Author: Writing With Chopsticks

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

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

Xoi recipe. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe. Xoi Mau recipe.

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 why this dish is colored so brightly – to appeal to children?  There’s no clear explanation as to why the traditional version is so brightly colored, but another good hypothesis is because Xoi Mau is often served at festive events, like birthdays or holidays.  There are other variations of Xoi Mau in bright purple or bright green, but those usually relate to their respective flavors of taro and pandan (Vietnamese vanilla).  If you have flavored extracts on hand, a few drops of those added to the rice before steaming could yield some fun variations of this recipe.

It’s time to bust out the food coloring to have a little fun making Xoi Mau!

Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice

INGREDIENTS – makes 3 servings

  • 2 C. sweet rice, soaked overnight at least 12 hours, then drained
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 drops red food color
  • 7 drops yellow food color
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (olive or vegetable)

—-

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the soaked, drained sweet rice into a large bowl.  Add the salt and mix well.
  2. Combine the red and yellow food color in a large spoon to make orange food color.  Pour the orange food color onto the sweet rice.  Mix well to spread the food color all over the sweet rice evenly.
  3. Spread the orange sweet rice into a steamer basket, leaving a ring of holes around the rice to allow steam to rise from the water basket below.

    Xoi recipe. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe. Xoi Mau recipe.
    A stacked steamer is needed for this recipe, with a steamer basket stacked on top of a water pot. These are inexpensive at many Asian markets. The holes need to be small enough so the rice does not fall through.
  4. Cover the steamer basket, and place it on top of the water basket that’s been filled 1/3 of the way with hot water.  Use medium heat to steam the rice for 40 minutes.  Gently toss the rice twice during this time.
  5. After 40 minutes, sprinkle the sugar and oil onto the rice, and gently toss the rice to incorporate these ingredients.  Cover and steam an additional 20 minutes, which gets the rice to a perfectly sticky consistency.  That’s it!  Serve as an appetizer or as an easy breakfast.  Enjoy!

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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

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

Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.

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 adulthood, you could be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it.

The key to minimizing the bitter flavor of Canh O Qua is to scrape out as much of the fuzzy inner rind as possible.  Even if you can’t handle all of the bitter melon, the stuffing of Canh O Qua is so savory and delicious, it’s still worth trying this Vietnamese recipe.

Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
O Qua, or bitter melon.
Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
The inside of bitter melon can be bright white or bright pink.

Canh O Qua – Bitter Melon Soup

INGREDIENTS

For the Canh O Qua stuffing:

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 10 medium shrimp, smashed (use the back end of a large knife)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C. chopped white onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C. dried black fungus/mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate, then drained & chopped
  • 6 small bitter melons, washed & halved (cut off the ends)

For the Canh O Qua broth:

  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 3 C. water
  • 2.5 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 tsp. sugar

—-

STEP 1:  STUFF THE BITTER MELON

  1. Combine all of the Canh O Qua stuffing ingredients, except the bitter melon.  Mix well.
  2. Using a sharp knife, remove the inners of the bitter melon.  Scrape out as much of the fuzzy white rind as possible because this is the source of the bitter flavor.

    Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Use a small, sharp knife to remove the inners of the bitter melon.
  3. Stuff the bitter melon.  Try to get as much stuffing into the bitter melons as possible.  Stuff them right to the edge.

    Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Stuffed bitter melon.

—-

STEP 2:  MAKE THE CANH O QUA BROTH

  1. Place the Canh O Qua broth ingredients into a large pot.  Heat the broth to boiling.
  2. Gently add the stuffed bitter melon to the boiling broth.  Adjust the heat to simmer Canh O Qua for 20-30 minutes, depending on how soft you like your bitter melon.  The bright color of the bitter melon will fade to an olive hue as it cooks.

    Canh O Qua recipe.  Bitter melon recipe.  Bitter melon soup recipe.  Vietnamese recipe. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Canh O Qua only takes 20-30 minutes to cook.

That’s it!  Serve over white rice and garnished with chopped green onions or cilantro.  Enjoy!

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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

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

Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.

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 Banh Mi is Xiu Mai – Vietnamese Meatballs.

Xiu Mai has a much different flavor than Italian meatballs and are savory and moist, which makes it easy to mash up and stuff into Banh Mi.  Mom has created an easy way to make Xiu Mai, which you’ll appreciate when your family has a taste and starts regularly requesting this dish.

Xiu Mai – Vietnamese Meatballs

INGREDIENTS – makes 18 large meatballs (enough for 6-8 Banh Mi sandwiches)

For the Xiu Mai meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs. ground pork
  • 6 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced into small pieces (1 C.)
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 C. unflavored bread crumbs
  • 3 tsp. soy sauce

For the Xiu Mai sauce:

  • 1 C. chicken broth
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 roma tomato, diced into large pieces

—-

STEP 1:  FORM THE XIU MAI MEATBALLS

  1. Place the Xiu Mai meatball ingredients into a large bowl.  Mix well to combine.  (Use your hands!)

    Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.
    Marinated pork for Xiu Mai meatballs.
  2. Roll the marinated meat into large meatballs, using about 2 Tbsp. of meat per meatball.  Place the meatballs into a large, microwave-safe bowl wide enough so that no meatball sits on top of another.

    Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.
    Make sure the rolled meatballs are not sitting on top of each other.

—-

STEP 2:  COOK THE XIU MAI MEATBALLS

  1. Using the microwave (yes, the microwave!), cook the meatballs for 5 minutes.  This will set the shape of the meatballs.

    Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.
    Microwaving the Xiu Mai meatballs initially will cook the outside enough to maintain their fragile shape.
  2. Place the Xiu Mai sauce ingredients into a large, wide saucepan, and mix lightly to combine. Turn on high heat.
  3. Carefully spoon the Xiu Mai meatballs one-by-one into the saucepan.  Pour in any juices from the glass dish as well.

    Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.
    Simmer the Xiu Mai meatballs for 15 minutes to cook them through and yield a savory sauce perfect for dipping French bread.
  4. Adjust the heat as needed to simmer the Xiu Mai meatballs in the sauce for 15 minutes.  That’s it!  Serve with fresh French bread and sliced cucumbers, or make a Banh Mi sandwich with your Xiu Mai.  Enjoy!Xiu Mai recipe. Vietnamese Meatball recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Banh Mi recipe.

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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

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

Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.

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 Tieu recipe needs a spotlight of its own.

Hu Tieu (pronounced “who the-eww”) noodles generally come in two forms: an opaque white noodle, or dai translucent noodles.  I personally prefer the dai noodles, but both are tasty.  Mom has also experimented in her Hu Tieu recipe by using Korean purple noodles that are made out of sweet potatoes and more traditionally found in the Korean dish jap chae.  It’s fun to mix it up and find the noodles that your family likes best.

Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
Hu Tieu dai noodles become translucent once cooked.

Hu Tieu recipe – Pork & Seafood Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 8 servings

For the Hu Tieu recipe’s broth:

  • 2.5 lbs. pork soup bones
  • 1.5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 23 C. water
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 C. dried squid
  • 1/3 C. dried shrimp
  • 1 small onion, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)

For the Hu Tieu recipe’s garnish:

  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. Hu Tieu Dai noodles, cooked
  • 2 lbs. sliced xa xiu (Chinese bbq pork) – Mom’s recipe coming soon!
  • 2/3 lb. large shrimp, boiled & peeled
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. nuoc mam
  • 1/2 C. preserved cabbage/radish, washed & drained to remove excess salt
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 2 C. chives, chopped into 2″ pieces
  • 4 C. Chinese greens, i.e. gai lan or yu choy, chopped into 2″ pieces
  • sliced limes, to taste

Optional:  Boiled squid rings (calamari) are another option to garnish your Hu Tieu, if desired.

—-

STEP 1:  START THE HU TIEU BROTH

  1. To start your Hu Tieu recipe, fill an extra large stockpot halfway with water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, blanch the pork by adding the pork bones and pork shoulder to the boiling water, and pouring the pot contents out into a colander over the sink 30 seconds later.  Rinse the blanched bones and pork shoulder well.  Rinse the stockpot well.  Return the bones and pork shoulder to the stockpot.
  2. Add 23 C. of water to the stockpot and turn the heat up to high.  Add 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 C. dried squid, 1/3 C. dried shrimp, and one peeled & toasted small onion to start the Hu Tieu broth.  Adjust the heat to maintain only a slight simmer.  Note the time, and move on to Step 2.

    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Dried squid and dried shrimp for your Hu Tieu recipe can be found at most Chinese and Vietnamese markets. These are key to the flavoring of your Hu Tieu.

—-

STEP 2:  PREPARE THE HU TIEU GARNISH

  1. In a medium skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. EVOO on medium heat.  Add to the skillet 4 sliced shallots, and stir to brown them.  Remove from heat.  Scoop 2/3 of the browned shallots into the Hu Tieu broth.  Keep the remaining 1/3 in the skillet.

    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Browned shallots for Hu Tieu.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 lb. ground pork, 1/4 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. nuoc mam, and 1/2 C. rinsed & drained preserved cabbage/radish.  Mix well to combine.
    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Preserved cabbage/radish can be found at most Chinese or Vietnamese markets. Rinse & drain well before using, to remove excess salt.

    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Ground pork and radish mixture for Hu Tieu.
  3. Bring the browned shallots in the skillet back to the stovetop, and turn on medium heat once again.  Add to the skillet the ground pork mixture.  Stir to cook well.  Once fully cooked, pour the ground pork into a dish and set aside.

    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Ground pork & radish, one of the many toppings for Hu Tieu.
  4. Create an assembly line of the following items:  cooked Hu Tieu noodles, cooked ground pork, boiled shrimp, sliced xa xiu (Chinese bbq), (optional) boiled squid rings, chives, Chinese greens, and limes.

—-

STEP 3:  FINALIZE HU TIEU & SERVE

  1. Once the Hu Tieu broth has been simmering for one hour, remove the pork shoulder and set aside to cool.  Add 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam to the Hu Tieu broth, and cook the broth an additional 10 minutes.  Once those 10 minutes have passed, turn off the heat.

    Hu Tieu recipe. Vietnamese recipes. Writing With Chopsticks.
    Hu Tieu broth is ready!
  2. Finely slice the pork shoulder, and add it to the assembly line from Step 2 above.
  3. To assemble Hu Tieu, place the noodles into a large soup bowl, topping it with your choice of meats and garnish.  Ladle a generous amount of Hu Tieu broth into the bowl, and serve garnished with a lime slice or two, to taste.  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…

 

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 – Opo Squash Soup

Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day for us to remember the brave who have fallen.  Memorial Day is especially important to our family because without the help of many of those fallen, my parents would not have made it to America almost 40 years ago, […]

Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad

Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad

Bo Tai Chanh Recipe

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 is often served as an appetizer in Vietnamese cuisine, although serving Bo Tai Chanh as a main dish is still a good idea in Mom’s book!

Bo Tai Chanh – Seared Beef Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/8 C. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 C. white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. + 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2/3 lb. quality beef ribeye, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1.5 C. (tightly packed) ngo om herb, chopped

    Ngo Om herb, for Bo Tai Chanh recipe and Canh Chua recipe
    Ngo Om herb, also known as Rice Paddy Herb, for Bo Tai Chanh.

—-

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE ONIONS IN THE VINAIGRETTE

  1. In a large measuring cup, combine 1/8 C. EVOO, 1/2 C. white vinegar, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Whisk to mix well, and add the sliced sweet onions to this vinaigrette.  Set aside to marinate the onions.

    Vinaigrette for Bo Tai Chanh recipe
    Marinate the onions in a vinaigrette for Bo Tai Chanh.

—-

STEP 2:  SEAR THE RIBEYE

  1. In a small skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. canola oil on low-medium heat.  This is not a typical high heat searing method, since the intention is not to fully cook the outside.
  2. Working with only 3 or 4 pieces at a time, sear the sliced ribeye, cooking each for only about 5 seconds on each side, yielding slices that are still pink.  Set the seared ribeye aside in a large mixing bowl.  Repeat to sear all the ribeye slices.
    Bo Tai Chanh Recipe
    Sear the ribeye for Bo Tai Chanh.

    Bo Tai Chanh Recipe
    After searing the ribeye for Bo Tai Chanh, the meat should still be pink.

—-

STEP 3:  ASSEMBLE THE BO TAI CHANH

  1. Add to the seared ribeye 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. lime juice.  Mix well to combine.  The lime juice will further “cook” the ribeye.
  2. Add the marinated onions, only half of the vinaigrette, and the coarsely chopped ngo om herbs.  Toss gently.
  3. Plate Bo Tai Chanh, and serve with Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce.  You can also serve Bo Tai Chanh with rice or with crispy banh trang (rice paper).  Enjoy!

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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

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

Ca Chien 6

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 see the fish before it’s cleaned. Select fish that does not have a fishy smell, and whose eyes are clear.

Below, we have instructions for both whole fried fish and fish steaks for your Ca Chien.  Whole fish yields a nicer presentation, but steaks are easier to handle while cooking.  For whole fish, Mom likes the Golden Pompano, which is a scaleless fish that does not have many small bones, making it easier for your guests to eat.  Other good options for whole fried fish are bass or tilapia.  In my experience, whole tilapia has a bit too many small bones, so beware if serving children.  For steaks, the best option is catfish.  In addition to selecting catfish with clear eyes, the better catfish are those with a more narrow head.

An outdoor cooking surface is recommended, but Mom has cooked Ca Chien for years indoors too.  Just turn on that air vent!

Ca Chien – Fried Fish

INGREDIENTS – makes 2-3 servings

  • 1.5 lbs of fresh fish (whole, cleaned & gutted; or steaks)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. flour (for fish STEAKS only)
  • oil for frying, i.e. vegetable or canola (do not use olive oil)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled

—-

STEP 1:  PREPARE THE FISH

FISH STEAKS:  Dry the fish well.  Place the fish steaks into a large plastic bag and add 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 C. flour.  Close the bag, and shake well to coat the fish steaks.

WHOLE FISH:  Dry the fish well.  Cut 3 long slits into the side of the whole fish.  Sprinkle a total of 1 tsp. salt on both sides of the fish.

Cut slits into the whole fish, to increase the surface area and crispness of Ca Chien.  Pictured: Golden Pompano fish.
Cut slits into the whole fish, to increase the surface area and crispness of Ca Chien. Pictured: Golden Pompano fish.

—-

STEP 2: FRY THE FISH

  1. Pour enough frying oil into a large, wide skillet to rise about 1/2 an inch on the sides.  Turn the heat on to medium.
  2. After the oil has heated for 3-4 minutes, add the peeled garlic.

    Add garlic cloves for extra flavor for Ca Chien.
    Add garlic cloves for extra flavor for Ca Chien.
  3. Carefully add the whole fish/fish steaks.  The fish will immediately sizzle.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, watching closely to keep the fish from burning.
  4. Flip the fish after 5 minutes.  It should be golden brown on the cooked side.  Cook an additional 5 minutes to cook the other side, turning up the heat just slightly during the last minute to really crisp the fish.
    After flipping, the fish for Ca Chien will be a nice golden brown on the side you cooked first.
    After flipping, the fish for Ca Chien will be a nice golden brown on the side you cooked first.

    Be careful when flipping the fish for Ca Chien, especially the large, whole fish.
    Be careful when flipping the fish for Ca Chien, especially the large, whole fish.
  5. Remove the fish from the oil and drain on paper towels.  Serve with a side of Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce, a recipe that can also be found in our Mom’s 52 recipe series.  Enjoy!

    Finished Ca Chien made with fish steaks.  See main photo above for Ca Chien made with whole fish.
    Finished Ca Chien made with fish steaks. See main photo above for Ca Chien made with whole fish.

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!

 

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

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

Canh Bi 1

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 that you may be overlooking is the winter melon. You may see this vegetable in the market labeled as Don Qua, and it looks a lot like a large honeydew melon with a dusting of white powder on its green skin.  Due to its large size, the markets often cut this winter melon into more manageable chunks for purchase.  Winter melon is very mild in flavor and not at all bitter.  The next time you see winter melon at the market, pick some up for this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe, an easy dish called Canh Bi Dao – Winter Melon Soup.  Hurry, before they’re gone!

Winter melon for Canh Bi Dao can look daunting, but it's easy to peel and cut into chunks like you would a honeydew melon.
Winter melon for Canh Bi Dao can look daunting, but it’s easy to peel and cut into chunks like you would a honeydew melon.

Canh Bi Dao – Winter Melon Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 4-5 servings

For the broth:

  • 1.5 lbs. pork soup bones
  • 1.5 quarts + 1 C. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 lbs. winter melon, cut into small chunks  (Optional: Mom then cuts little slices into the chunks, like an E shape, creating fronds on each chunk.  This is purely for aesthetics, but that’s how Mom does it!  See the main image at the start of this post for an example.)

For the shrimp paste:

  • 1/3 lb. ground pork
  • 1/5 lb. shrimp, mashed
  • 1 tsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 green onion, chopped

____

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE PORK SOUP BONES

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water.  Heat on high and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, add the pork soup bones and stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Pour the pot contents into a strainer over the sink.  Rinse the blanched bones well to wash off any scum.
  4. Clean the pot thoroughly for use in the next step.

____

STEP 2:  START THE CANH BI DAO BROTH

  1. Heat 1.5 quarts + 1 cup of water in the large pot on high heat.
  2. When the water boils, add the rinsed, blanched pork soup bones.  Turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add to the pot 1/2 tsp. salt, 1.5 tsp. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce).  Stir gently. Meanwhile, move to the next step below.

____

STEP 3:  COOK THE SHRIMP PASTE & FINALIZE CANH BI DAO

  1. Combine the ingredients for the shrimp paste and mix well.

    Shrimp paste for Canh Bi Dao.
    Shrimp paste for Canh Bi Dao.
  2. Once the Canh Bi Dao broth has cooked for 45 minutes, drop the shrimp paste into the broth by rounded tablespoons, yielding little chunks of meat in the Canh Bi Dao.
  3. Add the cut winter melon to the broth and cook an additional 15 minutes.  When the winter melon is translucent, your Canh Bi Dao is ready.  Remove the pork soup bones and discard.

Serve Canh Bi Dao with a side of jasmine rice and topped with fresh cilantro and pepper.  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!

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

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

Bo Kho 5

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 is a savory dish with a thinner sauce than American-style beef stew.  For the vegetables, choose any combination of root vegetables you prefer, such as carrots, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, or even more exotic varieties such as purple yams or taro root.

Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS – for 8 servings

*Dad requests chewier chunks of meat in his Bo Kho, so Mom mixes together beef shank and beef flank for her recipe.  For YOUR own version of Bo Kho, cater the beef to your liking, using a total of about 4 lbs. of meat.

For the Bo Kho beef marinade:

  • 2.5 lbs. of beef chuck roast OR drop flank/flank steak, cut into 2″ chunks*
  • 1.5 lbs. of beef shank, cut into 2″ chunks*
  • 1.5 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 3.5 Tbsp. “Gia Vi Nau Bo Kho” spice packet (see photo below)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

For the Bo Kho stew:

  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4″pieces (yields about 1 C.)
  • 6 C. hot water
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of Coco Rico coconut flavored soda
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • roughly 6 C. of your choice of root vegetables (i.e. carrots, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.), cut into large 2″ chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • cilantro, for garnish

___

STEP 1:  MARINATE THE BEEF FOR BO KHO

  1. In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
"Gia Vi Nau Bau Kho" literally means "spices to cook Bo Kho" and is a combination of paprika, anise, chili, onion, ginger, and cloves.
“Gia Vi Nau Bau Kho” literally means “spices to cook Bo Kho” and is a combination of paprika, anise, chili, onion, ginger, and cloves.
Marinate the beef for Bo Kho for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor.
Marinate the beef for Bo Kho for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor.

___

STEP 2:  START THE BO KHO STEW

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic, 1 C. of lemongrass pieces, and the marinated beef.  Toss to brown the beef.
  3. Once the beef has browned, add to the pot 6 C. hot water, 1 can of Coco Rico coconut flavored soda, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), and 3 bay leaves.  Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer, and cover.  Cook for 2 hours.

    Cook the meat and spices for Bo Kho for 2 hours before adding your root vegetables.
    Cook the meat and spices for Bo Kho for 2 hours before adding your root vegetables.
  4. After 2 hours, reserve 1/2 C. of the Bo Kho sauce in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Add to the pot your chopped root vegetables.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

    Root vegetables for Bo Kho can be of any variety you like.  Mix a few different types for a nice combination of color.
    Root vegetables for Bo Kho can be of any variety you like. Mix a few different types for a nice combination of color.
  6. Add 3 Tbsp. cornstarch to the reserved bowl of sauce from #4 above.  Mix well to combine, and add this cornstarch slurry to the Bo Kho.  Mix well to slightly thicken.
  7. Cook the Bo Kho for a final 10 minutes and remove from heat.  Serve Bo Kho ladled atop a bowl of rice or noodles, or with a side of French bread.  Garnish with cilantro for a fragrant finish.  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!

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

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

Xoi Lap Xuong 1

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 rice, can come in many forms.  This version is Xoi Lap Xuong, meaning it’s topped with Chinese sausage (lap xuong).  Chinese sausage is more popularly known as the sausage in fried rice.  Here, Mom also jazzes up her Xoi Lap Xuong by adding salty dried shrimp, as well as shredded dried chicken.  Yes…the combination of sausage, dried shrimp, dried chicken, and rice may sound a little strange, and maybe the photo above even looks a bit odd if you’re new to Vietnamese cuisine.  If you bring this dish up to a room of Vietnamese individuals, however, I’ll bet the majority of them will start reminiscing about great childhood memories of devouring Xoi Lap Xuong.

Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage

INGREDIENTS – makes 2-3 servings:

  • 1.5 C. sweet rice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 C. lap xuong (Chinese sausage)
  • Optional:  1/3 C. dried shrimp and 1/2 C. thit cha bong, aka ruoc (Vietnamese dried, shredded chicken)

—–

STEP 1:  SOAK THE RICE (OVERNIGHT)

  1. Place the sweet rice into a large bowl and add enough water to rise 2″ above the rice.  Cover loosely with a towel.  Soak the sweet rice for at least 10 hours.

    Sweet rice, for Xoi Lap Xuong.
    Sweet rice, for Xoi Lap Xuong.

—–

STEP 2:  STEAM THE RICE

  1. Drain the soaked sweet rice.  Add 1/2 tsp salt to the rice and toss gently.
  2. Add the rice to the basket of a steamer, with holes small enough so the rice does not fall through.  Gently spread the rice but leave a ring of open holes around the rice to allow steam in.

    Leave a ring of open holes around the rice to allow more steam into the basket for Xoi Lap Xuong.
    Leave a ring of open holes around the rice to allow more steam into the basket for Xoi Lap Xuong.
  3. Steam the rice, covered, for 13 minutes on low-medium, tossing the rice occasionally.

    The rice for Xoi Lap Xuong will be fluffy and tender after steaming.
    The rice for Xoi Lap Xuong will be fluffy and tender after steaming.
  4. Once the first 15 minutes have passed, uncover and sprinkle the rice with 1/2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. EVOO.  Toss gently.  Cover again and steam on low heat for an additional 12 minutes.

—–

STEP 3:  PREPARE THE TOPPING FOR XOI

The topping for Xoi (sticky rice) can vary greatly, so feel free to adjust the following ingredients to your liking.  Green onions and scrambled eggs, or sesame seeds and rotisserie chicken are a couple of different savory suggestions.  In the future, we will post a recipe for another, er, more colorful version of Xoi, which is usually mixed with coconut to yield a sweeter Xoi.  Stay tuned!

  1. Slice a link of lap xuong (Chinese sausage) in half lengthwise to yield two long pieces.
  2. On low heat, cook the lap xuong in a small skillet for about 3 minutes, flipping once.
  3. Finely slice or julienne the cooked lap xuong.  Set aside.
  4. Using a mortar & pestle or a food processor, smash the dried shrimp.
  5. In the same skillet as above, heat 1 tsp. of EVOO on low heat.  Add the smashed shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, tossing constantly.
  6. To assemble Xoi Lap Xuong – Vietnamese Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage, plate the Xoi from Step 2 above and top the Xoi with the sliced lap xuong and dried shrimp.  Optional, and pictured above: top also with thit cha bong/ruoc (dried, shredded chicken).

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!

 

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

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

Cha Gio 1

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 Egg Rolls

INGREDIENTS – makes 20 Egg Rolls:

  • 1/2 C.  dried black fungus/mushrooms
  • 1/3 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 C. carrots, finely shredded (or finely chopped by a food processor)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers (aka pastry wrappers)
  • canola/vegetable oil, for frying
  • lettuce leaves, for garnish

___

STEP 1:  MAKE THE CHA GIO FILLING

  1. Soak the black fungus/mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.  Drain.  Chop coarsely.
    "Dried Black Fungus" can be found in most Chinese/Vietnamese markets.  Find "shredded" versions (not pictured), if available.
    “Dried Black Fungus” can be found in most Chinese/Vietnamese markets. Find “shredded” versions (not pictured), if available.

    Soak "dried black fungus" in hot water to rehydrate.
    Soak “dried black fungus” in hot water to rehydrate.
  2. Using a food processor, turn the shrimp into a paste.  Place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add to the mixing bowl the ground pork, carrots, green onions, rehydrated mushrooms, nuoc mam, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Mix well to combine.
  4. Add one whole egg to the mixture and mix again to complete the Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls filling.

    Filling for Cha Gio - Vietnamese Egg Rolls.
    Filling for Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls.

___

STEP 2:  ROLL THE CHA GIO

  1. Place one egg white into a small dish.
  2. Make sure the egg roll/pastry wrappers have defrosted.  Carefully peel away one wrapper and place on a plate.

    If you like the really chewy type of egg rolls, use rice paper instead of these egg roll/pastry wrappers.
    If you like the really chewy type of egg rolls, use rice paper instead of these egg roll/pastry wrappers.
  3. Roll 20 rolls, spooning approximately 2 Tbsp. of filling into each wrapper.

    Step 1:  Spoon 2 Tbsp. of filling onto a wrapper, placing it about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.
    Step 1: Spoon 2 Tbsp. of filling onto a wrapper, placing it about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.
Step 2:  Fold up from the bottom, covering the filling, and squeezing down gently to tap out any air.
Step 2: Fold up from the bottom, covering the filling, and squeezing down gently to tap out any air.
Step 3: Fold in the sides and gently crease, making sure to yield straight and parallel lines on the right and left.
Step 3: Fold in the sides and gently crease, making sure to yield straight and parallel lines on the right and left.
Step 4: Roll the egg roll, and brush the end with egg white to seal.
Step 4: Roll the egg roll, and brush the end with egg white to seal.

Cha Gio 3

___

STEP 3:  FRY THE CHA GIO

  1. Pour enough vegetable/canola oil into a large skillet to rise 1″.  Turn the heat on to high.
  2. Once heated, carefully place the Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls into the skillet.  The oil should gently bubble around each egg roll.  Turn the heat down to medium.

  3. Fry the egg rolls for 16-20 minutes each, flipping once, until they turn a light, golden brown.  Adjust heat, as needed, to maintain a small simmer around each roll.
  4. Remove cooked Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls from the oil and place onto a dish lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.  Serve with fresh lettuce and Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce.

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!

Taking Requests!

Taking Requests!

Now, it’s your turn to have a say on what may appear on future Writing With Chopsticks posts.  Is there a Vietnamese dish you’ve been craving and want Mom’s help to perfect via our Mom’s 52 Vietnamese recipes series?  Have you seen an interesting item at […]

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 – Beef Noodle Soup

Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup

In recent years, it seems this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe has gained some notoriety among foodies all over.  It’s great to see everyone finally embrace Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup, and with Pho restaurants popping up in so many neighborhoods these days, this may […]

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! 

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!

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.

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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 […]

About Mom’s 52 – Vietnamese Recipes from Mom

About Mom’s 52 – Vietnamese Recipes from Mom

“WOW.  This is almost as good as how my mom used to make it…”

Mom’s 52 is a blog series focused on my mother’s delectable Southern Vietnamese recipes.  The goal is to post 52 of her Vietnamese recipes in 52 weeks.  The hardest part will be translating “a little bit of that” and “a little more of this” into tangible amounts readers can use to recreate my mother’s Southern Vietnamese recipes at home.  The heartwarming part will be spending more quality time with my mom and incorporating into these Vietnamese recipes a taste of my mother’s fascinating history as an American immigrant who fled her native country during the Vietnam war.

Get your chopsticks ready.  Mom’s 52 has arrived…

Mom's 52 is a series of Vietnamese recipes that shows you exactly how to replicate Mom's special dishes.  Enjoy!
Mom’s 52 is a series of Vietnamese recipes that shows you exactly how to replicate Mom’s special dishes. Enjoy!