Vietnamese Dessert with Lotus Seeds and Longans: Chè Sen Nhãn Recipe

According to the Lunar calendar, Tết (Vietnamese New Year) falls on January 30th, 2014. It's customary to serve chè (typical Vietnamese dessert) to offer to ancestors during prayers. Today's dessert recipe is chè sen nhãn. It's made from dried lotus seeds and dried longans, which are perfect for the winter season. 

I prepared a syrup sweetened with Chinese rock sugar. It can be thickened with tapioca starch but the quality of the dried lotus seeds and longans I used was so amazing, it was unnecessary. I feel very blessed because I always have family and friends bringing me delicious, exotic ingredients from their travels to Vietnam. I received lotus seeds threaded as necklaces and the longans had been sun-dried and unsweetened. They came out just perfect: perky and plump, with a hint of natural sweetness. I could have eaten bowls and bowls of this lovely chè.


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Vegan Coconut Soup Recipe Recipe

Vegan Coconut Soup Recipe

01.16.14 by Jackie

I usually pair coconut soup with seafood.  To ensure that the rest of the family could share a similar meal with me, I made scallop-lookalike sweet potato out of a Vietnamese root vegetable called khoai tu. It resembles sugar cane but once cooked, it's starchy with a subtle sweetness. I cut it into the dimension of sea scallops and pan-fried them. Once the fragrant coconut broth is ready, you just need to add the wonderful looking vegetarian "scallops".

Khoai từ has been available at the Asian market this season but it's a little pricey. I think this would make a fabulous dish for you to serve if you celebrate the Vietnamese New Year. I'll try to have a vegetarian diet the days before and after New Year's Day but since it isn't time for the festivities just yet, I indulged in the real thing with fresh, large and sumptuous sea scallops.

 


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Spicy Tilapia Masala Recipe Recipe

Spicy Tilapia Masala Recipe

01.15.14 by Jackie

This is my go-to method for cooking white fish fillets during the winter. I prepared a spicy marinade, then placed the fish fillets in sealable bags and poured the marinade over the fish. I let the flavors infuse into the fish for a a few minutes, then baked it until cooked and opaque.

The recipe works well with any sort of white fish such as tilapia, cod, haddock or halibut. I used tilapia that I served with raita (minty yogurt sauce) and a fresh salad.


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Lobster Tail Stir Fry with Indian Chinese Manchurian Masala Recipe

If you're ever attended an Asian wedding, you've probably witnessed all the seafood dishes at the occasion. Since Chinese New Year is coming up very soon, I wanted to share with you a festive dish that you could prepare. I added my own twist since my home is so multicultural. My husband Lulu's family is from India, so I prepared a garam masala-flavored dry gravy to flavor luxurious lobster tails

Lobster tails were deep-fried first, then sauteed in a black bean garlic sauce and a generous amount of ginger and garam masala. This finger-licking-good seafood dish was meant to be eaten with a large crowd, but since the beginning of this year, baby Aria and I are the last ones who are not vegetarian, so I called my cousins to join in the fun!


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Chestnut Tofu Stir-Fry Recipe Recipe

Chestnut Tofu Stir-Fry Recipe

01.13.14 by Jackie

It's Meatless Monday and we're going to be celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year in about 2 weeks. It's the perfect occasion to show you our family's favorite: tofu stir fry. For this version, I sauteed shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and roasted chestnuts. The chestnuts have a mealy texture that's very satisfying and filling, which is great when you're on a vegetarian diet. I'll be taking the proverbial plunge from the day before the New Year through the day after (there is a tradition of abstaining from meat during this period for the New Year).

I just came home from West Hollywood after promoting my second cookbook Banh Mi during the Golden Globes presentation. I also shared my pandan cookies, and guess what? I'm not big on bragging but everyone adored my signature cookies and the Banh Mi cookbook! I've shared and will share a few photos of the event on my social media channels.


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