Vietnamese Food

Cuisine culture in Vietnam

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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.

Vietnamese Egg Noodles (Mi xao mem)

Mì xao mem, as opposed to mi xao don (crispy egg noodles) is the Vietnamese version of Chinese chow mein. This dish appears in almost every Vietnamese fast food joint. It usually comes with chicken and seafood such as baby squid and shrimp, but I wanted to make sure the entire family would enjoy the dish as well (half of my family is vegetarian). So this time, I mixed the soft egg noodles with rolled tofu skin and several vegetables.

Living in the Bay Area, we're lucky enough that Asian markets carry a wide variety of fresh egg noodles. I always look for the thin kinds. If you can't find any, you could always boil angel hair pasta. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings
1 (14-ounce) package fresh fine egg noodles
6 ounces fresh tofu skin sheets
1 cup coconut soda (or water)
3 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
10 canned ears of baby corn, drained, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
1 cup Chinese cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 cups bok choy, cut into quarters, lengthwise
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
1 green onion, cut into 1"-pieces
½ cup baby carrots, sliced
2 teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
1 tablespoon black bean sauce , to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Preparation

Prepping the tofu skin:
In a wok, heat the oil and add the tofu skin. Stir fry both sides until golden brown. Using kitchen shears, snip the tofu into 1-½" chunks.

In the same wok, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and coconut soda (or water). Once the liquid evaporates, check the seasoning. Add more salt (if necessary) and black pepper.

For the noodles:
On a large platter, untangle and separate the egg noodles. Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Place the noodles in the water, return the water to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Keep stirring every now and then so the noodles don't stick to the bottom.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes. When the noodles are cooked (tender but still in shape and firm), drizzle about 1 teaspoon canola oil, then drain the noodles. Discard the liquid. Season with 3/4 teaspoon mushroom salt. Set aside.

For the veggies:
Blanch the bok choy for 2-3 minutes in boiling water then transfer into an ice bath. Drain thoroughly and pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook, as the bok choy will continue to cook in the sauce later; it should still be tender and crisp.
Add a tablespoon of oil to the same wok. When the oil is hot, add the ginger garlic paste. As it becomes fragrant, add the carrots, red bell pepper, baby corn and shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. When the color is translucent, season with 3/4 teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt. Add the Chinese cabbage and onion wedges and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Assembly time:
In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the green onions and tofu pieces. Add the black bean sauce, soy sauce and granulated sugar. Add water (a few tablespoons) so the ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the wok. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles. If necessary, cut them with kitchen shears. Add all the vegetables. Stir constantly. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Season with more mushroom seasoning salt if necessary.
Sprinkle with black pepper. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Bon appétit!

Tips

I used these particular vegetables but you can add any other vegetables that you have on hand.
My favorite egg noodle brand is New Hong Kong Noodle Company (they carry all sorts of noodle dough products). Choose the thin variety.
You can find fresh yuba (tofu skin or bean curd skin) in the fresh food aisle of Asian markets in the Bay Area of California. The thin sheets of tofu are tightly packed and stacked,. You could make the same dish using rehydrated yuba if fresh isn't available. The texture resemble meat.
You can find coconut soda in any Asian markets.

Source: phamfatale.com

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