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Bo Kho Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe
Jan12

Bo Kho Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

    Bo Kho (Vietnamese beef stew) is one of those comforting dishes that we love on weekend mornings when we’re in no particular rush so that we can savour and linger over bowls of aromatic and tender beef dipped with fresh hot out of the oven French baguettes.  For us, and many Vietnamese, bo kho is ultimate breakfast food. Not milk or cereal, not even fancy preparations of eggs, delicious as they may be can compare to the aroma of all the fragrant spices in bo kho.  Really, you can’t compare waking up to the lingering scents of lemongrass, ginger, chili, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and fresh basil –it’s just not fair. But since bo kho is so delicious, Vietnamese don’t just eat this dish at breakfast alone.  We also serve it with rice noodles called Hu Tieu Bo Kho and enjoy it during lunch and dinner.  This way, one pot of bo kho can be enjoyed in several different ways for the entire weekend.     The beef in bo kho is thick cuts of beef shank as well as tendons, both requiring long hours of cooking to become tenderized.  I love to make this using my slow cooker, letting it cook overnight and waking up to warm and ready to eat pot of bo kho.  However, if you don’t have one it’s not a problem at all.     Just before enjoying bo kho, squeeze on lime and add fresh basil and pickled onions. The rich and fragrant beef flavors will be enhanced by the basil and perfectly balanced by the acid in the lime and pickled onions.   If only we could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday!   Ingredients Beef shank : 2 lbs, cut into 1.5 inch cubes Ginger : 1/2  thinly sliced Beef tendon : 2 strips Lemongrass : 1 stalk (white end bruised and slice into 4-5 inch stalk and tie together) Bay leaves : 2 Star anise seeds : 3-4 (toasted optional) Beef broth : 32 oz Carrots : 4 medium sized Annato seed oil : 2 tablespoon  (see cooks note) Marinade Shallots : 1 tablespoon diced Garlic : 1 tablespoon minced Paprika : 1 tablespoon Lemongrass : 1 tablespoon minced fish sauce : 1/2 tablespoon Red chili powder : 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon : 1/4 teaspoon Clove powder : 1/4 teaspoon Anise powder : 1/4 teaspoon Ground pepper : 1 teaspoon Sugar : 1 teaspoon Accompaniments Toasted French baguettes Fresh Basil Pickled Onions Lime/lemon wedges Diced cilantro and green onions Sliced jalapenos Rice noodles   Procedure In large mixing bowl, combine the beef shank with the spice marinade for at least 2 hours. Sauté the beef with 1 tablespoon of annato seed oil until browned and seared under medium high heat. Transfer this into the slow cooker. Add the beef tendons, stalk of lemonsgrass, star anise seeds, bay leaves,...

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Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (Suon Xao Chua Ngot)
Jan05

Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (Suon Xao Chua Ngot)

Vietnamese sweet and sour pork spareribs (suon xao chua ngot) is dish I always looked forward to eating because it’s so finger licking good with the tartness of the tomatoes and just the right amount of sweetness contrasting the succulent pork ribs.  Another reason was that extra pork ribs would also wind up in some sort of soup to complement the meal. While not evident in all of our posts since we feature one item at a time,  most Vietnamese family meals consists of a protein dish, a vegetable dish which could be pickled, along with jasmine rice and eaten family style–everyone had to sit at the table to enjoy the meal.   Ingredients Pork spare ribs bone : 1 lbs, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces Shallot : 1 medium, diced Garlic : 2 cloves, minced Fish sauce : 2 teaspoon Sugar : 2 teaspoon Ripe tomatoes : 3 medium, diced into small cubes Cornstarch mix: 1 teaspoon cornstarch 2 tablespoon water, stir into a slurry White vinegar : 1 teaspoon Sugar : 1 teaspoon Green onions, chopped Thai chili, chopped (optional) Cooking oil Water   Procedure Briefly marinade the spareribs with fish sauce, sugar, and garlic–a few minutes will do. In a large saute pan or wok on medium high, heat about 2 tablespoon of cooking oil and add the shallots. When fragrant, add the spare ribs and sear until edges are golden brown. Then add enough water to just cover the spareribs and cover lid and reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 25-30 minutes.  This will tenderize the ribs–the longer you simmer, the more tender. We like a bit of chewiness so we can gnaw it off the bone..  The water should now be slightly reduced. Add the diced tomatoes and continue to simmer until tomatoes breakdown and thicken. Now add the cornstarch slurry and mix well to thicken the sauce even more. Finally, season the sauce with a pinch of salt or fish sauce and by adding equal parts 1 teaspoon vinegar and sugar, add more if necessary, adjusting to taste–should be, well sweet and sour. Add chop green onions and optional thai chili. Remove and serve with jasmine rice.     This Vietnamese pork spare ribs dish combines the sour, sweet, spicy and savoury flavour we love. We enjoyed this with home made pickled mustard greens along with the pickled mustard green and dill soup–both recipes. A truly finger licking and satisfying Vietnamese...

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Banh Cam – Banh Ran Recipe
Dec29

Banh Cam – Banh Ran Recipe

  Bánh cam or bánh rán is one of the most famous and beloved Vietnamese desserts. A golden brown shell of sesame studded rice flour that is crispy on the outside yet chewy on the inside, yielding to a sweet and moist mung bean coconut filling.  Growing up, my mom would make hundreds of bánh cam to sell and raise money for various charitable organizations and the entire family would sit around the table to help.  Ever since we all moved away for college and our separate careers, it’s just been my dad helping her roll the bánh cam. It’s been years since I’ve laid my hands on this sweet ball of love, but recently, my parents came for a visit and we had the pleasure of convening around the table again as a family to make some bánh cam. We’re not going to spend too much time belaboring the differences between bánh cam and bánh rán (as northerners would say) as they are nearly identical. Banh cam can sometimes be served with simple syrup and sometimes may not have sesame. Most of our friends and westerners affectionately call them sesame balls, which works perfectly fine with us.     Steamed mung beans, shredded coconuts, and sugar comprises the filling. The mung bean filling should be moist and not dry, and like most Asian desserts, not too sweet. You can make the mung bean filling days in advance and even store them in the freezer to keep handy.     The best way to enjoy bánh cam is hot out of the fryer when it’s most crispy. Flatten it back into a disk to evenly spread out the mung bean filling and enjoy with friends and family over tea.     Ingredients Mung bean filling MungBeans : 8 oz split peeled Sugar : 1/2 cup Warm Water : 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut : 1/2 cup unsweetened   Dough Water : 2 1/2 cup  plus extra 1/4 cup Sugar : 1 cup Glutinous rice flour : 16 oz bag Rice flour : 1 cup Baking powder : 2 tablespoon Mash potato flakes : 2/3 cup Procedure: Soak mung beans overnight or at least 1 hr in warm water. Steam until soften and easily smashed with your finger tips, roughly 20 minutes (or longer if not soaked overnight). In meantime, dissolve sugar in warm water. When mung bean has cooled, transfer to mixing bowl and coarsely mash. Add the sugar water mixture and coconut and mix well. The texture should be like mashed potatoes. Allow to cool and form small quarter size balls of mung bean. Refrigerate covered. Dissolve the sugar in 2 1/2 cup of warm water. In large mixing bowl, add...

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Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
Dec20

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Not completely lost in translation, the “luc lac” is merely a description for the “shaking” or tossing of the beef back and forth in the wok after it’s quickly seared.  It’s a widely popular Vietnamese dish and as such, has many variations on how it’s served. Some restaurants serve it with sauteed onions, lettuce, and rice (white or tomato paste rice) while others may present it more like a steak salad served on a bed of watercress and tomatoes, topped with pickled onions. Dipping sauces might vary from a lime/salt/pepper sauce to a soy chili sauce… Regardless of how you serve bo luc lac, it’s an easy and fantastic dish to make for a dinner for two or a party of ten. You can use any cut of steak you like such as filet or ribeye, but we prefer sirloin.     People to feed: Family 3-4 Preparation Time: 1-2 hours Cooking Time: 15 mins   Ingredients Beef Marinade: Beef Sirloin : 1.5 lbs (or any cut you like) cut into 1″ cubes Garlic : 2 tablespoon minced Sugar : 1.5 tablespoon Oyster Sauce : 2 tablespoon Fish Sauce : 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil : 1 tablespoon Thick Soy Sauce : 1 teaspoon Vinaigrette: Rice Vinegar : 1/2 cup Sugar : 1.5 tablespoon Salt : 1/2 tablespoon Dipping Sauce: Juice of 1 lime Kosher Salt : 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper : 1/2 teaspoon Red Onion : 1 thinly sliced Bunches of Watercress : 2 long stems trimmed Tomatoes : 2 thinly sliced Cooking oil for frying  Cooking Procedure: Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, thick soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hours. Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4 tablespoon of the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes. Prepare bed of watercress and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside. Heat a large wok or pan over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoon cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary. Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes. Drizzle another 3-4 tablespoon of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over...

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