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 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

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....