Vietnamese Recipes

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Pho Ga Recipe (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger)   Recipe

I've probably said it in on countless occasions; I love phở! The most commonly known version of the Vietnamese soup is phở bò (beef noodle soup) but it's pretty high in cholesterol due to the bone marrow from the quantity of beef bones used. For a lighter version that’s equally delicious, I made phở gà, chicken noodle soup with ginger.

Phở gà is judged on two main criteria: the flavor of the chicken broth and the quality of the chicken. To ensure that the broth turned out well, I used a generous helping of ginger and 6 chicken carcasses, which are very inexpensive at the Asian market. I served the soup with special Vietnamese chickens, called gà đi bộ (it literally translates to "walking chickens"). They're free-range chickens and the texture of the meat is firmer than regular chicken. The cost is higher (count $13 per chicken) but so worth it when making this dish.


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Banh Cuon Recipe (Steamed Rice Rolls) Recipe

Bánh cuốn is a Vietnamese specialty made with a very thin, steamed, loosely rolled, rice flour crêpe. The recipe is not that complicated but assembling the rice rolls can be delicate. Unlike French crêpe, the batter is made from combined rice flour, tapioca starch and corn starch, which makes bánh cuốn very flimsy and harder to manipulate. The first rice flour crêpe is never perfect, and I usually thin the batter with more water as I cook them, so they don't turn out too thick. The filling remains exposed since the rice roll is nearly transparent.

This time, I made a meat version with chicken. You could always make the rice flour crêpe with a vegetarian filling if you prefer. I tucked into each rice roll a filling of seasoned ground meat (I used chicken), wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, water  chestnuts and dried shallots. Typically, bánh cuốn is sprinkled with fried shallots (or onions) with nước chấm (fish sauce). I served shrimp cakes and fried taro cakes on the side along with mounds of steamed soy bean sprouts, combined with cilantro, Vietnamese mint (rau thơm), shredded cucumber, lettuce, lime wedges and green Thai chiles.

It's not the prettiest meal, but it's a flavorful, earthy (thanks to the mushrooms), light meal dish. If you want to improve the presentation and avoid tearing, drizzle the rice roll with a little oil and expose the smooth part of the bánh cuốn on top to hide the wrinkly side.


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Tofu Asparagus Stir Fry Recipe Recipe

Tofu Asparagus Stir Fry Recipe

07.20.11 by Jackie

This tofu dish usually accommodates everyone in my family; the tofu is fried, then sautéed along with vegetables (I cooked with asparagus and green beans today) in a mixture of black bean and chili garlic sauce.

The story behind this dish is funny. The dish is named after my father-in-law, Mir. Several years ago, he went to a Chinese restaurant for a dinner meeting and they serve this as an appetizer, similar to chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant. It was much saltier and spicier than the recipe I make now. He liked it so much he asked the waiter to bring him a whole plateful so he could have it for dinner as a main course. And thus Mir's Special was born.


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Vietnamese Shrimp Paste Sauce Recipe (Mam Tom) Recipe

As I promised earlier this week, here's the recipe for the condiment that traditionally accompanies the Northern Vietnamese dill fish dish. The dipping sauce is called mm tôm, which literally translates to "fermented shrimp sauce". It's made from fermented shrimp paste sauce (mm ruc, whose aroma smells very pungent), garlic, sambal oelek chile paste, sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice. The preparation is very similar to mm nêm, the dipping sauce used for b nhúng dm (Vietnamese beef fondue), except it doesn't contain pineapple. Both spicy sauces are very strong in taste, so if fermented paste is too overwhelming for your palate, you could ultimately use nước mắm chm (fish sauce) for a milder flavor.

Enjoy this authentic recipe!


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Cha Ca Thang Long Recipe: Vietnamese Dill Fish with Turmeric  Recipe

Chả cá thăng long is a pan-fried dill fish dish. Try saying that three times in a row! The yellow hue comes from aromatic turmeric powder. Unlike Indian and Middle-Eastern cooking, dill -called thì là in Vietnamese- is not a very common ingredient in Southern Vietnamese cooking save for a few seafood dishes. Dill has a unique fresh flavor; it's sautéed in the same pan where the fish was pan-fried, then mixed back with the turmeric fish. The moisture from the herbs keeps the fish from drying out.

My family is originally from Cầnthõ and Sàigòn (Southern Vietnam) but my mother took me to Hànội (Norththern Vietnam) when I was seventeen. This dill fish recipe originates from that region. That's why it's also known as chả cá Hànội. You also might find it as chả cá lã vọng on some Vietnamese restaurant menus. If you're looking for a healthy dish, a meal composed of fish and cold rice vermicelli noodles (called bún in Vietnamese), might be the perfect fix.


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