Author: Writing With Chopsticks

CRAFTING:  Holiday Pasta Wreath & Pasta Snowflakes

CRAFTING: Holiday Pasta Wreath & Pasta Snowflakes

Ho ho ho, the holiday season is upon us!  Yay!  …or Yay? Last weekend, I had a holiday list of to-do’s, but because it’s not a real holiday season unless you procrastinate and put things off until the last minute, I decided to forgo online […]

Hospital Bag Checklist

Hospital Bag Checklist

To pack or not to pack…when you’re eight or so months prego, that is ONE of the questions.  New moms-to-be have all been there.  Your baby app tells you it’s time to get your hospital bag packed and ready, and your fingers automatically jump over […]

Xa Xiu – BBQ Pork (Char Siu)

Xa Xiu – BBQ Pork (Char Siu)

Xa Xiu Recipe. Char Siu Recipe. BBQ Pork Recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipe

In our Mom’s 52 series, we’ve shared a few recipes calling for Xa Xiu – BBQ Pork.  Otherwise known as Char Siu, Xa Xiu (“sa see-oo”) is the pink-hued pork found hanging in Vietnamese/Chinese meat markets, next to the roasted pig and roasted duck.

Raising four kids while also working a full-time job, Mom perfected the quick & easy version of Xa Xiu over the years.  This is the quick and easy version because it involves a packet of seasoning that Mom adds her own special twist to.  The packet is also what gives Xa Xiu its signature pink hue.  In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing another version of this recipe – one made completely from scratch and not using a packet – so you can pick the version that works best for your family.  Meanwhile, a semi-homemade version beats store-bought Xa Xiu any day!

Xa Xiu – BBQ Pork (Char Siu)

INGREDIENTS – makes 6-8 servings

  • 2 lb. pork roast (sirloin or loin)
  • 1 (2.5 oz.) packet Chinese BBQ seasoning packet
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

—-

DIRECTIONS for XA XIU – BBQ PORK:

  1. Place the pork into a gallon-size storage bag.  Mix the seasoning packet with the soy sauce and EVOO to make a marinade.  Pour the marinade onto the pork in the storage bag, seal the bag, and work the bag slightly to coat the pork.  Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

    Xa Xiu Recipe. Char Siu Recipe. BBQ Pork Recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipe
    Chinese BBQ seasoning packets can be found at many mainstream grocery stores, in the Asian food aisle.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the marinated pork into the baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil.  Reserve the marinade.

    Xa Xiu Recipe. Char Siu Recipe. BBQ Pork Recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipe
    Marinated pork for Xa Xiu.
  3. Depending on the thickness of the pork, bake it for 45 minutes – 1 hour,  until it reaches 145 degrees in the center.  For the last 10 minutes of this time, bake uncovered after basting the pork with the marinade.

    Xa Xiu Recipe. Char Siu Recipe. BBQ Pork Recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipe
    Use the reserved marinade to baste the pork during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  4. When the pork has reached 145 degrees in the center, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing thinly.  Serve Xa Xiu with rice or in popular Vietnamese dishes, such as Hu Tieu – Pork & Noodle Soup.  Enjoy!

    Xa Xiu Recipe. Char Siu Recipe. BBQ Pork Recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipe
    Use a meat thermometer to check Xa Xiu for doneness (145 degrees).

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

Xoi Man – Savory Sticky Rice w/ Pork & Chinese Sausage

Xoi Man – Savory Sticky Rice w/ Pork & Chinese Sausage

We missed a week in our Mom’s 52 series!  Apologies to our subscribers, but we experienced technical difficulties last week when installing upgrades, but rest assured, we are back up and running! Our previous Mom’s 52 recipe showed you how to make a very basic […]

Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Do not adjust your screen – this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is intended to be this bright and orange!  Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice is often the first type of xoi (sticky rice) a Vietnamese person ever tastes, likely in childhood.  Maybe that’s […]

Tom Cang Kho – Braised Prawns

Tom Cang Kho – Braised Prawns

Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a shrimp-lover’s dream.  It’s time to learn how to make mouthwatering Tom Cang Kho – Braised Prawns.

Prawns are larger (and pricier) than standard shrimp.  They’re about 4-6 count, meaning 4-6 prawns weigh one pound.  If you can’t find fresh prawns, you may be able to find a box of frozen prawns at the Asian market.  If you can’t find prawns or large, tiger shrimp, you could even resort to substituting extra large shrimp (at least 8-10 count) in this recipe.

Tom Cang Kho – Braised Prawns

INGREDIENTS – makes 3-4 servings

  • 2 lbs. prawns
  • 3 stalks green onion (chop the white parts, cut the green parts into 2″ pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3.5 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 4 oz. (1/3 of a can) Coco Rico coconut flavored soda
  • black pepper, for garnish

STEP 1:  PREPARE THE PRAWNS for TOM CANG KHO

Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
BEFORE: Prawns before trimming, deveining, and cleaning.
  1. Use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to carefully trim the prawns: Trim off the legs, the hard end of the tail, the rostrum (sharp point on the top of the head), and the long antennae.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Use shears to trim off the legs, tail end, rostrum, and antennae of the prawns.
  2. Make an incision down the body (tail) to then devein the prawn.  The shell of the prawn should otherwise stay intact.
    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Devein the prawns, but keep the rest of the shell intact.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Deveining the prawn.
  3. Rinse clean and pat dry.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    AFTER: Trimmed, deveined, and cleaned prawns.

—-

STEP 2:  MARINATE & COOK THE PRAWNS for TOM CANG KHO

  1. In a shallow dish, mix together the marinade ingredients:  3 stalks chopped green onion (white parts only, reserve the green parts for below), 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, 3.5 tsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce.
  2. Roll the clean, dry prawns in the marinade. Marinate for 15 minutes.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Marinate the prawns.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO on medium heat.  Add to the EVOO 1 Tbsp. minced garlic.  Immediately add the prawns, one-by-one.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Add the prawns to the skillet in a specific order.
  4. Once all the prawns are in the skillet, go back to the first prawn and flip it over.  Continue to then flip the other prawns, in the same order as they were placed into the skillet.  The prawns will already have turned red by now.
  5. Pour the marinade into the skillet, over the prawns.  Add 4 oz. (1/3 of a can) of Coco Rico to the prawns.

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    The Coco Rico will foam initially when added to the prawns.
  6. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, to reduce the liquid and yield a delicious sauce for the prawns.
  7. Add the 2″ pieces of green onion (green parts), and cook for 1 additional minute.  Remove from heat, and sprinkle with black pepper.  Serve with white rice.  Enjoy!

    Tom Cang Kho Recipe. Braised Prawns Recipe. Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Add the green onions to the prawns and reduced sauce just before removing from heat.

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

 

Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert

Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert

Chewy, slightly sweet, and delicious.  Those are words that come to mind when thinking of this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe.  Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert is a Vietnamese classic, so much so that this dish was a part of a cooking […]

Canh O Qua – Bitter Melon Soup

Canh O Qua – Bitter Melon Soup

Like quality dark chocolate or a chunk of strong cheese, this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe can be considered an acquired taste.  Canh O Qua – Bitter Melon Soup is a dish that little kids probably run from, but if you give it a try in […]

Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork

Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork

 

Dau Hu Kho recipe.  Thit Kho Dau Hu Recipe.  Dau Hu Thit Kho Recipe.  Tofu Recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes.  Writing With Chopsticks.

Tofu is a very popular protein in Asian cooking.  Those new to tofu can be easily intimidated by the different varieties found in supermarkets: firm, medium, soft…where do you start?  There’s also the stigma of tofu as a culinary choice made just for hippies and vegans – aren’t tofu consumers just tree-huggers?  Of course not!  But all of these things can make entering the culinary world of tofu a bit daunting.  Today’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a great way to introduce your family to this healthy protein.  Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork is a savory dish and perfect if you’ve been interested in tofu but haven’t found a way to really enjoy it yet.  It also eases you into tofu because of the balance of pork in the dish.

To get the best tofu, or Dau Hu, for most Vietnamese recipes, purchase your tofu at a Vietnamese/Asian market where Dau Hu can usually be found in the refrigerated section near the fresh noodles.  The best types are plastic-wrapped rectangular blocks that are delivered several times a week by local producers.  If you don’t have access to this type of tofu, or you’re purchasing from a larger local market, try soft-to-medium tofu for this recipe.  Quality tofu should have no scent at all.  Fresh tofu lasts only a few days in the refrigerator, so use it quickly after purchasing.

Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large rectangular blocks of fresh tofu (or 4 large squares, each square the size of the palm of your hand)
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 1.3 lbs. pork loin, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3.5 C. chicken broth
  • 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder

—-

STEP 1:  FRY THE TOFU

This dish has a better texture if you fry the tofu yourself, but an alternative to this step is to purchase tofu that is already fried, if you’re short on time.

  1. If using large rectangular blocks of tofu, cut them in half to yield two large squares (4 total squares for the recipe).
  2. Pat the large tofu squares with paper towels to dry them as much as possible to avoid splatters when frying.
  3. Heat 1/2 c. vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Wait about 1 minute for it to get hot.
  4. Very gently slide each square of tofu into the hot oil.  It should bubble immediately.  Fry the tofu for 5-6 minutes on each side to lightly brown.  It’s okay if there are still areas of white.

    Dau Hu Kho recipe.  Thit Kho Dau Hu Recipe.  Dau Hu Thit Kho Recipe.  Tofu Recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    The oil should be hot enough so that small bubbles surround the frying tofu. Adjust the heat as necessary during the frying process.
  5. Remove the tofu from the skillet, and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.  Cut the tofu into 1″ cubes.

    Dau Hu Kho recipe.  Thit Kho Dau Hu Recipe.  Dau Hu Thit Kho Recipe.  Tofu Recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    Frying the tofu helps to hold their shape during braising. Cut the golden tofu into 1″ squares.

—-

STEP 2: BROWN THE PORK

  1. Discard most of the oil from the skillet used in Step 1 above, leaving only a light film of oil in the skillet.  Return the skillet to the heat, and turn the heat up to high.
  2. Add the pork cubes to the skillet, and stir a few seconds to start browning the pork.  Add the sliced green onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam, and 1 Tbsp. sugar to the pork.  Continue to stir to finish browning the outside of the pork, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the entire skillet contents into a large pot.

—-

STEP 3: BRAISE THE TOFU & PORK

  1. Add the fried tofu cubes to the pot of pork.  Pour 3.5 C. chicken broth into the pot, which should nearly cover the pork and tofu.  Add 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder to color the dish a golden hue.

    Dau Hu Kho recipe.  Thit Kho Dau Hu Recipe.  Dau Hu Thit Kho Recipe.  Tofu Recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    The turmeric lends a lovely golden color to this dish. Although it looks a bit like the golden color of yellow curry, this dish does NOT have a curry taste.
  2. Adjust the heat to simmer the pork & tofu for one hour, skimming any scum that rises to the surface.  Remove from heat, and serve with rice.  Enjoy!

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

 

Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding

Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding

It’s summertime, which means you can find fresh, sweet corn for a great deal at the local market.  This week, there’s a local market selling eight ears of corn for only a dollar!  Buy a whole buck worth of corn, grill a few, and save […]

Xiu Mai – Vietnamese Meatballs

Xiu Mai – Vietnamese Meatballs

A popular Vietnamese dish is the Vietnamese sandwich, or Banh Mi.  Banh Mi is a French bread sandwich stuffed with fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumbers, mayonnaise, jalapeno, a dash of pepper and soy sauce, and your choice of meat.  One of my favorite meat options for […]

Mi Xao Mem – Egg Noodle Stir Fry

Mi Xao Mem – Egg Noodle Stir Fry

Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.

It’s FIFA World Cup time, and this week’s Mom’s 52 dish is a Vietnamese recipe that is perfect for getting together with a big group:  Mi Xao Mem – Egg Noodle Stir Fry.  Prepare this easy dish for your next potluck, and free up your time to get back to watching the big game.

Mi Xao Mem – Egg Noodle Stir Fry is similar to Mi Xao Don, but instead of laying on a bird’s nest of crunchy noodles, Mi Xao Mem involves soft egg noodles.  Like most stir fry dishes, a great thing about this Mi Xao Mem recipe is that it allows you to apply most any protein and combination of vegetables you enjoy (or that you have laying around in your kitchen).  Mom suggests using a variety of vegetables – the more colors, the better!

Fresh egg noodles can be found in most Asian food markets in the refrigerated section.  Mom used wide egg noodles here, but you can use the thin egg noodles, if desired.

Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.
Fresh egg noodles are soft and have visible spots of flour dusted on them.

Mi Xao Mem – Egg Noodle Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS – makes 4-6 servings

For the Mi Xao Mem meat marinade:

  • 1 lb. your choice of meat, thinly sliced (Ex. pork loin, beef ribeye, beef eye of round, chicken breast, …)
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. shallots, chopped

For the Mi Xao Mem noodles:

  • 1 pkg. (about 16 oz.) fresh egg noodles
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

The final ingredients for Mi Xao Mem:

  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 5 C. your choice of vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces***  (Ex. broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, bok choy, gai lan, …)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • pepper and a handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish

*** If using hard-stemmed vegetables, blanch them first by boiling water and adding the vegetables to cook for 30 seconds before draining.

—-

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE MEAT FOR MI XAO MEM

  1.  In a medium bowl, mix your choice of meat together with 2 tsp. oyster sauce, 2 tsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and 1 Tbsp. chopped shallots.  Set aside to marinate.

    Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.
    Move on to the next step while your meat for Mi Xao Mem marinates. Pictured here: sliced pork loin.

—-

STEP 2:  PREPARE THE EGG NOODLES FOR MI XAO MEM

  1. Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.  Once the water boils, add the fresh egg noodles and stir gently.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse, and drain again.

    Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.
    Boil the egg noodles for Mi Xao Mem.
  2. Use kitchen shears to roughly cut the cooked noodles into thirds.
  3. Pour 3 Tbsp. EVOO into the empty medium pot, and turn on medium heat.  Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, and cook for 10 seconds to bring out the garlic flavor.
  4. Add the boiled noodles to the EVOO and garlic.  Stir to fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add to the noodles 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Stir to fry for another minute.  Pour the noodles into a serving dish.

    Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.
    Cooked and seasoned egg noodles for Mi Xao Mem.

—-

STEP 3:  FINALIZE MI XAO MEM

  1. Using the same pot, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat.  Add 1 clove chopped garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the marinated meat.  Stir to brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce.  Toss until everything is fully cooked, about 3-5 minutes, depending on your choice of meat and vegetables.

    Mi Xao recipe. Mi Xao Mem recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks Vietnamese Recipes.
    Use a variety of vegetables to yield a colorful Mi Xao Mem dish.
  4. Pour the cooked meat and vegetables onto the platter of noodles.  Toss well to combine.  Sprinkle pepper and chopped cilantro atop your Mi Xao Mem dish to complete.  Enjoy!

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad

Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad

The first day of summer arrives in a few days, so this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a refreshing dish to help combat the hot days to come.  Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad is technically considered an appetizer in Vietnamese cuisine, and if […]

Hu Tieu – Pork & Seafood Soup

Hu Tieu – Pork & Seafood Soup

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is one of my favorite Vietnamese noodle soup dishes.  Hu Tieu – Pork & Seafood Soup is perhaps the little-known cousin of the more popular Pho noodle soup, but once you taste this flavorful dish, you’ll realize that this Hu […]

Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds

Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds

Xoi recipe. Xoi Me recipe.

Xoi, pronounced soy, is a category of Vietnamese cuisine that, with its world of flavor combinations, could be the topic of an entire blog itself.  Like stir fry dishes, Xoi can work with any blend of main ingredients that sound good to you and, more importantly, that you already have in your pantry.

What is Xoi?  Xoi is simply sticky rice, also known as sweet rice.  Sticky/sweet rice kernels are more opaque than traditional white rice, and they stick together once steamed.  Whipping up Xoi recipes requires a little more forethought, as the kernels need to be soaked in water overnight before steaming, but the process of making Xoi is otherwise quite simple.

We’ve already posted one hearty version of Xoi here in our Mom’s 52 series:  Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage.  Today, we are going to explore a lighter Xoi recipe, one that can be eaten alone as a snack or for breakfast, or substituted for traditional rice in any meal.

Today’s Mom’s 52 recipe is Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds.  Here, the sesame seeds, or Me (pronounced may-uh) are toasted to really bring out a nutty flavor that seasons the Xoi.

Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds

INGREDIENTS – makes 3 servings

  • 2 C. sweet rice, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 C. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

—-

DIRECTIONS

  1. Drain the sweet rice kernels.  Place them in the top basket of a steamer, with holes small enough so the rice does not fall through.  Gently spread the rice kernels, but leave a ring of open steamer holes around the rice to allow steam in.  Cover with the steamer lid.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Make sure to leave open holes in the steamer basket so the steam can rise to cook the Xoi.
  2. Fill the lower level of the steamer with at least 2 inches of water. Begin to steam the sweet rice on medium heat.  Note the time.  IMPORTANT:  As you proceed through the next two steps, you will need to return to gently toss the steaming rice every 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour 1/2 C. sesame seeds into a small skillet.  Using low heat, toast the sesame seeds by tossing the seeds constantly using a small spoon or chopsticks.  It will take about 5 minutes to lightly brown the sesame seeds and bring out their rich flavor and fragrant aroma.  Remove from heat.
    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Sesame seeds, or Me, are a pale white color before toasting for Xoi Me.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Toasted sesame seeds for your Xoi Me recipe should be a golden brown color.
  4. (Don’t forget to toss your steaming rice.)  Using a mortar & pestle, grind the sesame seeds to break them down a bit.  Alternatively, pulse them a few times in a small food processor.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Grind the sesame seeds for Xoi Me just slightly, to further release the toasty flavor of the seeds.
  5. Once the rice has been steaming for 30 minutes, sprinkle 1 Tbsp. EVOO, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 3/4 tsp. salt onto the rice.  Toss well to distribute these ingredients.  Cover the rice and steam for an additional 10 minutes (no need to toss during this time).
  6. For the final step, uncover the steamer once more, and add to the rice the toasted sesame seeds.  Toss well and steam a final 15 minutes (no need to toss during this time).  Remove from heat.  Enjoy!

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    The toasted sesame seeds turn the steamed sticky rice into a light auburn color, yielding delicious Xoi Me.

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

Canh Bau Recipe – Opo Squash Soup

Canh Bau Recipe – Opo Squash Soup

It’s the middle of the week, you’re short on time, but you don’t want to give in and order fast food for dinner.  What to do?  This healthy Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup recipe is super easy, easy, easy.  Here, we take a popular […]

Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad

Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a light dish that’s a bit of a cross between a beef carpaccio and a ceviche.  Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad – is made from seared beef ribeye lightly tossed in a lime vinaigrette.  Bo Tai Chanh […]

Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves

Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves

Bo La Lot recipe

Happy Mother’s Day!  To celebrate Mom today, three generations of our family got together to make this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe, under the supervision and direction of Mom, of course.  The result?  One of our family’s favorite dishes made with betel leaves from Dad’s garden, and hand-rolled by Mom’s kids and grandkids.  Get together with your loved ones to make savory Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves.

If you’ve ever dined in a “Beef 7 Ways” type of Vietnamese restaurant, where you cook the meat in the middle of the table and wrap your own spring rolls, you may have tried Bo La Lot as one of the 7 Ways.

Betel leaves, or la lot, are bright, green leaves about the size of your fist.  Dad grows them at home, and they grow like weeds, spreading around so much that he usually harvests enough at a time for us and his neighbors.  Mom says that betel leaves can also be readily found in large Vietnamese/Chinese supermarkets.  If you stumble across some, definitely give this recipe a try.

Betel leaves.  Betel leaf.  Bo La Lot recipe.
Betel leaves, or “la lot”.

Bo La Lot – Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped lemongrass
  • 5 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2.5 lbs. beef ribeye, finely sliced OR sliced and then coarsely chopped by a food processor
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine (optional)

—-

STEP 1: MARINATE THE BEEF

  1. First, lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic by placing them in a small pan with the EVOO and heating on low to medium heat.  Stir as it cooks and fills the kitchen with a great aroma, about 5 minutes to desired golden brown color.

    Lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic, to marinate the beef for Bo La Lot.
    Lightly brown the lemongrass and garlic, to marinate the beef for Bo La Lot.
  2. Place the ribeye in a large mixing bowl, and add the lightly browned lemongrass and garlic mixture, including the EVOO.  Add the oyster sauce, pepper, sugar, and (if desired) red wine.  Mix well.  Marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes.

    Marinate the beef for Bo La Lot for at least 30 minutes.
    Marinate the beef for Bo La Lot for at least 30 minutes.

—-

STEP 2: ROLL THE BO LA LOT

  1. Place a betel leaf on a plate with the dull colored side of the betel leaf facing up and the stem pointing towards the top of the plate.  Spoon about a tablespoon of marinated meat onto the betel leaf, about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom.

    Bo La Lot recipe
    Spoon a generous amount of marinated beef onto the betel leaf for Bo La Lot.
  2. Starting from the bottom, tightly roll the betel leaf up and toward the stem, and use the stem to skewer the leaf to hold the roll together.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t stay tightly rolled, as you can adjust the shape as you cook the Bo La Lot below.

    Bo La Lot recipe
    Tuck the stem into the rolled Bo La Lot, to help the roll stay together.
  3. Repeat until you run out of leaves or beef.  This should make approximately 40 rolls.

—-

STEP 3: GRILL OR FRY THE BO LA LOT

You can cook Bo La Lot on the grill or on the stovetop.  We grilled ours this time, but we have cooked Bo La Lot by simply frying it on the stovetop as well, still yielding great results.  If frying, use medium heat until it reaches the forest green color below.

Dad has grilling grates, which make grilling Bo La Lot a lot easier.  If you don’t have these grates, simply skewer the rolls (after first soaking the skewers in water to prevent them from burning).  Grill for about 5 minutes to reach the desired color below.

Use a grilling grate like this to easily grill a large batch of Bo La Lot.
Use a grilling grate like this to easily grill a large batch of Bo La Lot.
Bo La Lot recipe
Bo La Lot, before cooking, are a bright shade of green.

 

Bo La Lot recipe
Cooking Bo La Lot will darken the rolls to a forest green color.

Serve Bo La Lot with rice, or as the meat inside your own handmade spring rolls.  Enjoy!

Comments make me happy.  Please post your comments below!  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!  Pass it on…

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Want a simple and healthy lunch, or a simple and crowd-pleasing appetizer?  This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for the popular Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls.  You know Goi Cuon – they’re the delicious appetizer you’ll find in most neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants.  Although the […]

Ca Chien – Fried Fish

Ca Chien – Fried Fish

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a simple, minimal ingredient dish:  Ca Chien – Fried Fish.  First, find a good place to get fresh fish.  Do not be intimidated to order fresh fish at the counter, as opposed to pre-packaged fish.  This way, you can […]

Ga Nuong – Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

Ga Nuong – Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

Ga Nuong 1

Spring is here!  It’s time to get outdoors, and outdoors + food = time to fire up the grill!  This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for Ga Nuong – Grilled Lemongrass Chicken.  This is best cooked on the grill, to get a nice char on the chicken.  Even if you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can still try Ga Nuong by baking your chicken, followed by a quick few minutes under the broiler.

This recipe calls for lots of lemongrass.  If you don’t want to deal with big, messy stalks of fresh lemongrass, try frozen, minced lemongrass, which still yields a fresh fragrance when thawed.  Minced lemongrass is readily available in most Chinese/Vietnamese markets in the freezer section, and this shortcut is Mom-approved!

Ga Nuong – Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. minced lemongrass

—-

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE CHICKEN

  1. Unroll each chicken thigh, and cut slits into each piece, making sure not to slice all the way through.  This will allow more marinade to soak into the chicken.

    Cut long slits into the chicken thighs to allow the marinade to soak further into the chicken for Ga Nuong.
    Cut long slits into the chicken thighs to allow the marinade to soak further into the chicken for Ga Nuong.
  2. Place the chicken into a large mixing bowl, and add the pepper, onion powder, sugar, nuoc mam, and oyster sauce.
  3. Heat the EVOO in a small skillet on low to medium heat.  Add to the EVOO the chopped garlic and minced lemongrass.  Stir to brown the garlic and lemongrass, about 3 minutes. This will intensify the wonderful fragrance of these ingredients.  Once browned, pour this mixture over the chicken.

    Brown the garlic and lemongrass before adding to the Ga Nuong marinade.
    Brown the garlic and lemongrass before adding to the Ga Nuong marinade.
  4. Stir all ingredients to marinate the chicken, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  For easy party prep, marinate your chicken for Ga Nuong the night before in the refrigerator.

    Marinate Ga Nuong for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
    Marinate Ga Nuong for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

—-

STEP 2:  GRILL THE CHICKEN

  1. Fire up the grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Grill Ga Nuong on a greased grill until cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side, depending on the intensity of your grill.
  3. Serve Ga Nuong with rice and your choice of vegetables.  Enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Did you try this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Thit Cha Bong – Shredded Chicken

Thit Cha Bong – Shredded Chicken

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe brings back memories of my childhood.  My mom would make a batch of Thit Cha Bong – Shredded Chicken and keep it saved in the refrigerator for quick and easy meals for us kids.  Even when other kids around us […]

Canh Bi Dao – Winter Melon Soup

Canh Bi Dao – Winter Melon Soup

There have been some warmer days recently that are giving us a glimpse of the summer heat to come, but before the heat hits us, there are some cool weather vegetables that deserve our attention before they’re gone.  One interesting vegetable at the Chinese/Vietnamese market […]

Pate So (Pate Chaud) – Pork Puff Pastry

Pate So (Pate Chaud) – Pork Puff Pastry

Pate So 1

Due to its rich (and often tumultuous) history, Vietnam has been influenced by other countries in its cuisine.  One of those other countries is France, and the French influence is evident in Vietnamese foods like the popular Banh Mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches made with French bread.  This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for another very French-influenced item:  Pate So (or Pate Chaud) – Pork Puff Pastry.  This dish is perfect for parties, to serve a flaky and savory appetizer to your guests.  With most grocery stores carrying frozen puff pastry sheets, Pate So / Pate Chaud is also easier than ever to whip up.  Impress your guests at your next dinner party by following this easy recipe.

Pate So / Pate Chaud

INGREDIENTS – 12 pastries

  • 1.5 C. coursely chopped onion
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2.5 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 (17.3 oz) package of frozen puff pastry sheets
  • 1 egg, separated into 2 separate bowls (yolk vs. white)

    Frozen puff pastry sheets like these are easy to find at most grocery stores.  Use the SHEETS, not the shells or cups.
    Frozen puff pastry sheets like these are easy to find at most grocery stores. Use the SHEETS, not the shells or cups.

—-

STEP 1:  MAKE THE PATE SO / PATE CHAUD FILLING

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, ground pork, oyster sauce, pepper, salt, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Mix to combine.

    Make sure the onions are coarse and chunky, for a nice texture when biting in Pate So / Pate Chaud.
    Make sure the onions are coarse and chunky, for a nice texture when biting in Pate So / Pate Chaud.

—-

STEP 2:  MAKE THE PATE SO / PATE CHAUD POCKETS

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 370 degrees.
  2. Remove the puff pastry sheets from the packaging.  There should be two large sheets, each tri-folded.  Let these sheets semi-thaw so you can easily unfold them, but do not let them thaw completely so as to make them soggy.  Once semi-thawed, unfold one sheet onto a large cutting board.
  3. Using a knife, cut the unfolded puff pastry sheet along the fold lines, yielding three long pieces.  Then, cut the three long pieces in half (perpendicular to your previous cuts) to yield six rectangles.  Repeat this with the other puff pastry sheet, yielding 12 total pieces.
  4. Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of the pork filling onto each puff pastry piece, placing them a bit off-center.  Pile it on!

    You may feel like there's too much Pate So / Pate Chaud filling, but the puff pastry will wrap over nicely, despite the heaping mound of filling.
    You may feel like there’s too much Pate So / Pate Chaud filling, but the puff pastry will wrap over nicely, despite the heaping mound of filling.
  5. Brush a small amount of egg white along the edges of each puff pastry piece.
  6. Fold the puff pastry pieces in half to cover the filling, and pinch along the edges to create a small pocket, squeezing out air along the way.

    It's okay if the Pate So / Pate Chaud pocket still has a seam, as long as it's closed.  The pastry will puff and seal further while baking.
    It’s okay if the Pate So / Pate Chaud pocket still has a seam, as long as it’s closed. The pastry will puff and seal further while baking.
  7. The pocket will resemble a large piece of ravioli.  Place the pockets on the baking sheet.

    Leave enough space between the Pate So / Pate Chaud pockets, as they will puff while baking.  Use two baking sheets, if needed.
    Leave enough space between the Pate So / Pate Chaud pockets, as they will puff while baking. Use two baking sheets, if needed.

—-

STEP 3:  BAKE & FINALIZE PATE SO / PATE CHAUD

  1. Bake the Pate So / Pate Chaud pockets for 40 minutes.  (It’s normal for liquid from the filling to leak out a bit and possibly caramelize while baking.)
  2. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  3. Combine the remaining egg white with the reserved egg yolk.  Brush the tops of the baked Pate So / Pate Chaud with the egg.

    Brushing the Pate So / Pate Chaud with egg will help color them without overcooking.
    Brushing the Pate So / Pate Chaud with egg will help color them without overcooking.
  4. Return the pockets to the oven and bake a final 8 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool before serving.

    Pate So / Pate Chaud will turn a lovely golden brown when ready.
    Pate So / Pate Chaud will turn a lovely golden brown when ready.

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Did you try this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert

Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert

Dessert!  This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a Vietnamese dessert called Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert.  Don’t run away at the sound of beans in a dessert; sweetened beans are common in Eastern Asian desserts, and believe me when I […]

Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a dish that is versatile enough to serve over rice, noodles, or with a side of French bread for dipping.  It can also be eaten as is, without any accompaniment at all.  Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew […]

Mi Xao Don – Crunchy Bird’s Nest w/ Beef Stir Fry

Mi Xao Don – Crunchy Bird’s Nest w/ Beef Stir Fry

Mi Xao Don 1

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a popular dish among kids and adults alike.  Mi Xao Don – Crunchy Bird’s Nest w/ Beef Stir Fry is a crowd-pleaser because of its fun crunch and savory topping.  This is a great dish to throw together at the end of your week, when you’ve got a variety of leftover vegetables in your refrigerator.  The vegetables are pretty versatile here, and although on this day, Mom used bell peppers, broccoli, and celery, the vegetables can be switched out with vegetables of your choice.  Throw together squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, or anything else that’s crunchy and colorful for a quick and easy meal.

Mi Xao Don – Crunchy Bird’s Nest w/ Beef Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 1 lb. beef ribeye, sliced thinly
  • 3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. + 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • canola oil, enough to reach 1/2″ up the side of a wide pot or skillet
  • 2 servings (about 7 oz.) of fresh egg noodles
  • 4 C. of your choice of vegetables, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 C. chicken broth
  • 3 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • pepper and chopped cilantro, for garnish
Fresh egg noodles like these for Mi Xao Don can be found in the refrigerated section of many Chinese or Vietnamese markets.
Fresh egg noodles like these for Mi Xao Don can be found in the refrigerated section of many Chinese or Vietnamese markets.

—-

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE MEAT FOR MI XAO DON

  • In a large mixing bowl, top the sliced ribeye with 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 3/4 tsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 2 tsp. EVOO.  Mix well and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

    Marinate the beef ribeye for Mi Xao Don for at least 15 minutes.
    Marinate the beef ribeye for Mi Xao Don for at least 15 minutes.

____

STEP 2:  MAKE THE BIRD’S NEST FOR MI XAO DON

  • Pour enough canola oil into a wide pot or skillet to reach 1/2″ up the side.  Heat the oil on medium heat.
  • Take one serving of fresh egg noodles and spread it out onto a large plate.

    Spread the egg noodles out on a large plate before frying and making the Bird's Nest for Mi Xao Don.
    Spread the egg noodles out on a large plate before frying and making the Bird’s Nest for Mi Xao Don.
  • When the oil is hot, gently slide the egg noodles from the plate into the oil.
  • Cook the noodles for about 1 minute and flip over, cooking for an additional 30 seconds.

    The noodles for Mi Xao Don should gently sizzle when frying.  If it pops, the oil is too hot.  If it does not sizzle, it's not hot enough.
    The noodles for Mi Xao Don should gently sizzle when frying. If it pops, the oil is too hot. If it does not sizzle, it’s not hot enough.
  • Remove the noodles from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Once drained, remove the paper towels from the plate.

    The fried Bird's Nest is the crunchy base for Mi Xao Don.
    The fried Bird’s Nest is the crunchy base for Mi Xao Don.
  • Repeat to make a second Bird’s Nest.

____

STEP 3:  MAKE THE BEEF STIR FRY FOR MI XAO DON

  • In a large, glass measuring cup (for easy pouring later), mix together 1 C. chicken broth, 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce, and 3 tsp. cornstarch.  Set this “sauce” aside.
  • In a skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of EVOO on medium heat.  Once heated, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and stir to bring out the garlic aroma.
  • Add to the skillet the marinated meat.  Quickly stir fry to brown the meat.
  • Add to the skillet your vegetables.  Continue to stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes to cook the meat and vegetables through.
  • Gently stir the “sauce” prepared above, and pour it into the skillet.  Stir for 30 seconds to thicken the stir fry, and remove from heat.  Top each Bird’s Nest from Step 2 above with this beef stir fry.
  • Garnish with pepper and cilantro, and enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Did you try this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a dish that was served at almost every party my family attended when I was a kid.  A big pot of Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry, next to a platter of sliced French bread, is a […]

Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage

Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage

This week’s Mom’s 52 Recipe is for Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage.  This is a savory dish that is a favorite among children, or a fast breakfast when reheated in the morning for on-the-go adults. Xoi (pronounced “soy”), or Vietnamese sticky […]

Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Shaken Beef

Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Shaken Beef

Bo Luc Lac 1

This week’s Mom’s 52 Vietnamese recipe is oh so delicious, my mouth is watering as I type this. A great cut of beef.  Fresh vegetables topped with a light vinaigrette.  A side of rice.  Lime juice for dipping.  Mmmmm.  It’s time to make a popular Vietnamese dish called Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Shaken Beef.

In Vietnamese, Bo means beef, and Luc Lac literally means shaken.  This recipe involves very quickly stir-frying (“shaking”) marinated beef filet mignon at an extremely high heat, yielding a tender, medium-rare dish that goes perfectly with rice and fresh vegetables.  Better yet, it’s a quick dish to make any day of the week.

Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Shaken Beef

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings:

For the Bo Luc Lac:

  • 1.3 lbs. beef filet mignon, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 10 garlic cloves + additional 1/2 C. garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 3/4 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. + additional 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 C. cooked white rice

For the vinaigrette & vegetables:

  • 1/4 C. white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head green leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

For the lime dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 C. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

—–

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE BEEF

  1. Crush 10 cloves of garlic.  Add to the crushed garlic the following ingredients, and mix well to make a savory marinade:
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 tsp.onion powder
    • 1.5 Tbsp. oyster sauce
    • 3/4 Tbsp. honey
    • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  2. Pour the marinade over the beef cubes.  Mix well to combine.  Cover and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

    Marinate the beef fllet mignon for at least 20 minutes to maximize the flavor of Bo Luc Lac.
    Marinate the beef filet mignon for at least 20 minutes to maximize the flavor of Bo Luc Lac.

—–

STEP 2:  MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE & PREPARE THE VEGETABLES

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the following ingredients until well blended:
    • 1/4 C. white vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 Tbsp. sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  2. Add to the vinaigrette the finely sliced onion and gently toss to coat the onion pieces.  Let this sit for 10 minutes.

    Vinaigrette & onions, for Bo Luc Lac.
    Vinaigrette & onions, for Bo Luc Lac.
  3. Divide among 4 plates the green lettuce, watercress, and sliced tomatoes.  Top these fresh vegetables with the marinated onions and a couple of spoonfuls of vinaigrette, to taste.

—–

STEP 4:  MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

  1. Combine 1/4 C. lime juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper, and mix well.  Divide this dipping sauce among 4 ramekins for dipping the beef at the table.

—–

STEP 5:  STIR-FRY THE BEEF

  1. The beef for Bo Luc Lac should be cooked in batches, per individual serving.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tsp. of EVOO on high heat.  Wait for the skillet to get very hot.
  3. Add to the skillet 1/8 C. garlic cloves.  Stir quickly to darken the garlic.
  4. Add to the skillet and garlic 1/4 of the marinated beef.  Stir quickly and constantly to flash stir-fry the beef, about 90 seconds.  This should yield medium-rare, tender beef.  (For beef that is more cooked through, cook slightly longer.)

    Stir-fry the marinated beef filet mignon at a very high heat, for tender Bo Luc Lac.
    Stir-fry the marinated beef filet mignon at a very high heat, for tender Bo Luc Lac.
  5. Pour the cooked beef onto the prepared plate, next to the vegetables.
  6. Repeat these cooking steps (2-5) for each additional serving.  Wipe down the skillet between each batch, to avoid burnt bits.  [Dad’s tip: use rice to “wipe down the skillet” between batches and add extra flavor to your rice!]

Serve with white rice and the lime dipping sauce from Step 4 above.  Enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup

Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup

We’re having a pretty cold winter this year, and when it’s cold outside, it’s great to warm up with different types of soup.   This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for the most traditional, no-carb (no noodles or rice) Vietnamese soup I can think of: […]

Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls

Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls

Now that everyone’s had their fill of chips and dips and everything else we ate during the Superbowl, here’s a different appetizer to treat your taste buds.  This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for homemade Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls.  Touchdown! Cha Gio – Vietnamese […]

Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast

Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast

Shrimp Toast 1

Crunchy goodness!  That’s how to describe this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe.  Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast is traditionally a side dish, often accompanying noodle dishes.  It also works great as an appetizer for parties.  Trust me when I say that you should make extra Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast.  These things disappear very quickly!

Traditionally, Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast is deep fried, but this recipe cuts out a lot of the fat by cooking the meat first before baking the toast.  The result is a crunchy delight you won’t feel so guilty about devouring.

Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast

INGREDIENTS – makes 12 toasts:

  • 1/4 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 dashes of pepper
  • 2 dashes of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2/3 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1 tsp. + 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 (12″) loaf of french bread
  • 1 egg white

___

STEP 1:  MAKE THE MEAT TOPPING

  1. Using a food processor or the flat end of a large knife, smash the shrimp.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the smashed shrimp, ground pork, green onion, shallot, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, and nuoc mam (fish sauce).  Mix well to combine and make a meat paste.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tsp. EVOO on medium to high heat.  Add the meat paste and fry,  flipping once and separating the meat into flat patties about 2″-3″ in diameter while frying.  It is easier to let the meat cook a bit before breaking it into patty pieces.  Fry until the meat is cooked through, roughly 5 minutes or less.

    Fry the meat for Banh Mi Tom - Shrimp Toast before baking, to ensure it is cooked through.
    Fry the meat for Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast before baking, to ensure it is cooked through.

___

STEP 2:  ASSEMBLE & BAKE BANH MI TOM – SHRIMP TOAST

  1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees.
  2. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the french bread into 1″ thick pieces, yielding 12 slices.
  3. Brush each bread slice with EVOO on one side.
  4. Top each bread slice, on the side with the EVOO, with the cooked meat from Step 1.
  5. Brush each piece with egg white so the meat will stick to the toast when it bakes.  Place the slices onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until crunchy.  Enjoy!

    Banh Mi Tom - Shrimp Toast is baked, yielding a healthier alternative than via frying.
    Banh Mi Tom – Shrimp Toast is baked, yielding a healthier alternative than via frying.

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

 

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

This week’s Mom’s 52 dish is likely the simplest Vietnamese noodle soup to make.  If you’re craving a warm, noodle soup, but you’re short on time, Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup is the way to go.  This dish can be made in just about […]

Com Chien Ga Lap Xuong – Chicken Fried Rice

Com Chien Ga Lap Xuong – Chicken Fried Rice

We’re back!  Thanks for being patient while Mom was fighting a bug last week.  Unfortunately, she’s still not 100% better, and add the fact that I’m battling my own little bug, and it’s been a rough week!  We couldn’t let our Mom’s 52 readers down, […]

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup 1

This week, Mom caught a bug and is feeling under the weather, so we weren’t able to get together for a Mom’s 52 recipe.  (Sad face.)  We’ll make up for it as soon as Mom feels better, of course, but it got me thinking about turning the tables.  Chicken Tortilla Soup is a dish that Mom requests from me and is a perfect addition to our younger Most Requested series, which focuses on other family favorites that span different cuisines.  If you’ve got a slow cooker, this version of Chicken Tortilla Soup is an easy, one-pot, set-it-and-forget-it dish.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 large servings:

  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (7 oz.) can of mild diced green chiles
  • 1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce
  • 2 C. of chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. of dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 frozen chicken breast
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 C. frozen corn
  • for garnish:  shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado chunks, tortilla strips, lime juice

—–

  1. Place all ingredients (EXCEPT the frozen corn and garnish) into a large slow cooker.  Mix gently to combine.

    Add the frozen chicken breast directly to the slow cooker to start chicken tortilla soup.  So easy!
    Add the frozen chicken breast directly to the slow cooker to start chicken tortilla soup. So easy!
  2. Cook on HIGH for a total of 4 hours.  After three hours, add the frozen corn to cook it only during the last hour.
  3. Remove the cooked chicken and shred with a fork.  Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and mix well.

    Finely shred the chicken with a fork and return to the slow cooker to finish chicken tortilla soup.
    Finely shred the chicken with a fork and return to the slow cooker to finish chicken tortilla soup.
  4. Serve the chicken tortilla soup topped with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado chunks, tortilla strips, and lime juice, to taste.  Enjoy!

—-

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Eggrolls

Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Eggrolls

Vietnamese restaurants have become rather popular in recent years, and while the dishes served are often quite delicious, it’s interesting to go through a menu and realize that many of the offerings are not commonly served in Vietnamese homes, at least not on a regular […]

Pho Bo Recipe – Beef Noodle Soup

Pho Bo Recipe – Beef Noodle Soup

Pho shizzle!  It’s time to try your hand at making the dish that Vietnamese cuisine is likely most often associated with – Pho Bo.  Pho, pronounced “fuh,” is the popular noodle soup dish popping up in Vietnamese restaurants everywhere.  Pho Bo is the beef version, […]

Dua Cai – Pickled Mustard Greens

Dua Cai – Pickled Mustard Greens

Dua Cai 6

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a side dish that is the perfect accompaniment to last week’s Thit Kho Trung –  Braised Pork & Egg.  Dua Cai, or Pickled Mustard Greens, are crunchy, salty and downright delightful.  Mom often has Dua Cai on hand for a quick bite, even for something as simple as an easy snack of rice, soy sauce, and Dua Cai.

This is also known as Dua Cai Chua, but we grew up referring to this side dish as just plain “Dua Cai.”  Maybe we just used an abbreviated term so we could get to eating them faster!

The great news about Dua Cai is that it’s so easy to make!  To-go soup containers are a great way to store Dua Cai while it pickles, or used glass jars also work well – just rinse them in a vinegar-water mix to get rid of any prior food scents first.  Dua Cai keeps well in the refrigerator and is also great for sharing with friends, so I’ve kept the recipe below at the same large amount that Mom makes.  Feel free to decrease the size, if desired.

Dua Cai – Pickled Mustard Greens

INGREDIENTS – makes 20 individual side servings:

  • 3-4 heads (about 8 C.) of mustard greens, or Cai Lam Dua
  • 3 bunches of green onions
  • 1/2 gallon of boiled, hot water
  • 1/4 C. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 C. white vinegar

—–

STEP 1:  PREPARE THE MUSTARD GREENS & GREEN ONIONS

  1. The night before preparing Dua Cai, let the mustard green bunches sit out at room temperature to gently wilt.

    Mustard greens left out overnight will wilt some, as intended, for Dua Cai.
    Mustard greens left out overnight will wilt some, as intended, for Dua Cai.
  2. The next day, trim the mustard greens into bite-sized, 1″ pieces.
  3. Trim the green onions into large, 2″ pieces.
  4. Wash & drain the mustard greens and green onions.

    Trimmed and washed mustard greens and green onions, for Dua Cai.
    Trimmed and washed mustard greens and green onions, for Dua Cai.

—–

STEP 2:  PICKLE THE MUSTARD GREENS

  1. Select your pickling container(s) of choice, whether an extra large glass jar, or several smaller containers.
  2. Fill the container(s) halfway with 1/2 a gallon of boiled, hot water.
  3. Add to the container(s) a TOTAL of 1/4 C. salt, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/4 C. white vinegar.  Be careful to distribute divisions of these ingredients evenly if using several smaller containers.
  4. Add the mustard greens and green onions to the container(s).  Stuff the container(s) tightly, filling them to about 2-3″ from the top.  The greens will shrink as they pickle.  If using an extra large glass jar, place a plastic lid onto the mustard greens (in the brine) to press them down and keep them submerged in the pickling brine.  Close the container(s) and place on a plate to catch any brine which may overflow over the next few days.
  5. Store Dua Cai at room temperature for 3-4 days, until the greens all reach a yellow-green hue.  Once you’ve reached optimal flavor and color, carefully open the container to pour out a bit of excess brine.  Store Dua Cai in the refrigerator to stop the pickling process.  Serve Dua Cai as a crunchy, salty side to any Vietnamese dish.

Here is a photo timeline of Dua Cai as it pickles over four days:

Dua Cai on Day 1: greens have just been added to the brine and are bright in color.
Dua Cai on Day 1:
Greens have just been added to the brine and are bright in color.
Dua Cai on Day 2: the green color is duller today.
Dua Cai on Day 2:
The green color is duller today.
Dua Cai on Day 3: many of the greens are reaching the optimal yellow-green hue, but there are still some greener pieces.
Dua Cai on Day 3:
Many of the greens are reaching the optimal yellow-green hue, but there are still some greener pieces.
Dua Cai on Day 4: brining is complete.  All of the greens have reached the correct hue.
Dua Cai on Day 4:
Brining is complete. All of the greens have reached the correct hue.

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg

Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg

Since originally posting this recipe last year, I’ve made this recipe TONS of times for family gatherings, girls’ night in, and even as a change up to the traditional casserole gift for a friend who just had a baby.  With all that practice, I’ve added to […]

Goi Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Goi Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Salad

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is the second entry of a two part series, which began last week with Chao Ga – Chicken Congee.   In last week’s recipe, we cooked a whole chicken (or leg quarters) to create a fragrant chicken stock.  This week, […]

Chao Ga – Chicken Congee

Chao Ga – Chicken Congee

Chao Ga 1

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is perfect for cold days.  It’s also a wonderful dish to make when a loved one is feeling under the weather.  When I was young, any time I had a cold or an upset stomach, Mom’s Chao Ga – Chicken Congee always made me feel better.

Chao Ga is a flavorful Vietnamese porridge.  The term “porridge” does not usually evoke cravings, but Chao Ga is delicious, with its balance of chicken flavor and soothing ginger.  If you do not have a whole chicken available, leg quarters are a good substitute.

This Mom’s 52 recipe is a special one, as Mom often pairs Chao Ga with another dish – Goi Ga, or Vietnamese Chicken Salad.  As a result, part of the directions below will apply to next week’s Mom’s 52 recipe:  Goi Ga.  If you choose not to make Goi Ga, you can use the leftover cooked chicken below for any other recipe you wish.  Consider this recipe part 1 of a two part series.

Chao Ga – Chicken Congee

INGREDIENTS – to serve 4-6:

  • 1 whole young chicken, inners removed and cut into parts; OR 5 leg quarters.  Optional: peel & discard skin of chicken to reduce fat.
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 C. uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 C. uncooked sweet rice
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • 3.5 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, aka fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. of ginger, finely julienned; OR grated for a more subtle ginger flavor
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • fresh cilantro and rau ram herbs, chopped, for garnish
  • pepper, for garnish
In addition to Jasmine rice, sweet rice is also used in this Chao Ga recipe, to better thicken the dish.
In addition to Jasmine rice, sweet rice is also used in this Chao Ga recipe, to better thicken the dish.

—–

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE CHICKEN

It’s tempting to try to cut out this step, but Mom says it’s important to do this to yield clear chicken stock for your Chao Ga.  This step “cleans” the chicken.

  1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water, and turn on high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the chicken pieces and stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Drain by carefully pouring the pot contents into a colander over the sink.
  4. Rinse the pot well, as it will be used in Step 2 below.
  5. Rinse the drained meat well to rinse off the scum, and drain again.
Whole chicken cut into pieces and blanched for Chao Ga.  An alternative is to use leg quarters.
Whole chicken cut into pieces and blanched for Chao Ga. An alternative is to use leg quarters.

—–

STEP 2:  MAKE THE CHAO GA PORRIDGE

  1. Using the same stockpot used in Step 1 above, boil a gallon of water on high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the blanched chicken, 1 C. of uncooked jasmine rice, 1 C. of uncooked sweet rice, 2 tsp. of salt, 3.5 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, and 1 tsp. of sugar.  Stir gently, making sure to reach the bottom to keep the rice from sticking and burning.
  3. In a separate saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp. of EVOO on high heat.  Add the shallots and ginger, and stir fry until light brown to release their fragrant scent.  Add the cooked shallots and ginger to the broth, for flavor and color.  Stir gently again.

    Stir fry the shallots & ginger for a fragrant addition to Chao Ga.  For a more subtle ginger flavor, use freshly grated ginger instead of slices.
    Stir fry the shallots & ginger for a fragrant addition to Chao Ga. For a more subtle ginger flavor, use freshly grated ginger instead of slices.
  4. Cook this mixture for 30 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain only a low boil and periodically mixing the porridge so the rice does not burn at the bottom.

    Stir the Chao Ga periodically, reaching down to the bottom of the pot, to keep the rice from sticking and burning.
    Stir the Chao Ga periodically, reaching down to the bottom of the pot, to keep the rice from sticking and burning.
  5. Once the 30 minutes is over, test the doneness of the chicken by inserting a chopstick at the top of one leg quarter (where the drumstick and thigh meet).  If the juices run clear, your chicken is done.  Turn off the heat.

    Test the doneness of your chicken for Chao Ga by inserting a chopstick to see if juices run clear.
    Test the doneness of your chicken for Chao Ga by inserting a chopstick to see if juices run clear.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot, taking care to remove as little of the rice as possible, and set the chicken aside to cool.

    Remove the chicken once cooked, and set aside.  Some will be used for Chao Ga.  The rest can be used for Goi Ga, or any other chicken dish you wish.
    Remove the chicken once cooked, and set aside. Some will be used for Chao Ga. The rest can be used for Goi Ga, or any other chicken dish you wish.
  7. Add the 3 stalks of green onions, chopped, to the pot.
  8. Once the chicken has cooled, shred it into bite size pieces.
  9. Add 2 C. of the shredded, cooked chicken (white meat is best) to the pot of Chao Ga and stir.  The rest of the cooked chicken will be used in next week’s Mom’s 52 recipe for Goi Ga.  You can alternatively use the leftover chicken in any other dish you desire.
  10. Ladle the Chao Ga into individual bowls.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and rau ram herb, and sprinkle with pepper.  Enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork

Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork

We got a small taste of a cold front earlier this week, and it got me craving this week’s Mom’s 52 dish – Canh Ra Gim, or Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork.  When it gets cold outside, this is an easy, hearty recipe to warm […]

Suon Rim Mang – Vietnamese Braised Spare Ribs

Suon Rim Mang – Vietnamese Braised Spare Ribs

Mmmmm.  Caramelized spare ribs.  That’s what you would hear if you could read my mind anytime I see this week’s Mom’s 52 dish, Suon Rim Mang – Vietnamese Braised Spare Ribs.  This traditional Vietnamese dish is full of flavors and a favorite among children and adults […]

Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce 3

When I first started this website, one of the first requests I received was to post my recipe for Peanut Sauce as part of WWC’s Most Requested.  To those who so patiently waited for this recipe, here it finally is!  Keep those requests coming!

Peanut Sauce is probably most well known as the delicious dipping sauce for spring rolls.  It can also be used as an accompaniment to rice noodle dishes, or for dipping raw vegetables.  If you use more chicken broth to dilute the sauce, a small amount could also make a good salad dressing.  The possibilities for Peanut Sauce are practically endless!

Peanut Sauce

INGREDIENTS – to make a bit more than 1/2 a cup of peanut sauce:

—–

  • 2.5 Tbsp. of creamy peanut butter
  • 1.5 tsp. of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. of chicken broth
  • 3.5 Tbsp. of hoisin sauce
  • red chili paste or Sriracha hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • crushed peanuts for garnish (optional)
Hoisin sauce, for peanut sauce recipe, can be found in most Asian markets and also in many mainstream American markets in the ethnic food aisle.
Hoisin sauce, for peanut sauce recipe, can be found in most Asian markets and also in many mainstream American markets in the ethnic food aisle.

—–

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the creamy peanut butter, sugar, chicken broth, and hoisin sauce in a small saucepan.  Mix on extra low heat until well blended.  The entire ‘cooking’ process should only take a few minutes.  Once the Peanut Sauce is smooth and glossy, remove from heat and let cool if necessary.

Peanut sauce will have a smooth consistency and a glossy sheen when ready.
Peanut sauce will have a smooth consistency and a glossy sheen when ready.

For a spicy kick, top the Peanut Sauce with a small dollop of red chili paste or Sriracha hot sauce before serving.  You can also add a sprinkle of crushed peanuts for garnish.

Experiment and let me know with what dishes you use this peanut sauce recipe!

Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If this turns into one of your own Most Requested recipes, let me know about it!

—-

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Rau Muong Xao Toi – Water Spinach Sauteed w/ Garlic

Rau Muong Xao Toi – Water Spinach Sauteed w/ Garlic

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for Rau Muong Xao Toi, a dish that was one of my favorites while growing up.  As a kid, I always loved the slightly salty crunch of the hollow water spinach stems.  If you have finicky little (or not […]

Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce

Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is Nuoc Mam Cham, or Dipping Fish Sauce, which is a Vietnamese cuisine must-have.  Although it’s a simple recipe to put together, Nuoc Mam Cham is very difficult to perfect without the correct balance of ingredients.  Mom makes this sauce regularly, […]

Che Thai Recipe – Tropical Fruits Dessert

Che Thai Recipe – Tropical Fruits Dessert

Che Thai recipe. Vietnamese recipe. Vietnamese dessert. Writing with chopsticks.

This Che Thai recipe is for quite possibly the most requested dessert I have ever made.  If you’re looking to impress anyone who loves tropical fruits, this is a surefire way to do it!  Che Thai is a mix of your favorite canned tropical fruits, combined with bright and chewy pieces that festively resemble pomegranate seeds, all of which are melded together in a sweet, liquid sauce.  Read more below about how to make the best Che Thai you’ve ever tasted, or just  click here to jump to recipe.

I have to credit my sister, who shared this Che Thai recipe with me over 10 years ago after it was the hit of a birthday party she hosted.  Since then, I’ve used this Che Thai recipe dozens of times.  My husband’s aunt jokes that I’m not invited to family gatherings unless I bring this dish with me.  Well, at least I think she’s joking.

I’ve seen this dessert at some restaurants and events, but there’s always something off.  The part that many people seem to miss the mark on is the liquid sauce.  Getting the sauce right makes a world of difference, and let me fill you in on a little secret — the sauce is the distinguishing part of this recipe, and it’s also the easiest part!

So what will set this Che Thai recipe apart from others?  Are you ready?  Here goes:  At the end of this recipe, you’ll pour a container of hazelnut flavored coffee creamer, dilute it with 1.5 C. of ice, and stir.  That’s it.  You’d be amazed how many people try other flavors, or use plain half-and-half, or use coconut milk, always to miss the mark.  This flavored creamer is the secret to making your Che Thai the wow factor at your next event.

A few pointers for this Che Thai recipe:

  • Use a combination of the canned tropical fruits you enjoy the most.  Lychee, rambutan, toddy palm seed, etc.  If you like it, try it in this recipe!  You can also play around with the amounts of tropical fruit below – if you love coconut gel like my family does, add more of those addictive little cubes. Sure, we’ll pretend coconut gel is a fruit today.
  • Take your time chopping up the water chestnuts.  You want uniform pieces each about the size of a pomegranate seed, since that’s what you’re trying to replicate.

The most time-consuming part of this recipe involves chopping up the fruit and water chestnuts.  I usually have to double this recipe because it’s such a big hit, so I’ve been known to delegate the chopping part to my husband.  The trade off is he gets to enjoy Che Thai for dessert, so it doesn’t take much to twist his arm.  Win!

che thai tropical fruits dessert
Assortment of prepared tropical fruits for Che Thai.

Seeing the transformation of chopped water chestnuts into chewy little red pieces that resemble pomegranate seeds is fun, so if you have kids, they’ll love watching that process (from a safe distance, of course).  Chop, generously coat with tapioca starch, boil in a pot of red-dyed water, and voila!  Watch that red food color though. I’ve learned the hard way to have a few paper towels on hand when adding the red food color to the saucepan, to prevent ending up with bright red fingers.  Out, damned spot!  If you forget to have the paper towels ready, it’s a guarantee that the next morning is when you’ll end up needing to shake (red) hands with someone.

Che Thai recipe. Vietnamese recipe. Vietnamese dessert. Writing with chopsticks.
Water chestnuts coated in tapioca starch for Che Thai.
Water chestnuts transform into chewy red tapioca, resembling pomegranate seeds for Che Thai.
Prepared fruits and “pomegranate seeds” for Che Thai.

I highly recommend you give this recipe a try the next time you’re asked to bring a dish to a potluck.  Just be ready for requests for seconds.  And thirds.  Enjoy this culinary adventure!

 

Che Thai Tropical Fruits Dessert
Click to Print Recipe
Che Thai - Tropical Fruits Dessert
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

A refreshing mix of tropical fruit in a simple sauce, this dish is sure to be a hit at your next get together.

Servings: 8
Author: www.writingwithchopsticks.com
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (20 oz) can longan fruit in syrup
  • 1 (20 oz) can jackfruit in syrup
  • 2 (17.6 oz) jars coconut gel in syrup, unflavored
  • 1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 3/4 C. tapioca starch
  • 4 C. water
  • 1 large bowl water
  • 1 Tbsp. red food coloring
  • 1 (32 oz) container hazelnut flavored coffee creamer
  • 1.5 C. ice
INSTRUCTIONS
PREPARE THE TROPICAL FRUITS:
  1. Using a large colander, rinse and drain the longan fruit, jackfruit, and coconut gel.

  2. Cut the longan fruit pieces in half and place in an extra large, serving bowl.

  3. Cut the jackfruit into small strips and add to the same serving bowl.

  4. Place the coconut gel into the same serving bowl – no need to cut these into smaller pieces. Set fruits aside and proceed to next step.

MAKE THE “HOT LUU” (POMEGRANATE SEEDS):
  1. Finely dice the water chestnut into small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Add 1/4 C. of tapioca starch to the water chestnuts and mix well.  Repeat two more times to use a total of 3/4 C. tapioca starch.

  3. Heat 4 C. of water in a medium saucepan using high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of red food coloring to this pan of water.

  4. Separately, fill a large bowl halfway with water. Place that bowl next to the stovetop for use below.

  5. Once the water in the saucepan boils, turn heat down to medium. Gently sprinkle 1/4 of the coated water chestnuts into the boiling water. Use a large slotted spoon to gently loosen the water chestnuts from the bottom of the saucepan so they float to the top.

  6. About 30 seconds after the water chestnuts float to the top, use the slotted spoon to transfer the cooked water chestnuts into the reserved bowl of water on the side.  Repeat to finish cooking the rest of the water chestnuts.

  7. Pour the cooked water chestnuts into a colander to drain. Once drained, pour these “pomegranate seeds” on top of the serving bowl of prepared fruit.

FINISHING TOUCHES:
  1. Pour the hazelnut flavored coffee creamer over your fruit and “pomegranate seeds.” Add 1.5 C. of ice. Stir. Serve chilled and atop one or two cubes of ice.

—-

Do you have any questions or comments about this recipe?  Please post them below. Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Canh Chua Ca – Sweet & Sour Soup w/ Catfish

Canh Chua Ca – Sweet & Sour Soup w/ Catfish

Last week’s Mom’s 52 recipe was for Ca Kho, and that savory dish is traditionally served alongside this week’s sweet & sour dish – Canh Chua Ca. Traditionally, Canh Chua is made with ca (fish), hence, Canh Chua Ca.  This dish can alternatively be made with chicken (Canh […]

Fish Sauce 101

Fish Sauce 101

Warning:  Not all fish sauces are created equal. If your kitchen cupboard contains nuoc mam (fish sauce) you’re probably ready to start cooking Vietnamese cuisine.  However, if you only have ONE type of nuoc mam in your kitchen cupboard, you may not be maximizing your Vietnamese cooking […]

Ca Kho – Caramelized Catfish

Ca Kho – Caramelized Catfish

Ca Kho 1This week’s Mom’s 52 entry is Ca Kho, a Vietnamese staple.  Serve this dish with a side of jasmine rice drizzled with the sauce in this recipe, and you will have family members fighting over the leftovers like mine did after mom and I made this dish this week.

Ca Kho vs. Ca Kho To – what’s the difference?  You may see this dish referenced as Ca Kho To in restaurants.  The “To” simply refers to the special clay pot that can be used to make this dish. Since most of us don’t have this clay pot in our kitchen cabinets, this recipe uses a simple deep skillet.  Hence, this recipe is for Ca Kho.

A traditional clay pot can be used to make this dish. Find clay pots like this in different sizes and colors at most Vietnamese or Chinese supermarkets.
A traditional clay pot can be used to make this dish. Find clay pots like this in different sizes and colors at most Vietnamese or Chinese supermarkets.

Ca Kho – Caramelized Catfish

INGREDIENTS – to serve 6, if served with another dish (if served alone with rice, serves 3-4):

—–

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 2 shallots, peeled & sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper, plus a little more to lightly dust the fish
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 C. nuoc mam, aka fish sauce (Squid brand, preferably)
  • 1.5 lbs. of catfish fillets, patted dry and sliced into large 2″x4″ chunks
  • chopped green onions for garnish, approximately 3 stalks

—–

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE CATFISH

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of EVOO in a deep skillet on high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and shallot slices.  Using chopsticks, toss gently for 30 seconds, just to bring out the aroma of the garlic and shallots.  This will brown them fairly easily.

    Quickly fry the shallots and garlic to bring out their aroma and essence.
    Quickly fry the garlic and shallots to bring out their aroma and essence.
  3. Remove the browned garlic and shallots from the skillet (leave the oil), and place them in a small bowl.  Set the bowl aside.
  4. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of sugar onto the oil in the skillet.  Watch the sugar.  Since the heat is still on high, the sugar will start to brown very quickly, in about one minute or less.  When the sugar has caramelized to a medium brown color, immediately remove the skillet from heat.

    The sugar will burn very quickly after it turns a light to medium brown, so remove skillet from heat immediately.
    The sugar will burn very quickly after it turns a medium brown, so remove skillet from heat immediately.
  5. Add to the skillet 1 tsp. of ground pepper, 1/4 C. nuoc mam (fish sauce), and 2 Tbsp. of sugar.  Stir these together.  Optional: For a spicy kick, also add 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes.

    The marinade.
    The marinade.
  6. Add the catfish fillets to the skillet, one piece at at time and flipping each piece once to coat before adding the next piece.  Mom often uses catfish steaks because they hold their shape better, but fillets are easier to eat because they’re boneless.
  7. Lightly dust each piece of fish in the skillet with additional ground black pepper.
  8. Top the fillets with the browned garlic and shallot slices you previously set aside.
  9. Let the fillets marinate for 45 minutes to an hour before proceeding to the next step.

    Catfish fillets marinating in the caramel sauce.
    Catfish fillets marinating in the caramel sauce.

—–

STEP 2:  COOK THE CATFISH

  1. Using high heat, bring your skillet of marinated catfish to a simmer.  This should happen fairly quickly.
  2. Once the sauce begins to simmer, turn the heat down to as low as possible to maintain the simmer.  Some key things to pay attention to:
  • Simmer. Do not let the sauce boil, or it will burn.  (If your sauce level gets too low, add a little Coco Rico coconut soda to the skillet so the sauce does not burn.   Do not add water, which will dilute the flavor.)
  • Cover the skillet for the first 5 minutes and then, simmer uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.  (If using catfish steaks instead of fillets, increase cooking time an additional 10-15 minutes, as steaks are larger and thicker.)
  • During this 30 minute cooking process, do two things:  1) use a flat spoon to baste the fish fillets with the simmering liquid every few minutes, leaning the pot to the side to scoop the sauce more easily; and 2) about halfway through the 30 minutes, top the fillets with chopped green onions.

    Baste the fish often while it cooks.
    Baste the fish often while it cooks.

—–

Serve Ca Kho with plenty of sauce scooped into the serving platter.  Your family will love drizzling the caramel sauce atop jasmine rice.  For a traditional Vietnamese meal, also serve this dish with Canh Chua Ca.

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to mom!

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!

Juicy Details

Juicy Details

Here’s a Kitchen Tip to help you get the most juice out of your limes: It seems simple enough, but a lot of people are not making the most out of their citrus. Whether for juicing, or as garnish for dishes such as Bun Bo, try […]

Bun Bo – Beef Lemongrass Noodle Soup

Bun Bo – Beef Lemongrass Noodle Soup

When I first approached my mom with the idea of writing a blog that focuses on 52 of her delicious recipes, I didn’t imagine she would start with such a (what I thought) daunting recipe. Well, I guess if you’re going to do something, do […]

Skimming the Scum

Skimming the Scum

Skimming the scum.
Skimming the scum.

What is scum?  Scum is the foam that floats to the top of your pot and collects in an unappetizing brown mass.  Ignoring scum can be devastating when simmering meat to create a broth.  Failure to skim the scum will turn your broth into a murky mess if left to its own devices. Who wants to eat a murky pho?

Skimming the scum seems easy enough – just skim the scum off the top of the broth, right?  In actuality, anyone who’s tried to wing it has probably learned the hard way that there’s a real art to skimming the scum.  If done improperly, skimming the scum could also mean skimming off the good oils, spices, or other flavorful items from that broth you’re working so hard to perfect, or it could mean that you’re pouring a third of your broth down the drain.

Here’s how to efficiently skim the scum:

  1. Find a wide, flat spoon.  Inexpensive versions like the one in the photo above can easily be found at most Vietnamese or Chinese markets.
  2. Grab something for a “trash bowl” to conveniently keep by the stove.  A medium bowl works, or if you want to minimize those dreaded dishes to wash later, use the styrofoam base that the meat you’re simmering was originally packaged in – don’t accidentally melt the styrofoam!
  3. Grab your spoon, and use it to gently push the scum to one side of the pot.
  4. Once the scum is collected on one side, use your spoon to gently skim the top of the broth with the spoon, thereby removing the powdery scum.  Discard the scum in your trash bowl.  Skim slowly so you don’t stir the scum back into the broth, and also to keep from skimming off the flavorful ingredients.
  5. Check your broth regularly for scum throughout the entire cooking process.

Was this Kitchen Tip helpful?  Please post your comment below.

For email notifications about new posts like this one, please subscribe to Writing With Chopsticks by entering your email on the sidebar of this page.  Thanks for the compliment of sharing this post with others!