Straw Mushroom Recipes

Vietnamese Vegetarian  Pate Recipe Recipe

Vietnamese Vegetarian Pate Recipe

03.18.13 by Jackie

This is a recipe that didn't make it into the Bánh Mì cookbook, my second publication that is already available for pre-order. I prepared a vegetable and tofu pâté that's often used in vegetarian bánh mì  sandwiches. This dish is called tàu hũ chưng in Vietnamese. I mixed tofu and a mirepoix of vegetables, which is a combination of coarsely chopped carrots, onions, leek, celery and mushrooms. The preparation is steamed then baked until firm.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been posting a vegetarian recipe each Monday. It’s part of an effort on my part to eat a little bit healthier by reducing my meat consumption. So from now on, you'll find a vegetarian recipe every "Meatless Monday".


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Tau Hu Chung: Vietnamese Vegetarian  Pate Recipe Recipe

Tau Hu Chung: Vietnamese Vegetarian Pate Recipe

01.17.12 by Jackie

Tàu hũ chưng is one of the many vegetarian equivalents you can find to Vietnamese meat dishes. As I mentioned last week, Tết is coming soon (January 23rd), and you're supposed to eat vegetarian for the days just before and after the Asian New Year. Usually, I would make mắm chưng thịt (Vietnamese-style meatloaf). This dish is similar, using ingredients such as mushrooms, bean thread noodles and cilantro, but paired with mashed tofu.

The mixture is first steamed, then baked for a few minutes in the oven so the top is slightly golden and dried out. It's almost like a tofu pâté that can be enjoyed with rice and a bowl of canh (soup) on the side.


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Braised Straw Mushrooms (Nam Kho Ca Recipe) Recipe

Braised Straw Mushrooms (Nam Kho Ca Recipe)

03.24.11 by Jackie

Nấm kho cà tô mát, which translates to "braised mushrooms in tomatoes" in Vietnamese, was my late grandma's (Bà Ngoại) specialty. Bà Ngoại was an excellent cook; she mastered vegetarian cooking in particular. This dish resembles sweet tomato beef because of the texture of dried straw mushrooms in the sweet and sour sauce. The preparation is fairly simple. A lot of garlic and a fair amount of different soy sauces (zesty, sweet and salty) really make the dish flavorful. The sweetness and tanginess from the fresh tomatoes gives the final touch for this quick side dish.

As a child, I didn't come often to Vietnam to visit my grandma but I always remember all the wonderful stories she told me. Bà Ngoại used to be the director of a Saigonese school and was proud to educate and empower Vietnamese women through various disciplines, including culinary arts among others. I remember she was a very strong-minded lady who really represented the essence of Vietnam. I'm not saying this just because she was my grandmother, but she was such a great role model, always dedicated to excellence and so devoted to her children, especially during times of crisis. She was an admirable woman.


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Vietnamese Meatloaf (Mam Chung Thit) Recipe

Vietnamese Meatloaf (Mam Chung Thit)

01.03.10 by Jackie

Mắm chưng thịt is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It's a blend of pork or chicken, crab meat, salted fish fillet in brine, bean thread noodles, mushrooms and eggs.

For this recipe, I used a mix of chicken breast and thighs. The flavor is reminiscent of the filling of a meat egg roll combined with the strong flavor of salted fish fillet in nước mắm (brine). The most common fish used for making steam fish cakes is snakehead fish, though mackerel or catfish can be used as well.


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Banana Flower Salad (Goi Bap Chuoi Chay) Recipe

Banana Flower Salad (Goi Bap Chuoi Chay)

09.25.09 by Jackie

In case you were wondering, banana flowers really are the flowers of the banana plant. They are also known as banana blossoms or banana hearts. The taste is reminiscent of artichoke hearts. They are consumed throughout Southeast Asia and also in India as well. In fact, I bought the banana flowers I used in this dish from an Indian market.

Gỏi bắp chuối chay literally means vegetarian banana flower salad in Vietnamese. It's a popular dish in the Buddhist community where many recipes, due to dietary restrictions requiring vegetarianism, are made to simulate meat. Banana flower salad is thought to imitate the flavor of gỏi gà, Vietnamese chicken salad. Other recipes use ingredients such as tofu skin or fried soy gluten that are chewy and resemble the stringy texture of meat.

This is a dish that is not only exotic but tasty as well. You might not make it every day, but it's definitely something you should try.


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