Asian Recipes

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Vietnamese Sweet Potato and Shrimp Tempura Recipe

In Vietnam, there's a sweet potato and shrimp dish, khoai lan chiên tôm, that is served on many street corners. Three match-sticks of sweet potato are dipped in a tempura batter and then a whole shrimp is adhered to them. A little more tempura batter is drizzled on the sweet potato / shrimp combination and then the whole thing is deep fried.

This dish may not at first glance be considered Thanksgiving-friendly, but I think it's an excellent option. Tradition may have become synonymous with Thanksgiving, but the very first Thanksgiving was really a celebration of a fusion of cultures through food. So if you're searching for an alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving preparations of sweet potatoes, perhaps it's time to look east. To the Far East, that is.


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Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga) Recipe

The key to great, flavorful gơi bắp cải (chicken and cabbage salad in Vietnamese) is to boil the chicken properly. Flavoring the broth prior to boiling the chicken is essential. This is the one chance you have to infuse additional flavor in the meat. As Tatie Danielle (aunt) says, "everyone knows how to make the sauce, not everyone knows how to cook the meat properly." She used to run a restaurant in the early '90s and is the best Vietnamese chef I know.

Even though this is referred to as a salad, it is typically eaten as a main course. Not only is it a great, filling meal, but nothing goes to waste. With the leftover broth, you can make súp bún măng gà, literally bamboo and chicken rice noodle soup, or a rice congee (cháo gà in Vietnamese), which is a type of chicken and rice porridge. The porridge in particular is great in the winter. I'll post the recipe when it starts getting really cold.  For now, enjoy some Vietnamese Chicken Salad!


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Sweet Coconut Red Bean Soup with Corn Recipe

The whole family went last weekend to our favorite dim-sum place and we had a sweet coconut red rice soup with corn for dessert. I've probably said it before, but Asian desserts are not always the most glamourous-looking sweets.

Looks can be deceiving though, and the girls love it so much that they asked me to make it at home. Give it a try!


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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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Vietnamese-Style Stuffed Tomatoes (Tomates Farcies) Recipe

A lot of Vietnamese dishes are inspired by French cuisine, because Vietnam was a longtime colony of the French empire. Tomates farcies (cà chua nhồi thịt in Vietnamese) is no exception. In Vietnam, it is referred to as tomates farcies, which literally translates to "stuffed tomatoes tomatoes"!

Traditional French stuffed tomatoes are filled with garlic bread crumbs, chair à saucisse and chopped jambon de Bayonne (sausage meat and prosciutto). The Vietnamese version uses the same filling as meat eggrolls.

I used veal for its low fat content as well as its texture and color for this dish. And most important, it cooks pretty fast. You can certainly use any other meat, such as ground beef.

 


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