Comfort Food Recipes

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Vietnamese Fried Bean Curd Soup (Hu Tieu Chay) Recipe

Lulu calls hủ tiếu chay (fried bean curd soup in Vietnamese) the ultimate Asian comfort food. The hearty broth is flavored with bold Asian ingredients, such as ginger, garlic and mushroom seasoning salt. There are a couple of uncommon elements; I used Fuji apples and rock sugar to add a touch of sweetness to the broth, and a Vietnamese variety of cured daikon radish (củ cải khô) that provides the signature flavor of hủ tiếu broth.

The real treat though, is the addition of fried tofu skin. It's used throughout vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine as a substitute for fried pork or chicken skin in mock meat dishes. The texture is crispy, yet chewy, and really shows off the versatility of tofu.

Bean Curd Noodle Soup


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Artichoke and Spinach Manicotti Pasta Recipe

I stuffed my manicotti with artichoke and spinach, and served the dish gratin-style with a layer of mozzarella cheese over the top and a bed of marinara sauce beneath. The artichoke and spinach mixture evokes the flavors of a dip, which contrasts nicely with the brightness of the marinara.

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes because it's very easy to make, while at the same time having great presentation value. Manicotti have the added benefit of freezing extremely well, so I always make them in large batches.


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Vietnamese Meatloaf (Mam Chung Thit) Recipe

Mắm chưng thịt is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It's a blend of pork or chicken, crab meat, salted fish fillet in brine, bean thread noodles, mushrooms and eggs.

For this recipe, I used a mix of chicken breast and thighs. The flavor is reminiscent of the filling of a meat egg roll combined with the strong flavor of salted fish fillet in nước mắm (brine). The most common fish used for making steam fish cakes is snakehead fish, though mackerel or catfish can be used as well.


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Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes Recipe

Rice cakes are made from glutinous rice flour. We buy them at the Korean market. They're a great alternative to bánh phở or ordinary noodles. What I love most about this product is  that they're made with no additives or preservatives. They're a favorite at our house. The texture is very nice, and works well in a simple, clear vegetable broth. If you're looking for a healthy meal, this is not your average diet cabbage soup.

Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes Recipe with Picture


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Saffron Pumpkin Soup Served in Mini Pumpkin Bowls Recipe

I remember having a delicious velouté de potiron au safran in a French restaurant back when I was still living in Paris. I remembered it had a very nice earthy flavor of pumpkin, chanterelles, walnuts and saffron. The flavors are perfect for Thanksgiving, and given the season, I thought I'd try to recreate it.

I roasted the pumpkin to enhance and accentuate the sweetness without overpowering the soup. Instead of using potatoes as a thickening agent as I normally do, I decided to add pan-fried plantains to complement the sweetness of the pumpkin.

To match the elegant flavors of the soup, I created bowls out of mini-pumpkins for serving. The final result was as visually appealing as it was delicious, and met with a round of "oohs" and "ahs" when I brought it to the dinner table. It's a great first course, and best of all, there aren't any plates to wash when everyone's done!

Veloute de potiron au safran


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