Asian Recipes

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Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky: Goi Du Du Kho Bo Recipe Recipe

I've posted several Vietnamese salad recipes (called gơi) but amusingly, I've never posting my favorite of all: Món gơi đu đủ thịt khô . The salad is made of shredded green papaya, daikon radish and beef jerky. I used Vietnamese-style beef jerky, which is slightly sweet and spicy. I love this type of gơi salad so much; I ended up polishing off three bowls. In the end though, I didn't feel too bad as this dish is pretty healthy. Now, if it were three plates of Vietnamese fried shrimp and sweet potatoes (called khoai lan chiên tôm)…

Note: Glossary of relevant Vietnamese cooking terms.

Bò = beef

Món = dish

Gơi = salad

Đu đủ = papaya

Khô = dried

Thịt = meat


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Vegetarian Nihari (Spicy Tofu Recipe) Recipe

One of my most favorite Indian dishes is nihari. It's a goat (or any other meat) stew dish. It's spicy, flavorful and the meat is extremely tender. I love dipping naans (flat Indian bread) in the sauce. But I always end up feeling so bad when I see my husband Lulu, who is a vegetarian, staring at me. So this time, I also made a tofu version using the same gravy sauce.

I chose medium-firm tofu and Japanese eggplants and deep-fried them. The texture is perfect once they are soaked in the spicy sauce. I also added broccoli for a balanced meal. The advantage of the veggie version is it's just as tasty, much healthier (I omitted the bhaghar, a typical final layer of red oil in a lot of Indian dishes) and it cooks a lot faster than the meat version.


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Vietnamese Oyster Sauce Beef Recipe (Thit Bo Xao) Recipe

Dưa leo xào thịt bò ("beef stir fry with cucumber" in Vietnamese) is really tasty because the meat is so tender it melts in your mouth. The beef stir fry sauce is both sweet and savory; I combined oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and caramelized onions.

It's not the prettiest but it's perfect for a quick and easy meal. I used filet mignon that I sliced paper-thin. I don't cook often with cucumber but in this case, it added crunch to the dish. I also added zucchini, green onions and cilantro. You can serve the dish with bún (vermicelli rice noodles), but for me, nothing can beat beef stir fry with rice. Just add đô chua condiment (pickled carrots and daikon) and you'll have a complete, balanced meal in no time.

Note: Glossary of relevant Vietnamese cooking terms.

Bò = beef

Xào = stir fry

Cơm = rice

Dưa leo = cucumber

Thịt = meat


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Rau Cau Dua: Vietnamese Coconut Jello Recipe Recipe

Rau câu is Vietnamese jello made with agar agar, which is a seaweed by-product, similar to gelatin (except it's vegetal). Several months ago, family friends came for dinner and brought delicious rau câu made with nước dừa ("coconut juice" in Vietnamese). We usually serve the more traditional Vietnamese dessert made with sweetened condensed milk and flavor it with layers of chocolate, mocha, pandan and sometimes durian, but I really like the flavor of this variation. I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy this version was to make. All you need is a few cans of coconut juice with pulp and agar agar. How simple is that?

The coconut jello has another great advantage. It has the same texture as pana cotta, so you can serve it to children without being scared of any spilling or any accidents on your floor. I've adopted this cube version whenever I make it for kids. You can use the same recipe using your children's favorite drinks. It's mess-free and melts in your mouth. They’ll love it!


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Vietnamese Green Mango Salad Recipe: Goi Xoai Recipe

Vietnamese salads are usually made with the same dressing. A blend of lime juice, garlic, sugar, red Thai chiles and fresh mint leaves bind raw vegetables into a flavorful and healthy salad course. Today, I made green mango salad, called gơi xoài xanh. I create long, thin strips of mango that I mixed with similarly sliced carrots. It makes a very tasty salad thanks to the tangy, sour and sweet flavors.

I made it vegetarian, but you could pair the raw vegetable salad with boiled, shredded chicken (gơi gà), boiled shrimp, dried shrimp (tôm khô) or fire-roasted shredded dried squid (khô mực), which is my favorite. 


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