For the Cake:
-100g unsalted butter
-170g sugar
-150g cake flour
-3 eggs (150g)
-120g milk
-1 tsp baking powder

*Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs 1 at a time, add milk. Sift in flour and baking powder, fold together. Bake at 350'f for about 30-35 mins.

Icing:
-400g whipping cream
-1 tbs powdered sugar
-1 1/2 tsp whipped cream stabilizer

*Whip cream and stabilizer in a bowl until soft peaks, add sugar and whip until stiff peaks.

Raspberry Filling:
-raspberry
-sugar

*simmer raspberries and sugar (to taste) in a sauce pan until mixture reduces to 3/4 its original volume.

The Fun Part:
Level the cake and cut into layers, add filling, frost, and cover with coconut.
Links to this post
I’ve been meaning to post this for quite awhile. It’s my research project that I did close to a year ago for my drama 476 class. If you’re a frequent visitor you probably already know that I'm a recent graduate of UW, majoring in Drama. Instead of writing a boring paper, I decided to go with the creative project option. So here it is, my creative research project on Phil Gotanda and his works…for your pleasure :D.

Approximately 20 weeks ago I accidentally stumbled into the works of Philip Kan Gotanda while searching for a monologue for a class. After skimming trough a few of his plays I became infatuated with his style of writing and the deepness that they carry. Gotanda’s ability to balance on the thin line between tradition and progress amazed me the most. For that reason, I decided to look deeper into his works.

Gotanda is a third generation Japanese American and the youngest of three children. He comes from a well educated family, the child of a doctor and school teacher. His family would be considered a part of the privilege class but, sadly their skin color did not grant them the high status. Having personally experience the rough side of life, Gotanda uses his past experiences to change the future. His plays deal with Asian American identity and stereotypes and how society encourages and feeds the monster. He allows the audience to navigate the bridge between his forbears perspective and his own as a Japanese-American (Sommer). He encourages change via self awakening, pride and acceptance. The battles that feed the Asian American revolution are in the plays themselves, in the sense that he is revealing and familiarizing mainstream America with Asian American culture.

I decided to employ my passion for cooking to reflect characters in Gotanda’s plays. The idea is to translate Gotanda’s message into a medium other than the stage. By offering his ideas in different mediums the public exposure rate is much higher and thus the revolution climbs higher towards success.

Sashimi Wannabe Fish Sticks

In Fish Head Soup, Mat Iwasaki a budding actor, fakes his death to run away and become an actor.
He returns home to convince his family that his career is really taking off and asks them for financial help to produce his own movie. Mat is portrayed as more Americanized than the rest of his family. Mat recalls the painful memory of the when his dad took him downtown and they were harassed for being Asian. It was the turning point in his life, which provoked him into deciding to act White in an effort to try to fit in. However, when he returns home he rediscovers himself and realizes life is not that easy. We learn that his acting career did not really take off; he became a porn star.


This Dish is dedicated to reflect Mat.
The Sashimi represents his heritage. The toasted bread crumbs rolled inside the sashimi represents the sashimi's desires to become fish sticks which is a metaphor for Mat’s desires to be white. The dish is served with both tartar sauce and wasabi to symbolize Mat’s choice of identity.

Ingredients:
-1/4lb fresh snapper or mahi mahi filleted
-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
-2 tbs toasted pine nuts, crushed
-2 green onions, blanched and cut into 3” pieces
-wasabi and tartar sauce

Method:
1) Buy the freshest fish possible, and slice fillets into thin slices.
2) Toast bread crumbs and pine nuts until golden.

3) Sprinkle bread crumb mixture onto sliced fish, roll into finger size rolls.
Tie the roll together with the blanched onion.


Spiced Tofu with Nori

In Yankee Dawg You Die, Bradley a young actor is ready to change how America views Asians trough his firm choices in his career path.
He refuses to accept any stereotypical Asian roles and criticizes Vincent, a fellow actor who is much older for doing so. Bradley is Asian and damn proud of it. He does not try to cover up his identity but instead, seeks to enhance and promote more modern views towards Asians.


Tofu is often labeled as flavorless, and thus is usually employed in the culinary world as a medium to carry whatever flavors one desires, suppressing the tofu’s unique taste.
Similar to the way Bradley feels Hollywood employs Asian actors to play stereotypical roles which cover up the true identity of Asian Americans. This dish represents Bradley’s critique and his effort in changing traditional views. Tofu is the center of the dish; it stands for the Asian American actor. The nori (roasted seaweed), and spices represent Asian heritage and they are used to enhance the delicate yet unique flavor of tofu.

Ingredients:

-1 block firm tofu (1lb)
-nori (roasted seaweed)
-2 tbs sesame seeds
-1 pinch 5 spice powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tbs panko bread crumbs
-dash of garlic salt
-1 egg white
-oil for frying


Method:
1) Cut tofu into small pieces, and size will do.
2) Mix together, sesame seeds, 5 spice powder, salt, bread crumbs, and garlic salt.
3) Dip tofu pieces into egg white, and roll them in the spices to coat evenly.
4) Deep fry the tofu until golden.
Serve warm with nori.


Green Papaya Salad with Spiced Nori Tofu and Ginger Sesame Dressing

In Yankee Dawg You Die, Vincent is first portrayed as one who accepts the labels America sticks onto Asians.
He is nothing like Bradley, he does not turn down a role that is degrading to Asians nor does he desire to change anything. As the play rolls along, the audience discovers that Vincent was once like Bradley.


This salad represents Vincent journey as an Asian Actor.
The spiced tofu and nori are the same as in the previous dish to represent the Bradley that Vincent once was. The salad that accompanies the tofu is a metaphor choices Vincent decided upon in his journey. For example, Ginger and Sesame are strong flavors and can easily envelop the flavor of the tofu. They are present in the salad to represent Vincent’s choice of accepting stereotypical Asian roles which holds the potential to engulf true Asian identity. However, the salad goes with the tofu; the tofu is still the center of the dish. The dressing which seeks to conquer the tofu is unsuccessful and is forced to embrace the tofu making its true flavor ever more desirable. This corresponds to Vincent’s choices their reflection in him.

Ingredients:
-1 small green papaya, approx. 1 lb, peeled, and shredded
-Spiced Tofu and Nori (from previous recipe)
-soy nuts (available at health food stores)
-3tbs soy sauce
-3 tbs sugar
-3 tbs water
-2 tbs rice wine vinegar
-2” piece of ginger, crushed
-1/2 tsp sesame oil

Method:
1) To make the dressing, simmer together sugar, water, soy sauce and ginger for 5 mins., add vinegar and sesame oil.
Cool before using.
2)
Toss together shredded papaya, soy nuts, nori, and dressing.
3) Arrange salad on a plate with spiced tofu.
Garnish with basil and sesame seeds.


Green Tea Rice Pudding with Chocolate Mousse and Kumquat Infused Water Lily Petals

In Ballad of Yachiyo, Yachiyo Matsumoto a young beautiful Japanese American girl, dreams of escaping her life in Kauai and merging into American society.
Her father encourages her to dream and reach for her dreams while her mother wishes to for her to be trained in traditional tea ceremony so that she can marry a good husband and live a low profile life. Yachiyo is sent off to live with Okusan to learn the tea ceremony. Yachiyo eventually falls in love with Okusan’s husband and gets pregnant. Okusan’s husband, Takamura refuses Yachiyo after she is pregnant. Yochiyo returns home and commits suicide by consuming ant poison.


Yachiyo is like Jane Eyre in many ways.
She is calm on the outside, but her heart is fueled by passion. She also carries the desire to step out of traditional Japanese expectations. In this dish, chocolate mousse is a symbol for the passion inside Yachiyo. The mousse is hidden inside a shell of green tea rice pudding. The pudding reflects the soft and elegant ways Yachiyo acquired trough the tea ceremony and how it covers up her deep desires. The water lily, similar to but below the status of a lotus, stands for her gracefulness and purity.

Pudding:
-1/2 cup cooked white rice
-3/4 cup water
-1/2 -3/4 cups milk or cream
-1 tbs green tea
-sugar to taste

Method:
1) Steep tea in water for 5 mins. Remove and discard tea.
2) Blend together in a blender, tea and rice.
3) Simmer rice and tea mixture over medium heat for about ½ hour.
4) Slowly stir in sugar and cream until pudding desired consistency
5) Refrigerate until set

Chocolate Mousse:
-1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
-1/4 cup milk
-3/4 cup whipping cream
-1 packet gelatin or 1 tbs whipped cream stabilizer
-1/4 cup powdered sugar

Method:
1) Nuke chocolate and milk in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds.
Stir and nuke for another 30 seconds or until mixture is melted and homogenized. Cool to room temperature.
2) In a cold bowl whip together cream and gelatin (dissolved in 2 tbs hot water) or whipped cream stabilizer until soft peaks.
Slowly add sugar and whip until stiff peaks.
3) Fold whipped cream into chocolate.
Pour mixture into a cake pan. Refrigerate until set.

Kumquat infused Lily Petals:
-1/4 cup dried lily petals (aka lily bulb, can be purchased at well stocked Chinese grocery stores)
-3 kumquats, minced

Method:
1) wash lily petals and soak in hot water for ½ hour.
2) boil together lily petals and kumquats until tender, about 20 mins.


Final Presentation:
1) Smear a small amount of pudding onto a plate.
2) Carefully scoop chocolate mousse and place it on the pudding.
3) Cover the mousse with more pudding and garnish with the lily petals.


Chilled Jasmine Tea with Mangos and Lotus Seeds

This recipe is dedicated to Okusan.
She is in many ways like Yachiyo, she is passionate and is scared by love. Okusan differs from Yachiyo in that she prefers to allow tradition cover up her true self. The lotus seeds represent her gracefulness, endurance, and purity. The mangos stand for the sweetness and exoticness that is present in her love towards Takamura. The jasmine tea symbolizes how she drowns all of this in being formal, timid and traditional; the tea ceremony.


Ingredients:
-Jasmine tea
-sugar to taste
-1 ripe mango
-1/2 cup lotus seeds
-1 tsp baking soda

Method:
1) Soak lotus seeds overnight in solution of baking soda and enough water to cover the seeds by 2 inches.

2) Next morning, wash the seeds and boil until tender.
3) Steep tea according to package instructions, add sugar to taste.
4) Peel and dice mango.
5) Mix everything together and serve chilled.


No More Cherry Blossoms Kasutera

C
herry Blossoms is another word for the sexualization of Asian women. This topic comes up many times in Gotanda’s plays. It seems to one of his goals to break the habit sexualizing Asian women. Asian women are usually stereotyped as exotic and submissive.


In Fish Head Soup, we learn that Dorothy is a “cherry blossom”. Dorothy, Yachiyo, and Okusan all in way, appear to be cherry blossoms. However, this stereotype is always crushed by the end of the plays. The characters prove to the audience that they are like any other American women. The only difference is the color of their skin which causes society to label them as a cherry blossom. This cake is a modification of traditional Kasutera, Japanese sponge cake. Japanese sponge cake is just like any other sponge cake, parallel to Asian women are like any other women. But the cake’s assigned name, Kasutera like the color of one’s skin forces society to label and assume differently. The message is, the more we familiarize ourselves with something considered different the more we learn that there are no differences. We are all the same at heart. There are no more cherry blossoms as cherry blossoms are no different than the blossom of a rose.

Ingredients:
-100g milk
-100g cream cheese
-50g butter
-150g Cake flour
-4 Large eggs, separated
-100g sugar
-pinch of salt
-1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Method:
1) Over double-boiler mix together cheese, milk and butter until homogenized, cool and add egg yolks
2) Fold flour until cheese mixture.
3) Beat egg whites until frothy, add cream of tartar and salt and beat till soft peaks. Add sugar and beat till stiff peaks.
4) Fold egg whites into cheese and flour mixture.
5) Bake in a preheated over at 350’f until golden.

6) When the cake is cooked, remove from oven immediately bang it on a hard surface (it’ll make the cake easier to remove later). Then invert the cake to cool. Remove the cake from the cake pan when it is completely cool.


Works Cited

Chang, Lia. "Philip Gotanda Revealed." Asian Connections. 17 Nov. 2002. Feb.-Mar. 2007
<http://www.asianconnections.com/a/?article_id=36>.

An interview with Gotanda about his motivation for his plays and how much improvement has in American society regarding the status and stereotypes associated with Asian Americans.
Gotanda feels America has over forward, and uses the example that the term oriental as proof. However, he still much more room for improvement.

Gotanda, Philip Kan. Ballad of Yachiyo. New York: Theater Communications Group, 1997.

This moving play is Gotanda’s based on the story of Gotanda’s aunt, Yachiyo.
Gotanda explains in the introduction that the story is part fiction and part non-fiction as his family considered Yachiyo’s past an embarrassment to the family and thus never talked about.

Gotanda, Philip Kan. Fish Head Soup and Other Plays. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.

This collection of plays includes Fish Head Soup, Yankee Dawg You Die, The Wash and A Song for a Nisei Fisherman.
There is decent introduction that reveals Gotanda’s style and his inspiration for writing the plays.

Philip Kan Gotanda Official Site. 2005. Feb.-Mar. 2007
<http://www.philipkangotanda.com/index.shtml>.

Phil Gotanda’s official site. It has a short bio on him but his up coming projects. However, the site hasn’t been updated since 2005 so some of the information is not so useful.

Rich, Frank. "2 Asians and Hollywood's Bias." The New York Times. 15 May 1989. Feb.-Mar. 2007 <http://theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html>.

A review of Yankee Dawg You Die. Rich praises the play especially the ending when past (Vincent) and future (Bradley) work together and learn from each other.


Sommer, Elyse. "Ballad of Yachiyo, A Curtainup Review." Curtain Up. 1997. Feb.-Mar. 2007 <http://www.curtainup.com/ballad.htm>.

A theater review of Ballard of Yachiyo.
Sommer applauds Gotanda’s style of writing and ability to tie together past and present.

Links to this post

Food is everywhere! My first stop while in Malaysia's Chinatown was this jerky stand. These goodies are made from ground meat + spices, flattened, dried and then grilled. They are absolutely to die for!




Next up....Satay, another must eat to add to the list for anyone visiting M'asia. Your choice of chicken or beef, deliciously prepared and served with fresh slices of cucumber, onions and their dipping sauce. They're a bit greasy, probably from coconut milk but who cares!?! They're too good to pass.








What is this? I dunno, but it tastes good. It's cendol in a bright pink, sweet, milky liquid. I know what you're thinking...yes, it does look like Pepto Bismol.

I have this thing for bright colors and instead of shying away from eating brightly colored foods I actually go after them. This drink caught my eye and I just had to have a taste. I has a unique pleasant flavor....  Perfect for a hot day and to wash down the satay and jerky.











Hats off to you Malaysia, your food is delicious and your people are wonderful!
Links to this post

To my friends from Malaysia, I have a question for you, putu bambu means bamboo cake...right?

I discovered these treats while visiting the night market in Chow Kit. Funny story, apparently Chow Kit is the redlight district of Kuala Lumpur, but I had no idea. I actually didn’t find this out until the day before my scheduled return to Vietnam. Earlier that day, I took the train to Subang Jaya to buy baking supplies and then waved down a taxi afterwards to take me to the train station to go back to KL. The taxi driver, who at first thought I was a native, but later found out I wasn’t because of my “American” accent; asked where I was staying. I told him Chow Kit, and his reactions were, what? You? I asked him why he’s so surprised. It was then that he told me to be careful as Chow Kit is the hub for drugs, violence, and prostitution. He told me I was very brave. Heheheeh In Chow Kit’s defense, I stayed there for 3 days, walked around its streets at night by myself and never once did I not feel safe.

Back to the main story. I was walking around the night market which is just a few blocks from my hotel. The cakes are so unique I had to stop for a taste even though I already stuffed from eating Satay earlier (more on that later).






The cakes are made from what looks to be coarsely ground rice. Bamboo molds are stuffed half full with the rice. Palm sugar is added and then more rice.











The Cakes are steamed for a few mins.













The finished product is a soft, tender, slightly spongy cake. It’s served with grated coconut, and a spoon full of palm sugar.







It goes to show, sometimes the simplest ingredients can become the tastiest creations. So forget the dough improvers, dough softeners, and sponge gel/stabilizers, stick with tradition!...It's yummy! :p

Links to this post
video

Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia.....wow, what a country! This year happens to be Malaysia's 50th independence anniversary, and there's so much celebrating on. Eye on Malaysia being a year long party is my first stop while visiting. They have a pretty impressive light show at night...see for yourself.


Not sure what these are called but they're sooo good. Can't resist must have a taste and snap a picture.

My most favorite are the green mangoes and the chayote. The perfect balance of sweet and sour with a crunchy texture. They're perfect to much on while watching the show.
Links to this post

What makes this place stand out from the thousands of pau shops in Saigon? Paus aka Bánh Bao were introduced to the people of Vietnam via 1000 years of Chinese rule. Most if not all savory paus in Vietnam contain a filling composed of pork, onions, chinese sausage and 1/4 of an boiled egg. Ông Cả Cần's paus were famous for containing a quail egg in the center instead of the usual boiled chicken egg. His paus were also bigger than the others.

Bà Năm Sa Đéc, a famous actress made a business selling Cả Cần Style Paus after she retired from the stage. They were a huge hit and the name still carries on today. Although I'm not sure if Bà Năm Sa Đéc still owns the place or not.

Besides their famous paus, they also offer Hủ Tiếu (pictured left).






So how did the food taste? Eh....I have to say I was kind of disappointed. There was nothing bad about the food it just didn't blow me away. I guess my expectations were a bit too high.


Most premixed Vietnamese pau flour sold out there promise you'll be able to make Cả Cần paus with their flour. So there must be something special about Cả Cần paus for people to want to imitate them so much. Whatever that something is....I didn't see or taste it that day. The dough was dense and had a noticeable hint of ammonia, which tells me...it was improperly done. What do I mean? Ammonia (baking ammonia) evaporates under heat, releasing co2. The co2 is captured by the gluten in the dough which the final product soft, light and fluffy. The noticeable hint of ammonia suggests too much ammonia was added, so much more then what's needed. Secondly the thick dense dough tells me that the dough wasn't kneaded enough.

But anyways, if you're ever in Saigon and are around An Dong market, stop Bánh Bao Cả Cần for a taste and tell me what you think.

Links to this post
Vũng Tàu is one of the many famous beaches in Vietnam. Literally translated, its name comes to mean Puddle of Boats. Its beaches are a hot spot for foreign travelers as well as Saigonians who's agenda is to seeking a little ocean breeze and, of course......... fresh seafood. Most of the the seafood consumed in Sai Gon as well as the south come mainly from the freshwaters of Mekong Delta. Vũng Tàu offers seafood from the ocean, all sorts of saltwater goodies that is not easily accessible elsewhere in Saigon or the South. After the fall of Saigon, Vũng Tàu became a popular hotspot for freedom seeking boats. People planning to escape the communist government often told their local authorites that they were going to Vũng Tàu for a holiday and then once there they would sneak on the boats and sail out to sea, putting their lives at stake in search of freedom.

It was not until a decade and a half ago that the Vietnamese government realize the potential of Vũng Tàu as a tourist destination. The began to give the beach side city a face-lift in hopes of attracting more visitors, espcially foreign visitors. The waters are blue, the sand is golden and the skies are always bright making conditions perfect to enjoy a few fresh crabs from the local waters. Their crabs are steamed and served with lime and salt and pepper to bring out their natural sweetness....how good it is!


Along shores of Vũng Tàu sits many great diners that offer local specialties.



My group stopped at Quán Cây Bàng. What to order...what to order? Local specialties include Canh Súng and Cá Đối. Nomatter which diner you decide upon you should be able to order these dishes as they're the trademark dishes of Vũng Tàu.


Canh Súng is the marriage of Canh Chua from the Mekong Delta and Canh Ngót from centeral Vietnam. The broth is the perfect balance between sweet, sour and savory, like canh chua. However, the veggies that go into it are celery and tomatoes like that of canh ngót. The fish used is of course a variety of saltwater fish. To top things off, lemongrass and preserved soybeans (tương hột) are added to give the soup its unique irresistible flavor.


Next up is Cá Đối Chiên Xù. Chiên Xù is a method of cooking fish where the fish is gutted but not scaled. The fish is then deep fried. This method results in a fish that is "puffy" in appearance. Chiên Xù is usually served with fresh herbs. The fish is wrapped in the herbs, dipped in fish sauce and enjoyed.... There is nothing special about the dish except for the fact that it's made with Cá Đối, a verity of saltwater fish that is avaliable in abundence in ....you guessed it, Vũng Tàu
Links to this post
Literally translated, Bến Tre means Bamboo Port. It is a small provience of Vietnam, located in the Mekong Delta. Bến Tre is famous of its coconuts. It's all things coconut.... even religion. Ông Đạo Dừa used to call this place home. He developed his own religion based on hòa hảo which united and worshiped both the Buddha and Jesus. Sadly, when the communist invaded South Vietnam, his property was seized and turned it into a restaurant. He was restricted from practicing his religion and later passed away. To this day, his name is still well know throughout the land but there are very few followers of Đạo Dừa . Đạo Dừa, literally translated means Coconut Religion. Followers of this religion were on a strict diet of only coconut.

Bến Tre is the leading producer of coconut goods... rice bowls, chopstick, spoons, you name it they can make it....out of coconut! Most famous of all, is Kẹo Dừa (Coconut Candy). Fresh grated coconut is squeezed to obtain coconut milk. Coconut milk is then mixed with sugar and boiled until the soft crack stage. The candy is then cooled until cut into thin strips (pic. above). The thin pieces are then cut into smaller pieces of candy. Easier said then done. The candy hardens when it cools, thus the candy must be cut while still warm. Being warm means it's extremely sticky which requires a very shape knife to cut. Through the long cooking process the coconut milk converts into oil which helps give the candy a nice shine and nutty flavor. There are many versions of Kẹo Dừa, some places add durian, others add pandan. Whatever the flavor is it's all yummy, sweet and creamy....oh so good!

Here's the recipe if anyone wants to try.

-Equal portions of sugar and coconut milk BY WEIGHT
-1 tsp maltose or lime juice for every 500g of sugar

**Bring everything to a boil and simmer over medium heat while constantly stirring. The candy is ready when it reaches the soft ball crack stage. Pour the candy mixture onto a heat proof surface to cool. Once it's cool enough to handle, shape, cut, wrap and enjoy.

For pandan flavor, blend coconut milk with pandan leaves and strain....or just add pandan extract. For durian flavor, add durian ....how? Don't ask just Play With Your Food and find out! lol




Links to this post
This dish is considered the trademark of southern Vietnamese cuisine. It has deep roots extend into the Mekong delta regions where Cá Lóc (sometimes referred to in English as Snake/Mud Fish) and Tôm Càng (Freshwater Prawns) are plentiful. Simple local ingredients are combined with traditional cooking methods to give birth the perfect balance of flavor and texture. All you need are fresh herbs, bean sprouts, cucumber, bánh hỏi (or noodles) and fish sauce for dipping. As for the main course…fresh mud fish or prawns, and charcoal or rice hay.

The fish or prawns are grilled over charcoal or more authentically, rice hay. Everything is rolled up in a lettuce leaf and enjoyed with fish sauce as a dip. The sweetness from the fresh fish or prawns combined with the slightly smokey flavor from grilling, are embraced by the many delicate flavors of the fresh herbs, the crunchiness from the cucumber and the bean sprouts. The fish sauce contributes saltiness and spiciness which ties everything together causes an explosion of flavors and textures in one’s mouth.



Links to this post
Greetings! First off, I apologize for not posting lately. If you're a frequent visitor to my blog you probably know that I'm a UW student that's on the verge of graduating. The past few months have been hectic and I just couldn't find the time to bake and cook as much as I would like....so no posts. Forgive me....

As I reflect on the last few years...I would like to thank all of you for your support. As you may already know, I entered UW planning to major in education. But by my 2nd year I started to realize my passion for cooking and was pondering whether or not to switch over to a culinary school. After much though I decided to stay at UW to finish my B.A. majoring in Drama with an emphisis in costume and fashion design. Here I am today, I'm graduating this Saturday, June 9th at husky stadium.

What does the future hold? How should I know? After graduating I'll be traveling to Asia for a while so.....I probably won't be post much. Then I'll take the summer off and then it's off to culinary school to become a pastry chef. That's the plan for now. Oh yeah! I'm porbably going to be looking or a job...anyone want to hire me? lol

Anyways, just though I should post something to let everyone know what I've been up to and....so that no one will think that I'm dead for not posting in such a long time.

Cheers and play with your food!!!
Links to this post

This is the vegetarian version of papaya and beef jerkey salad. The recipe is pretty much the same, except:

-Use gluten in place of beef
-Use pressed tofu instead of liver (pressed tofu = firm tofu, weighed down by an heavy object for a few hours or overnight to remove as much water as possible)
Links to this post
To some this dish may seem weird in the way it's served. This is one dish not two. What do I mean by that? It means you eat both the noodles and the salad at the same time, much like how you would eat rice with another food item. Think of the noodles are your "rice" and the salad is your "food item". In order to fully experience the unique flavors of this dish you must eat both the noodles and the salad at the same time.

For the Noodle Soup:
-Rice Vermicelli
-1 duckling about 4-5lbs
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-cilantro
-dried bamboo
-fish sauce, pepper, sugar

*Cook vermicelli according to package instructions. Chop laksa leaves and cilantro. Boil duck add salt and sugar to taste. Soak bamboo overnight to hydrate. Boil bamboo for 5 mins; drain wash and reboil until tender. Once tender, shred bamboo into small pieces and stir-fry with fish sauce, pepper and sugar to taste. In a bowl, add vermicelli and stir-fried bamboo, ladle in duck broth and garnish with chopped laksa leaves and cilantro.

For the Salad:
-1/2 small cabbage
-duck meat (from making broth for noodles)
-ginger fish sauce
-fried shallots, chopped laksa leaves
-1 large onion + 1 tbs sugar + 1 tbs vinegar

*Shred cabbage, slice onions and marinate with sugar and vinegar. On a plate arrange cabbage, marinated onions, and sliced duck meat. Garnish with fried shallots and laksa leaves. Serve salad with noodles and ginger fish sauce.
Links to this post

Ingredients:
-1 lobster about 2lbs
-5 shitake mushrooms
-3 pieces fish maw (about 150g)
-sliced ginger
-2 green onions
-chicken broth or water
-salt, sugar, oyster sauce
-bok choy

What to Do:

Steam lobster and remove the flesh. Reserve the shells to braise with the mushrooms. Soak mushrooms in water for a few hours or until hydrated. In a pot, simmer together mushrooms, ginger, onions, and lobster shells with broth or water for at least 1/2 hour. After 1/2 hour add in lobster meat and fish maw (washed and soaked for about 15 mins.), continue to simmer for about 10 more mins.

To Serve:
Blanch bok choy and arrange on a serving plate. Remove lobster, mushrooms and fish maw from braising liquid. Give them a quick stir fry, with salt, oyster sauce and sugar to taste before serving.
Links to this post
This dessert is usually served as weddings as the name translates to "100 years match".

Ingredients:
-100g dried lotus seeds
-200g red beans
-50g dried lily bulb
-dried tangerine peel
-rock sugar
-water
-3 tsp corn starch + 3 tsp sugar
-1 1/2 tsp lye water

What to Do:

Mix together lotus seeds and red beans with lye water and enough water to cover the beans and lotus seeds by a few inches; soak overnight or until the beans and seeds are "plump". Wash the beans and seeds and boil them in a pot with tangerine peel and lily bulb until tender, add sugar to taste. Add slurry to thicken before serving.

Links to this post

Ingredients:
-1 large pomelo
-12oz lotus stems
-1 carrot
-1 small cucumber
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-4 tbs sugar
-3 tbs vinegar
-1/2 tsp salt
-fish sauce, limes
-fried shallots, roasted peanuts
-choice of: prawns, chicken, beef or tofu

What to Do:

A: Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and remove the seeds; slice into thin slices. Julienne carrot, and lotus stems. Mix together sliced cucumber, carrots lotus stems and sugar, rest for 15 mins. before adding vinegar; marinate for at least 1/2 hour.

B: Meanwhile, peel the pomelo and remove the flesh. Chop laksa leaves.

C: Squeeze out excess juices from A. Mix A with B, you choice of meat, and laksa leaves. Add fish sauce and lime to taste, all flavors should be balanced. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts.



Links to this post
Cải Chua or Dưa Chua what's the difference? Nothing besides the name. What's known as Cải Chua in the south is known as Dưa Chua in the north. Cải/Dưa chua should have a crispy texture, slightly sour and salty with a little "bite" from the mustard in taste, and light yellowish green in color. To achieve the crispy texture, some recipes instruct to wilt the greens before adding the brine, while others like me prefer to blanch the greens instead...it's just faster this way. The sugar is added for color and also as food for the natural yeast which makes the greens sour. Since yeast is what makes the greens sour, the brine should not be too salty else it will kill the much needed yeast. However, lack of salt will result in an out of control yeast population which will turn the greens into mold before it has a chance to reach it's full potential.

Ingredients:
-approx. 2lbs Chinese mustard greens
-50g salt (about 3 tbs)
-50g đường thẻ (Chinese brown sugar)
-3 tbs vinegar
-1 liter (4 cups/1kg) water

What to Do:
Cut greens into bite size pieces (optional) and blanch. In a pot, boil together salt and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cool brine completely before adding vinegar. In a clean jar add blanched and drained greens and brine. Use something to submerge the greens in the brine completely (they tend to float). The brine should cover the greens by about 1/2", make more brine if needed. Cover and leave allow the greens to mature within a week (speed depends on temp.). You will notice the brine will turn cloudy within a few days and then it will become clear again. The greens are ready to serve once the brine returns to its clear state. The longer you allow the greens to mature the more sour the end product will be. Once the greens are as sour as you like, store them in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour.

Note:
The brine can be used twice. After you finish enjoying your first batch, just blanch more greens and add it to the used brine. You can also add bean sprouts to the brine to make dưa giá (pickled bean sprouts).
Links to this post
There is very little butter in this recipe, yet it has a rich buttery taste. Weird huh?

Ingredients:

-2 egg yolks
-90g tapioca starch
-40g flour
-1/3 tsp baking powder
-few drops yellow coloring (optional)
-60g sugar
-2 tbs sweetened condense milk
-1 tbs melted butter

What to Do:
Mix together tapioca starch, flour and baking powder. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and lemoned colored. Add yellow coloring, condensed milk, and butter. Add flour mixture. Rest dough for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 350'F, divide dough into 10-12 portions. Roll each portion into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-15 mins.

Reference:
Bánh Hoa Cúc by Madam Nguyễn Thị Hường aka Gia Chánh Hoa Hường/Rose School of Home Economics

Links to this post

The first step in making this dish is to make the basic sauce. The basic sauce is then used to make the beef and liver jerkies, and as dressing for the salad.


Basic Sauce:

-3 parts sugar
-3 parts soy sauce
-3 parts water
-1 part ginger (crushed)
-1 part chili sauce (optional)

*Boil everything together in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Cool before using.

Beef Jerky:
Basic sauce + pepper + 5 spice + honey + minced garlic + mince shallots = marinate for jerky.

Liver Jerky:
Marinate 1/4" slices of beef liver in basic sauce for approx 1/2 hour. Simmer liver slices and marinate in a frying pan until all of the liquid evaporates. Add about 1tbs butter and fry until liver is golden, fragrant and jerky like in texture.

Dressing:
Basic sauce + minced garlic + red vinegar.

The Salad:
Shredded green papaya + chopped thai basil + beef jerky cut into thin strips + liver jerky cut into thin strips + dressing.
Links to this post

What do you do when you're itching to make paus but don't have the time to go after "traditional recipes" which call for long hours of proving? Use a mix? NO! Why use a mix when you can make you own paus from scratch... in roughly 20mins? Here it is, my express pau dough recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
-400g all purpose flour
-4 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder
-100g sugar
-1 tbs oil
-130g fresh milk or water

What to Do:
Mix together flour and baking powder, sift twice. Stir together milk, sugar and oil. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix well, knead for about 5 mins. Rest dough for 10 mins, wrap filling and steam. Done!

Note:
Flour and baking powder must be mixed well and sifted twice to ensure the paus will be white and fluffy. Recipe makes enough dough for about 12 large "dai paus" or 24 small sweet/dimsum/char siu paus. The paus will puff up and double in size when steamed so space them accordingly in the steamer.

Links to this post
Ingredients:
-300g crushed hominy
-100g sweet rice (aka glutinous rice)
-pandan leaves (optional)
-toasted sesame seeds
-salt
-sugar
-fresh grated coconut

What to Do:
Mix together hominy and rice; rinse and soak overnight. Drain and add enough water to cover the surface of the rice and hominy by approx. 1 1/2". Simmer with pandan leaves until all of the water is absorbed and the hominy is tender (about 30-45mins). Serve with sugar, coconut, pinch of salt and toasted sesame seeds.

Note:
If all of the water has evaporated and the hominy is still not tender; just add more water and continue to simmer until done.

Links to this post
Ingredients:
-1/2 recipe basic spongefon cake
-approx 150g grated coconut
-2 tbs tapioca starch

What to Do:
Make the pandan variation of spongefon cake. Mix together coconut and starch. Lightly grease cake moulds and fill about 1/3 with coconut mixture. "Pack" the coconut down with you fingers. Fill the remainder of the mould with cake batter. Steam cakes for about 15 mins, lifting the lid of the steamer every 5 mins to release excess steam.
Links to this post

Chúc
Mừng Năm Mới
It's that time again. Time to make a big deal over Tết the Vietnamese New Year. Tết is more than a celebration it's also in a sense the rebirth of things. Firecrackers, lion dances, fresh colorful flowers and of course food are plentiful to bring luck, happiness, and prosperity to all. Although tết is technically the first day of the lunar calendar, preparations for tết start about a month before and celebrations last for a month after the big day.

What's there to prepare for? Everything in the house needs to be cleaned, I mean everything! Then of course there's the long process of making Mứt (candied fruits) and all types of pickled veggies. On the 23 of the 12th month it's time to send the kitchen god back to heaven. The 25th is the day to cúng tổ nghiệp. It's believed that every profession has a tổ ( = a top "master"). So on the 25th one should make offerings of fruit, flowers, incense, etc... to their "master", thanking them for passion on their skills to you and wishing for their grace in your practice in the year to come. Between the 23 to the last day of the lunar month, everyone is also busy making Bánh Chưng or Bánh Tét or both. Bánh Chưng and Bánh Tét are bascially the same, except for their shape. Bánh Chưng is from Northern Vietnam and is square in shape. Bánh Tét is from Southern Vietnam and is shaped like a log.

Moving onto the last day of the 12th month... it's time to cook your heart out! There always thịt kho, dưa giá, dưa kiệu, cải chủa, dưa món.... These dishes are popular because, traditionally markets weren't open on the first few days of new years and refrigeration was never in the picture. Thus the only way to preserve "fresh food" was to either pickle it in one way or another or to cook it in a heavily seasoned liquid. Although, we no longer have to worry about preserving food it's become tradition to make cook these dishes. Tết just won't be tết without them. So here they are ...my humble dishes for tết. I planned to make more but time was against me so.... I learned to be happy with what I have. lol

Vegan Dishes for the first day of Tết:

Vegan Version of Bánh Chưng


Spring Rolls


Braised Squash


Stuffed Tofu with Tomato Sauce


"Cold Plate" Appetizer (Veg. Roast Duck, Ham and Pickled Seaweed and Carrots)


Papaya and Beef Salad with Basil and Ginger Dressing


Traditional Family Stir-fry


Meat Dishes for the 2nd Day of Tết
Canh Khổ Qua - Bitter Melon Soup


Thịt Kho - Pork and Eggs Braised in Coconut Juice


Cải Chua - Pickled Mustard Greens to go with the Braise Pork
Recipe Link


Bánh Tét - 'Southern' Rice Cakes

Sweets...
Bánh Tổ - Nien Gao
Recipe Link


Candied Coconut, Candied Lotus Seeds, and Kuih Bangkit


Mango and Cherimoya


Red and Juicy Watermelon

What's Tết Without Flowers?

**Note: Most Recipes are Already Posted, Recipes not already posted will be posted soon....
Links to this post