Rau Muong Xao – Garlic Spinach Stir Fry

Whew it’s been a long few months…starting graduate school has been the reason for such a long hiatus. But now I’m back, just in time for the holidays and I’m starting with a recipe that is one of my mom’s favorites: rau muong, or water spinach.

In Arizona (where I’m originally from), rau muong is banned due to its almost virulent growth in the sewage system. However in California, we can have as much as we want! Rau muong is a staple vegetable for many Vietnamese families, and as my mom puts it, it reminds her of being back in Vietnam. This dish is best served dipped in nuoc mam/fish sauce and rice. Happy holidays and hopefully more recipes to come!

Rau Muong Xao

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 Bunch of Rau Muong – washed
  • ~1-2 cubes of Chao Ot/Hot Chili Beancurd
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar

Instructions

1. Take your washed rau muong and trim the ends. Pluck the leaves and cut the stem into smaller pieces. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, add about 1/2-1 cup of soy sauce with 1-2 cubes of chao ot and mix. Taste accordingly.

3. Take a large pot and drizzle olive oil, setting it on med-high. Add in garlic and saute until golden.

3. Add in the stems and allow a 5 minutes for them to cook and soften.

4. Add in the rest of the rau muong and your sauce. Saute and allow to cook. Add sugar or more soy sauce/chao ot to taste.

5. Serve immediately! Can be served with a nuoc mam dipping sauce (adding some chao ot in it) and rice.

Happy cooking and happy holidays!


Posted in Side Dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ca Hap – Vietnamese Ginger Steamed Fish

Let me introduce to one of my most favorite recipes: Ca Hap. Nothing is more homey to me than rice and delicately steamed fish topped with glass noodles, ginger, fermented soy beans (which tastes so much better than it sounds), tomato and orange slices. It’s also another great example of one of the many unique sweet and salty combinations of Vietnamese food. It’s also packed with tons of flavors!

Although traditionally it’s steamed in a Chinese pot steamer, microwaving gets the job done the same and cuts back 3-4 hours! And as a student like me with very little time, it makes me love this dish even more! Enjoy!

Ca Hap – Vietnamese Ginger Steamed Fish

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Tilapia – medium sized; washed, gutted, scaled, and cut in half (width wise)
  • ~1/4 Cup Fermented Soy Beans
  • ~3-4 Scallions – sectioned into ~1/2-2″ pieces
  • ~3-4″ of Ginger root – sliced thinly
  • 1/3 Orange – sliced thinly (with the peel)
  • 1 pkg of Black Fungus – washed ans soaked for ~30 minutes prior to cooking
  • 2-3 bunches of Bun Tau/Glass Noodles – soaked for about 5-10 minutes prior to cooking
  • 1 white onion – sectioned into small pieces
  • 1 med tomato – quartered into small pieces
  • Mushroom Powder
  • Salt/Sugar/Pepper

Instructions

The marinade (several hours or overnight prior to cooking)

1. Add: ~2 tbsp of fermented soybeans, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp mushroom powder, 2 tsp sugar, orange slices, ~1/3 of the ginger and scallions, and a few dashes of pepper into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly.

2. In a large bowl, rub the marinade all over the fish (inside and out). Pour the rest over the fish. Seran wrap cover the bowl, refrigerate and let marinade for at least 3-4 hours prior to cooking.  (I like to marinate overnight)

Cooking the fish:

1. Microwave the fish covered for 5 minutes on each side, one half at a time.

2. In a wide pot, saute your white onions with a little bit of olive oil. Cook until somewhat see-through.

3. Add in the rest of your ginger and tomato. Saute for about 3-4 minutes

4. Add in black fungus and bun tau.

5. Add in ~1/2 tbsp sugar and salt. Add also about 1 tsp mushroom and 1-2 tbsp of fermented soybeans.

6. Taste and adjust accordingly. If desired for more sauce, add in a little chicken broth and add spices according to taste. Add a few dashes of pepper. Cook until thoroughly done.

7. Place half of the topping on half of the fish in a large bowl. Top with half of the your scallions.

8. Cover in seran wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Check the fish by running a chopstick through the fish – it should run down all the way very easily and smoothly.

9. Repeat the same for the other half.

10. Serve with rice when down. I’m having a couscous moment right now so I’ve served it with that and it’s sooooo good!

Happy cooking!

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Tau Hu Thach – Sweet Coconut Tofu Jelly

Hello to any readers left! It has been a hectic few months trying to balance 2-3 jobs to save up for school. I promise I’m trying!

This new recipe is one that is not often found in popular Vietnamese desserts (such as che), but found in select regions and not readily accessible in the US (not even in California!). It is a cold tofu similar to the Chinese hot tofu dessert served with ginger syrup. However, this tau hu thach is delicately sweetened by coconut milk and with the wonderful aroma and taste of pandan. It’s very easy to make as long as you follow the correct heating instructions. Enjoy!

Tau Hu Thach – Sweet Coconut Tofu Jelly

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of fresh pandan leaves – cut into 1-2″ length pieces
  • 1 Gallon of Whole Milk
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 pkg of Agar Agar powder – Telephone brand highly suggested
  • 2-2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • Pandan Extract
  • 1 pkg of Tofu Mix


Directions

1. Add some pandan leaves and some milk (enough to safely blend in your size blender). Blend for a few minutes.

2. Strain mixer, making sure you squeeze the pandan leaves to release all milk possible.

3. Repeat steps 1-2 until all pandan leaves and milk is used. Transfer all your pandan milk to a large pot.

4. Add to that pot the agar, coconut milk, a few drops of pandan extract, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, constantly stirring the mixture to prevent burn. When stirring, be sure to scrape the bottom so nothing settles and burns!!!*** Scoop out any foam that forms on top.

5. While your mixture starts to simmer, in a separate saucepan, add 6 cups of water with the tofu mix. Bring to a boil and whisk to fully dissolve mixture.

6. Once both mixtures are at a nice simmer and fully dissolved/mixed, pour one into another to mix the two. **Make sure both are fully simmering!!! (you’ll end up with chunky mess if it isn’t)

7. Pour into little serving cups or a dish and refrigerate overnight.

8. Serve and enjoy!!

 

Happy cooking!

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bun Canh Ca Ngot – Sweet Fish Noodle Soup

So it’s been a long time because: 1. My camera was broken until somewhat recently fixed 2. I have an almost full time job plus a part time night job…..gotta save up for school somehow! Hopefully once I get in the groove of things the Daily Rice Bowl will start picking up again.

I wanted to start off easy with a recipe I absolutely love, because it’s not only incredibly healthy, but filling and delicious. It’s very similar to the bun ca tom chay recipe – so vegetarians I would say that would be your option.

I’ve always been a fan of dishes with lots of different flavors…sweet, sour, salty…so I guess I was born with the right family! Vietnamese food is full of that and this is a simple everyday sort of dish that embodies such tastes. Did I mention that it is ridiculously easy?

Bun Canh Ca Ngot – Sweet Fish Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2-3/4 of  a fresh Pineapple - cut into large chunks
  • 1 small onion - sliced in large pieces
  • 1-2 Fillet of a white fish – (ie halibut, cod, tilapia…ect) cut into chunks
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 3-4 tomatoes - quartered
  • Sugar
  • Mushroom Powder
  • Nuoc Mam (fish sauce) – the three crabs brand is recommended
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro - chopped
  • 2-3 Scallions – diced
  • Hanh Phi (Crispy fried shallots or onions) – can be found in your local Asian grocery store pre-made
  • Vermicelli noodles – cooked, drained and set aside
  • Chopped mint and cabbage – optional for serving


Directions

1. Take a large pot and fill about 1/2-3/4 with water. Add in pineapple and onion and bring to a boil.

2. In a separate saucepan, add olive oil and garlic. Brown garlic and add fish. Cook until fish is mostly cooked. Set aside.

3.  Add in ~1tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of mushroom powder to stock pot. Cook until pineapple is tender (about 5-10 minutes).

4. Add in tomatoes and allow to simmer.  Add a little nuoc mam to taste.

5. Once tomatoes are cooked, carefully stir in your fish…you don’t want to crush it! Taste…add any sugar, mushroom powder, or nuoc mam to taste.

6. Add in your scallions, cilantro, freshly ground pepper and hanh phi.

7. To serve, place noodles in a bowl and ladle in soup. Served with chopped mint and cabbage.

Happy cooking!


Posted in Main Dish, Noodles, Seafood, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technical Difficulties

My camera is broken! I had someone take a picture for me, they dropped it, and the spring to the battery holder popped out. Please be patient while I fix it or get a new one. Keep on cooking though!

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Bun Ca Tom Chay – Vermicelli, Tomato & Pineapple Vegetarian Soup

Continuing our vegetarian theme, this recipe was also made during Lunar New Year week. This recipe is a made up concoction – no real name to it – but still delicious and full of nutrition from the mushroom, tomatoes, and pineapple! It was made mostly out of convenience of ingredients around the house and found at the market. My mom always told me that the ingredients really dictate what you cook, and not the recipe dictating the cooking. Wise words to cook by!

Bun Ca Tom Chay – Vermicelli, Tomato & Pineapple Vegetarian Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Leek – Diced
  • 2 boxes of white mushrooms – sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes - quartered
  • 1/2 pkg Vegetarian Ham – sliced and halved
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 pkg Medium-Firm Tofu – cut into bite-sized cubes
  • Salt, Sugar
  • Mushroom Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cilantro - chopped
  • Vermicelli noodles – cooked, drained and set aside

Directions

1. Saute the leeks on med-high until golden brown in a large pot.

2. Add in your mushroom. Add in ~2 Tbsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp mushroom powder. Cover on medium and let the mushrooms cook.

3. Taste the mushroom, add in salt/sugar/mushroom powder as needed. Add in your vegetarian ham. Cover for 1-2 minutes to let the ham cook.

4. Add in your tomatoes and pineapple. Stir in 1 tbsp of paprika and ~1 tbsp of sugar. Cover and let cook.

5. Taste and add mushroom powder, salt and sugar until desired tasted. Add in water to fill the pot. Bring to boil.

6. Add in your tofu and bring the heat to low.

7. In a serving bowl, portion your vermicelli noodles. Top with cilantro.

8. Ladle in your soup and serve!

Happy cooking!


Posted in Main Dish, Noodles, Soup, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cha Gio Chay – Vegetarian Eggrolls

Chuc mung nam moi (belated)!!! It’s my year – year of the rabbit (cat in the Vietnamese tradition) – and I have a great feeling it’s going to be a good one! It’s been so hectic lately with work, school and life in general that I haven’t been able to post in a while. However, I do have recipes lined up so hopefully the next few recipes will be up quick!

As a family tradition on Tet, or Lunar New Years, our family has a vegetarian feast. Traditionally in the Vietnamese culture it is not vegetarian  – in fact they usually roast an entire pig! However, my grandma, a vegetarian herself, believes we should not kill an animal for celebrations as it may bring bad luck in the future. For the Lunar New Year, we have a celebration party over the weekend, and on the actual day of, we honor the dead with a quiet family dinner. All events include lots of money in lucky red envelopes!

Cha gio, or egg rolls, is a recipe we made for Tet and one I have been wanting to do for a while. Why? Because I think my grandma’s are the absolute best! I have had no other egg roll I enjoyed as much as hers (certainly not the stuff they serve at restaurants…and God forbid Chinese-American restaurant ones). The vegetarian egg rolls are incredibly easy to make, but it is rather time consuming making each egg roll. I hope you enjoy my grandma’s cha gio recipe!

Cha Gio Chay – Vegetarian Eggrolls

Makes ~50 small eggrolls, 25 large

Ingredients

  • 1 Leek – the green part diced
  • 2 Fried Tofu – sliced into long thing strips
  • 1 carrot – julienned
  • 1/2-1 sweet potato – julienned
  • 2/3 pkg Black fungus – soaked for a few hours before cooking (see ingredient guide for picture of packaging and brand)
  • 1-1.5 bunch Bun Tau – soaked an hour before cooking
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Mushroom Powder
  • 1/2 pkg of egg roll wrappers

Directions

Making the mixture

**Can be made day before

1. Saute the leeks in a large, wide saucepan on med-high until golden brown.

2. Switch heat to high. Add in your carrots, tofu, and sweet potato. Mix in about 1 Tsp salt, pinch of sugar, and 1/2 Tbsp of mushroom powder. Stir around, switch to med and cover until carrots and sweet potatoes are softened.

3. Add in your black fungus and let cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Taste the mixture and add any salt, mushroom powder or sugar to desired taste.

4. Add in your bun tau. Cook until noodles are clear and soft. Set aside and let cool.

Wrapping and Cooking the Cha Gio

1. Take your egg roll sheets and cut diagonally in half.

2. Take one wrapper sheet and place on a flat surface so that it looks like a triangle. Spoon a little (or a lot depending how big you want it) in the center.

3. Place a piece of tofu in the center of your mixture.

4. Fold in the right and and left corners. Roll it towards the top corner. Try to make it as tight as possible without tearing the sheet!

**Note: My grandma likes to make a food glue of water and start and put a little at the top corner to ensure it sticks. You can do this, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all your mixture is gone.

6. Deep fry the egg rolls (bring out the deep fryer if possible or just use a pot with oil) until gold brown. Drain on a paper towel.

6. Let cool and serve immediately.

Wishing you a year full of happiness, health, fun and of course, good food and happy cooking!!

Posted in Appetizer, Side Dish, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment