Tofu Recipe

09.10.13 by Jackie

This tofu stir fry dish is a staple in our home and I make it at least once a month. It's quick to prepare, flavorful and packed with fresh green vegetables. I pan-fried tofu pieces and tossed them with onions and zucchini slices in a thick sauce (I used tapioca starch as the thickening agent).

My parents are excited to spend time with little Aria this month; they haven't seen her since she was 11 months old. I've been so busy these past few days wrapping up work and packing for our trip to Paris, that I completely forgot about picking our vegetables. There have been beautiful zucchini waiting to be harvested and I was so excited to be able to cook with them. So it was a real bummer this morning when I found wilted, unusable zucchini flowers. I still harvested the large zucchini and prepared it with tofu. It's not an elaborate meal but it's tasty and nutritious. 


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Vietnamese Shrimp in Caramel Sauce (Tom Kho Recipe) Recipe

This evening, I finished preparing dinner but realized everything was vegetarian. And if you think like me, vegetarian food is good but it's still lacking one thing. What's missing, you might ask? I looked at our dining table and I immediately knew what would make dinner complete: a dish of shrimp.

I had one pound of small shrimp begging to be cooked. So in less than 30 minutes, I whipped up some tôm kho, which is Vietnamese for shrimp in caramel sauce. The key is the amber-color sauce cooked with coconut soda (if you're lucky and have fresh coconut water, it would taste even better), onion, garlic and a hint of good quality nước mắm (fish sauce). Even though the most of my family are vegetarians, if cooked properly, the scent of this seafood dish doesn't bother them.


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Asparagus and Zucchini Tofu Recipe Recipe

This tofu stir fry dish is a staple in our home and I make it at least one a month. It's quick to prepare, flavorful and packed with fresh green vegetables. 

The preparation is always more or less the same. In this version, pan-seared tofu pieces (or leftover cooked chicken breasts) are tossed with previously cooked zucchini and baby asparagus in maple syrup, chipotle garlic sauce and soy sauce. At the end, I added onions wedges and turned the heat off; the residual heat in the dish finished cooking the onions while keeping them juicy, sweet and crunchy.


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Lotus Root Soup Recipe (Canh Cu Sen) Recipe

The authentic recipe for lotus soup, called canh củ sen in Vietnamese, calls for pork broth, dried scallops, dried octopus and various dried fruits and nuts. With my family being mostly vegetarian, I adapted it to fit everyone's diet. 

I tried to mimic the meaty broth with Okinawan potatoes (purple-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes) and preserved daikon radish and flavored it with the usual dried black dates called jujube (or plum), dried South almonds, peanuts and gojee berries. Lastly, fresh lotus root is sliced thinly and added to the broth until softened. Some people like it on the crunchy side, but I prefer it very tender.


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