Vietnamese Food

Cuisine culture in Vietnam

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This website collect all information professionals about: Vietnamese food, vietnamese food recipes, vietnamese food Culture, pho soup, beef, rice noodles, seafood ....It is very important and useful if you want to have a tour in vietnam. And that is not bad idea for your taste.
Someone asked me the other day what my favorite food was..."Vietnamese!" I quickly replied, "At least for the moment."

About Viet Nam...

Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea (Vietnamese: Biển Đông), to the east. With a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world.

Beef Stew in red Wine (Thit bo ham ruou vang)

Winter weather that has beef stew soup served with hot rice, you will see a lot stronger than you.


400g beef
1 carrot root
2 potato tubers
Half an onion bulb
1 garlic bulb
½ cup red wine
¾ cup tomato sauce
Seasoning salt
Cooking oil



Cut beef cubes.
Potatoes, carrots, scraped peel cut into slices.
Square sliced onion
Sliced peeled garlic.
Add 1 tablespoon oil in a pan heated. Fried Garlic till fragrant.

Fried beef, add a few seasoning salt .

When beef is cooked, Adding potatoes, carrots and onions to fried. Add seasoning salt :).

 Stir steady, cook for a short time.

Add red wine

 Add tomato sauce.
Then add water intrusion approximately, then boil in small smoldering fire.

Tasting spices for taste.
Stew until soft materials. To Sprinkle some black pepper and then turn off the stove.

Using in hot is better, you can use with bread or rice.

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Breakfast in Saigon - Fried eggs cooked with various sausages

Breakfast in Saigon - Every morning on the pavement just outside our house in Saigon's District 1 a vendor arranged eight tiny plastic stools around a makeshift cooker. There, from about 630 until 10 in the morning, she served order after order of op la (fried eggs cooked with various sausages).

Back then Dave worked a different sort of job, one that required a shirt and tie and his presence at an office from an early hour, so we didn't partake often. But when we did, we marveled at the perfectection of her sunny-side-up eggs: lightly crispy on the bottom, whites just past the point of jiggly, and yolks runny enough to generously stain the baguette we ate alongside.

After we left Saigon in 2005 that op la served as our fried eggs gold standard -- until, on this last trip back, we were introduced to the op la at Hoa Ma Quan.
This 40-year-old establishment occupies a typically long, narrow corner shop in District 3. Tables overflow its small space onto the alley outside. And on Saturdays and Sundays and before office hours on weekdays, they're filled with folks digging into op la.

Hoa Ma Quan opened as a banh mi shop (we'll have more to say on that specialty later). The proprietress, who moved with her family from Hanoi, can still be found behind the counter taking money and making change while her daughters split and stuff baguettes.

At Hoa Ma Quan they do things the old-fashioned way, which means that most banh mi and op la ingredients -- mayonnaise, pate, and many of the sausages -- are made in house. Baguettes are kept warm in an oven heated with charcoal.

All of this attention to detail makes for an op la that is a cut above the average.
Think Western-style bacon and eggs given a twist and a leg up courtesy of Vietnamese culinary ingenuity.The eggs arrive in individual pans, yolks done just so and bottoms browned and crackly. Nestled in the egg whites are slices of pork sausage and a few chunks of a bacon-ish meat that, unlike many lesser pork products, really taste of the pig. Triangles of chewy gluten browned in pork fat add an intriguing textural dimension.
The op la is served with a plate of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and a bit of bracing carrot pickle. And, of course, a big warm, crusty baguette.

There's only one way to improve upon Hoa Ma Quan's op la, and that is to order it with a side of pate (smooth, mild, and very porky) and mayonnaise (impossibly rich and eggy). We allternated bites of egg and sausage and baguette dipped in runny yolk with bits of bread spread smeared with pate and freshly made mayonnaise. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

A couple of weeks ago, this was my birthday breakfast. And I couldn't help but imagine that starting the day with pate must be an auspicious way to start a new year.

Hoa Ma Quan, 53 Cao Thang, District 3. 6am-12pm (officially -- they close up shop when the run out of supplies, which can be as early as 1030am).

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The fifth Cuisine Festival in Vietnam

The fifth Cuisine Festival opened at 23/9 Park in Ho Chi Minh City on December 26 to promote Vietnamese and international cuisine to domestic and foreign visitors.
The festival attracted 43 businesses from 18 countries and territories, including Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, China, Italy, Malaysia and Singapore. The Republic of Korea introduced its cuisine and culture through presenting their traditional costumes, teaching how to cook fried noodles, tokbuki, and organising a “RoK-Vietnam cuisine exchange” seminar.

The event, organised by the Municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Municipal Tourism Association and the Youth Advertising Company, is part of the programme to welcome the New Year. A wide range of activities include a street parade with a large number of amateur and professional artists, bartender performances, making of Vietnam’s biggest rice pancake and presenting delicious dishes of 18 countries.

There will also be special performances by artists from the RoK, Russia, Germany and Vietnam, and a fashion show with Vietnamese ao dai (traditional long dress) and ao Ba Ba (shirt worn by South Vietnamese women), Korean handbok, Japanese kimono, and traditional costumes of other countries.
The festival will last until January 2, 2011.

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Vietnamese Roasted Chicken ( Ga Roti )

ga roti
Vietnamese Roasted Chicken - Ga Roti

We recently got an email asking for Vietnamese chicken recipes and realized that we really haven't featured our little feather friend as we should. So this past weekend, when Hong came to visit, I decided to make the traditional Vietnamese poultry dish for dinner known as com ga roti, the term roti, is the Vietnamese way of trying to say rotisserie/roasted chicken. Just as Americans tend to Anglicized things, Vietnamese also Vietnamize things too! :)

We love to use Cornish hens for this recipe because they're really juicy and tender and the perfect portion for both of us. The meat is so juicy, skin so crispy, and goes perfectly with rice. Traditionally, this is served with tomato rice, but I decided to serve it with xoi vo (mung bean sticky rice) , a semi sweet glutinous rice dish with mung beans.

Vietnamese Roasted Chicken  - Ga Roti

Printable recipe

  • 2 Cornish hens (bone in, skin on and split in half, lengthwise)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 3 tbs diced green onions
  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • Rice, tomatoes, cucumbers
Dipping Sauce
  • Juice from roasted chicken
  • lime wedges
  • chili garlic sauce or thai red chilies
  • soy sauce
In a mixing bowl or large ziplock bag, combine soy sauce, five spice powder, honey, peppers, sesame oil and garlic along with the cornish hen and mix well. Marinate the Cornish hens preferably overnight, but a 4-6 hours will probably still do.

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Place in baking pan and bake hens in middle rack with skin facing up. In the meantime make the scallion oil by heating the cooking oil and when hot, add the green onions with a sprinkle of salt and remove from heat and set aside.

Bake for about a half an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (or pierce the chicken-juice should be clear, not bloody) . The baking pan will contain the juices and marinade. DO NOT throw this out! Take the juices and add a little soy sauce, squeeze of lime, and garlic chili sauce or Thai peppers for a great dipping sauce.

For extra crispiness, you can quickly sear the skin on high heat on a heavy skillet right before serving. Top ga roti with a bit of scallion green and serve with tomatoes, cucumber, and rice.

ga roti

These photos were taken around 9:30 pm so you'll have to excuse the quality as it really belies how delicious and tasty the ga roti with the xoi vo was. Check out our xoi vo and a caramelized chicken recipe!


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Vietnamese Crab Stuffed Pork (nem cua be)

Vietnamese Crab Stuffed Pork (nem cua be) is suitable for a meal your family gatherings this weekend. Taste from this good dish will make your whole family enjoyed,  sure.


Yields: 2 servings
200g crab, 50g crab tiles .

150g minced lean beef, 2 egg, 2 carrots, 1 bulb kohlrabi, 50g bean sprouts.

100g vermicelli soaked in bloom; rice paper.

Spices: Fish sauce, pepper, cooking oil, hat nêm.

Eating together: noodles, herbs and sweet and sour sauce dots.



- Onion peeled, washed, trimmed. cat's ear mushrooms, soak mushrooms bloom, cut legs, chopped.

- Mix the crab meat and minced pork, onion, vermicelli, bean sprouts, kohlrabi, carrots, cat's ear, mushrooms, eggs and pepper. Adding with a little pepper, 1 tbsp fish sauce and 2 teaspoons seasoning particles.

- To the soft rice paper, can be absorbed a few of beer to be more brittle when fried spring rolls. Spread rice out, to pack raw materials in the middle, square package.

- Heating oil pan for boiling, drop the fried spring rolls that are golden brown.

Place dish in Oil absorbent paper. Serve with fresh rice noodles, herbs and sweet and sour sauce mixed dots.

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Vietnamese seafood fried rice recipe (Com chien hai san)

Fried rice so rich with many different materials come with rice, to create different taste. Today, we want to introduce you to the seafood fried rice dish simple, easy and delicious.



Yields: 4 servings

  • 4 cups cold cooked rice (preferably 1 day old)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (onion can be used instead of garlic)
  • 2 cups  chopped seafood :
  •  -medium raw shrimp – deveined and shelled cut into bite sized pieces
  •  -crabmeat drain all the water from the can of crab meat
  •  -squid, cut into bite sized pieces…
  • 2-3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup diced mixed vegetables( mushrooms,peas, carrot,…)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (or soy sauce )
  • 3 stalks green onions, sliced



Bring a pot of water to boil, poach shrimps, squid, peas, carrots and mushroom… Set aside.
Heat up a wok with some oil, add in garlic and stir until fragrant.Add in egg and stir-fry quickly to scramble. Add the rice – breaking up as any lumps. Let the rice heat up in the wok. Add vegetables and seafood. Stir-fry until all is hot. Add fish sauce/ soy, salt & pepper.  Stir fry until all ingredients are combined and steaming hot. Sprinkle chopped scallions on. Served with slices of tomato, cucumber and soy sauce

              -in Vietnam chinese sausage is often used in fried rice recipes
              -adding egg before the rice to avoid rice from stickiness


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Some popular food of Muong region

Muong region has been probably one of the most favorite places for tourists recently. Discovering villages and daily life's activities seems to be interests of tourists. Yet, for many people, Muong's cuisine is still of great strangeness. Muong minority is not much finical in their cuisine yet each dish is their specialty, a great harmony between foods themselves and tones of the nature that only by tasting can tourists experience true feelings about their cuisine. Some typical dishes which may be offered to tourists by the locals are:

1. Burned-Boiled-Fermented pork

One of Muong minority's habits is to leave their pigs unbridled, eating forest vegetables, drink water from springs. Hence, pork here is very good and flavored. Once they want to slaughter pig, they have their pig burned to get rid of hair and then thoroughly washed, disembowel to take out viscera without rewashing the pig, and hang it up to dry out. By following that procedure, pork will not go bad and can be kept for long time without being tainted. Pig's trotter is then boiled to enjoy with toasted salt and grilled and ground "dổi" seeds. This is really a simple and popular way of preparing this dish but of great flavor with strong taste of toasted salt, sweetness of pork and aroma of toasted "dổi" seeds.

Another kind of preparing pork is to leave it fermented with yeast made of forest leaves in compliance to a particular formula that bring about fat taste of skin, sour taste of fermented pork and you may want to enjoy this dish many times.

2. Broiled fish and upland rice

Fish, one of popular foods taken from Da (Đà) river, is skillfully prepared to be delicious dishes by Muong females. Fishes such as carp, catfish, and Aphyocypris are normally broiled. Sticks are used to get through fish's body and fixed with bamboo clips to avoid being broken and at the same time to get good flavors of fresh bamboo, dusted with salt and wrapped with banana leaves, then stewed to enjoy. Combination of fresh bamboo's flavor, banana leaves, saltiness absorbed into the fish really makes this dish unique. It would be hard for tourists to forget Tay Bac's flavor by means of this dish once it is had with bamboo-tube rice.

3. Grilled chopped meat wrapped with pomelo leaves

Like other kinds of grilled chopped pork, yet the Muongs has their own way of preparing this dish to make it healthy: to grill pork with pomelo leaves. Half fat and half lean meat is cut into small pieces, soaked with fish sauce and onion. Pomelo leave is cut into halves and then pork is wrapped with these halves, fixed by bamboo clips, broiled on live charcoals till pomelo leaves turn violet. It is time for pork to be done inside of pomelo leave. Grilled pomelo leave is had with broiled pork as herbal vegetable with its bitter attar to help both reduce feeling of being tired of fat taste and bring about good digestion.

4. Buffalo's meat cooked with "lồm" leaves.

This dish is much like a kind of soup made of buffalo's meat which is very popular to the Muongs in Hoa Binh (Hòa Bình). The meat is burned to be yellow and then steamed in bulk to become tender, then sliced into small pieces, stewed in a earthen pot with some "lồm" leaves - a kind of forest leave with typically sour taste and broken rice. The dish is pretty condensed due to broken rice and with sour taste of "lồm" leaves to bring about very special favor to enjoyers.

5. Bamboo sprouts

Bamboo sprout is one of typical dishes of the Muongs in particular and Northern people in Vietnam in general. Normally in November or December, young bamboo sprouts just begin to show with very typical bitter taste are dug to be grilled and then had with "chẩm chéo" - a kind of sauce made of toasted salt, grilled "mắc khén", ginger leaves, ground garlic and chili. Once its season comes, fermented bamboo sprouts steamed with chicken gives a very special and delicious taste.

6. Colored steamed sticky rice

Steaming sticky rice with various colors made of leaves may bring about very natural tastes. Once rice is well-done, people often mix up colors to get a combination of flavors to ensure deliciousness and nutrition since it contains lots of folk medicines taken from leaves.

7. "Rượu cần" (wine enjoyed with pipes from jars) 

"Rượu cần" is actually a special kind of drink that anyone who visit Muong region wants to taste. Muong minority are so hospitable that they bring the best "Rượu cần" to offer their guests. Like other kinds of "Rượu cần" of Thai and Tay Nguyen minorities, "Rượu cần" of the Muongs is also made of yeast of forest leaves, upland rice and preserved with rice husk. To enjoy this kind of wine, people keep pouring into jars of wine with boiled or mineral water so that jars are always full of wine. During parties, people cluster round one another enjoying sweetness and passion of "Rượu cần" while enjoying sounds of gongs in a space which is full of atmosphere of festivities.

Vi Nguyen

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Top ten Vietnamese rice vermicelli dishes

When you ask someone to name a Vietnamese dish with noodle, he or she will automatically say “Pho”.  Well, not too bad, but here comes the sad truth.  Even though “Pho” is the signature food of Vietnamese cuisine, when it comes to the competition in variety, I’ll place all my money down for Bun – the Vietnamese rice vermicelli. You can have Pho Bo, Pho Ga, Pho Do Bien, Pho Tai, Pho Nam, Pho Ap Chao, Pho Bo Kho, Bo Ngau Pin, etc… but you won’t be able to name more than 20 different dishes of Pho (legitimately) whereas I can shout out at least 30 dishes with Bun on top of my head.  However, for the shake of this article’s length and my precious time, I will list only 10 different Bun dishes based on my personal preferences and the popularity of the foods.  I will also skip those ordinary Bun Bo and Bun Ga because they are for “noobies”.

1. Bun Bo Hue – Hue Beef Noodle Soup

I said that I will skip the ordinary Bun Bo, but I did not say I would skip Bun Bo Hue.  It is indeed my most favorite Bun dish (or bowl) out of all even though it is most likely that I will have to drink 3 cups of water in the end.  Obviously, Bun Bo Hue comes from… Hue!  No surprise here.  This delicious and super spicy bowl of Bun includes a handful of stuff in it: boiled pork meat, pork knuckle, beef, Hue meat cake, and even pig blood.  The flavor that makes Bun Bo Hue stand out from the Bun crowd is its spiciness.  As you may already know, the Central Vietnamese people are famous for eating spicy foods.

2. Bún Hen – Stir Fried Baby Clam Noodle
Bun Hen is another Bun dish from the Central of Vietnam.  As the matter of fact, I believe Bun originates from the Central of Vietnam and it has been used widely only in the Central and North Vietnam.  The preparation for Bun Hen is quite simple but its taste contains all the meaning and characteristics of the Central Vietnamese people:  simple but deeply passionate at everything that they do.

3.  Bún Cha Giò / Thit Nuong – Eggroll/Grilled Pork Noodle

This is probably the only Bun dish that I can think of from the Southern Vietnamese food menu.  Like the name says, the noodle bowl is topped with egg rolls and grilled pork.  After you added a few scoops of sauce, you are all set to satisfy your hungry tummy.

4.  Bún Cha Hà Noi – Hanoi Grilled Pork Noodle
This dish is also known as “Bún Cha Quat Dong Xuân” because it first came from the Dong Xuan market area in Hanoi.  Many people have mistaken this dish with Bun Thit Nuong from the South.  The difference between the two dishes lays in several factors.  First, “Bun Cha Ha Noi” has grilled pork meat balls besides the grilled pork slices.  Secondly, the meat is marinated with different ingredients and seasoning.  Lastly, rather than stirring the noodle and the meat altogether before you serve, “Bun Cha Ha Noi” requires the person to pick each item in small portions and combine them for one piece in an elegant manner.  This way, you can accurately evaluate which ingredients of the dish have reached the standards and which have not.  The term “Cha Quat” comes from the fact people grill the pork and meat balls by fanning them on top of the flaming charcoals.

5.  Bún Riêu Cua/Oc – Crab Paste & Snail Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu in general is a Vietnamese vermicelli soup that usually contains a lot of tomato in its soup base.  The toppings are made out of crab paste or snails.  Most of the time, you would see both crab paste and snails together in one Bun Rieu bowl.  Due to the scarcity of freshwater paddy crabs in the U.S, the American-Vietnamese people have replaced the crab paste with shrimp paste.  Although shrimp paste does not bring the same tasty flavor as freshwater crab paste, but it is the closest alternative out there.

6.  Bún Cá Nam Dinh – Nam Dinh Fish Noodle Soup
When people talk about Bun Ca, they often talk about Bun Ca from Hanoi or Hai Phong.  I have tried them all, but nothing beat the heaven taste of Bun Ca Nam Dinh.  Nam Dinh is a smaller city located about 100 miles away from Hanoi.  Bun Ca Nam Dinh contains both the sweetness that you will find Bun Ca Hai Phong and the tenderness of the fish filet in Bun Ca Ha Noi.  What makes it stand out from the other two competitors is the secret formula that Nam Dinh people use to prevent the fish segments become too dried from deep frying but still maintain its super crunchiness while being dipped into the broth.  Especially, just from sniffing the odor from far away already making everyone salivates.

7.  Bún Cha Cá Lã Vong – La Vong Fried Fish Noodle
Let’s move back to Hanoi because we cannot miss this.  Bun Cha Ca La Vong is a dish that has grilled fish filets that get pan fried again when being served with Bun and other vegetables.  There have been many restaurants try to put this dish on their menu but mostly unsuccessful.  You maybe are questioning about the name of the dish right now.  To be honest, I originally thought it was a Chinese food that the Vietnamese have adopted because the name of La Vong belongs to a famous character in China about a few thousands years ago.  However, after a bit of research, I was able to find out that the Vietnamese family who invented this dish always has a small statue of La Vong sitting in front of their house.  So, instead of calling it “Bun Cha Ca” just like any other ordinary Bun Cha Ca being served in the town, people stick the name “La Vong” to make it special for its superior delicious taste.

8.  Bún Vit Xáo Mang – Duck ( Bamboo Noodle Soup)
This bowl of noodle soup is perfect for a cold night in the winter.  Although it takes a bit of effort to make, Bun Vit Xao Mang always brings to the Northern Vietnamese families the warmth of love and the sweetness of duck broth.  Nowaday, Bun Vit Xao Mang has become quite popular in many areas outside of North Vietnam.

9.  Bún Bung – Bung Noodle Soup

I cannot find any better English translation for this bowl of noodle as I don’t even fully understand the meaning of its name in Vietnamese.  Opposite from Bun Vit Xao Mang usually being served in the winter, Bun Bung is best eaten in the summer.  It brings the coolness from various vegetables such as: tomato, Alocasia odora, green papaya, tamarine, and green onions.  The broth is slowly cooked with fresh pork ribs.  In addition, Bun Bung is topped with pork knuckles and pork meat.  Most of the times, tumeric powder was used to create the yellowish color making the food more appealing.

10. Bún Thang – Ladder Noodle Soup
“Ladder Noodle Soup” would be the straight translation from the Vietnamese name of this noodle soup that originates from the North of Vietnam.  I have heard many explanations for its unique name, but I think the most accurate and simple one would be the following:  “Thang” is a Chinese word for “Broth” or “Soup”.  Since Vietnamese people were borrowing Chinese language in the past, it is most likely that they were just trying to say this is “Noodle Soup”.  The name sounds simple but it takes tons of time to prepare this bowl of noodle.  The ingredients include:  shredded chicken meat, shredded fried egg, shredded steam pork cake, and various vegetables.  To cook the broth, you would need both pork ribs and a whole chicken.  Bun Thang requires a lot of time to make, but it is easy to eat and very nicely decorated as you can see from the picture.


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Pork ribs noodle in Ha Noi - bun bung

If "hủ tiếu" (noodle with seasoned and sauté beef) is a typical and popular dish in the South, then it is "bún bung" in the North especially in Ha Noi to be a very much familiar dish. "Bún bung" (pork ribs noddle) has been described in books written by Thach Lam (Thạch Lam) as the most special dish of ancient Ha Noi of 36 ancient streets, a simple but very much attractive to many people.

A day at ease, it is not so difficult if you really want to entertain your friends "bún bung". A lean pig's trotter, Indian taro, some tomato, rice vermicelli, some tamarind, spring onion, dried onion, crocus powder, eryngium, and coriander are needed to make "bún bung".

You may find this dish at every alley in Ha Noi. "Bún bung" may be nowadays less popular in terms of its name since it has been nicely called as "bún chân giò" (rice vermicelli with pig's trotters). It is sold the best at small shops since its price matches ordinary people's budget and taste of the Vietnamese even old people, kids or drinkers. Old people often have stewed lean trotters while skinny ones or pig's feet are much loved by drinkers.

"Bún bung" is delicious in terms of its braised without being crushed pig's trotters; its sauce is scented, pretty sweet and sour. Yellow color of the sauce and tomato's color with green color of Indian taro are really inviting.

In Ha Noi, you may enjoy this "bún bung" made by a truly-born-in-HaNoi man, near the dormitory of Academy of Journalism and Communication. This dish at this shop fits students' budget since it is cheap; the shop is much clean with good service. These factors have made this shop attract lots of customers.

It is not difficult to make "Bún bung". Hence, every family can make this simple but delicious dish themselves. It does not only show good care toward others but also express affections. 

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Shellfish stir-fried with coconut and butter (ốc dừa xào bơ)

Shellfish stir-fried with coconut and butter (Oc dua xao bo) crispy, crunchy, charming and sweet smell of butter, which both adults and children are satisfied.


Yields: 4 servings
1 kg coconut Shellfish
1 soup spoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chili peppers
 Spices: Seeds seasoning, salt, cooking oil, butter crackersbơ lạt


Prepping the Shellfish and butter: 
Shellfish  for scrub clean, soak in salted water for about 15 minutes ; Add freezing chili peppers, when all shellfish will release dirt inside. Then, rinse it with water to clean  and processed immediately.

Keeping heat the olive Riu melted butter without burning. When fully melted butter, we also keep fire in small to keep the butter mixture and spices permeates the snail meat for 5 minutes, then turn off the stove.


- Let the pot of boiling water a little salt, pour "ốc dừa" soaked in clean boiled for about 3 minutes, remove "ốc dừa" to dry .

- Give a little oil, minced garlic for flavor, the coconut and pepper snails on islands. Add butter to the next, to heat the olive small melted butter without burning.

- Season with additional 1 teaspoon sugar and 3 tablespoons coffee beans from Knorr seasoning tenderloin & Bone Pipe. Keep fire in small for mixture and spices permeates the meat for 5 minutes, then turn off the kitchen.

- Place in dish, use warm. You can use Bread and butter.

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Vietnamese Tamarind Sweet Crab (Cua Rang Me)

Vietnamese Tamarind Sweet Crab (Cua Rang Me) Recipe
Vietnamese-style tamarind crab (cua rang me in Vietnam) is an incredibly straightforward, nonetheless completely mouth-watering dish. the important key to creating this dish successfully is to possess the freshest crab you'll be able to get. The roughly cracked items of crab are stir fried in an exceedingly sweet and bitter tamarind sauce. The sauce is formed of tamarind, chili, Thai basil and garlic. The Thai basil imparts an intense fragrance to the sauce, and by extension, to the crab.
We eat this dish family style. No pretense here. Just get a large platter, fill it with the tamarind crab and put it in the middle of your dinner table. We don't have enough meat eaters in my house, so I always call over a couple of family members or friends to share in the bounty. Roll up your sleeves, and dig in!


Yields: 8 servings
6 whole fresh crabs
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional), torn in half
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or fish sauce)
2 tablespoons palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (see tips)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
2 teaspoons white pepper, freshly ground
juice of 3 limes, + extra for serving


Clean the crabs, brush and rinse thoroughly. Separate the 2 main claws from each crab. Set aside.
Remove and discard the abdominal flaps (the triangle-shaped tail). Lift and separate the back-fin with the rest of the claws by placing a large tablespoon at the bottom of the crab. Remove and discard the "lungs" (also known as Devil's fingers; they have a spongy texture); they're inedible. Gather the liquid, crab "butter" and corals from the inside of the crabs in a bowl. Discard the main shells.
Using a cleaver, cut the back-fins in half and slightly crack the claws (see tips). Gather the pieces of crab in a large mixing bowl. Add the garlic powder, salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
In the same bowl containing the crab liquid, combine the kaffir lime leaves (if used), 1 teaspoon of ginger, sugar, soy sauce (or fish sauce) and tamarind paste.
Slightly bruise the basil leaves and coarsely chop them.

In a wok, heat the oil. Add the shallots and ginger and cook until slightly golden and fragrant. Add the garlic. As soon as the garlic is lightly browned, add the crab pieces. Jiggle the wok to make sure the crab does not stick to the bottom of the wok and is totally coated with oil. Add the tamarind mixture. Constantly toss the crab to ensure each piece is coated with the sauce. As soon as all the liquid is evaporated, add the chili garlic sauce (tương ớt). Toss for 30 seconds and add ½ to one cup of water and about 2 tablespoons of basil leaves. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often. The crab meat should be white and opaque and the liquid should be evaporated as well. Do not over-cook the crab; otherwise the meat will be dry! Un-cover and add the remaining basil leaves and the lemon juice. Toss the crab and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Season with more salt (if necessary) and pepper; it should balance the sour taste of the tamarind paste and the sweetness from the palm sugar and shallots. Remove and discard the kaffir lime leaves.

Transfer to a large platter. Serve with little dipping bowls filled with lime juice, chili salt (or regular salt) and pepper.
Dig in immediately.
Sweet Crab Recipe with Picture


It's important to slightly crack the claws prior to cooking so that the tamarind juice penetrates into the meat. I use a hammer but you can also use the back of a knife; just make sure to crack the shell and not crush it. You don't want to be eating bits of shell! (Note from Carole: we use our meat tenderizer mallet and it worked great!)
Crab season is between November and January. I always get it at Asian markets. Papa's (my dad) advice on selecting crabs: First, if you don't see a lot of crabs in the tank, don't buy from that market. Second, pick up the crab you intend to buy and only take it home if it feels heavy for its size. And most important, make sure that they're alive. I never plan on buying crab; I only get it when it's fresh, and there's no way to know that until you go to the market.
Unlike regular limes, kaffir limes have a bumpy exterior. The fruit doesn't have a lot of juice, and what juice it does have, is quite bitter. Kaffir lime trees are prized for their fragrant leaves, not their fruit. I used fresh kaffir lime leaves from our garden. If you can't find any, you can use fresh mint leaves. Don't add too much kaffir lime leaf to the dish as it tastes very strong and will overpower the crab. You can use the remaining leaves for sweet and sour soups.

Kaffir lime Leaves with Picture
You can find tamarind concentrate in any Asian store. It has a nice, tart flavor. You can also use fresh tamarind pods if you like but I find this process to be too labor intensive.

Tamarind Drink Recipe

You can find Thai basil in any Asian stores.
Quick note on how to make freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root.
I always brush the crabs, rinse thoroughly and place the crabs in the freezer (for about 45 minutes) prior to cutting them. If you have a better method, please share.
It's important to always keep the temperature of the stove at the highest setting. The higher the temperature, the better. If some solids start sticking to the bottom of the wok, add a little water.
Don't put your wok in the sink right away... I always like to dig in some bread at the bottom of the wok and get all the caramelized garlic goodness. Yum..


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Hanoi Steamed Glutinous Rice (Xoi xeo Ha Noi)

I have never seen any places in Vietnam with many kinds of good steamed glutinous rice like Ha Noi. Ha Noi "xôi" is really a diversified picture of agricultural products of Vietnam. They are "xôi gấc" (steamed glutinous rice with Momordica cochinchinensis), "xôi lạc" (steamed glutinous rice with peanut), "xôi vò" (steamed glutinous rice with split peas), "xôi đậu" (steamed glutinous rice with bean), "xôi ngô" (steamed glutinous rice with corn), "xôi cốm" (steamed glutinous rice with green rice flakes), "xôi dừa" (steamed glutinous rice with coconut), "xôi thịt" (steamed glutinous rice with cooked pork), "xôi chả" (steamed glutinous rice with pork pie), etc. Each kind of "xôi" is a real creative art and a wonderful combination of ingredients. Among these kinds of "xôi", I am the most impressive with "xôi xéo" since it is really special even with its name as "xôi xéo".

"Xôi xéo" is normally sold in the morning at almost all alleys in Ha Noi. It is sold by peddlers who carry bamboo frames on their shoulder or ride a bike. No one knows when "xôi xéo" came into being in Ha Noi; however it has become a popularly special dish for breakfast. Students and workers enjoy this dish the most. It is quite understandable since it is cheap, gives feeling of fullness and it is easy to eat.

No matter where you enjoy this dish in the city, its ingredients are the same with steamed glutinous rice, bean, fried onion, and liquid fat. "Xôi xéo" is good thanks to glutinous rice selection to make it glutinous without being much pasty. Bean is steamed, well-kneaded and rolled into big balls so that they can be thinly planed. Onion is fried and it must not be too brown. This dish must be soused with liquid fat which is clear and viscid. In order to keep it as liquid (not to be solidified) in Winter, liquid fat is always put on a brazier.

In the morning, drop by a shop of steamed glutinous rice with lots of choices, seeing seller who skillfully make "xôi xéo", you definitely take it for your breakfast. A big bowl of "xôi xéo" may keep you full till late noon. If affordable, you may require seller to add some salted shredded meat. It only costs you VN3,000 to VND5,000 to enjoy that good dish for your breakfast.

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