Banh Bao Recipe (Vietnamese Steamed Bun) Recipe

Bánh bao literally translates to "cakes that wrap something" in Vietnamese. The dough is made of flour, milk, sugar and a hint of oil. Once the dough rises, it's formed in the desired shape, usually dumplings similar to a pointy turban, then steamed until plump and perky. In general, they're stuffed with savory meat or sweet egg custard (called bánh bao cadé)

I've also seen them plain and shaped into a taco-style envelope at a few dim sum places. This is the version I used to finish the leftover braised duck leg from the night before. I shredded the tender duck meat and added pickled carrots and daikon and cilantro. I drizzled the bánh bao with a mole sauce using the reduced braising sauce adding 2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate, which tied the dish together beautifully. I was tempted to post this bánh bao bun in my second cookbook, Bánh Mì: 75 Banh Mi Recipes for Authentic and Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches but decided to keep the recipes more traditional. Still, they’re a a lot of fun to make and quite versatile. 

Since it's the weekend already and I usually post a dessert, I’ll also mention that the leftover bánh bao wraps can be turned into sweet treats with the right filling. Dried fig spread, lemon curd (I had jars of the lemon curd I made last winter) and chocolate mousse or the more traditional sweet egg custard are all great choices.

If you live in the Bay Area, don't forget to pencil in next Saturday (May 25th) for my cooking demo and cookbook signing for Haute Potato at Los Altos Library. Hope to see everyone there. Have a great weekend!

Vietnamese Bun Recipe with Picture


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Red Wine Braised Duck Leg Recipe Recipe

Whenever I prepare duck meat, I try to add a lot of spices to attenuate the strong gamey flavor. The spice mixture I used in this recipe is a combination of dried red chilies, fresh oregano, cumin seeds, a cinnamon stick, star anise and fried onion paste. A little red wine vinegar brings these flavors together and also helps to tenderize the meat.

I seared the duck legs and then braised them in a red wine reduction and chicken stock liquid. The duck cooked slowly for a couple of hours until it almost fell off the bone. Don't be intimated by the amount of chiles in the recipe because once cooked, the meat is going to be extra flavorful and not overly spicy. 

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what I did with the leftover duck meat and the spicy gravy. 


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Aloo Korma Recipe (Beef and Potato Curry) Recipe

I've prepared this Indian curry called korma countless times since I got married. I learned this dish from my husband Lulu's aunt (I call her Phoopi). It's a very flexible dish that allows for many combinations of meat and vegetable. Chicken, beef, goat, potato, taro and  various vegetables (peas, carrot, broccoli) are commonly used. The spicy gravy is what's constant.

The gravy is made of fried onion paste and yogurt and is flavored with ginger-garlic paste as well as several Indian spices. This version contains beef but you can easily omit the meat if you're preparing a vegetarian version.

I had initially planned to include aloo korma ("aloo" is Urdu for "potato") in my first cookbook, Haute Potato: From Pommes Rissolees to Timbale with Roquefort, 75 Gourmet Potato Recipes, but finally went for other Indian dishes such as kheema cutlets (Indian-style meat-filled pancakes), panipuri (bite-sized, crispy South Indian masala potato-filled appetizers) and aloo bonda (spicy potato fritter) to name a few.


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Chao Ca Recipe (Fish Congee) Recipe

Chao Ca Recipe (Fish Congee)

05.14.13 by Jackie

Cháo cá (Vietnamese for fish congee) is Aria's favorite dish these days. At one and a half years old now, she's able to eat pretty much anything and everything. But don't be fooled by its appearance; rice congee isn't only meant for babies. Cháo is a very popular meal in Asia; I personally love it too. 

In this version of congee I cook rice in fish stock until it becomes a thickened soup. I like to make small portions at a time by adding thinly sliced white flaky fish, ginger, onions and cilantro at the last minute. The key to flavorful fish congee is to use the freshest products available.


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Braided Tapenade Bread Recipe Recipe

Braided Tapenade Bread Recipe

05.13.13 by Jackie

Braiding is a fancy way to present stuffed bread. To get this recipe started, I prepared the dough and let it rest for a few hours. Once it's ready to roll, the sides of the resulting long rectangle are cut into long strands, filled with tapenade (or your favorite filling) then the bread is tied into a two-strand braid. 

I used homemade tapenade made with kalamata olives, mustard and capers. I love the way the deep-purple color contrasts with the bread. The bread would also work well with hummus, guacamole, salsa or roasted bell pepper spread.


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