Soy Sauce Recipes

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Vietnamese Spinach and Shrimp Soup (Canh Mong Toi) Recipe

Canh tôm rau mồng tơi, literally a soup made with tôm, or shrimp and mồng tơi, or spinach, is usually served as a side dish along with steamed jasmine rice and a dish of meat. 

Rau mồng tơi is a tender and sweet leafy vegetable that is unknown in Western cuisine. In Vietnam, it is a staple of lower income people. In fact, there is a saying using this leaf, "Nghèo rớt mồng tơi!", which approximately translates to "dirt poor". Like rau muống, another Vietnamese leafy vegetable, it is quite expensive in America. I've probably said it in the past: immigrants crave the foods of their childhood and are willing to pay more for the memories. And this soup fits the bill.


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Orange-Flavored Fried Tofu with Water Chestnuts Recipe

I felt like making my vegetarian sweet and sour pork recipe today, but I didn't have any pineapples on hand. Sweet and sour sauce is very versatile; you can substitute many tart fruits in place of the pineapple, such as oranges, plums or green mangoes. I had a number of sweet oranges on hand, so I used them instead. 

The dish turned out to be a big hit. I think it's important to have at least a few recipes in your repertoire that are easy to modify depending on what you have in your pantry. This particular sauce goes great with chicken as well, so if, like me, you have to cater to both meat eaters and vegetarians, you can make one sauce for two dishes.


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Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Vegetarian Mock Fish Sauce) Recipe

If you like seasoning your Asian dishes such as bánh xèo and bì cuốn chay (fresh spring rolls) with the typical Vietnamese condiment called nước mắm but find it too strong to your taste or simply if you're a vegetarian, this recipe is for you. The vegetarian equivalent is called nước chấm.

I use lemon-flavored soy sauce as a main ingredient but there is a new product called nước mắm chay available in Asian stores. It gets a "sea" flavor from the addition of seaweed to the product.

It is also a nice addition to Asian soups like my sweet and sour pineapple soup.  Just serve it on the side and let your guests add as much (or as little) as they like.  In Vietnam, this sauce, or its fish-based equivalent, is as common on the dinner table as a salt shaker is in the West.


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Grilled Tri Tip Sirloin Beef Steak Recipe

I love steaks. I'm a total carnivore, but I don't get to eat them that often because there are so many vegetarians in my house. Whenever we cook steaks at home, it's a special occasion (for me ).

I chose a tri tip sirloin steak because the meat is tender and very lean. There isn't a lot of fat on it for those of you who are health conscious (though red meat isn't that healthy to begin with - everything in moderation!).  It's also fairly cheap compared to other cuts, such as rib-eye. I grill it, then slice it thin and serve it with a salad. I love it.

Tri Tip Sirloin Beef Steak


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Stir-Fry Pea Shoot Tendrils in Garlic and Black Bean Sauce (Rau Muong Xao) Recipe

Rau muống xào tỏi, literally fresh stir-fry pea shoot tendrils in Vietnamese is my favorite Asian vegetable. It is a staple that can be found on almost every dinner table in Vietnam. This is mostly because it is very easy to grow and very cheap in Vietnam.

In America, pea shoot tendrils can be quite expensive. I always find it interesting that foods that are considered working-class fare in their country of origin can be so expensive in other place. Maybe it's because they are not grown in great abundance here or maybe it's because immigrants crave the foods of their childhood and are willing to pay more for the memories.

In terms of preparation, pea shoots couldn't be easier. Just stir-fry the vegetables very quickly over high heat. Blend in some garlic and black bean sauce and you're set.


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