Author: Writing With Chopsticks

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)

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 […]

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

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

Xoi Man recipe.  Sticky rice pork lap xuong chinese sausage. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe.  Writing with chopsticks.

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 Vietnamese sticky rice.  This week, we’re diving into a much more savory type of sticky rice whose more complex flavors make it a good option as an entree.  Xoi Man – Savory Sticky Rice w/ Pork & Chinese Sausage takes the basic sticky rice recipe and combines it with two types of meat, yielding a flavorful rice dish.  This recipe much resembles the sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves found at Dim Sum restaurants.  Get your spoons ready – this one’s a goodie!

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

INGREDIENTS – makes 3-4 servings

  • 2 C. sweet rice, soaked in 3 C. water for 12 hours
  • 1/2 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. + 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 C. lap xuong (Chinese sausage), chopped into bite-sized pieces

—-

STEP 1:  STEAM THE STICKY RICE

  1. Drain the sweet rice kernels, and sprinkle the kernels with 1/2 tsp. salt.
  2. Spread the kernels in a steamer basket, leaving a ring of holes around the kernels to allow steam to rise.

    Leave a ring of open holes around the rice to allow more steam into the basket.
    Leave a ring of open holes around the rice to allow more steam into the basket.
  3. Fill the bottom basket of the steamer with at least 4 inches of water.  Place the steamer basket on top and cover.
  4. Use medium heat to steam the sweet rice, covered, for 20 minutes, gently tossing once midway during the process.  Meanwhile, proceed to the next step below.

—-

STEP 2:  STIR FRY THE PORK & CHINESE SAUSAGE

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ground pork with 1/2 tsp. nuoc mam, a dash of pepper, and 1/8 tsp. sugar.

    Xoi Man recipe. Sticky rice pork lap xuong chinese sausage. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe. Writing with chopsticks.
    Lap xuong and marinated ground pork.
  2. Toss the shallots and chopped lap xuong (Chinese sausage) into a medium, nonstick skillet and turn on medium-high heat.  Stir the lap xuong and shallots for two minutes to release the oils from the lap xuong.  (The oils in the lap xuong will be sufficient, so no additional oil is needed for the stir-fry process.)
  3. Add the marinated ground pork to the skillet, and continue to stir.  Keep stir-frying until the ground pork is fully cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.  *Remember to return to the steaming rice to toss it once.

    Xoi Man recipe.  Sticky rice pork lap xuong chinese sausage. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Cooked pork and lap xuong.

—-

STEP 3:  FINALIZE XOI MAN

Xoi Man recipe.  Sticky rice pork lap xuong chinese sausage. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe.  Writing with chopsticks.
Sweet rice almost halfway through the full steaming process for Xoi Man.
  1. Once the rice has steamed for an initial 20 minutes, uncover the lid, yet keep the steamer basket in place.  Ladle the cooked meat on top of the steaming rice.  Gently toss the rice to incorporate the meat.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt onto the rice and gently toss.
  3. Replace the lid.  Continue to steam the rice & meat for an additional 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.  This will yield a perfectly sticky consistency of the rice.  That’s it!  Enjoy!

    Xoi Man recipe.  Sticky rice pork lap xuong chinese sausage. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe.  Writing with chopsticks.
    Pork and lap xuong incorporated into the steamed rice.

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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

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 […]

Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert

Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert

Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.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 class I attended when visiting Vietnam a few years ago.  Che Troi Nuoc (“chay-uh troy nook”) is quite simply glutinous rice balls filled with a slightly sweetened mung bean paste, and served in a sweet ginger syrup.  Give yourself a little under an hour, and wow your family and friends with this dessert recipe.

Che Troi Nuoc – Mung Bean & Ginger Dessert

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

For the Che Troi Nuoc mung bean paste:

  • 1/2 C. split mung beans
  • 1 C. water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

For the Che Troi Nuoc dough:

  • scant 1 C. bot nep (glutinous rice flour) – a tad less than 1 full cup
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 additional Tbsp. of bot nep

For the Che Troi Nuoc syrup:

  • 2 C. water
  • 8 Tbsp. sugar (here, we used white sugar, but also try substituting in light brown sugar to yield a lovely, auburn syrup)
  • 1″ x 2″ knob of ginger, peeled & sliced into 4 long pieces

Also:  Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish.

Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
Bot Nep, or glutinous rice flour.
Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
Split mung beans are yellow and found at most Asian markets.

—-

STEP 1:  MAKE THE CHE TROI NUOC MUNG BEAN PASTE

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the three mung bean paste ingredients and turn on medium heat.  Simmer the mung beans for 40 minutes.  To keep the mung beans from burning, stir occasionally for the first 35 minutes, and constantly for the last 5 minutes.  While this cooks, move on to making the dough in Step 2 below.
  2. When the mung beans are done, they should be mushy, and the water level should be almost fully evaporated.  ***Depending on variations in pans and stovetops, your water level may dry out before the 40 minutes are over.  Should this happen, you can add a bit more water to the pot as the mung beans cook.
  3. Transfer the cooked mung beans to a small bowl.  There should be very minimal excess liquid in the beans.  Use the back end of a spoon to stir and mash the mung beans into a paste.  Alternatively, you can use a small food processor, but the beans should be soft enough that a spoon will suffice.  Set the mung bean paste aside to cool.

    Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    Mung bean paste.

—-

STEP 2:  MAKE THE CHE TROI NUOC DOUGH

  1. Place scant 1 C. bot nep (glutinous rice flour) into a large mixing bowl and add the water.  Mix well to make a dough.  The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Return to the mung beans, and finalize that Step 1 above.

    Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl once well combined.

—-

STEP 3:  FORM THE CHE TROI NUOC BALLS

  1. Once the mung bean paste has cooled, use your palms to roll them into small balls, using 1/2 Tbsp. of mung bean paste for each ball.  Set the mung bean balls aside.Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
  2. Place 1 Tbsp. bot nep (glutinous rice flour) into a small ramekin dish.
  3. Take a bit of bot nep from the ramekin to flour your hands.
  4. Use your palms to roll 1 Tbsp. dough into a ball.
  5. Take another bit of bot nep from the ramekin to flour your hands again.
  6. Use your palms to flatten the ball of dough into a pancake.  If it sticks to your hand as you flatten, add a tad more bot nep to your hand.
  7. Take one of the mung bean balls and place it into the center of the flattened dough.  Pinch up the sides of the dough to enclose the mung bean ball.  It’s okay if a small hole forms in the dough – this will be fixed in the next step.  Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
  8. Use your palms to roll the pinched dough around the mung bean until the white dough is smooth.
  9. Set aside, and repeat Steps 2-8 for the remaining dough.

    Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
    Rolled bean-filled dough.

—-

STEP 4:  MAKE THE CHE TROI NUOC SYRUP & FINALIZE

  1. In the most narrow saucepan you can find, combine the Che Troi Nuoc syrup ingredients, and turn on the heat to medium.   Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. As the syrup heats up, gently drop the bean-filled dough into the syrup.  The dough will stick to the bottom at first.  Simply nudge them a bit with a spoon to loosen.Che Troi Nuoc recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.
  3. Maintain a heat level to just below a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.  The dough should float by then.
  4. Serve Che Troi Nuoc topped with toasted sesame seeds.  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…

 

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

  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 […]

Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding

Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding

Che Bap Recipe. Nuoc Dua Recipe. Vietnamese Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.

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 a few others for this week’s Mom’s 52 dessert recipe:  Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding.

*If you don’t have time to soak the sweet rice ahead of time, add 1/2 C. extra water and increase the cooking time at least another 15 minutes – test to taste doneness.

Che Bap – Corn & Sticky Rice Pudding

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 C. sweet rice, soaked for at least 4 hours*, drained
  • 4 C. water
  • 3 ears corn, husks & silk removed, shucked to remove the kernels
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Optional Ingredients, for Nuoc Dua – Sweet Coconut Milk Topping:

  • 1 (5.6 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. water

—-

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the drained sweet rice with 4 C. water.  Heat on high and bring to a low boil.  Adjust the heat to simmer the sweet rice for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep the sweet rice from burning at the bottom of the pan.

    Che Bap Recipe. Nuoc Dua Recipe. Vietnamese Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Make sure to stir the sweet rice often while cooking, to prevent burning.
  2. Add the corn kernels to the sweet rice.  Continue to simmer another 15 minutes, again stirring every few minutes.
  3. Add only 1/2 C. sugar to the pan at first.  Stir, and taste.  Depending on your taste, add up to 1/4 C. additional sugar if you like your Che Bap sweeter.

    Che Bap Recipe. Nuoc Dua Recipe. Vietnamese Recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    The sweeter your fresh corn, the less sugar you will need to add to Che Bap.
  4. In a small bowl, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing together 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. water.  Add this to the Che Bap, and stir to slightly thicken.
  5. Add 1/4 tsp. vanilla to the Che Bap.  Stir.  Remove from heat.  Enjoy, or proceed to the optional next step.

OPTIONAL – To make the Nuoc Dua – Sweet Coconut Milk topping for Che Bap:  In a small saucepan, combine 1 (5.6 oz.) small can of coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, and another slurry of 1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1 Tbsp. water.  Bring it to a boil on low heat, stirring constantly.  When it boils, remove from heat, and it should thicken as it stands.  Spoon atop Che Bap before serving.

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

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 […]

Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad

Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad

Goi Ngo Sen recipe. Goi recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.

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 you’ve ever attended a traditional Vietnamese wedding, a variation of this dish is usually the first course served at the wedding feast.  Personally, I love having Goi Ngo Sen as an entree, served with rice and Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce because it’s a light and healthy choice for any meal.  Mom likes to serve Goi Ngo Sen with shrimp chips or toasted banh trang rice paper (Dad’s favorite!) for an added crunch.

Pickled lotus rootlets add a light flavor and slightly crunchy texture to this dish.  Each rootlet is thinner than the width of your pinky and will be divided into an even smaller size for this Goi Ngo Sen recipe.

Goi Ngo Sen recipe. Goi recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
Pickled lotus rootlets for this Goi Ngo Sen recipe can be found in most Asian markets.
Goi Ngo Sen recipe. Goi recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
A closer look at delicate lotus rootlets.

A mandolin slicer is helpful for this recipe, but not a requirement.

Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus Root Salad

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

  • 1 lb. pork loin, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp. + 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar pickled lotus rootlets, rinsed & drained
  • 1 C. carrots, shredded
  • 1 C. cucumber, julienned  (If using a standard cucumber, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the seeds before slicing.  Otherwise, Mom recommends more narrow cucumber varieties such as Persian, Japanese, or English.)
  • 1 C. white vinegar
  • 2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, boiled & peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 C. Nuoc Mam Cham
  • 1 C. your choice of fresh herbs (i.e. mint, rau ram, cilantro), coarsely chopped

—-

STEP 1:  COOK THE PORK LOIN FOR GOI NGO SEN

  1. Fill a large pot 1/3 of the way with water.  Use high heat to reach a boil.
  2. Add 1 tsp. salt to the boiling water, followed by the quartered pork loin.  Boil the pork loin for 40 minutes to fully cook before thinly slicing.  Meanwhile, move on to Step 2.

—-

STEP 2:  PREPARE THE VEGGIES FOR GOI NGO SEN

  1. Divide the rinsed & drained lotus rootlets into quarters by pulling them apart in half, and then, in half again.

    Goi Ngo Sen recipe. Goi recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Use your fingers to carefully pull apart the lotus rootlets into quarters.
  2. In an extra large bowl, mix together 1 C. vinegar, 2 C. water, 1/2 C. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt.  Add to this the quartered lotus rootlets, shredded carrots, and julienned cucumbers.  Allow these vegetables to soak for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, return to the pork in Step 1 above (finish boiling, cool, and thinly slice).

    Goi Ngo Sen recipe. Goi recipe.  Vietnamese Recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Soak the vegetables for Goi Ngo Sen to flavor them.

—-

STEP 3:  ASSEMBLE GOI NGO SEN

  1. To assemble Goi Ngo Sen, drain the soaked vegetables from Step 2 above.  Rinse.  Using your hands, tightly squeeze the drained vegetables in batches, to remove excess liquid.  Place the drained vegetables into a large bowl.
  2. Add to the vegetables 1/2 lb. of boiled & peeled shrimp, 2 Tbsp. EVOO, 1/4 C. Nuoc Mam Cham, and 1 C. of coarsely chopped herbs.  Toss well to combine.  If desired, refrigerate before serving.
  3. Plate and serve Goi Ngo Sen alongside your choice of rice, shrimp chips, or banh trang rice paper, and with a side of Nuoc Mam Cham for dipping.

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…

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, 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 […]

Canh Bau Recipe – Opo Squash Soup

Canh Bau Recipe – Opo Squash Soup

Canh Bau Recipe

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 Asian summer vegetable and transform it into a simple weekday meal.  Better yet, opo squash is so readily available that you can often find it in your neighborhood supermarket, which means this recipe doesn’t even require a trip to the Asian market!  Click here to jump to recipe.

Canh Bau Recipe. Opo squash.
Bau or Opo Squash

The word “Canh” in Vietnamese means soup.  “Bau” is the term for opo squash.  Put the words together, and you get Canh Bau, or Opo Squash Soup.  Opo squash is a green gourd with a very mild taste, which means it’s perfect even if you have a picky eater. Opo squash comes in a variety of sizes, and if you are lucky enough to know someone who gifts you with homegrown opo squash, you may have a very tall vegetable on your hands.  My dad has grown opo squash that are half my height!

When purchasing opo squash, they can be very forgiving.  If you are lucky enough to be in the midst of the opo squash season and have lots to pick from, you want to look for one that is about the same width from one end to the other, versus one that is much more narrow on one end.  In other words, look for a rolling pin instead of a baseball bat.  My mom likes to also gently press her fingernail on the stem side of the opo squash, looking for a slight give in the flesh.

Canh Bau Recipe
Bau or Opo Squash is opaque when raw but will become translucent as it cooks.

When preparing opo squash for this recipe, the best method is to first use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash.  I like to do this directly over the sink because the peel pieces can fly everywhere, especially when you’re in a rush.  Just make a mess of squash peels in your sink, and then scoop up the pile in one big swoop to toss into the trash.  After I peel the squash, I’ll give it a quick rinse before cutting.

Cutting the squash depends on its shape.  Cut off the ends, and then cut the squash in half lengthwise; with a thicker squash, cut into thirds lengthwise. Then, chop the squash lengths into pieces.  I shoot for pieces that are about the size of an index finger.  Don’t worry – the squash softens as it cooks, so what seems like a large piece while still be bite sized when you’re done.

There are two ways of making the meat in a Canh Bau recipe:  you can fry the meat first, or, as described in this recipe, drop the meat by rounded teaspoons into the Canh Bau broth.  My mom prefers the second method because it better keeps the flavor within the marinated meat, instead of the marinade seeping into the broth, which is flavored with its own spices.

This recipe is a simpler version of making Canh Bau because it uses chicken broth.  In the future, I’ll update this blog with a general recipe for any type of “canh” soup you can make even if you don’t have chicken broth on hand.

Give this recipe a try, and go ahead and tell your family you slaved in the kitchen.  You deserve the rest of the night off!

Canh Bau Recipe
Click to Print Recipe
Canh Bau - Opo Squash Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A quick & easy option for a healthy weekday dinner.

Servings: 4
Author: www.writingwithchopsticks.com
INGREDIENTS
For the Meat Marinade
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 5 medium shrimp, smashed
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder OR 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
For the Soup Broth
  • 2 lb. opo squash
  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • 2 C. water
  • 5 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2.5 tsp. sugar
  • pepper & chopped cilantro for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the meat marinade ingredients into a bowl, and mix well to combine.  Set aside.

  2. While the meat marinates, peel the opo squash, and chop it into 1.5" pieces.

  3. Pour the chicken broth and water into a medium stockpot, and heat on high to boil.

  4. Gently drop the marinated meat by rounded teaspoons into the boiling broth.

  5. Add the opo squash to the broth.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

  6. Add to the broth 5 tsp. fish sauce and 2.5 tsp. sugar.  Stir gently.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes so the opo squash becomes translucent.  Remove from heat, and serve garnished with chopped cilantro and a fine dusting of pepper. 

 

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

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

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, […]

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Goi Cuon 1

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 term “spring roll” is sometimes used to describe crispy rolls, Goi Cuon are the soft rolls.  Egg rolls, or Cha Gio, are the fried, crispy rolls.

Serve Goi Cuon with a side of flavorful Peanut Sauce for dipping, topped with Sriracha if you like a spicy sauce.

If (big if!) you have leftovers, simply roll the remaining Goi Cuon, individually wrap and refrigerate them, and microwave the rolls the next day just until softened.  Unwrap and cool before eating the leftovers, as the Goi Cuon roll will be quite warm initially.  Say hello to an easy breakfast on the go!

Goi Cuon – Vietnamese Spring Rolls

INGREDIENTS – makes about 12 medium rolls, or 2 large meals

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 3 large chunks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 30 medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 small package of bun noodles, cooked & drained
  • 1/2 a small head of lettuce, washed & dried
  • a bunch each of mint and cilantro, washed & dried
  • 1 package of banh trang, or flat rice paper

—-

STEP 1:  PREPARE THE MEAT

  1. Fill a medium pot halfway with water, about 2 quarts.  Bring this water to a boil.
  2. Add 1 tsp. salt to the boiling water, followed by the 3 pork tenderloin pieces.  Lower the heat to medium, and simmer the pork for 30 minutes.  Scoop the cooked pork out of the pot, but reserve the liquid and keep the heat on.
  3. Add the shrimp to the liquid to cook until pink, about 2 minutes.  Remove the shrimp and set aside.  (Reserve the liquid to use as a soup broth later, if desired.)
  4. Once the cooked pork has cooled, thinly slice them and set the slices aside.

—-

STEP 2:  ROLL THE GOI CUON

  1. Create an assembly line of all the Goi Cuon ingredients:  banh trang, lettuce, cooked noodles, mint, cilantro, cooked shrimp, and the pork slices.
  2. Fill an extra large bowl with warm water, and add it to the assembly line.
  3. Grab a large, round plate.
  4. Take one banh trang, dip it quickly into the warm water, and place it on the plate.  It will still be rigid initially.  Do not hold the banh trang under the water for longer than a dip, or it will become too soggy too quickly.
  5. Place some lettuce, noodles, mint, and cilantro about 1/3 of the way up the banh trang.

    Rolling Step 1: Add the noodles and vegetables to the Goi Cuon first.
    Rolling Step 1: Add the noodles and vegetables to the Goi Cuon first.
  6. Fold the left and right sides of the banh trang in, taking care to make the sides parallel with one another.

    Rolling Step 2: Fold the left and right sides of the rice paper in, forming parallel "goal posts".  Make sure the sides are not flopped out like a "V" shape.
    Rolling Step 2: Fold the left and right sides of the rice paper in, forming parallel “goal posts”. Make sure the sides are not flopped out like a “V” shape.
  7. From the bottom, tightly roll the Goi Cuon, stopping just past the halfway point of the banh trang.
  8. Here, add 3 shrimp and a few slices of pork.  This is so the shrimp shows through the Goi Cuon, for a nicer presentation.

    Rolling Step 3: Add the shrimp and pork slices towards the end of the roll, so they show through the Goi Cuon for a nicer presentation.
    Rolling Step 3: Add the shrimp and pork slices towards the end of the roll, so they show through the Goi Cuon for a nicer presentation.
  9. Finish rolling the Goi Cuon all the way to the end.  Move slowly to ensure a tighter roll.  Repeat until all the ingredients are used.  Enjoy!

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

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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

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 […]

Thit Cha Bong – Shredded Chicken

Thit Cha Bong – Shredded Chicken

Thit Cha Bong 1

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 were finicky eaters (never, ever me – wink, wink), a ball of white rice stuffed with Thit Cha Bong – Mom’s special “sushi” – became a finger food that no child would turn down.

Some Vietnamese people call this dish “Ruoc.”  The name difference just lends itself to different regional dialects in the Vietnamese language.

These days, you can find Thit Cha Bong for sale in some Vietnamese fast food restaurants.  Although buying it is a convenient way to have Thit Cha Bong at home, those versions tend to be a lot fluffier and softer in texture than Mom’s version.  Mom suggests the difference in textures is because of the difference in starting meat quality – long story short:  make it at home!  (Who ever heard of fluffy, soft meat?)

Thit Cha Bong aka Ruoc

INGREDIENTS – makes about 3 cups:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked (boiled) & shredded
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large skillet, and turn on low heat.
  2. Using a wide, flat spoon, repeat the process of “flatten, spread, toss” to slowly dry, toast, and further shred the chicken.  If you have large pieces, shred them a bit by hand to speed up the process.  NOTE:  Make sure to do all three steps (flatten, spread, toss) to yield the correct texture.  Here’s how:  1) Use the flat end of the wide spoon to press down on the chicken in the middle of the skillet; 2) Press and spread the chicken from the middle outward before lifting the spoon back up; and 3) Use the spoon to then toss the chicken.  Repeat.
  3. By 30 minutes, your Thit Cha Bong should be toasty and finely shredded.  (And your own arm muscles should be a little sore.)
The start of Thit Cha Bong.
The start of Thit Cha Bong.
Thit Cha Bong after 15 minutes of the "flatten, spread, toss" method.
Thit Cha Bong after 15 minutes of the “flatten, spread, toss” method.
Thit Cha Bong is ready after 30 minutes and will be toasty and finely shredded.
Thit Cha Bong is ready after 30 minutes and will be toasty and finely shredded.

Serve Thit Cha Bong over regular white rice, or over sweet rice like our recipe for Xoi Lap Xuong.  Store extra Thit Cha Bong in the refrigerator – it should keep for a few weeks.  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!

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

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 […]

Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert

Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert

Che Dau Trang 1

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 say this one is a fave among Vietnamese kids and adults alike.  Che Dau Trang literally translates to “white bean dessert.”  For this recipe, Mom uses canned black-eyed peas for an even easier process.

Che Dau Trang – Sweet Rice & Bean Dessert

INGREDIENTS – 4 servings

  • 1 C. uncooked sweet rice
  • 2.5 C. water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • scant 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 C. canned black-eyed peas, washed & drained
  • canned coconut milk for topping (optional)

—-

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 C. uncooked sweet rice, 2.5 C. water, and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Turn on low-medium heat, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often so the rice will not stick to the bottom and burn.

    Che Dau Trang, after cooking the initial 20 minutes.
    Che Dau Trang, after cooking the initial 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to low.  Add scant (a bit less than) 1/2 C. sugar to the pot, and stir gently to combine.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring every minute to again keep the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning.

    Che Dau Trang thickens as it cooks.  Make sure to stir very often to keep the Che from burning at the bottom.
    Che Dau Trang thickens as it cooks. Make sure to stir very often to keep the Che from burning at the bottom.
  3. Lastly, add the 1 C. of black-eyed peas to the rice, and gently fold the Che over itself to combine.  Cook for a final 5 minutes and remove from heat.

    Gently fold the black-eyed peas into the Che Dau Trang.
    Gently fold the black-eyed peas into the Che Dau Trang.
  4. Serve Che Dau Trang topped with a few spoonfuls of coconut milk, if desired.

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! 

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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

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 […]

Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Ca Ri Ga 1

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 Vietnamese party staple.  Vietnamese curry differs from Indian and Thai curries in that the curry flavor is subtle, and the consistency is not as creamy, making it perfect for dipping with French bread.  If you don’t have fresh French bread on hand, serve Ca Ri Ga with a side of warm rice.

It was news to me that you can buy sliced chicken drumsticks, which mom says are a necessity for this recipe.  We found ours at the local Chinese/Vietnamese market, but if you can’t find a butcher who will chop the drumsticks for you, using whole drumsticks or thighs should also work – just make sure to add some cooking time to ensure they cook through.

Ca Ri Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings:

For the Ca Ri Ga marinade:

  • 2 lbs. sliced chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more, if you like it spicy)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

For the Ca Ri Ga broth:

  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 3 C. water
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/4 C. lemongrass, cut into long, 4″ pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 C. carrots, peeled & chopped into thick, 2″pieces
  • 1 C. sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into 2″ chunks
  • 1 C. red potatoes, peeled & chopped into 2″ chunks
  • 1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2/3 C. coconut milk

—–

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE CHICKEN

  1. Place the chicken into a large bowl, and top with the rest of the marinade ingredients.  Mix well to combine.  Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

    Marinate the chicken for Ca Ri Ga for at least 30 minutes.
    Marinate the chicken for Ca Ri Ga for at least 30 minutes.

—–

STEP 2:  MAKE THE CA RI GA BROTH

  1. In a wide pot or a rimmed large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat.  Once heated, add 2 tsp. garlic and toss to bring out the garlic flavor.  Add the marinated chicken to the garlic and brown, flipping to brown each side.

    Brown the chicken on all sides for Ca Ri Ga.
    Brown the chicken on all sides for Ca Ri Ga.
  2. Add 3 C. water, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam, 1/4 C. lemongrass pieces, 2 bay leaves, and the chopped carrots.  Once the Ca Ri Ga broth begins to simmer, turn the heat down.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Once the Ca Ri Ga has been cooking for 30 minutes, remove 1/2 C. of the broth and set aside.  Add to the pot/skillet the sweet potatoes and potatoes.  Continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes, and move on to the next step to finalize Ca Ri Ga in the meantime.

    Ca Ri Ga before thickening and addition of  coconut milk.
    Ca Ri Ga before thickening and addition of coconut milk.

—–

STEP 3:  FINALIZE CA RI GA

  1. While the Ca Ri Ga is cooking for the 10 additional minutes noted in the previous step, mix 1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch with the reserved 1/2 C. of broth, forming a slurry.  Once the Ca Ri Ga has cooked the additional 10 minutes, slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the pot/skillet, and stir to only slightly thicken.
  2. Add 2/3 C. coconut milk to the Ca Ri Ga and stir.  Cook an additional 5 minutes before removing from heat.
  3. Serve Ca Ri Ga with toasted French bread for dipping, or ladled atop your choice of rice.  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! 

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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

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 […]

Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup

Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup

Soup Mang Cua 1

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:  Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup.

If you’ve ever attended a traditional Vietnamese wedding, you’ve likely had Sup Mang Cua, probably as the first course of a parade of courses.  Crab meat and asparagus may seem like a strange combination, but the asparagus in this dish is white asparagus, which is much more mildly flavored than traditional, green asparagus.  Variations of this recipe could involve adding whole quail eggs or chewy fish maw.

Sup Mang Cua – Crab Meat & Asparagus Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 6 servings:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 8 oz. crab meat, drained (use lump for chunkier soup, or claw for more crab pieces throughout)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 4 C. chicken broth/stock
  • 1 C. water
  • 1.5 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 C. (about one 17 oz. can, drained) of white asparagus, chopped into bite-sized 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
White asparagus, for Sup Mang Cua, can be found in most Vietnamese or Chinese markets.
White asparagus, for Sup Mang Cua, can be found in most Vietnamese or Chinese markets.

___

STEP 1:  SAUTE THE CRAB MEAT

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat.
  2. Add the chopped garlic to the pan and saute a few seconds to bring out the fragrance of the garlic.
  3. Add the drained crab meat, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Stir, and continue to saute to dry out the crab meat, about 3-5 minutes.

    Saute the seasoned crab meat for a few minutes for Sup Mang Cua.
    Saute the seasoned crab meat for a few minutes for Sup Mang Cua.

___

STEP 2:  START THE SUP MANG CUA BROTH

  1. Add to the sauteed crab meat 4 C. chicken broth, 1 C. water, 1.5 Tbsp. nuoc mam, 4 tsp. sugar, and the white asparagus pieces.  Mix gently to combine.
  2. Bring the broth to a boil, skimming any scum that surfaces.  Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Scoop out 1/4 C. of the broth and set aside to cool.  This will be used in Step 4 below.

___

STEP 3:  MAKE THE EGG RIBBONS

  1. Place 3 egg whites into a glass measuring cup or other dish with a spout.  Gently beat the egg whites.
  2. Use a ladle to stir the Sup Mang Cua broth in a clockwise direction, creating a vortex.  Continue stirring to maintain the vortex, and use your other hand to slowly pour the egg whites into the soup in a steady, thin stream.  This will yield delicate, white, egg ribbons in the Sup Mang Cua, similar to those found in Chinese egg drop soup.

___

STEP 4:  THICKEN & FINALIZE SUP MANG CUA

  1. Turn your attention back to the 1/4 C. of Sup Mang Cua broth you set aside above in Step 2. Make sure this portion of broth is cool before proceeding.
  2. Add 2 Tbsp. cornstarch to the 1/4 C. of cooled broth.  Mix well to combine.
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot of Sup Mang Cua, and mix well.  Bring the Sup Mang Cua back to a boil, and it will thicken.  If you like your soup thicker in consistency, repeat these steps, making sure to only use the Sup Mang Cua broth, not water.  Water will dilute the flavor of your soup.

Serve Sup Mang Cua with pepper as garnish.  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! 

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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

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 […]

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu 1

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 an hour, which beats other noodle soups like Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup and Bun Bo – Beef Lemongrass Noodle Soup.  A Vietnamese noodle soup you can make on a busy weeknight?  Yes, please!

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 4-5 servings:

  • 2.5 lbs. pork soup bones
  • 1 gallon water
  • 7 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar
  • almost an entire (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 lb. lump crab meat (drained) OR ground pork
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 2 (5.6 oz) cans of Gia Vi Nau Bun Rieu (minced prawns in spices)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 (14 oz.) package of Bun Giang Tay (rice vermicelli) noodles
  • 4 extra large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce)
  • cilantro, bean sprouts, mint, lime wedges (for garnish)

—–

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE MEAT

  1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water and turn on high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the pork soup bones 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.

—–

STEP 2:  START THE BUN RIEU BROTH

  1. In a large stockpot, heat 1 gallon of water using high heat.
  2. When the water boils, add the blanched meat and turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add to the broth 5 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), 3 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and almost an entire (6 oz.) can of tomato paste.  Mix gently.  Allow the broth to simmer while you move on to the next steps.

    Move onto the next steps while the Bun Rieu broth cooks.
    Move onto the next steps while the Bun Rieu broth cooks.

—–

STEP 3:  START THE EGG CAKE

  1. Using the flat end of a knife, smash the shrimp to make a paste.  Alternatively, grind it in a food processor.  Place the mashed shrimp into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add to the shrimp the crabmeat/pork, 3 chopped shallots, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), the chopped green onions, 2 (5.6 oz) cans of Gia Vi Nau Bun Rieu (minced prawns in spices), and 3 eggs.  Mix well.
    This helps to flavor the egg cake for Bun Rieu.
    This helps to flavor the egg cake for Bun Rieu.

    The egg mixture for Bun Rieu has a nice red color from the "minced prawns in spices."
    The egg mixture for Bun Rieu has a nice red color from the “minced prawns in spices.”
  3. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO on low heat.  Once heated, pour the egg mixture into the skillet and spread evenly.  Continue to cook this mixture, without mixing, on low heat for 15 minutes.  After this time, the edges of the egg cake will be cooked, while the center will still be slightly soggy.  Remove from heat.

    The egg cake for Bun Rieu should be cooked on low heat to prevent burning, and it should be removed from heat when cooked 80% through.
    The egg cake for Bun Rieu should be cooked on low heat to prevent burning, and it should be removed from heat when cooked 80% through.

—–

STEP 4:  COOK THE BUN NOODLES

  1. Cook Bun Giang Tay (rice vermicelli) noodles according to package instructions.

—–

STEP 5:  FINALIZE BUN RIEU

  1. Once the Bun Rieu broth has been cooking for 50 minutes, remove the soup bones.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and add the quartered tomatoes and 1 Tbsp. of mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce).  Mix well.

    Shrimp sauce - stinky but key!
    Shrimp sauce – stinky but key!
  3. At this point, you can add Dau Hu (fried tofu) and/or Oc (snail meat), if you like these items in your Bun Rieu.
  4. Once the broth begins to simmer again, gently slide the egg cake from Step 3 above into the Bun Rieu broth.  The egg cake will break into large chunks as it slides into the broth.  Remove from heat.

    The egg cake will break into large clumps once added gently to the Bun Rieu broth.
    The egg cake will break into large clumps once added gently to the Bun Rieu broth.
  5. To serve Bun Rieu, place cooked bun noodles into a large bowl and gently ladle the Bun Rieu broth, including large pieces of tomatoes and egg cake, on top of the noodles.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve at the table with bean sprouts, mint, lime wedges, and additional mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce), to taste.  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!

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

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 […]

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

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

Bun Bo Xao 9

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 basis.  Bun thit nuong (vermicelli noodles topped with grilled meat) is one of those dishes you can find at most Vietnamese restaurants but that’s probably rarely made at home.  Maybe it’s because grilling the meat is not by simply firing up the grill; instead, that meat is traditionally made by grilling extra thin slices between hot plates that are a nightmare to clean, or by tediously placing thin slices onto delicate skewers.   That process isn’t ideal after a long, hard day, so Mom came up with an alternative years ago that saves time and is perfect for any workday, transforming an otherwise tedious dish into this week’s easy Mom’s 52 recipe, Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli Noodles topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Eggrolls.

UPDATE:  For this post, we originally used frozen eggrolls, but we can now replace those with homemade Vietnamese eggrolls that have now been added to this Mom’s 52 series.  Mmm!  If using frozen eggrolls, we only recommend Saigon brand eggrolls – and we don’t even get paid for that!  Skipping the eggrolls is an option as well, yielding just Bun Bo Xao (no “cha gio”).

Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli Noodles topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Egg Rolls

INGREDIENTS – serves 4-6

  • 1 package of dry bun noodles (vermicelli)
  • 3/4 lb. of eye of round beef, sliced thinly
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp. of black peppercorns (or ground pepper)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. of oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil for the marinade, plus 2 Tbsp. more for stir-frying
  • 1/2 tsp. of honey
  • 1 Tbsp. of Maggi seasoning (or soy sauce)
  • canola oil, for frying the eggrolls
  • 13 frozen “Saigon” brand eggrolls, any flavor
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • julienned cucumber, chopped mint & cilantro, and bean sprouts (for garnish)

—–

STEP 1:  COOK THE NOODLES

  1. Fill a large pot with 1 gallon of water.  Turn the heat up to high and cover.  Remove any rope that may have been holding the dry vermicelli noodles together.

    Remove any rope that may be tied around the dry noodles.
    Remove any rope that may be tied around the dry noodles.
  2. Once the water comes to a boil, add the dry vermicelli noodles to the boiling water.  Use a chopstick or wooden spoon to gently stir the noodles for a few seconds so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. How long should you boil your noodles?  Mom cautions to be careful about the instructions on the package of dry noodles – they’re usually not correct!  Mom’s trick is to stir the noodles with a chopstick.  When you feel the noodles wrap around the chopsticks with little resistance, they’re done.  For this particular brand, mom turned the heat off after 3 minutes, covered the pot, and let the noodles sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.  (If in doubt, taste test a noodle before draining.)

    Testing to see if the noodles are ready - they easily wrap around the chopsticks.
    Testing to see if the noodles are ready – they easily wrap around the chopsticks.
  4. Pour the noodles into a colander in your sink.  Rinse under cold water, and stir as you rinse.  This step removes excess starch to keep the noodles from sticking together once dry.
  5. Optional:  Mom then individually wraps the noodles into single serve portions.

    Mom's individually portioned noodles.  Makes for easy serving.
    Mom’s individually portioned noodles. Makes for easy serving.

—–

STEP 2:  MARINATE THE BEEF*

*This is the ideal recipe for any beef stir fry marinade:

  1. Mash together 7 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled shallots, 1/2 tsp. of peppercorns, and 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar.  If available, use a mortar and pestle.  Alternatively, use a small food processor.

    Use a mortar and pestle to mash up the marinade ingredients for Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio.
    Use a mortar and pestle to mash up the marinade ingredients for Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio.
  2. Add to the mash 2 Tbsp. of oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of honey, and 1 Tbsp. of Maggi seasoning/soy sauce.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the marinade over the beef slices and mix well to coat every slice.  Use your hands!

    Let the beef marinate for at least 20 minutes to maximize the flavor of Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio.
    Let the beef marinate for at least 20 minutes to maximize the flavor of Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio.

—–

STEP 3:  FRY THE EGGROLLS

If you have a few extra minutes, try making fresh, homemade egg rolls!  Otherwise, see below for a frozen alternative:

Saigon Eggrolls, although pricey, are the closest thing to homemade Vietnamese eggrolls in the frozen aisle at many Vietnamese markets.
Saigon Eggrolls, although pricey, are the closest thing to homemade Vietnamese eggrolls in the frozen aisle at many Vietnamese markets.
  1. Add to a large skillet enough canola oil to reach 1″ up the skillet.  Turn the heat on to high.
  2. In about 2 minutes, carefully add one frozen eggroll to the skillet.  If it gently sizzles, the heat level is ideal.  Add the other frozen eggrolls to the skillet.  Be extra careful because the oil may pop initially.  Turn the heat down to medium.

    Test the oil temperature for eggrolls by looking for small bubbles.
    Test the oil temperature for eggrolls by looking for small bubbles.
  3. The eggrolls will take 10-12 minutes to cook and reach a light, golden brown color.  During that time, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer of small bubbles around the eggrolls, and flip the eggrolls once about 7 minutes into the process.

    Adjust temperature to maintain a steady stream of small bubbles around the eggrolls.
    Adjust temperature to maintain a steady stream of small bubbles around the eggrolls.
  4. Remove the cooked eggrolls from the skillet and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

    Fried eggrolls, to add to Bun Bo Xao.
    Fried eggrolls, to add to Bun Bo Xao.

—–

STEP 4:  STIR FRY THE BEEF

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil on high heat for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add to the heated oil the marinated beef, the julienned jicama, and the sliced yellow onion. Constantly stir as this mixture fries…hence, the term “stir fry.”  Once the beef is browned (about 1 minute), remove from heat.
  3. To serve Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio, place into a large bowl a handful of julienned cucumbers, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, and bean sprouts.  Then, add a handful of cooked bun noodles to the bowl.  Top the noodles with the stir fry mixture, as well as sliced eggrolls.  Top with additional chopped mint and cilantro.  Serve Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio with a side of Nuoc Mam Cham (dipping fish sauce), which can be ladled directly onto the mixture to taste.  Stir and eat…and 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!

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

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 […]

Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg

Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg

Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.

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 the original recipe below a few notes about how to change it up a little, small tweaks that could save you time and money while keeping Mom’s great original flavor.  Enjoy!  —wwc

The holidays get us thinking about family gatherings, and this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is one of the most traditional dishes served at important Vietnamese family gatherings:  Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg.  This dish has a slightly sweet and savory flavor and historically is made by caramelizing the meat and then simmering it for hours.  Mom, however, has changed up the method to make it much easier, cutting out the caramelizing at the beginning and using coconut flavored soda to bring back memories of how she used to make this dish in Vietnam using coconut water from fresh coconuts.

I have distinct memories of eating this dish during Lunar New Year celebrations, or after traditional ceremonies where we offered dishes like this to our deceased ancestors.  This is an easy dish to make, so we don’t have to save it for just special family occasions; it just takes some time (but not much effort!), so it’s best made when you have a few hours at home.

An alternative to whole, traditional eggs is to use quail eggs.  This dish is best served ladled onto a bed of rice,  with a side of cucumbers or pickled vegetables such as Dua Cai, which is another recipe in this Mom’s 52 series.

Thit Kho Trung – Braised Pork & Egg

INGREDIENTS – to serve 8:

  • 4 lbs. of a combination of pork shoulder & pork spare ribs, cut into 2″-3″ chunks
  • 8 cans of Coco Rico coconut flavored soda* (see below for another variation)
  • 1 C. nuoc mam, aka fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 dozen eggs, or 1 can of quail eggs (drained)

*Instead of using all 8 cans of Coco Rico, you can use 4 cans of Coco Rico + 6 C. water, but add an additional 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam and 1/2 Tbsp. sugar to the above amounts.

—–

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE PORK

It’s tempting to try to cut out this step, but Mom says it’s important to do this to yield clear sauce for Thit Kho Trung.  This step “cleans” the pork.

  1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water, and turn on high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the pork 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.

    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Blanched pork shoulder and spare ribs, for Thit Kho Trung.

—–

STEP 2:  BRAISE THE PORK

  1. Pour the Coco Rico coconut flavored soda into a large stockpot.  (If using the variation noted above, add the water here too.)

    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Coco Rico coconut flavored soda, found in most Asian or Latin supermarkets, for Thit Kho Trung.
  2. Using high heat, bring the soda to a boil.
  3. Once the soda boils, gently add the blanched pork to the pot.
  4. Once the liquid comes to a boil again, turn the heat down to low.  Skim any scum from the surface of the liquid.
  5. Add nuoc mam (fish sauce), salt, and sugar to the liquid.  Adjust heat, as needed, to maintain a very low simmer.  Note the time.

—–

STEP 3:  PREPARE THE EGGS

(If using canned quail eggs, skip this step.)

  1. Gently place one dozen eggs into a pot and cover with water.
  2. Using medium heat, bring the water to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Pour out the hot water, and cover the eggs with cold water to cool them.

    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Boiled eggs cooling in cold water, for Thit Kho Trung.
  4. Once the eggs have cooled, peel them.

—–

STEP 4:  FINALIZE THE THIT KHO TRUNG

  1. After the pork has been simmering for one hour, gently add the peeled, cooked eggs (or quail eggs) to the pot of simmering liquid.

    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Thit Kho Trung, right after eggs are added.
  2. Continue to simmer your Thit Kho Trung for an additional two hours (so three hours total, from start to finish).  The liquid will turn a beautiful dark auburn color, as the sugar in the coconut soda will caramelize by then, and the pork will be incredibly tender.    [Update:  If you don’t have the time, you can stop at hour two and cut off the last hour.  It won’t be as dark in color, but it will still be deliciously tasty!]
    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Thit Kho Trung, after it has cooked for a total of two hours…not yet done.

    Thit kho recipe.  Thit kho trung recipe.  Writing With Chopsticks.  Vietnamese Recipes.
    Thit Kho Trung, after it has cooked for almost three hours, has a lovely dark auburn color due to the caramelized sugars. Now, it’s ready for your family to devour.
  3. Gently ladle the tender Thit Kho Trung into a serving bowl, making sure to get a balance of pork pieces and eggs.  At the table, make sure to spoon ample sauce onto white rice and 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!

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

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 […]

Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork

Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork

Canh Ra Gim

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 up your family.

This vegetable soup is not a dish you’d find on the menu of a typical Vietnamese restaurant.  Instead, when my siblings and I were young, Mom took the basic idea of canh, or Vietnamese soup, and combined it with what she had on hand to create a dinner miracle one busy evening after a hard day’s work. Since then, Mom made for us this Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork dish many times over the years.  The great thing about this recipe is that you too can use the vegetables you simply have on hand, even those from the freezer.

Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork

INGREDIENTS – to serve 6-8:

  • 2 lbs. of pork spare ribs, cross cut, then sliced between the ribs to yield individual pieces (suon non, at the Vietnamese market)
  • 1.5 gallons of water
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, aka fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. bot nam, or mushroom seasoning (optional)  [touted as an “MSG substitute” on labels]
  • 2 packages (12 oz. each) of frozen mixed vegetables, plus 1 C. of fresh carrots, peeled & chopped.  -OR-  7 C. of any vegetable mix you have on hand, frozen/fresh/both.
  • pepper, chopped cilantro, and sliced green onions, for garnish

—–

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE PORK SPARE RIBS

It’s tempting to try to cut out this step, but Mom says it’s important to do this to yield a clear vegetable soup and minimize the work you’ll later have to do to skim the scum off the top of your soup.  This step “cleans” the meat.

  1. Boil 1/2 a gallon of water in a large stockpot using high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the spare ribs 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 and drain again.
Blanched and drained pork spare ribs, for vegetable soup with pork.
Blanched and drained pork spare ribs, for vegetable soup with pork.

—–

STEP 2:  MAKE THE SOUP BROTH

  1. Using the same large stockpot from Step 1, bring a gallon of water to a boil using high heat.  Covering the stockpot will help the water come to a boil faster.
  2. Add to the boiling water the following:  1 tsp. of salt, 1 can of chicken broth, 2 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, 2 Tbsp. of sugar, and (optional) 1 tsp. of bot nam.  Gently stir to combine.
  3. Slowly add the blanched pork ribs to the seasoned soup broth.  After a couple of minutes, skim the scum that has surfaced to the top.  Turn the heat down to low to maintain a low boil. Continue to skim the scum, as needed.
  4. After 15 minutes, add to the broth any firm vegetables you are using, i.e. carrots.
  5. After an additional 15 minutes, add the rest of your vegetables, i.e. the frozen vegetables.  Stir.

    Broth with tender pork spare ribs and vegetables - mixed vegetable soup with pork  is almost done!
    Broth with tender pork spare ribs and vegetables – mixed vegetable soup with pork is almost done!
  6. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat.  Ladle into serving bowls, garnished with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and a sprinkle of pepper.  Serve with a side of jasmine rice.

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! 

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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

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 […]

Rau Muong Xao Toi – Water Spinach Sauteed w/ Garlic

Rau Muong Xao Toi – Water Spinach Sauteed w/ Garlic

Rau Muong Xao Toi 1

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 so little) eaters who won’t eat their veggies, try this easy dish!

Rau muong, or water spinach, is readily available in most Vietnamese/Chinese supermarkets.  It may be labeled as ong choy and is usually sold in bunches.  Don’t worry about having to buy a large bunch – rau muong will get much smaller in size as it cooks.  Despite its English translation, rau muong does not have a flavor that resembles typical spinach.  Rau muong is instead quite mild in flavor, and you’re not left with any gritty spinach feel on your teeth from rau muong.

A variation of this dish is to add stir fried beef.

Rau Muong Xao Toi – Water Spinach Sauteed w/ Garlic

INGREDIENTS – to serve 2-3:

—–

  • 1 large bunch of rau muong, aka water spinach – the markets usually bunch them into the size you need
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1.5 Tbsp. of oyster sauce

—–

STEP 1:  TRIM & WASH THE RAU MUONG

  1. Chop off the bottom 3″-4″ of the rau muong bunch, to remove the hardened lowest parts of the stems.
  2. Cut the remainder of the bunch into 3″ pieces.  If in a rush, just chop the entire bunch into 3″ segments (thereby also slicing some of the leaves).  If you have a little time, cut the stems individually, trimming each 3″ segment by snipping the stems between the leaves, keeping the colorful leaves intact.
  3. Wash the rau muong stem and leaf segments in a large, clean sink filled with water.  Drain in a colander. Rau muong is often homegrown by locals and with few pesticides before being sold by the market, so it’s a good idea to triple wash the rau muong, and check the undersides of the leaves for extra cleanliness.  Drain well.
trimmed & washed rau muong
trimmed & washed rau muong

—–

STEP 2:  STIR FRY

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of EVOO in a deep skillet or large pot using medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced garlic to the heated EVOO.
  3. To keep the garlic from burning, immediately add 1.5 Tbsp. of oyster sauce to the skillet/pot.
  4. Add the drained rau muong to the skillet/pot.  Pile it on!  The skillet/pot will likely overflow with the uncooked rau muong.

    Pile the rau muong into the skillet.  It will cook down dramatically.
    Pile the rau muong into the skillet. It will cook down dramatically.
  5. Gently toss the rau muong using large chopsticks.
  6. Cover the skillet/pot, and cook for one minute.  Uncover.  Toss another minute.  Turn off the heat.

    Cooked rau muong will be at least half the size of uncooked rau muong.
    Cooked rau muong will be at least half the size of uncooked rau muong.

Serve Rau Muong Xao Toi with a side of jasmine rice.  This dish is also a good accompaniment to crispy fried/baked tofu strips.

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!

 

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

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 […]

Canh Chua Ca – Sweet & Sour Soup w/ Catfish

Canh Chua Ca – Sweet & Sour Soup w/ Catfish

Canh Chua 1

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 Chua Ga) or shrimp (Can Chua Tom).  All work very well, so use the meat your family enjoys.

The “sweet & sour” of this dish is nothing like that of Chinese sweet & sour sauce or hot & sour soup.  Instead, Canh Chua is more akin to Thai cuisine’s tom yum soup.

One of my favorite things about Canh Chua is that it’s packed with vegetables.  Every time you dip your chopsticks into a bowl of this soup, you’ll be greeted with a wonderful blend of colorful vegetables that strike a perfect balance of both sweet and sour flavors.  Because the vegetables are such a big part of Canh Chua, there are specific instructions in this recipe on how to prep them.

Canh Chua Ca – Sweet & Sour Soup, with Catfish

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

—–

  • 2 stalks of elephant ear vegetable, about 1.5 cups
  • 2 large roma tomatoes
  • 2 C. okra
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 bunch of rau ngo/rau om herbs
  • 2 C. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 small 8 oz. can of pineapple chunks, or 1 C. of fresh pineapple
  • 5 C. water
  • 3.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. of tamarind soup mix (Knorr brand works best, per Mom)
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 2/3 lb. catfish fillets, cut into small 1″ chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. of fried shallots, for garnish
  • Optional: additional nuoc mam (fish sauce) and sliced jalapenos, for dipping.

—–

STEP 1:  PREPARE THE VEGETABLES

  1. Peel the elephant ears to remove the brightest green outer layer.  To do so, hold the elephant ear stalk in one hand, and using your other hand’s thumb, gently pierce the end while grabbing the outer layer, and pull to peel.

    Peel elephant ear stalks to be used in Canh Chua.
    Peel elephant ear stalks to be used in Canh Chua.
  2. Slice the elephant ear stalks using diagonal cuts, yielding pieces about the size of your index finger.

    Elephant ears sliced diagonally for Canh Chua.
    Elephant ears sliced diagonally for Canh Chua.
  3. Slice the tomatoes into 1.5″ chunks.
  4. Cut the ends off the okra.
  5. Slice the celery stalks diagonally, similar to the elephant ears.
  6. Coarsely chop the rau ngo/rau om herbs into 1″-1.5″ pieces.  This herb is a “must have” for Canh Chua because it lends the dish a distinct, sweet scent.

    Fragrant rau ngo/rau om herbs, coursely chopped for Canh Chua.
    Fragrant rau ngo/rau om herbs, coursely chopped for Canh Chua.
  7. Rinse and drain the mung bean sprouts.
  8. If using canned pineapple, drain the pineapple chunks.  If using fresh pineapple, cut into 1″ chunks.

—–

STEP 2:  PREPARE THE BROTH

  1. Heat 5 C. of water in a large pot using high heat.  Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add to the boiling water 2 Tbsp. of nuoc mam (fish sauce), 3.5 Tbsp. of sugar, and 3 Tbsp. of the tamarind soup mix.  Stir gently.  This is a good time to taste your broth to adjust to your liking – add more sugar for additional “sweet” or more tamarind soup mix for additional “sour.”  Just keep in mind that once the vegetables are added, the water in the vegetables will dilute the flavor slightly, so it’s okay if the flavor is a bit strong at this stage.

    Tamarind packet lends the "sour" flavor to Canh Chua.
    Tamarind packet lends the “sour” flavor to Canh Chua.
  3. Add to the broth your okra, pineapple, and catfish chunks.  Once the broth begins to boil again, turn the heat down to maintain a low boil for 10 minutes. (Increase cooking time if using catfish steaks, or if using chicken.)
  4. Add to the broth the remaining vegetables – the elephant ears, celery, tomatoes, bean sprouts, and 1/2 of the rau ngo/rau om herbs.  Gently stir the broth, just to blend the ingredients. Turn off the heat.  Do not continue to heat the broth, or the vegetables will overcook.

—–

STEP 3:  LADLE, GARNISH, SERVE

  1. Ladle the Canh Chua Ca into a large serving bowl.  Scoop gently to keep the fragile catfish pieces intact.
  2. Top the Canh Chua Ca with the remainder of the rau ngo/rau om herbs, as well as a generous sprinkle of fried shallots.

    Fried shallots, often labeled as fried onions, to top your Canh Chua.
    Fried shallots, often labeled as fried onions, to top your Canh Chua.
  3. Serve with jasmine rice.  At the table Canh Chua Ca should be ladled onto individual servings of rice.  For optional dipping of the catfish while eating, serve this dish with a plate of nuoc mam (see Fish Sauce 101), topped with sliced jalapenos, on the side.

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!

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

This 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 […]

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 these steps the next time you need the juice of a lime:

  1. When purchasing, look for a lime with skin that is smooth in texture.  (See photo below.)
  2. After gently rinsing your citrus (don’t cut that dirt right into your juice), roll it a few times on your countertop, pressing down gently using the palm of your hand.
  3. With a sharp knife, trim off the stem end.  This creates a flat side to stabilize the lime for your next slice.  Place that flat side down on your cutting board.
  4. Here’s the most important part:  Don’t just cut the lime down the middle.  Make your subsequent cuts of the lime off-center.  This will yield a much juicier wedge that isn’t hampered by the pith running down the middle of the lime.

    Cut off center to get the most out of your citrus.
    Choose limes with a smooth outer skin.
    Cut off-center to get the most out of your citrus.
Wedges ready for efficient juicing!
Wedges ready for efficient juicing!

These steps are also applicable when you need the juice of a lemon, and even if you’re cutting into an orange.

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!

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

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 […]