Posts Tagged 'RECIPES'

January 10

I love eating bo tai chanh. We make it at our house often and I also grew up eating it in quan nhau places in Little Saigon with my grandpa and uncles. It’s a great staple dish when I’m craving a lot of Vietnamese food and is always a hit with lunch or dinner guests. It also is a favorite next day lunch too. Just make sure to bring mouthwash or gum because of all the onions you’re eating raw!

This recipe is mostly from the Ravenous Couple.  I don’t change it up much, if at all, and I really like the way they blanche the meat just a bit beforehand to get that extra citrus taste.









  • 1 pound of beef (thinly sliced beef eye; I get mine at HMart)
  • 1 cup lemon juice or lime juice
  • 2.5 tbs sugar
  • pineapple juice or mango nectar
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (substitute with basil or mint if not available)
  • 2 tbs fried shallots pre fried, found in Asian groceries, known as Hanh Phi
  • 2 tbs roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • ~2tbs nuoc mam cham, that I also use from Ravenous Couple. I store in in the fridge and use it whenever I need to in Vietnamese cooking.
  • 1 jalapeno (finely sliced)


Mix lime or lemon juice with sugar until dissolve and set aside.

Fill half of a medium size sauce pan with pineapple juice and heat to a rolling boil. Quickly “blanch” some of the beef a bit at a time, no more then a few seconds or so removing it as it turns slightly opaque but still quite rare. Place in large mixing bowl.

Add the lime or lemon juice mixture and mix well, letting the acid do the rest of the cooking about 15-20 minutes, but use your judgement as to when to remove it from the acid. We like it pretty rare. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid from the meat. Mix in the onions, rau ram, mint and/or basil and drizzle with just a spoonful or two of  the nuoc mam (don’t over do it as you don’t want to overpower the fresh citrus taste) and mix well and adjust to taste. Transfer to serving platter and top off with crushed roasted peanuts, fried hanh phi, and jalepeno.


On a recent run to Costco, we decided to stock up on fish. I don’t cook fish very often, but that’s going to change because I love to EAT fish! I love the Costco Atlantic Salmon filets because they are the perfect size: thin so they’re extremely easy to cook everywhere, individually packaged for optimal storage in the freezer, and they defrost fast. I don’t like baking/roasting as much as pan frying these because I haven’t mastered the timing yet. Pan frying is also faster since you don’t have to preheat an oven, and I can keep an eye on the fish at all times. The final result is so good. The heat is amazing with the salmon, and this is going to be a staple dish in my home, so I’m blogging it here to remember and share!


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July 09

My first ever attempt at hummus was pretty much a fail. Although the consistency was perfect, the color was right, and even the presentation was impressive [check out my scalloped dish for $5 from TJ MAxx!].  What isn’t perfect you ask? The proportion of GARLIC I somehow decided to put into the mix. Blame it on the 2 am decision to make hummus, the recipe I found online calls for 4 cloves of garlic….I put in at least 10-12 cloves after processing and tasting. I don’t know why, I just kept adding more garlic thinking that was what it needed.


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April 23

This is a twist on the traditional tabouleh recipe, given to me by a very good homecook. I’ve had a lot of criticism for calling this salad “tabouleh” because it has quinoa but I decided to call it quinoa tabouleh anyway. I’ve sat on this recipe all winter, and finally decided to make it last week…and am now obsessed with it! It’s a refreshing salad for spring and summer, bringing out all the other ingredients in the salad to a new level. I’m on this cooking kick lately, but I cook so late at night so I can’t photograph anything decently. Today, I went home immediately after work when there was still good workable light on my dining table…and set up my mise en place. By the time I was done making the dish, the sun was gone in my dining room, so the last picture of the finished product was taken outside, where I sat and had a moment of peace and fresh air.






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April 14

I make guacamole quite often because it’s so easy and cheap! I like to snack on avocados sliced in half with sprinkles of sugar, but when the avocado is too ripe, guacamole is perfect. My brothers always steal some when I make it, but I usually make only one large avocado’s worth since it can turn brown fast [no preservatives!], and I like to keep them craving for more. Read more …

May 12

This blog is starting to become the culinary adventures of Debby, Michelle, and Tam! After my last final, my friends called me to dinner. They decided to make mi vit for dinner, and I, of course, come with bowls and an appetite!

My mum makes mi vit a lot, and she uses all of the duck to make this heavenly noodle broth. Michelle did the same and used roasted duck bones for the stock. She also added shitake mushroom and chicken stock with the roasted duck bones.


– egg noodles
bean sprouts

– shitake mushroom
– roast duck
– hanh phi [fried red onion]
– bok choy

noodle bowls with prepping before the broth


they even potstickers made from scratch!

this satay isn’t so spicy, but it adds the best flavor!

April 27

My cousin Tien wanted something sweet, and something salty. We went to three stores to find candied pecans, Rolos chocolate, and SQUARE pretzels. Yes, we went to three different places to make a recipe that only included 3 ingredients! oh…and we microwaved it for approximately 20 seconds too. You want it to keep its form, the chocolate should be slightly melted to the touch. They are delicious, I tell you.

June 11

The Vietnamese word “phở” is properly pronounced with a falling-rising tone, as if asking a question. Its final vowel is not a long “o,” but instead rhymes, at least to Anglophone ears (in English) with the “u” in the English word “but”. A more accurate way to produce this sound is to make an English /o/ sound but not round the lips. The “ph” is pronounced as an “f.” The resulting pronunciation sounds like ‘fuh?’.

Everyone has been asking for my family’s recipe and directions to make Pho, my favorite Vietnamese noodle. Well here it is! These are catered to what I do at home so if your recipe is a bit different, go for it. I just keep the family tradition and this is how my momma makes it!

– 4 lb Beef shank or beef shins (Bap Bo in Vietnamese)
– Rock Candy (yellow). one large rock
– About 7 quarts Water
– Shabu Shabu beef .. 1-2 lbs
– star anise
– nutmeg
– cinammon sticks
– one onion
– one jicama
– one ginger root about 3″
– fish sauce
– siracha
– hoison sauce
– basil
– bean sprouts
– sliced limes
– pre cooked refrigerated noodles
– very thinly sliced beef
– chicken

How to make the basic broth….
Boil the beef in water until the gunk comes off and rises to the top.
Throw everything away and rinse off beef in clean water. Boil again with new water. Continue making broth for 20-30 min and filter out grease on top again until clear. If using Bap Bo, when chopstick is able to spear the meat through and through, the broth is ready.

Once broth becomes clear, add herbs star anise, nutmeg, and cinnamon according to taste. (For a big pot serving 6-7 people, one 3-4″ stick of cinammon, about 4 nutmegs and 5-6 aniseeds are good.)
Add onion and peeled jicama to add sweetness.
Toast peeled ginger root until slightly brown, then add to pot.
Add fish sauce until taste is mildly rich but not too much. Add more after the herbs have settled for an hour or so.

Lastly, the noodles need to be separated. Do this when everything is almost ready so the noodles don’t get cold and stick together like glue again.
Boil water in a large pot.
Add the noodles when water is boiling.
Separate with chopsticks and take out after 10 seconds.
Do NOT leave to sit in water for long; they will get soggy and mushy.

Shabu Shabu beef is best. They need to be as thinly sliced as possible for fast cooking when the broth is hot.
Place raw meat on small plate on the side and let each person cook their own meat when the pho is brought out to them.
This keeps the meat from being too overcooked by being in the broth too long.

Place washed basil, bean sprouts, mint, sliced limes or lemons, chili peppers on platter and serve garnishes fresh so each guest can pick and choose what vegetable they want in their Pho. There are also sauces to adjust the flavor to your desire… siracha, hoison sauce, fish sauce are some of the best and favorites.

If you must go to a Pho restaurant, I have two recommendations in Little Saigon. My family only goes to these two places because they use the least amount of MSG … and we HATE MSG!

1) Mon Ami on Euclid and McFadden, Westminster CA. The best thing to get here is the Pho Ga [chicken pho]

2) Pho Lu on Brookhurst and Westminster, Garden Grove CA. The best pho here is the Pho Duoi Bo [oxtail pho]