Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chả Trứng - Vietnamese Egg Pie



Chả Trứng has many identities such as egg pie, egg cake, egg loaf, Vietnamese quiche.  You can call it whatever you want but we all know what you mean, the yellow square or triangle that come along with Vietnamese pork chop ' Cơm Sườn'.  Honestly sometimes i'm totally content with eating egg pie, hot rice, and sweet fish sauce!


This is a simple recipe with ground pork, dried wood ear mushroom, bean thread, eggs, and green onions.  Since I always end up drowning it with sweet fish sauce I do a simple season of salt, pepper, and sugar. You can either steam this on the stove top or bake this in the oven.  My mom used to make this 

Ingredients: serves 4


8 eggs
1 cup of ground pork
1/2 cup wood ear mushroom
2 oz dried bean thread  ( roughly 1 cup after you rehydrate it)
3 stalks of green onion (minced)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce 
1 teaspoon of black pepper
3 teaspoon of sugar 
steamer ( or any large pot with a lid)
baking dish (bread pan should be perfect for this recipe)
cooking oil

1.  Rehydrate the wood ear mushroom and dried bean thread by soaking in hot water. Use scissors to cut up the bean thread.  Once they have soften, make sure you squeeze off excess water.


2.  Combine 3 eggs, ground pork, minced green onions, wood ear mushroom, bean thread, salt, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper.  

3.  Separate the yolk from the remaining 5 eggs.  We will not be using the whites so you can use for other things.  
4.  Coat your baking dish with some oil.  
5.  Pour step #2 into your baking dish and make sure the surface is flat and even.
6.  Mix the 5 egg yolks from before and pour on top of the pork mixture.





7.  In a large pot add enough water so that it will come up 1/2 way to your baking dish.  Put on the lid and steam on medium heat.  If you would like to you the oven, you'll need a larger baking dish and same concept you'll need to add enough water so it comes up 1/2 way to your smaller baking dish.  Wrap with foil and bake on 400 degrees until egg pie is cooked all the way through.  The best way to know when your egg pie is fully cooked is using toothpick just like you were testing a cake.  If it comes up clean, you are done!  




8.  I like to steam and it took about 45 minutes to cook completely.  If you are steaming, pour liquid condensation away.  Let egg pie cool down completely before cutting into it.


9.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bánh Xèo - Vietnamese Sizzling Cake


Every time somebody ask me to make Banh Xeo for them I cringe and ask politely to pick another dish, actually it's more like 'pick something else or you don't eat'!  I hate making banh xeo; it takes forever, you get oil spatter everywhere, and you and everything in your house end up smelling like fried food for days.  But if I don't have to make it myself, I absolutely love it!  

Banh Xeo is a popular street food made from a rice flour batter fried into a crispy crepe filled with pork belly, shrimp, and bean sprouts.  You eat it with a lot of fresh veggies and herbs and dipped in sweet fish sauce.  I always crave it on the hottest summer day when my family's garden is at its peak with plentiful of herbs.  

When somebody makes it for you, appreciate it because it is a labor of love.  I can still remember when I was little at my grandma's house, my mom and her sisters were in the kitchen making banh xeo as we wait to eat them fresh right out of the frying pan. That's the only way to eat banh xeo, hot and sizzling!  

Tips:

1.  Always let your batter sit overnight to rest (ie Banh cuon, banh khot, banh beo) this will allow the flour to expand and won't become rubbery. 

2.  The first couple of banh xeo will usually be the worst!  Your frying pan needs time to adjust to the heat and oil.  

3.  Use a light pan which will be easy for you to turn/rotate which will help you distribute the batter more evenly and thinly.  

4.  Don't use too much oil it will absorb into the batter and become soggy. Don't use too little oil it will not become crispy.  You will figure this out as you cook.

5.  Stir the batter especially at the bottom before every use.

6.  You can cook your pork belly and shrimp ahead of time to speed up the cooking the process.  

7.  Use a specific ladle or a measuring tools to help you stay consistent with how much batter you'll need to use  according to the size of your frying pan.

8.  Use a nonstick pan or you will be sorry.  I use one that has an aluminum coating. 

9.  Use a cooking brush (or paper towel or cotton) to evenly brush/spread oil onto your pan.

10.  Use cheap beer that is really carbonated like Bud Light. 

11.  Don't be scared, the outcome will be worth it! 

Ingredients:



pork belly thinly sliced
shrimp (cut in half)
bean sprout
rice flour
tapioca flour
coconut milk
beer
green onions (just the green bottom)
1/2 thinly sliced sweet onions
1 wedge of lime
cooking oil
lettuce 
cucumber
herbs of choice

Batter:  This will make about 20-25 crepes.




4 cups rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut milk 
1/2 cup warm water
25 oz can beer
2 teaspoon of turmeric powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of minced green onion
a squeeze of lime juice

Mix and let rest!

1.  If you like to cook your pork belly into the batter then do this first.   Add sweet onions at the very end. You can use as much pork belly and shrimp as your like.


2.  Once your meats are cooked brush the surface of your pan with oil and wait for the pan to be hot ( not smoking hot) but you should be able to feel the heat.  Pour batter evenly in the pan, rotate/turn your pan so the batter coats the pan evenly.  You can always add more to fill in the spot.






3.  You can add pre-made pork belly and shrimp at this point, and then add bean sprouts ( a little under a handful). Cover with lid to help cook your filling (this takes about 10-15 seconds)


4.  Uncover the lid.  Lift up the crepe from the pan and I like to add a little bit more oil, turn down the heat a bit and let it fry until crispy.

5.  Fold the crepe in half and remove from pan.

6. Repeat.



Monday, April 3, 2017

Bun Cha Ca - Fish Cake Noodle Soup ( Lent Friendly)


One of my favorite dish I was introduced to in Da Nang was their Bun Cha Ca.  It was the very first dish I ate when I first got off the plane.  Their take on Bun Cha Ca was so delicious and light, and I love the sweetness from all the vegetables they use like cabbage and squash.   This is my my quick take on this soup and it's Lent friendly.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:




1 lb of ground shrimp
1/2 cup of dried prawn (tom kho)
cha ca (fish cake)
1 cup of pineapple
1 cup of kabocha squash (optional)
1 cup of bamboo tips
2 cups of cabbage
2 roma tomato (quartered)
4 quart of water
2 shallots (minced)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning
fish sauce
cooking oil
1 teaspoon of paprika
vermicelli noodle
lettuce
green onions

1.  Cook down the dried prawns in water to start the broth. Sauteed ground shrimp with 1 minced shallot and season with some fish sauce.   Add ground shrimp to the broth.  Add salt, sugar, and mushroom seasoning to the broth.


2.  Sauteed the pineapple, tomato, and bamboo with some fish sauce.  Add this mixture to the broth.


3.  Add the cha ca and cabbage to the broth.  Let everything cook thoroughly.

4.  Sauteed remaining minced shallots in some oil, add the paprika and cook on low heat.  Add this mixture to the broth for color.

4.  Make noodles, and prepare lettuce and green onions.

5.  Enjoy with some shrimp paste and chili!