Named after Huế the former capitol of Vietnam during the country’s “dynasty” years; when the country was still ruled by kings and emperors. Although the translated name for Bún Bò Huế is Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, it is not to be confused with Phở the other “beef noodle soup”. Phở is from the northern region and the flavors are much more settled, bún bò huế on the other hand, is hot and spicy with essence of lemongrass and shrimp paste. Noodles for phở are flat, while noodles for bún bò huế are fat and round (there are many types of noodles with unique names, but in English there is only the term “noodle” which all must be grouped under…sad). As with many Vietnamese noodle dishes, Bún Bò Huế is also served with a generous helping of herbs, bean sprouts, shredded banana flower, shredded cabbage, and shredded lettuce. BTW, the recipe might seem like a lot of work but it's really not, chả huế and chả tôm could be bought premade if you know a well stocked Vietnamese grocery store or deli.

For the Broth and Noodles:
-2 lbs beef bones (approximate)
-1 beef shank about 2lbs (approximate)
-1 pork feet (cut into small serving size pieces)
-1 piece of ginger about 3 inches long
-1 bunch lemongrass (6-7 stalks)
-small slice of pineapple (about 100-200g)
-4 shallots
-4 tabs mắm ruốt (Belacan shrimp paste)
-1 small piece of rock sugar
-salt to taste
-rice vermicelli (“thick and fat” kind)

**Boil bones, pork feet, and beef shank for 10 mins., drain and wash before using to make broth. Boil together bones, beef shank, and pork feet with enough water to make broth. Crush lemongrass, tie into a bundle and add to broth. Grill ginger and shallots, crush and add to broth along with pineapple. Mix shrimp paste with a bowl of water and let sit for a few hours, remove the clear liquid on top (to be added to broth later). Remove beef shank and pork feet when they are chopstick tender (can be easily pierced with a chopstick). Add sugar, shrimp paste liquid, and salt to taste. Add meat balls (recipe follows) to cook in broth remove a few mins after they float to the surface of the broth. Add a couple tabs of spiced pepper oil for color (recipe follows). Boil noodles until tender drain before serving.

Meat Choices:
-Beef shank: from making broth, sliced thinly
-Pork feet from broth
-Fresh Shrimp Paste (recipe follows) sliced thinly
-Chi Huế Style Meat Balls (cooked in broth, recipe follows)
-Blood Jelly, cubed and cooked separately

-Green Onions
-Ngò Gai (saw tooth herb)
-Rau Răm (Laksa Leaves)
-1 large onion

*Wash herbs and chop finely. Slice onion into thin slices.

To Serve:
Lay noodles in a bowl, add meat choices, add onions, and ladle on the hot broth finish of with garnishing herbs. Serve with fresh herbs and shredded veggies. Condiments include spiced pepper oil, lime, fish sauce, and fresh chilies.

Serve with:
-Bean sprouts
-Shredded Banana Flower
-Shredded Cabbage
-Shredded Lettuce
-shredded rau muống (ong choy) or celery
-Fresh herbs (General)
-lime, fresh chilies

Chả Tôm (Huế Style Fresh Shrimp Paste):
*Measure by Volume
-1lb shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
-3 cloves of garlic
-3 tabs fish sauce
-1 shallot
-pinch sugar
-pinch salt

**Chop garlic and scallion, add to shrimp along with fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Grind into a smooth paste. Steam or cook shrimp paste in broth until done.

Chả Huế (Huế Style Meatballs):
-1lb ground pork
-3 cloves of garlic
-1 tsp fish sauce
-1 shallot
-2 tabs sugar
-1 tsp salt
-2 tabs potato starch

*Chop garlic and scallion. Mix everything together and freeze until nearly but not frozen (this will help make the meatballs bouncy). After freezing, process the mixture in a meat processor into a smooth paste (as quick as possible “refreeze” if necessary). Add rounded tablespoons of meat paste into broth and remove a few mins. after they float to the surface of the broth.

Pepper Oil:
-1/2 cup oil
-1/2 cup lemongrass finely chopped
-pepper flakes or powder (as just too desired level of spiciness)
-1/2 garlic finely chopped
-3 tbs annatto seeds
-2 tsp mắm ruốt

*Fry annatto seeds in oil to obtain rich orange color, remove seeds; add garlic and lemongrass, stir fry until fragrant, add pepper and shrimp paste, mix well. Add a few tbs of this oil to the broth for color, use the rest as a condiment for anyone who likes the noodles spiced up a bit.
Are you really? I’ve been tagged by Lin from Sinfully Yours. Regarding my eating habits; I must say I love anything sweet and chocolaty. Secondly, I prefer veggies over meats; definitely not a fan of fish dishes. My worst nightmare is to have to eating bland food; I just don’t understand how some people could eat things that taste like cardboard. Lastly, I admit I’m a street food addict, I’m sure most people who read this are too. Here goes my list of all time top 10 favorite eats.

#1: Bismark Doughnuts: OH GOD they’re good, the chewy doughnut, filled with rich pastry cream and glazed with chocolate, what’s there not to love?

#2: Gỏi Cuốn (Fresh Spring Rolls aka Summer Rolls): This particular type of fresh spring roll is made with prawns, pork, rice vermicelli, herbs, and bean sprouts; dipped in hoison and peanut sauce right before it enters your mouth and explodes in a burst of flavors.

#3: Strawberry Milk Shakes: especially ones form Dick’s, the thick and creamy texture mixed with the sweet strawberry taste is too hard to resist.

#4: Spaghetti: the tangy sauce calls my name, no meat balls for me please.

#5: Congee: any kind will do but I admit I absolutely love Ho Ho’s (a Chinese Restaurant in Seattle) Little Boat Congee. The smooth congee packs rich flavors which come from the jelly fish, fish, squid, peanuts, beef, ginger, cilantro and green onions. Goes perfectly with for the cold rainy months we have in Seattle.

#6: Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce: Something about the broccoli’s crunchy texture and saltiness from the oyster sauce that seems to attract my taste buds.

#7: Bún Bò Huế (Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodles Soup): Noodles in hot and spicy broth served with an abundance of veggies, exactly the way I prefer my food.

#8: Chocolate: anything chocolate, chocolate bars, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake too good to give up in this lifetime.

#9: Shrimp Scampi: especially when it’s served with pasta and a fresh squeeze of lemon.

#10: Rice Vermicelli Dishes: I’m cheating on my last one hehehehehe, I absolutely adore the smooth texture of bún or rice vermicelli; they go well with almost anything.

My turn to tag….let’s see….

Lily from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong
Seadragon from Café of the East
Jingle's Kitchen

Your turn we’re waiting :D….

For you reading pleasures, I stumbled upon this link on the scientific aspects of “you are what you eat”. Enjoy.
A specialty for the southern region of Vietnam. Simple and delicious. Of course, served with a helping of bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Shrimp paste here is not to be confused with mắm ruốt the other “shrimp paste”. Suông is made from fresh shrimp and chicken, boiled in broth and coated with annatto oil for unique flavor and appearance.

For the Broth and Noodles:
-2 lbs chicken or bones (approximate I recommend using chicken)
-shrimp shells (byproduct from making the fresh shrimp paste, recipe follows)
-salt to taste
-1 small piece of rock sugar
-1 pork feet (cut into serving size pieces)
-rice vermicelli

*Boil together bones, shrimp shell and pork feet for a few hours to make broth. Remove pork feet when chopstick tender. Use broth to cook shrimp paste, add sugar and salt to taste. Boil rice vermicelli until tender, drain before serving.

-green onions

*Washed and chop finely.

To Serve:
Lay noodles in a bowl, add suông (shrimp paste), and pork feet; ladle on hot broth and finish off with garnishing. Serve rau húng cây (spearmint), cooked bean sprouts, and hoisin sauce, lime, fish sauce, and fresh chilies as condiments.

Suông (Fresh Shrimp Paste):
*Measure by volume
-1 cup chicken breast
-2 cups shrimp
-4 cloves garlic
-3 tbs fish sauce
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp sugar
-2 shallots
-3 tbs oil
-annatto seeds

*Cube chicken breast, chop garlic and shallots. Fry annatto seeds in oil to obtain color, remove seeds. Peel and shrimp, use the shells to make broth. Grind together shrimp, chicken, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar into a smooth paste. Use a rice scraper or spatula to form 3-4 inch long pieces of paste and drop them into the hot broth to cook. Remove when the float to the surface of the broth and dip in annatto oil for color.

Bánh Ít is the general name for “pastries” that are made with glutinous rice flour and boiled or steamed. Usually bánh ít are wrapped with banana leaves, however this type of bánh ít is not, hence gives it the name bánh ít trần as “Trần” means naked. The filling varies from different regions of Vietnam. The following recipe is for southern style Bánh Ít Trần.

-1/2lb glutinous rice flour (1/2 package)
-1/4lb each: prawns, ground pork
-50g mung beans (peeled and split)
-1 tsp fish sauce
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 green onions
-2 cloves garlic
-1 tbs oil
-3 tbs fried shallots
-pinch of sugar

What to Do:
Rinse, soak, cook and mash mung beans. Peel, and crush shrimp, mix with pork. Chop onions and garlic. Stir fry onions and garlic until fragrant, add shrimp, pork and seasonings. Stir fry until cooked and thick. Mix flour with warm water to form a soft dough. Take a piece of dough, flatten and wrap filling. Boil the rice balls until they float to the surface; continue to boil for 10 more mins. Serve with onion oil, ground shrimp powder and fish sauce.

Starter: Deviled Eggs
-5 eggs
-4 tbs evaporated milk
-1/2 tsp mustard
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp crushed pepper (optional)
-1 tsp chopped green onions
-1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
-pinch of sugar
-salt to taste

*Boil eggs and cool. Peel and cut eggs in half, scoop out the yolks. Mash yolks and add all seasonings. Pipe yolks back into egg whites, using a pastry bag and a star tip.

Starter: Sesame Crab Crackers
-1/2 lb crab meat
-1/2 block cream cheese (4oz)
-1 stalk celery
-1/2 green onion
-1/3 carrot
-1/2 tsp sesame oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-sesame crackers

*Shred crab meat, chop celery and onion. Peel julienne carrot. Fold everything together and serve on crackers, garnished with cilantro.

Starter: Granny Smiths with Pepperjack Cheese
-1 granny smith apple
-1 cube pepperjack cheese

*Wash and core apples. Slice apples and cheese into small bite size pieces. Pair up cheese slices with apples and secure with a toothpick.

Cold Crab and Cucumber Soup

-1/2 lb crab meat
-1 large cucumber
-1/2 cup cream
-1/2 cup vegetable broth
-salt to taste

*Wash and chop cucumbers. Boil together broth and cucumber for 5 mins, cool completely. Blend everything together in a blender until smooth. Serve cold.

Watercress Salad with Poached Eggs and Asian Pears

-2 bunches watercress*
-red leaf lettuce*
-6 eggs *
-2 ripe tomatoes*
-2 Asian pears*

*Measurements are approximate, adjust to desired serving size.

**Poaching the eggs:
For every cup of water add 1 tbs vinegar. There should be at least 3 inches of water. Water should be barely boiling (bubbles forming at the bottom but the surface never boils). Break egg into a bowl, stir water in a circular motion and add egg into the center of the “swirl”. Poach for a few mins (depending on how soft you prefer you yolks).

***Wash lettuce, watercress and tomatoes. Toss with dressing (recipe follows) and arrange on a platter. Slice tomatoes and pears, arrange on top of the salad. Finally, top with poached eggs.

-1/3 cup sugar
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-2 tbs olive oil
-3 tbs pepper

*Mix together until sugar dissolves.

Roast Beef
-Beef rib eye roast
-4 bay leaves*
-4 cloves garlic*
-3 tbs olive oil*
-1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, dill, thyme, basil, paprika, garlic powder

*For every pound of meat

** Mix together spices, partially de-bone the meat from ribs. Rub meat with oil, followed by spices. Sandwich bay leaves and crushed garlic cloves between meat and ribs, tie together. Let flavors marry for at least ½ hour before roasting. Roast at 450’F for 20 mins; add ½ cup water into roasting pan and continue to roast at 350’F, 20 mins per pound or until internal temperature of meat is 120-125’F (medium rare).

Oven Roasted Veggies
-yellow and green zucchinis*
-drippings from roast beef*
-thyme, salt and pepper

*all measurements are approximate, adjust to desired serving size. Wash, peel and cut veggies into bite size pieces. Mix with thyme, beef drippings, salt and pepper. Roast at 350’F for about 20-30 mins.

Fancy Mashed Potatoes
-6 medium size russet potatoes
-4 strips bacon
-1/2 cup evaporated milk or sour cream
-3 stalks green onions
-grated cheese
-bread crumbs
-melted butter or oil
-pepper and salt to taste

*Boil potatoes; cool and carefully slice in half. Use a spoon to scoop out flesh, reserving the potato skins. Fry and crush bacon, chop green onions. Mix bread crumbs with melted butter. Mash potatoes, add milk, bacon, onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Pipe mashed potatoes back into the reserved skins using a pastry bag and a star tip. Sprinkle grated cheese and bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350’F for 15 mins; then broil until cheese melts and bread crumbs are golden.

Poached Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream
-10 pears
-4 cups water or wine
-1 4 inch long piece of cinnamon
-4 star anises
-5 cloves
-peel from 1 orange and one 1 lemon
-1 cup brown sugar
-vanilla ice cream

*Peel pears leaving stems intact. In a large pot, boil water, spices, peels, and sugar, add pears and simmer for until pears are knife tender but not mushy and falling apart. Serve warm with ice cream.

Now that all of the Secrete Santas have been revealed I guess it’s safe to post what I baked. There was Japanese Cheesecake (for those in the US only); Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mint Chocolate Crescents Cookies, and Raspberry Marbled Sugar Cookies.

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

-230g Cream cheese (room temp.)
-50g unsalted butter (room temp.)
-100g cream or milk
-100g cake flour
-30g corn starch
-6 eggs
-160g sugar

*Separate eggs. Beat together cream cheese and butter; add milk and egg yolks slowly beat until incorporated. Fold flour, extract and corn starch into cheese mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff, add sugar. Fold egg whites into cream and flour mixture. Bake at 350’F in a double broiler until golden.

**Makes 2, 2lb loafs (pan size); cake will shrink a bit when cooled.

Raspberry Marbled Sugar Cookies
-250g all purpose flour
-180g unsalted butter (1 ½ U.S. stick)
-100g sugar
-1 egg (approximately 50g)
-75g raspberry jam + 75g flour

*Cream together butter, sugar and egg until fluffy, fold in flour, divide dough into 6 pieces. Mix together jam and 75g flour to form a soft dough, divide dough into 6 pieces. Randomly stick the dough pieces together. Refrigerate for ½ hour or until firm. Roll and cut dough, bake at 350’F.

Mint Chocolate Crescent Cookies
-200g all purpose flour
-50g cocoa powder
-120g butter (1 U.S. stick)
-150g sugar
-1 egg (approximately 50g)
-100g peppermint candy crushed
-powdered sugar (to dust)

*Cream together butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy, add cocoa powder. Fold in flour and candy. Roll dough into logs and shape into crescents, bake at 350’f for 15-17 mins. Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies
-280g all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-150g brown sugar
-240g unsalted butter (2 U.S. Sticks)
-300g white chocolate chips
-75-100g raspberry jam

*Cream together butter and sugars; add egg and beat until fluffy add jam. Fold in soda, flour and chocolate. Bake rounded table spoons of dough on a baking sheet at 350’F for 10-15 mins or until golden.

Mid-December 1997, I was still in 7th grade at the time….. Mrs. Mullen my math teacher offered her students extra credit for creating a gingerbread house and bringing it to school. She provided the recipe and templates, all we had to do was fork out money for the ingredients (our parents lol :D) and let our creative juices flow. Besides receiving extra credit, the gingerbread houses were all entered into the school’s annual gingerbread house contest. Students as well as teachers judged the housed based on creativeness, technique, and over all appearance. The grand prize was a $10 gift certificate to Baskin Robins and the honor of having your gingerbread house displayed in the main office. Guess who won?

It’s been 8 years since I’ve created my very first ginger bread house. Sadly, the recipe Mrs. Mullen gave me in 7th grade along with the template had all been recycled. So, this time I had to start from starch. Mrs. Mullen’s recipe was for “real” gingerbread, the kind you would eat. My recipe is for “fake” gingerbread, meaning it’s only good for decorating. Reason being, the real recipe called for honey, spices, molasses, and butter, but since the completed gingerbread houses usually sits for a week as part of the holiday decorations….you probably don’t want to eat. Thus, why waste expensive ingredients on something you’re just going to throw away? Traditionally, the gingerbread house as well as all the decorations that go on it are glued on with royal icing, but in my “fake” version everything is held together by hot glue from a glue gun. I figured if you not going to eat it, might as well use something that will hold faster, less messy and easier to work with, and more economical. So here’s my recipe for “fake decorating purposes only gingerbread”.

For the house:
-1 cup shortening
-1 cup brown sugar (or white sugar with brown coloring)
-3 eggs
-2/3 cup water
-2 tsp baking powder
-6 cups flour (approximate)

**Cream together sugar, shortening, and eggs until fluffy. Add baking powder, water and flour alternatively until everything comes together and forms a heavy dough. Roll (1/4 inch thickness) cut and bake at 350’f until golden. Cool and glue together with a glue gun.

Stained Glass Windows:
-Life savers or any type of transparent colored hard candy

**Crush life savers, and fill into the windows of the house about 5 mins before they are finish baking. Once the candy is melted, use a tooth pick to “merge” the colors together. The candy will harden as it cools and become stained glass windows for the house.

“Snow” (Very thin royal icing):
-1 ½ - 2 lbs powdered sugar
-3/4 cup water

*Mix the two together, add more sugar if too thin and more water if too thick. The consistency should be thick and syrupy (drizzle some icing on it’s self using a spoon, if the icing disappears with in 15 seconds it’s good to go). Spread some on the roof of the house and around the base to make snow. Sprinkle on some grated coconut or cake glitter for some sparkle. Can also let the icing dry a bit and pipe it on using a pastry bag and a writing tip.

House Template:

Sadao are flower buds which grow on trees in Cambodia and surrounding regions. At first taste, the flowers are extremely bitter, more bitter than bitter melon, however the bitterness is soon lost in their unique flavor and slightly sweet aftertaste. Those not familiar with Sadao often find it too bitter to handle, but after a few bites most people turn into devoted fans. Sadao can be found frozen or fresh in most asian grocery stores (in Seattle at least).

-1 package sadao flower (frozen l package = 1lb)
-1 lb pork belly
-1 tilapia (1-2lbs)
-3 pickling cucumbers
-dấp cá and tía tô herbs

What to Do:
Thaw sadao flowers and drop into a pot of boiling water and give a quick stir. Remove from heat, allow sadao (in water) to cool (cool enough to handle). Remove sadao from water and strip the flowers off the stem (hold the stem with one hand and use the other hand to “strip” the flowers starting from the bottom of the stem to the tip). Boil pork and slice thin, clean and grill fish, de-bone and flake into bite size pieces. Slice cucumbers and chop herbs. Finally mix everything together and serve with tamarind sauce.

Tamarind Sauce:
Follow the basic recipe for fish sauce. Replace lime juice with sour tamarind juice and use palm sugar instead of table sugar.

Traditionally this salad was made with boiled duck, and usually served with bún măng (rice vermicelli with bamboo shoots and duck broth) or cháo (congee made using the duck broth). However, since this version is made with theochew style duck, which is bought "ready to go" form the Chinese roasted meats shop; there is no broth for noodles or congee. Serve with rice, or as a starter.

-1 cabbage (about 2 lbs)
-1 large onion
-3 tbs sugar
-5 tbs white vinegar
-fried shallots
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-crushed toasted peanuts
-1 theochew style duck (from Chinese roasted meats shop)

What to Do:
Slice onion and mix with vinegar and sugar, marinate for ½ hour. Shred cabbage, and finely chop laksa leaves. De-bone and slice duck meat. Arrange cabbage on a plate, top with marinated onions, and duck. Garnish with peanuts, fried shallots, and laksa leaves. Serve with ginger fish sauce.

For the Sauce:
Employ the basic recipe for fish sauce, ginger version.
-4lb fresh water prawns, size 1-2 head-on (1-2 prawns per pound)
-2 eggs
-1/2 medium onion (optional)
-1 cup coconut juice (approximate)
-fish sauce, sugar, pepper

What to Do:
Peel prawns, remove legs and claws. Remove tomalley and reserve for making sauce. Chop onion finely, beat eggs with tomalley and add onions. Bring coconut juice, 3 tbs fish sauce, ½ tsp sugar and 1 tbs pepper to a boil, add prawns and simmer for 2 mins. Add egg and tomalley mixture, simmer for another 15 mins. Add fish sauce and sugar to taste right before serving. Serve with rice, and pickled daikon (recipe follows)

When buying prawns look for ones with a tint of reddish-orange on the body and both sides of the head. The tomalley, gives the coral color when cooked, be careful when you remove it, as the prawns’ waste is also stored in its head. The fish sauce should boil rapidly as the prawns are dropped it, this will give them better texture.

Củ Cải Bóp Xổi (Pickled Daikon)
-1 daikon (about 1-2lbs)
-1 ½ - 2 tbs white vinegar
-3 tbs sugar

*Peel and thinly slice daikon mix with sugar for and rest for 5 mins and pour out excess “water”. Next, add vinegar and marinate for another 15 mins before serving.

Traditionally meat floss is made from pork or fish, turkey meat floss is a “hybrid” of the traditional that my family makes with leftover thanksgiving turkey. The turkey in this recipe can be replaced with chicken, pork, or fish as the process is the same no matter what type of meat you use.

-Cooked Turkey Meat (preferably breast meat)
-fish sauce (to taste)

-a ceramic bowl
-a serving tray
-a wok

What to Do:
Shred the turkey with your fingers into chopstick size strands. Place shredded turkey on the serving tray (or a flat surface) and use the bottom of a ceramic bowl to “rub” the meat until its fine and fluffy (pick a spot, use the ceramic bowl to push down on the turkey and "twist" your arm).

Next, add fish sauce to taste and stir fry the turkey over medium-high heat until dry.

If thanksgiving turkey is not on hand, replace with roasted chicken that’s sold at the supermarket. Make sure there are no bones, tendons, fat, or skin in the meat being used. Whatever type of meat you decide on using, make sure its fork tender. The rough unglazed bottom of the ceramic bowl is what helps “fluffs” the meat, thus, ceramic is required, do not replace the bowl with something smooth (i.e. plastic or glass bowls). Serve with bread, rice, sweet-rice, congee, rice ribbon rolls, or use to make meat floss buns, etc….

This tea is made from a specific type of sugarcane used to “cleanse” your body of toxins or “hot energy”…kind of hard to explain in english terms lol. Anyways they’re sold dry in most Asian grocery stores prepackaged with the other required ingredients such as carrots, arrow root, and imperatae (which I believe is a verity of crabgrass). In Vietnamese terms, the sugarcane = Mía Lao, Carrots = cà-rốt, arrow root = sắn dây, imperatae = rể tranh. Imperatae is actually a type of grass weed that thrives in Seattle’s cool climate. I have no problem finding abundance of them right in my backyard.

-1 package of “Cane & Arrow Root Stock” (250g, see picture below)
-3 liters water (12 cups)
-100g rock sugar (adjust to your liking)

What to Do:
Rinse everything in the “Cane & Arrow Root Stock” package. Add water and simmer for a few hours (at least 2). Add sugar and serve hot or cold.

-turkey meat (fresh or from leftover roasted turkey, use as much as you like)
-2 large carrots
-1/2 medium onion
-4 stalks of celery
-1/2 tsp garlic salt
-1 tbs dried parsley flakes
-1 tbs dried pepper flakes (optional)
-2 tbs butter
-1 tsp flour
-salt, pepper to taste

What to Do:
Boil pasta according to directions on package. Toss with 1 tbs butter. Chop onion, and celery. Peel and slice the carrots. Add 1 tbs butter into a pan and add flour to make a roux. Add onions and sweat until transparent, add garlic salt, parsley and pepper flakes, and carrots. Cook over medium heat until for about 10 mins, add water if necessary. Lastly add turkey and celery cook for another 5 mins before seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with pasta.

A convenient meal for leftover thanksgiving turkey.

-12 ripe bananas
-1/2 tsp salt
-200g sugar (adjust to desired sweetness)
-1kg (4 cups sweet-rice aka glutinous rice)
-1 can coconut milk (400ml)
-200g shredded coconut (optional)
-100g mung beans (peeled and split kind, optional)
-pandan leaves (optional)
-banana leaves
-tooth picks

Getting Ready:
Rinse and soak rice in coconut milk and enough water to cover the rice by about 4 inches for at least 4 hours. Roast mung beans in a pan, stirring constantly until brown. Peel bananas and gently mix with salt and 100g sugar. Wash and wipe dry the banana and pandan leaves. Cut banana leaves into 12-15” long pieces. Cut pandan leaves to the length of the bananas. After 4 hours drain the rice and mix with 100g sugar, roasted mung beans, and coconut.


Lay 2 pieces of banana leaves on a flat surface, add about 4-5 tbs of the rice. Lay a banana on top and cover with more rice. Top with a pandan leaf before folding the top and bottom sides over the rice to completely cover it. Secure the ends with toothpicks.

Steaming and Grilling:
Steam on high heat for about ½ hour, broil for about 10 mins (or grill) or just until the leaves begin to brown. Serve warm.

Serve with coconut milk and crushed toasted peanuts for more pleasure. Can add 2 tsp pandan extract to rice if pandan leaves are not available. If banana leaves are not available; use foil instead. However, remove the foil before grilling. These can be made ahead of time through the steaming process. Freeze thaw and grill right before serving. If done correctly the banana should have a redish-violet color.

-1 ½ lb chicken
-2 cloves of garlic
-Thai chilies (optional)
-2 tbs curry powder
-2 bay leaves
-1 stalk of lemongrass
-2 carrots
-1 medium onion
-2 medium yams or potatoes
-1/2 can coconut milk or yogurt (200ml)
-1/2 can milk (measure using coconut milk can = 200ml)
-salt to taste

What to Do:
Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Peel carrots and potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces also. Cut onions into wedges. Crush lemongrass with the back of a knife and cut into 2 inches long pieces. Mince garlic and chilies. Add about 1 tbs oil into a pot and fry garlic and chilies until fragrant. Add chicken, carrots, potatoes, curry powder, bay leaves, and lemongrass, stir fry for about 5 mins. Add in fresh milk and enough water to cover the goodies. Simmer for 20 mins, add onions, coconut milk and salt to taste. Remove lemongrass and bay leaves before serving.

The curry should have a “thick and creamy” texture (liquid shouldn’t be too watery). All flavors (i.e. curry, coconut, lemongrass, bay leaf) should be balanced. Serve how with either indian rice (recipe follows), bread (for dipping) or over noodles (rice vermicelli) bean sprouts and fresh herbs.

Indian Rice: (Cơm Nị)
-2 cups rice
-coconut juice or water
-1 tbs coconut milk
-1/2 tsp curry powder or turmeric powder
-1/2 cup golden raisins
-1 bay leaf
-1 clove

**Rinse rice and mix with curry powder, raisins, bay leaf, and clover. Add enough coconut juice or water (amount depends on rice). Cook rice as usual, add coconut milk just before serving.

Although they appear similar to what many of us would call a doughnut, these pastries are made with glutinous rice flour thus, the texture and flavor is nothing like the western doughnut. Its name “bánh vòng” literally means round pastry, as the word vòng basically means round.

-300g glutinous rice flour
-100g rice flour
-50g all purpose flour
-2 ¼ tsp baking powder
-lime juice or baking soda
-toasted sesame seeds

Making the Dough:
Mix together flours, baking powder and gradually add water. Mix to form a smooth pliable dough (much the texture of play dough). Rest for 10 mins.


Method 1:

Take a piece of dough, about 1 ½ tbs and shape it into a long log. Then, bring the two ends together and pinch.

Method 2:

Roll the dough out on top of a piece of plastic wrap, about ½ thick. Stamp out pastries with a doughnut cutter.

Deep fry in hot oil until the pastries are golden and float to the top of the oil. Met a little sugar (about ½ cup) with about 1 tsp of water in a pot until slightly golden, add a few drops of lime juice or a pinch of baking soda. Stir and immediately spoon and “glaze” melted sugar over the surface fried doughnuts and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds.

Be very careful when adding lime juice or baking soda into sugar as it will “sizzle”. Melted sugar sets very quickly therefore, only melt enough sugar to glaze 4-5 doughnuts at a time (melt as you go along glazing; fry all of the doughnuts before glazing).

Literally translated, the name means “liver cake”. Don’t worry this cake contains no liver; it’s only called that because, depending on how you make it, the appearance should somewhat resemble a piece of liver. Don’t let the looks and name scare you into missing out on some really yummy eats! This cake is served cold, and has a texture much like western flan. The flavor is rich and creamy due to the coconut milk, with a hint of star anise, coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar.

-12 eggs (approximately 600g)
-1 tsp tapioca starch
-2 1/4 tsp baking powder (not double acting)
-pinch of baking soda
-1 tsp instant coffee or coffee flavor (extract)
-1 tsp baking chocolate
-1 can (400ml) coconut milk
-8 star anises
-375g Chinese brown sugar (aka bar sugar) or dark brown sugar

What to Do:
Boil together sugar, coconut milk, and star anises until sugar dissolves, cool completely before removing star anises. Lightly beat eggs with baking powder, baking soda, tapioca starch, chocolate and coffee. Add syrup mixture and mix evenly. Grease a 9 inch cake pan and preheat (pan only, no batter) at 350’F for 5 mins, before pouring in batter. Bake at 350’F for 30-35 mins. Cool and serve cold.

The above recipe renders a cake with “short” tunnels and a texture similar to Flan. If a higher tunnel affect is desired, simply double the amount of baking powder (to 4 ½ tsp) and increase the amount of tapioca starch to 4 heaped tbs or up to 8 heaped tbs (depends on how chewy you like the texture to be).

Cute from
For the Rice Cakes:
-2 parts rice flour
-1 part corn or tapioca starch
-2 parts boiling water
-3 parts warm water

*Measurements by volume.
**Mix together rice flour, with starch and warm water to form a smooth batter. Stir in boiling water and rest for ½ hour. Grease small bowls and steam empty bowls for 1 min. pour in batter and steam for 5 mins our until cooked.

Onion Oil:
Use the onion as a topping and the oil to make the mung beans.

Mung Beans:
-100g mung beans (peeled and split, approximate)
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 tbs onion oil

**Rinse, soak and cook beans until tender, mash and add salt along with onion oil mix well. Beans should be spread able, add more oil if necessary.

Tôm Cháy (Ground Shrimp Powder)

To Serve:
Arrange a few rice cakes on a plate, spread a little mung beans on each, drizzle with the onion, and ground shrimp. Ladle on some fish sauce and into the mouth it goes each cake goes.

There are many styles of bánh bèo. The recipe above if for the style commonly found in Saigon and southern parts of Vietnam.

-300g rice flour
-3 tsp double acting baking powder
-2 tsp yeast + 3 tbs warm water
-250g coconut milk
-150g sugar
-250g sweet potato (can also use taro)
-1 egg (approximately 50g)

**Steam and mash potato, dissolve yeast in water. Put everything in a mixing bowl and beat with a cake mixer until smooth. Prove for 1 hour or until double in volume. Give the batter a quick stir and steam over high heat for 10-15mins.

FYI, don’t be surprised if the batter turns out very thick….its supposed to be thick.

Originally a Theochew pastry; the Vietnamese “adapted” version shares the same characteristics as its Theochew parent, except for the addition of durian in the filling. The pastry should be tender, made up of many paper thin layers, which are slightly sweet, and can easily be peeled off one by one. The Vietnamese name for this pastry, “bía or pía” comes from the Theochew general word for pastry which is “pia”. Those from Saigon call it “bánh bía” while those in Sóc Trăng or Vũng Thơm would call it “bánh Pía”. Other Vietnamese names include “bánh lột da” which literally translates to “peeling skin pastry”. Those from the Bến Tre region of Vietnam call it “bánh bao chỉ” which is the name for Mochi elsewhere in Vietnam.

The Oil Mixture for Making Pastry:
-90g lard
-90g oil

**Stir together over high heat until the lard completely melts. Cool completely before using to make pastries. Can also make pastries with 100% oil, but the combination of lard and oil gives the pastry much better flavor and texture.

Water Dough:
-250g bread flour
-50g wheat starch
-40g sugar
-100g “oil mixture”
-120g water
-1/2 tsp baking powder

**Mix together bread flour, wheat starch, and baking powder. Stir together oil, water and sugar, and add to premixed flour. Knead to form a smooth dough (about 10 mins). Rest for ½ hour and divide into 12 portions weighing about 50g each.

Oil Dough:
-75g tapioca starch
-75g bread flour
-75-80g “oil mixture”

**Mix everything together and divide into 12 portions weighing approximately 20g each.

There are many different versions of fillings, pick one of the following.

Vietnamese Style (Mung beans and Durian)
-450g mung beans (peeled and split)
-350g sugar
-100g oil
-150 koh fun (cooked glutinous rice flour)
-200g durian flesh
-100g pork fat + 50g sugar (optional)
-12, 24 or 36 salted egg yolks + 1 tbs cooking wine (optional)

**A) Boil pork fat for 5 mins, and cut into match stick size pieces. Mix with 50g sugar and let rest for at least ½ hour before using.

B) Mix egg yolks with wine and steam for 15 mins. 1 yolk in each pastry = 12 yolks total, 2 in each pastry = 24 yolks total, etc….

C) Rinse and soak mung beans for at least 4 hours. Cook until tender and mash. Add sugar and durian. Stir fry over medium heat for about ½ hour. Add pork fat (A). Mix together koh fun and oil add to bean mixture. Stir fry for another 5 mins or until mixture thickens. Cool and divide into 12 portions, add and egg yolk (B) in the center.

Lotus Paste and 1000 Year Egg
-450g lotus seeds
-1 tsp lye water
-350g sugar
g candied wintermelon (tong dong kwa)
-100g oil + 50 koh fun
-12, 24, 36 1000 year egg yolks (optional)

**Soak lotus seeds with lye water and enough water to completely cover the seeds overnight. Next morning, drain, and rinse seeds and boil until tender and mash, add sugar. Cut candied wintermelon into small pieces. Stir fry lotus seeds over medium heat for about 20 mins, add candied wintermelon, koh fun and oil. Stir fry for another 5 mins. Cool and divide into 12 portions, add an egg yolk in the center of each portion.

Taro or Mung Bean:
-1kg taro or 1kg COOKED mung beans (500g if dried)
-400g sugar
-100g candied winter melon
-100g oil + 50g koh fun
-100g pork fat + 50g sugar (optional)
-12, 24 or 36 salted egg yolks + 1 tbs cooking wine (optional)

**A) Boil pork fat for 5 mins, and cut into match stick size pieces. Mix with 50g sugar and let rest for at least ½ hour before using.

B) Mix egg yolks with wine and steam for 15 mins.

C) Mix together Koh fun and oil.

D) Cut candied melon into small pieces. Steam and mash taro, add sugar and stir fry for 20 mins. Add candied melon, fat (A), and koh fun mixture (C). Stir fry for another 5 mins. Divide filling into 12 portions, add egg yolk in the center.

Finally...Making the Pastries:
1) Wrap 1 portion of the oil dough in the water dough.
2) Roll flat, and fold into thirds, roll again and fold into thirds once more.
3) Roll into a flat circle, with the edges thinner than the center. The dough should be just big enough or slightly smaller than the approximate width required to wrap the filling.
4) Wrap use the dough to wrap the filling, with one hand “pushing” the filling down into the dough, while the other hand “pulls” and eases the dough up to cover the filling (like making mooncakes).
5) Put the pastry face down on a flat surface (edges facing up). Use a pastry cutter or something flat and solid to slightly fatten the pastry.
6) Flip the pastry right side up and gently stamp with design stamp.
7) Arrange the pastries face down on a pastry sheet. Bake at 400’F for a few mins. Until dough lightens in color and the pastry (layers) starts to puff.
8) Flip the pastries so that they’re right side up, use a sewing needle to poke a few “steam vents”. Continue to bake at 400’F or another 15-20 mins until the pastry is puffy and the bottom is slightly golden.
9) Brush with egg wash and bake until shiny and slightly golden (another 5 mins)

-The pastry will taste better and have a better texture if aged at least overnight.
-the texture (firmness) of the water dough and the oil dough has to be the same.
-Do not press to hard, and make sure design stamp is not “soaking wet” when stamping on the design else the layers will stick together.
-baking at a low temperature will give you a hard pastry with little layers.
-the water dough needs to be kneaded thoroughly else, the pastry will be puffy like puff pastry but the layers will not be “peelable”.

Basic Pie Crust (for 4, 9 inch pies):
-550g all purpose flour
-350g butter
-1 ½ tsp salt
-2 tbs sugar
-150g ice water (approximate)

**Mix together salt, sugar, and flour. Cut butter into flour and add water a tablespoon at a time until moist and crumbly. Divide into 4 portions, roll and line pie pans.


Apple and Pear Pie (for 2, 9 inch pies)

-250g sugar (approximate, depending on sweetness of fruits)
-500g: Barlet Pears
-500g: mixture of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Jonagold apples
-4 tbs flour
-2 tbs ground cinnamon

**Peal, seed and slice fruit into thin pieces. Mix everything together and fill pies. Bake at 450’F for 15 mins, reduce heat to 350’F and bake for another 40 mins or until juices from the center of the pie bubbles.
***Note: If making apple pies, use 1kg apples. If making pear pies use 1kg pears and omit cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie: (for 2, 9 inch pies)

-800g pumpkin puree (from 800g pumpkin, steamed and mashed)
-350g sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tbs ginger juice
-1 tbs ground cinnamon
-1 tsp each: ground cloves, nutmeg
-4 eggs
-500g evaporated milk
-2 tsp vanilla

*Mix everything together and ladle into crusts. Bake at 400’F for 15 mins, reduce temperature to 350’F and bake for another 35 mins or until set. Decorate cooled pies with fresh whipped cream.

-100g each: white sugar, brown sugar
-200g shortening (use half lard and half shortening for better flavor)
-400g all purpose flour
-2 tbs almond extract
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/3 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-sliced almonds
-egg wash
What to Do:
Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream shortening with sugars and egg until fluffy add vanilla and almond extract. Add flour mixture and mix to form a smooth dough. Rest dough for ½ hour and divide into golf size balls. Flatten the balls into “cookies”, brush with egg wash and sprinkle some sliced almonds on top. Bake at 350’F until golden, about 15 mins.

Located in an alley, about a block away from Chùa Việt Nam (a Vietnamese Buddhist temple I volunteer at) is Northwest Tofu. This is where the temple goes for its weekly tofu needs, reason not being because they’re close, but because the tofu here is the best in the market. Many different brands of tofu are sold in Seattle markets, and a handful (about 10) of those brands are made in Seattle. Needless to say, if you’re in Seattle getting your hands on a piece of tofu is easy as pie. But what makes Northwest Tofu’s tofu better than the rest? It’s their taste, texture and quality. Their taste is unbeatable; rich and creamy. The texture is smooth and silky. Quality wise, the tofu is made daily, always fresh and warm if you buy them at the factory.

Armed with a camera, notepad and a pen I decided to spend my Friday morning on a short field trip at the tofu factory. The people there are extremely nice and were more than happy gave me a tour. Their family run operation uses an average of 300lbs of soy beans a day. Most of their costumers are restaurants but their products are only sold fresh at the factory and at 3 grocery stores in Seattle. They produce all types of tofu and also offer soy milk, yu chao kway, sesame pancakes, onion pancakes, and rice milk.

Making of tofu is hard work! I requires time, and lots of manpower…..yeah and soybeans too.

The process begins; Soybeans are soaked overnight:

The beans are then grounded up and the “milk” is extracted:

The milk is then coagulated in large wooden barrows, once the mixture sets, it is stirred to break up and separate the curds and whey:

Meanwhile, the wooden moulds are prepared by lining them with cheesecloth:

The mixture is now then poured into the moulds:

The moulds are capped before being pressed (to remove excess water) and you are rewarded with tofu!

Soybean pulp at the end of the day is then sold to farms which trun it into animal feed:

I mentioned they also make yu chao kway right? Here’s some fresh out of the fryer:

Warm thank you to
Northwest Tofu for opening your doors and giving me such a wonderful and detailed tour. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

-100g dried mung beans (peeled and split)
-300g taro
-100g shortening
-125g wheat starch
-80g boiling water
-1 shy tsp baking ammonia

*Rinse and soak mung beans in water for a few hours to “rehydrate”. Peel taro and chop taro. Steam taro and mung beans until tender mash into a smooth paste. Stir boiling water into wheat starch, and let rest until cool enough to handle. Finally, knead everything together to create a smooth dough.

-1 Chinese sausage
-1/4 cups each: shrimp, ground pork, bamboo shoots, cha siu (Chinese bbq pork)
-3-4 shitake mushrooms
-1/3 tsp 5 spice powder
-1/2 tsp ground pepper
-1/2 sesame oil
-dash of soy sauce
-pinch of salt

*Soak mushrooms in warm water until tender. Chop mushrooms, shrimp, bamboo shoots, sausage, cha siu into small pieces. Stir fry all the ingredients for about 5 mins over high heat.

Wrapping and Frying:
Divide dough into 20 pieces. Wrap a tsp of filling in a portion of dough. Repeat same process for the rest of the dough and filling. Deep fry the puffs in oil temp. of 200’C or 390’F. Remove when golden and puffy. Serve hot.


The most important factor when making these puff is the oil temp. in which you fry the puffs. If the temp. is too low the puffs will “dissolve” in the oil.

-8 large ripe bananas
-2 tbs all purpose flour
-1 ½ loafs old bread (preferably wheat)
-4 tbs rum
-2 eggs
-1 ¼ cups sugar
-2 cups milk
-2 cups coconut milk
-4 tbs melted butter
-1 tbs vanilla
-1/4 cup raisins (optional)
-1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
-1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

*Slice bananas and mix with flour, 2 tbs rum, ¼ cup sugar, 2 tbs butter, raisins, nuts and cinnamon. Beat eggs with the remaining cup of sugar, add coconut milk, milk, vanilla, remaining butter, and rum. Slice bread into ½ inch thick slices. Grease an 8 inch cake ban pan. Quickly dip the bread slices in egg mixture and lay the slices into the bottom of pan to create the first “layer”. Add half of the bananas to a second layer, followed by another layer of bread, before finally topping it off with a layer of bananas. Bake at 350’F until golden, about 45 mins.

ninhthuan from

-1lbs beef brisket + 1lb beef tendons (or 2lbs beef brisket)
-4 carrots
-3 star anise
-1 stick of cinnamon about 4 inches long
-1 stalk of lemongrass
-2 bay leaves
-1/2 can (6oz) tomato paste
-1 large onion
-1 thumb size piece of ginger
-3 cloves of garlic
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tbs dark soy sauce
-1 tbs oyster sauce
-2 tsp sugar
-“liquid” (water, coconut juice or broth)

*Dice onion, ginger, and garlic. Boil beef for about 5 mins, the remove from water and cut into bite size pieces. Boil tendons for about 1 hour and cut the same size as beef brisket. Marinate beef brisket and tendons with onion, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar for at least ½ hour (overnight if you have the time). Crush the lemongrass. Heat oil in pot, roast anise and cinnamon until fragrant, add the marinated meat and lemongrass; stir fry the about 5 mins. Add the tomato paste and enough liquid to cover the beef. Simmer until almost tender, add in carrots and continue to simmer until carrots are fork tender, give the stew a taste test before serving to make sure the flavors are balanced. 

Serve with bread or over noodles and blanched beans sprouts.