Friday, December 4, 2009

Banh Canh Cua - Tapioca Noodle Crab Soup

I never liked this soup growing up. I thought it was bland and boring, but of course my mom would always make it. I'm sorry foodies; I was a clueless child then and did not appreciate the essence of this soup. I remember throwing a tantrum one time when I was little because I did not want to eat it. My brother asked why I was not eating. I told him it's tasteless and I don't like eating pig hocks. I don't know if he was telling me the truth or just trying to con me into eating it. He claimed I'm eating it wrong! When you eat banh canh you're suppose to add a squirt of lime, extra fish sauce, and a lot of pepper. You know it's just right when you can taste the sourness from the lime and the saltiness of the fish sauce. It was perfect! Luckily I grew to love this soup but only with extra lime, fish sauce, and pepper of course. I guess big brothers are good for some things.

Since I'm not a fan of the pork version I always make the crab version. This recipe was inspired by my friend's mom. I had a bowl of her banh canh and instantly was intrigue by her broth. As I was slurping her broth I noticed a familarity. It looks like banh canh but why does it have a hint of Bun Rieu in it? Well that's because she uses the crab paste from the jar commonly use to make the "cach" for bun rieu. The only thing I would change about this recipe is adding real crab claws but it way too expensive in Indiana so I settle with frozen crabmeat. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 lbs of pork neck bone
2 cup of crabmeat (thawed if frozen)
1 lb shrimp (peeled)
fresh banh canh noodle
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
2 tablespoon of crab paste
cooking oil
salt
fish sauce
rock sugar
mushroom seasoning
ground pepper
yellow onions (thinly sliced)
green onions (finely chopped)
cilantro (finely chopped)
lime
fresh chilies

1. Preboil the pork bones with a good amount of salt.
2. Simmer the bones in a pot of water for 1-2 hours.
3. Taste the broth with fish sauce,rock sugar (size of your thumb), 1 tablespoon of mushroom seasoning (or chicken bouillon).
4. Heat up 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small pan. Add the minced shallot (you can use the white part of the green onions as well) and saute until fragrance.
5. Add the crab meat and saute with the shallots. Season with a little bit of fish sauce and ground pepper. Add the crab paste and continue to stir.
6. Add the crabmeat into the broth and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Some people like to add the noodles directly into the pot but I can't risk overcooking the noodles. I prefer to transfer a portion of the broth to smaller pot and prepare individual bowls. Bring the pot to a boil, add shrimp and noodle and let cook. Once the noodle is soft enough to eat, transfer to bowl immediately. Top off with green onions, sliced onions, and cilantro.

Sup Chua Cay Thailand - Tom Yum

I love themed dinners...I'm such a dork! As I was getting groceries for the Thai Papaya Salad, I just had this urge to make Tom Yum to go with it. I order Tom Yum every time I eat Thai, it is a must or I will not be satisfied. A lot of people compare Tom Yum to the Vietnamese Canh Chua. I guess I can see the similarity due to the tartness of both soup, but they both have their own unique flavors. Tom Yum has a sharp fragrance from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, definitely a sinus clearing smell. The broth of Tom Yum is more briny and sour whereas canh chua is more sweet and sour. I guess it just irritates me when people tell me we are going to eat Lau Thai (Thai Hotpot) but we are really eating Canh chua?

What I really wanted to get out of this soup is as a lot of fragrance and flavor from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. I did this by letting the lemongrass and lime leaves simmer in chicken broth for over an hour, to the point where the lemongrass falls apart. Believe me it will make a difference! Another thing I love about Tom Yum is you can a lot of different type of proteins. Don't get me wrong because I do love Canh Chua, but I feel it taste best with catfish. For this recipe I will stick with shrimp and squid. Feel free to use other shellfish or even meat!

Ingredients:

4 cans of chicken broth
1/2 lb of shrimp (peeled)
1/2 lb of squid (cut into smaller portion)
3 stalks of lemongrass
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
4 roma tomatoes (cut into quarter)
1/2 yellow onions (cut vertically into medium strips)
1 cup of sliced button mushroom
cilantro for garnish
sugar
fish sauce
mushroom seasoning
tamarid
fresh chilies

1. Cut the lemon grass in half and bruise it with the handle of your knife.
2. Bring chicken broth to a boil and throw in the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. Cover the pot and let simmer for an hour. If the broth reduces too much just add water.
3. Flavor the broth with 1-2 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 1/3 tablespoom of tamarid powder, 2 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning, and fresh chilies.
4. Add tomatoes and let cook for 5 minutes and then add mushroom and onions.
5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the shrimp and squid. Cook them last so they will be fresh when you are ready to serve.
6. Top off with little bit of cilantro.

Enjoy!

Goi Du Du Thailand -Thai Green Papaya Salad

Boy have I been slacking off lately! I still cook quite often though, just haven't had time to blog about it. Hopefully tonight will make up for my absence :)

I was having dinner with some friends several months ago at a new Thai place that just open up in Indianapolis. We ordered the Thai Green Papaya salad which seems very simailar to the Vietnamese version when I read the description. The used of the long green beans and cherry tomatoes really made the salad pop with beautiful colors. It was almost too pretty to eat! Not really, but you get the idea. Upon trying it for the first time, yes shame on me for missing out all these years, I noticed it was a lot sweeter than the Vietnamese version which is not really a bad thing. Everybody really enjoyed it because the flavor was there!

I figure it can't be anymore difficult then the Vietnamese version, so I gave it a try. I used sauteed sliced beef as a protein because it goes very well with lime juice and tomatoes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 papaya (shredded into thin long strips)
1 carrot (julienned)
2 cup of long green beans ( cut into 1 inch portion)
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in 1/2)
1/2 cup cilantro (rough chopped)
1/2 cup basil (rough chopped)
1/2 lb sliced beef (any cut is fine)
vinegar
fresh chilies
lime
fish sauce
sugar
1/2 tablespoon garlic (minced)
crushed peanuts

1. Marinade the green beans and papaya with 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of vinegar for 1-2 hours.
2. Marinade the sliced beef with garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce, and 2 teaspoon of sugar for about 30 minutes.
3. Drain vinegar/sugar mixture from green beans and shredded papaya. Squeeze as much of the liquid out from them.
4. Flavor the green beans and papaya with 1 lime, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce,sliced chilies, and a couple pinch of sugar.
5. Sauteed the sliced beef and let cool.
6. Toss in the sliced beef and tomatoes. Add more lime and fish sauce to your liking.
7. Right before serving toss in the cilantro and basil.
8. Top off your plate with some crushed peanuts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Banh Cuon - Pork Rice Crepes

I am very excited about this entry because this recipe has been long overdue. A friend of mine, a fan of Vietnamese cuisine, specifically requested for Banh Cuon. I was happy to oblige because I have put off making this dish long enough. I've literally seen my mom makes this dish hundreds of times. I'm usually very nervous when making something new for the first time but I felt as if it was second nature to me.

Banh Cuon originated from northern Vietnam commonly eaten during breakfast. It is made by steaming rice flour into thin, round sheets. A mixture of ground pork, wood ear mushroom, and onions are spread on to the rice sheet and then folded into a roll. Banh Cuon is usually eaten with different type of sides such as cha lua (pork patty), cha chien (fried pork patty), and nem chua (fermented pork patty). I prefer thinly sliced cha chien with a lot of steamed bean sprouts and basil leaves. And of course the fish sauce, never forget about the fish sauce!

The trickiest part about making banh cuon is the rice flour in general. You will likely run into some trouble when you mix the rice flour and then steaming it into thin sheets. My mom's secrets for good banh cuon is being comfortable with mixing your own flour, letting your flour sit overnight and finding the best nonstick pan you could find. I used a pre-packaged banh cuon mixture that could be found at any Vietnamese grocery store. Instead of following the directions from the back I constantly revise ingredients as I cook. Once you steamed the rice flour into thin sheets you can pretty tell what it will needs by the taste and texture. Don't worry if the first few sheets turns out to be horrible, over time it will come out better. Another problem you may run into is getting the rice sheet off the pan. This is where it gets fun! Dont be afraid to slam the pan down on the table. I know I make a lot of noises trying to get the sheets off the pan but just consider it music from your cooking.

All the pictures from this entry are courteousy of my friend Duc who did a great job capturing every step throughout the cooking process. And thank you to Thu for a beautiful presentation of the banh cuon. I hope you will enjoy this recipes as much as I enjoy making it :)


Ingredients:

Rice flour mixture:
-1 bag of prepackage banh cuon mix
-3 tablespoon of tapioca flour
-2 tablespoon of cooking oil
- pinch of salt
-5 cups of water

Pork mixture:
-1/2 lb of ground pork
-1/2 medium onion minced
-1/2 cup of wood ear mushroom minced
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
-1/2 tablespoon sugar
-1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning
-1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
-cooking oil

Other:

-basil leaves rough chopped
-bean sprouts steamed
-cucumber
-cha chien/ cha lua cut into half circle or thin strips
-prepared dipping sauce

1. Mix all the ingredients for the rice flour mixture and let sit over night.
2. Heat up cooking oil in a pan. First sauteed the wood ear mushroom for a couple minutes. Add the pork and diced onions.
3. Flavor the pork mixture with salt, sugar, mushroom seasoning, ground pepper, and fish sauce. Avoid over salting the pork mixture because you will eating banh cuon with fish sauce later on.

Making the banh cuon:


1. Even if you use a nonstick pan, rub the surface with some cooking oil. Wait for the pan to get hot on medium heat.
2. Ladle some rice flour onto the hot pan. Tip the pan back and forth making sure the rice flour cover all the surface of the pan. Put the lid on and let flour steam for about a minute.
3. Remove pan from heat and flip the pan upside down onto a baking sheet.
4. Add a spoonfull of pork mixture to the center of the rice sheet.
5. Fold the sides inward. Roll from bottom to the top sides.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Goi Thit Bo Xao - Sauteed Beef Salad

A fellow reader gave me a great tip to add cucumber and tomatoes to my Bo Tai Chanh recipe. Since I love both very much, I was glad to try it out. As I was picking up the ingredients at the grocery store I had this craving for "xa lach tron thi bo", sauteed sliced beef on a bed lettuce and tomatoes. I tend to do that a lot, change my dinner plan base just like that. Xa lach tron is one of my favorite dish to eat in the summer time because it's light but still has a lot of flavor. I thought it would be fun to turn it into a goi simply by using cabbage and a lot of fresh herbs. This is simply why I love to cook so much. It makes me so happy to be able to play around with ingredients to satisfy my craving. Don't be scared, play with your food!

Ingredients:

1/2 sliced beef (it's doesn't have to be an expensive cut)
1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon of minced shallots
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in half if needed)
1 carrot julienned
1 cabbage julienned
1 cucumber (cut into 3 section and then thinly sliced)
1 lime
fresh herbs rough chopped (i used a litttle bit of everything basil. coriander, mint, and cilantro)
oyster saucefish sauce
salt
ground pepper
sugar
fresh chili
roasted peanut
vinegar
cooking oil

1. Marinade the beef with salt, ground pepper, and oyster sauce. Just a little bit of everything.
2. Prepare your vegetables.
3. Add a sprinkle of salt to the cabbage and carrots. Use your hands to lightly squeeze it, this will take out some of the moisture.
4. Heat up 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil and sauteed the beef to your liking. I prefer not to cook mine all the way, about medium rare. Let the meat cool down.
5. Prepare the sauce by combining 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 2 teaspoon of vinegar, and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, and sliced chilis.
6. Add tomatoes and cucumber to the cabbage mixture. Toss everything together with the fish sauce.
7. Add the sauteed beef right on top and squeeze 1 lime over the beef. This should help cook the meat a little bit more.
8. Add more fish sauce or lime to your liking.
9. Toss in fresh herbs right before serving.
10. Sprinkle some roasted peanuts right on top.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mien Ga - Chicken Cellophane Noodle Soup



Mien ga is now one of my favorite Vietnamese comfort food. My mom makes mien ga with shredded chicken, chicken gizzards, black fungus, and plenty of ground pepper. The show stopper is really in the simplicity of the broth. With the right amount of salt, sugar, fish sauce, and ground pepper this soup really prove that less is more.

I actually don't remember liking this soup as a child because I always feel the noodle is just too mushy. My mom has the habit of cooking the noodle right in the broth. Her method does save a lot of time but the noodles will always be overcooked. My dad feels overcooking the mien noodle will ruin this dish, and I couldn't agree more. For best result soak the noodle in warm water for about 15 minutes. Once you pour hot broth over it, the noodle become perfectly al dente. Like basil is to pho, sawtooth herb is unique to mien ga. I couldn't find any sawtooth herb in my area so I just have to settle with a lot of cilantro. This soup is mmm...mmm...good, eat your heart out Campbell's chicken noodle soup!

Broth:
1/2 Chicken
2 liter of water
2 teaspoon of salt
1 ounce rock sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon chicken bouillon
2 teaspoon of ground pepper

Other ingredients:
cellophane noodle soak in warm water
1/2 cup cilantro rough chop
1/2 cup green onions minced
1/2 cup black fungus


1. Trim the chicken fat to your liking.
2. Cook the chicken in the water to make a broth. Remove any scum.
3. Once the chicken is fully cooked then remove from broth.
4. Season the broth with the remaining ingredients. Add more or less to your liking.
5. Sauteed the black fungus with green onions, fish sauce, and ground pepper. You can actually add this to the broth but I prefer to add them separately.
6. Shred the chicken into smaller pieces or you can cut the into smaller portion.


In a bowl add noodles, chicken, sauteed black fungus, green onions, and cilantro. Pour hot broth over the noodles and add freshly ground pepper on top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My ABCs

Got this fun post from Thy, thanks for tagging me :)

The Rules

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share the ABCs of you.
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let the 4 tagged people know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so that there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag.

1. A – Available/Single? Single
2. B – Best friend? My mom
3. C – Cake or Pie? Cake
4. D – Drink of choice? Sweet Tea
5. E – Essential item you use every day? Cellphone
6. F – Favorite color? Lavender
7. G – Gummy Bears Or Worms? The sour worms
8. H – Hometown? SB, Indiana
9. I – Indulgence? Green manoges with sweet chili fish sauce
10. J – January or February? None
11. K – Kids & their names? None
12. L – Life is incomplete without? Family and friends :)
13. M – Marriage date? I want it to be August or September
14. N – Number of siblings? 2 older brothers
15. O – Oranges or Apples? Apples
16. P – Phobias/Fears? Failure
17. Q – Quote for today? The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
18. R – Reason to smile? To make other smile too
19. S – Season? Fall
20. T – Tag 3 People?
21. U – Unknown fact about me? Birds freak me out
22. V – Vegetable you don't like? Certain beans
23. W – Worst habit? Procrastination
24. X – X-rays you've had? my teeth
25. Y – Your favorite food? Hmm this is really tough but I have to say Goi Vit.
26. Z – Zodiac sign? Cancer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ga Roti - Vietnamese Inspired Roasted Chicken

I was re-introduced to this dish by a friend of mine. I was staying with her for the summer and she offer me food that her parents pack for her from home. My first thought upon trying her mom's ga roti is confusion. It tasted so familiar yet I can't seem to remember if I had it before. It looks like ga kho (braised chicken) but it has a sweet soy flavor to it. I was instantly a fan! I called my food guru right away, my mom, and asked her why she never made us this tasty chicken. Apparently she makes this very often but just not the same style. Instead of braising, my mom choose to pan fried her chicken. Awesome I no longer feel like I was cheated out of this dish.

I gather a couple recipes from my friend's mom, my aunt,and my mom. It took a couple of practice round but I am finally satisfy with this recipe. I much prefer my ga roti braised in the soy sauce until it becomes a rich glaze. Drizzling that sweet glaze over hot steamed rice is just heaven. Like the way my mom makes Ga Ragu, I too put coconut juice in my Ga Roti. The end result is just amazing, the meat is so tender that it falls off the bones.

Ingredients:

12 pieces of chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
2 shallot minced
2 garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon of five spice
1teaspoon of chili powder
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 teaspoon of chicken boullion
4 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 can of coconut soda (coco rico)

1. Rinse and dry the chicken.
2. Combine all the ingredients except for the coconut juice. Add the mixture to the chicken to marinade for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Heat up cooking oil in a pan/pot. Pan seared the outside of the chicken, save the marinade for later.
4. Add the rest of the marinade and the coconut juice. Let chicken cook in sauce on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until sauce thicken into a glaze.
5. Ocassionally turn the chicken from side to side so they sauce will coat the the chicken evenly.

Enjoy!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kona Grill


Kona Grill
14395 Clay Terrace Blvd # 180
Carmel, IN 46032
(317) 566-1400

Kona Grill is the first restaurant I tried in Indianapolis, way back in high school. I was visiting a friend who loves sushi and Kona happen to be one of his favorite. Even though it was years ago I still remember my unforgettable experience, seared swordfish that was oh so moist! Now that I live here, I occasionally go to Kona for their happy hour specials and sushi. On my most recent visit I decided to try something off the dinner menu, something i rarely do anymore. It was a satisfying meal for me but a bumpy ride for my friends.

Kona is located at Clay Terrace outside mall in Carmel. It offers American cuisine with an edge, exciting Asian fusion, fresh seafood, and award-winning sushi. The ambience is very chic. You have the option of sitting in the dining area, patio, or at the bar. I highly recommend the bar area because you have front row seats to the gigantic fish tank filled with exotic fish. The prices can get expensive depending one what you order, especially steaks and seafood. Don't worry you are not just paying for the service and atmosphere, the food is actually really good.


We went during the happy hour special so we just couldn't pass up the $5 calamari. The calamari is fried in a light batter and serve with a spicy mayo sauce. It is crispy on the outside yet still tender on the inside. I order the calamari on every visit and it just doesn't get old!

Next up is the happy hour sushi roll for just $3. You can choose rolls with crab, shrimp, salmon, tuna, or some vegetarian option. The happy hour sushi are tasty for the money but I much prefer the sushi off the regular menu. I like big rolls filled with all sort of seafood that you can barely get into your mouth.

For the main course, I ordered the fresh seafood linguine with mussel, scallop, and shrimp. The linguine is toss in a creamy tomato sauce, very subtle in flavor but in a good way. The mussels were grilled separately and added to the pasta before serving. I'm usually not a fan of mussels but the sweetness made them my favorite part of the meal. I expected a lot of pasta and a few shrimp here and there but as you can see you get plenty.

My friends shared the pork tenderloin topped with a shitake mushroom sauce. It also came with a nice helping of white cheddar mashed potatoes and sauteed baby bok choy. Unfortunately, the baby bok choy was the best thing about the dish. The tenderloin was drenched in the mushroom sauce which is such a turn off because it really take away the natural flavor of the meat. After trying a bite I was a bit glad for the sauce because the pork was dry and bland. I guess we came on a bad night for the pork tenderloins because my friends have had them before and loved it.

The pork tenderloin certainly did not scare me away. I have had so many good experiences at Kona that I will return for more. If you are ever in the north side, give Kona a try or at least come for the happy hour. Happy hour specials include appetizers, sushi, pizzas, and drink specials. Check website for for hours.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bo Tai Chanh - Rare Beef Lime Salad

J


When other little girls love eating cupcakes and brownies, I like man's food. What I mean by that is "mon nhau", the Vietnamese term for food eaten while drinking. My dad often took me along to his friend's house to drink when I was little. Before you start judging my dad, I was there because there are always other little kids for me to play with. I love asking my dad for whatever they have availabe to eat because they are all so great. Common "mon nhau" are roasted beef, steamed offals with shrimp paste, blood sausage, and just about everything deep fried. When you are a kid and in the middle of playing, the last thing you want to do is waste 30 minutes of your time trying to finish your meal. I rather have something quick and have little bit of everything.

One of my favorite is the Rare Beef Lime Salad, introduced to me by my cousin. It was tender and so flavorful with the lime, fish sauce, and spicy herbs. I can eat that all day while listening to my dad talk with his friends. My cousin's specialty was "mon nhau" so he gave me some pointers to preparing this dish. To get tender meat, try cooking small portions of the sliced beef in pineapple juice or coconut juice.  Bo tai chanh can be eaten with different sauce, nuoc cham.  If you have access to soy bean sauce, I highly recommend that but a simple chili ginger fish sauce would be great as well.

Ingredients:

2 lb of thinly sliced beef (any lean cut is fine)
1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 lime
2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup of Vietnamese coriander (rough chopped)
fish sauce
vinegar
sugar
fresh chilies
crushed peanuts
1/2 red bell pepper (optional)
1 large can of pineapple juice

Sauce:

ground soy bean sauce
minced garlic
minced chilies
lime
sugar


Sauce:

4 tablespoon of soy bean sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 of lime
1/4 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chilies

1. Boil pineapple juice.  You want to dip the sliced beef in the hot pineapple juice and remove right away.  I like to use a small strainer.  
2. Drain the beef liquid.
3. Squeeze 3 whole lime in a bowl. Add the beef to the lime juice. Wrap up the beef and let cool in the fridge while you work on other steps.
4. Add about 2 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the sliced onions.
5. Rough chopped the Vietnamese coriander. Thinly sliced the red bell pepper.
6. Prepare the peanuts.
7. Add some fish sauce to the beef and mix.
8.  Add the bell pepper, fresh chilies and sliced onions to the beef and mix.
9.  Move the beef salad to a clean plate. Top off with crushed peanuts and coriander.
10. Enjoy!




Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tegry Bistro

I used to love sushi but now not as much. I guess I encountered a few disappointing places that makes me want to steer clear of sushi sometimes. When I do have a sushi craving, I know exactly where to go! I was introduced to Tegry Bistro located in Brownsburg when I joined my friend's family for dinner. Since there were several of us we ordered a little bit of everything. I love just about everything I put in my mouth that night, even Uni (raw Sea Urchin eggs). It's a bit far from my apartment so I haven't gone back since. That has now change since there is also location in Indianapolis.

Tegry Bistro
6010 W 86th St # 140
Indianapolis, IN 46278-1412
(317) 802-9770

Dress: Casual
Reservation: No, but from what I heard the Brownsburg location can be extremely busy on the weekend.

Tegry Bistro is located in a plaza off 86th street right by Marsh. It's the size of any typical sushi place, which has a bar and a patio. The place has dark lighting and the decor is clean and modern, a great place to hang out and have a few drinks. We were very excited when reading the sushi menu because there are a lot to choose from. The smaller makis such as Unagi or California roll run from $5-$7, and the house special makis run up to about $13. They don't offer a lot of traditional Japanese entree such as Katsudon but have more westernized entrees such as grilled seafood and meat.

The sushi we ordered were all delicious! We love how Tegry Bistro adds a little bit of fresh greens such as watercress to each roll. I highly recommend the crunch roll with crispy shrimp tempura drizzled with spicy mayo for only $5. Another favorite of mine is the spider roll, so we had to try the house special roll Super Spider. It was like any typical spider roll except they use soy paper and topped it off with shredded crab meat. Our last roll to try is the Graduation roll which has raw scallop and tuna. The raw scallop was amazing because it literally melted in our mouth. We all agree that the sushi were great and inexpensive for the portion size.

In addition to the sushi we ordered two lunch entrees, grilled scallop and shrimp tempura. They were both good but didn't really wow us and they were expensive for such a small portion. I would probably pass on both next time and just order more sushi. I will definitely come back again for the sushi and will recommend Tegry to any sushi lover in the Indianapolis area.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sup Do Bien - Seafood Soup

Would you like soup or salad? Soup please! Indeed I am a soup fanatic! I could be sitting in 90 degrees weather and I'd still order a steaming hot bowl of soup. Not only are they delicious but I just love the whole soup concept. You don't need the best cut meats or the finest vegetables. Just use what you have and throw it in a pot. Soup is about slowly cooking the ingredients and extracting all the unique flavors. Cooking with love :)

Seafood soup is often serve as a starter for wedding banquet. You can find them on most Chinese menu but most of the time you don't get actual seafood or very little of it. This soup reminds me of Sup Mang Cua but more subtle. The crab flavor just stand out more in a soup. Since it's home made I just had to use whole scallops and shrimps! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb shrimps peeled
1/2 lb bay scallops
1/2 cup of peas and carrots mixture
1 cup of tofu cubed
1 cup of mushroom quartered
1 cup of white fungus rough chopped
2-3 chicken legs (you can also use 3-4 can of chicken broth instead)
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced scallion
egg whites (or whole eggs)
salt
fish sauce
sugar
chicken bouillon
ground pepper
corn starch

1. Cook the chicken legs in 6 cups of water to make a stock.
2. Taste the stock with salt, sugar, fish sauce, and chicken bouillon. It's ok if it is a little bit salty because once you the vegetable and corn starch it should balance it out.
3. Heat up a pan with cooking oil, scallion, and garlic. Add scallop and shrimp and saute with ground pepper, sugar, and a bit fish sauce. You don't have to fully cook them.
4. Dissolve about 1/2 cup of cornstarch with cool water.
5. Add cornstarch mixture to the soup and stir. The soup should thicken, then add the rest of the ingredients. If the soup is too thick then add a little bit of water until it's to your liking.
6. You can add more fish sauce and ground pepper at this point.
7. Add the eggs at the end and stir into the soup. You can just turn off the heat and the eggs will continue to cook.
8. Garnish with some green onions and you are ready to serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banh Bao - Steamed Pork Bun

Banh Bao is a Vietnamese variation of a Chinese delicacy, Baozi. They are steamed buns filled with different meats and sweets. You often find mini steamed buns at Chinese buffets with a sesame paste or a yellow custard filling. Walk into any Chinese bakery and you can fine these beautiful plump buns filled with delicious BBQ pork, char siu. The Vietnamese version is usually filled with a seasoned pork mixture, chinese sausage, and eggs. I like eating my banh bao a certain way by tearing it in half and eating the filling first. My favorite part is the shell so I like to save the best for last.

My mom doesn't like making banh bao very often, but now I understand why. It is very time consuming because you have to wait for the dough to rise, make them, and then steam them. I used to watch my mom make these late at night so they will be ready for breakfast the next morning. I remember her making them for the very first time and they still turn out flawless. The buns are a beautiful white color and soft when you bite into them. I should have paid closer attention because I had a hard time getting them to stay close after steaming. Overall I was satisfied with the outcome and I'm begining to like playing with dough.

Ingredients:


1 bag banh bao flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1/2 lb of pork
1/2 medium size jicama diced
1/2 medium size yellow onion diced
1/4 cup of black fungus soften with warm water and then diced
2 chinese sausage link
1 can of quail eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
a couple dash of fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon

How to make the dough:

I used the instruction found on the bag

1. Save 1 tablespoon of flour for later use.
2. Combine sugar, flour, and milk.
3. Knead dough for 15 minutes.
4. Add cooking oil to dough and continue to knead for 10 minutes.
5. Wrap up the dough and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:

1. Combine pork, onions, jicama, black fungus, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Taste to your liking.
2. Cut each sausage link into 10 smaller pieces.
3. Rinse quail eggs.


How to make the bun:

The bag states that you should be able to make 18 buns. I didn't really portion uniformly because I made a few mini buns, a few standard size, and some without fillings. Basically this was a trial cooking of banh bao :) I do suggest you getting a small rolling pin because it's a lot easier to work with.

1. Cut the the dough into smaller portion to your liking and roll it into a ball. Make sure you cover whatever you are not working with because they will harden.
2. Flatten the dough with your palm and then use the rolling pin to shape and flatten your dough more evenly. This is a good time to use the flour you saved from before. Rub some on the rolling pin and the surface you are working on.
3. Once you get it into a flat circular shape, you are now ready for the filling. Scoop about 1/2-1 tablespoon portion of the pork mixture. Add the chinese sausage and quail eggs as well.
4. Begin bringing the corner of the dough to the middle and scrunch them together. Twist and seal the dough together.


It takes about 10 minutes to steam a batch of 5 buns. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Canh Ga Chien Chua Ngot - Sweet and Sour Chicken Wing

When I was younger my mom used to make chicken wings for my brothers and I. We all loved it so much and it was so addicting to eat. The sauce was always perfect with the right amount of saltiness, sweetness, sourness, and of course it was spicy. This was the one messy thing I did not mind eating. Goes great with a bowl of rice, enjoy!

Ingredients:


20 Chicken wings/drummettes
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 table spoon of vinegar
chili paste to your liking
1 tablespoon of garlic
cooking oil

1. Deep fried all the chicken.
2. Absorb some of the oil with paper towel.
3. In a large pan combine oyster sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and chili paste over medium heat. Constantly stir the mixture so it does not burn.
4. Add the chicken and toss. Make sure every bit of the chicken is coated in the sauce.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sup Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu - Shrimp Wonton Soup with BBQ Pork



I was hoping to have some leftover xa xiu from the hu tieu because that will give me a chance to make more food. I've been wanting to make some wonton soup for a while now because I love getting them at Chinese restaurant. One of the places I've eaten at actually use xa xiu in their wonton soup so this works out very well. I like wonton soup because it's light yet filling to eat. Some are made with a subtle chicken broth while others are flavored with the fragrant sesame oil. I particularly love the buffet version that has a hint of soy sauce. I made a pork broth since I still have extra bones but I'm sure chicken broth will be just as good. Nothing beats homemade soup so enjoy!

Broth:

1 lbs of pork neck bones
2-3 quart of water
2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1-2 teaspoon mushroom bouillon (i'm sure chicken will work as well)
a couple dash of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1. Rinse bones with plenty of salt.
2. Pre-boil bones.
3. Let bones simmer in water with the reck of the ingredients

Wonton:

wonton wrappers
1/2 lb of shrimp
a couple dash of salt
ground pepper
finely minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon of mushroom bouillon
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce (optional but it helps to bind the shrimp together)
1 teaspoon of sugar

1. Cut the shrimp into smaller pieces.
2. Add the dry ingredients, oyster sauce, and green onions to the shrimp and mix.
3. Scoop a teaspoon of shrimp mixture to a wonton wrapper. Bring all the corners of the wrapper to the middle and twist.
4. Add to the broth to cook.

Other:

1. Pan fry the prepared xa xiu. Sliced thinly and add to the bowl before cooking(avoid adding to the soup while still cooking because you will lose some of them yummy flavor).
2. Chopped green onions for garnish.