Vietnamese Recipes

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Vietnamese Asparagus Crab Soup (Sup Mang Cua Recipe) Recipe

Súp măng tây nấu cua (white asparagus crab soup) was always a festive dish when I was a child. We would have it whenever my parents had non-Vietnamese friends to our house for dinner. I would help with cracking the crab and gathering the crab meat. Corn starch, used as a thickening agent, gives the velvety, thick broth gives the dish a unique texture. While white asparagus doesn't provide a lot of color contrast to the crab, it does complement the flavor quite well.

The authentic version of this soup requires shark fin, but given how expensive it is, crab alone is used instead. The dish still has a luxurious quality, and as such, white asparagus crab soup often appears on the menu at Vietnamese weddings. Now you don't have to crash a Vietnamese wedding to try this dish; make it the next time you throw a dinner party, and I guarantee it will be the highlight of the meal.


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 Vietnamese Grilled Beef Rolls (Bo Cuong Hanh Huong Recipe) Recipe

Bò nướng hành hương is a wonderful South-Vietnamese specialty. It's a dish of beef wrapped around sliced yellow and green onions, then grilled to medium doneness. The beef is infused with the aromatic scent of green onions and five-spice powder rub with honey. The blend of all the flavors gives the meat a sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty taste.

The dish is traditionally served with vermicelli rice noodles (bún) and aromatic Vietnamese herbs, but I served mine with nước chấm, ginger guava sauce and crushed peanuts. The main component of ginger guava sauce is guava jam. It can be difficult to find, but it's available in some Indian stores. Make the effort to find it because the flavor is amazing, and it contrasts with the beef very well.

I make this dish quite often for parties because it's easy to eat in one or two bites and doesn't interrupt conversations. Try it as an appetizer at your next dinner party. Your guests will love you!

Note: Glossary of relevant Vietnamese cooking terms.

= beef

Bún = vermicelli rice noodles

Cuốn = rolled

Hành = onions

Hành hương = aromatic onions

Nướng = beef

Thịt = meat

 


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Ca Kho (Braised Catfish in Vietnamese Fish Sauce) Recipe

Cá kho tộ ("braised fish" in Vietnamese) is delicious catfish simmered in a caramelized sauce with garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce and red chiles. What I love most about the dish is eating steamed jasmine rice with the sauce made with coconut soda.

I love seafood, but the vegetarians in my home aren't always happy with the aroma of fish wafting through the house. Braising fish in nước mắm gives a strong smell to this dish, so I don't make it very often, even though I love it.


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Green Jackfruit with Tofu Recipe

Green Jackfruit with Tofu

03.20.10 by Jackie

Mít & tàu hũ kho tương is a fairly common vegetarian dish in the Buddhist community. Mít ("jackfruit" in Vietnamese) is picked when it's still green. First, the young fruit is boiled to soften it. Then it's braised in soy sauce and used as a vegetable to accompany tofu. Like tofu, unseasoned green jackfruit is fairly bland but acts as a sponge and absorbs the flavors of the sauce.

The cooking procedure helps to give the jackfruit a soft texture that resembles the pork fat in thịt kho (braised meat), and the stringy texture of the jackfruit simulates the stringy texture of the meat. The result is quite pleasant and surprising. Next time you're in an Asian market, look for fresh young jackfruit; it's delicious!


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Braised Rolled Tofu Skin Recipe (Yuba) Recipe

Tàu hũ ky kho is braised rolled yuba (very thin sheets of tofu skin / bean curd) in a thick, mildly sweet soy sauce. This dish is supposed to resemble bò cuốn hành hương (rolled beef with aromatic shallots in Vietnamese). The many layers of bean curd give a meaty texture to the tofu.

I served them with steamed white rice and a Vietnamese soup called canh mồng tơi on the side. This dish is perfect for my house as everyone was satisfied and shared the same meal: rolled beef (I'll post the recipe soon) for the meat eaters and mock beef rolls for the vegetarians. Even if you don't have the same variety of diets in your house, you can of course still enjoy the benefits of this healthy and flavorful meal.  If you've never tasted tofu skins before, this is a great introduction.


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