Latest Posts

Make Your Own Mild and Fragrant Chili Oil

Every Asian culture has its own iteration of chili oil. I love the aroma and extra oomph chili oil adds to any dish; however, I cannot take the heat. Since last year, I started to experiment with making my own mild version and I finally got the right chili ratio that just gives it a nice kick without making it a torture device for my mouth. Make this easy chili oil recipe today and it will become a staple in your kitchen.

Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 2.5 cups of chili oil/ Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

2 and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1/3 cup of coarse Korean chili pepper flake (gochugaru)

1/3 cup of Sichuan pepper flake

5 star anise

1 cassia cinnamon stick

3 tablespoons of Sichuan peppercorn

2 black cardamon pods

1 tablespoon of sand ginger

2 teaspoons of cloves

2-3 shallots halves

4-5 crushed garlic cloves

Directions:

On the lowest heat setting that you have available on your stove, simmer 5 star anise, 1 cassia cinnamon stick, 3 tablespoons of Sichuan peppercorn, 2 black cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon of sand ginger, 2 teaspoons of cloves, 3 shallots halves and 5 crushed garlic cloves with 2 and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil for 1 hour.

You can either use a thermotheter to make sure the oil remains around 200F to 250F or check to see if there are small bubbles simmering on the edges of the shallots and garlic. You don’t want large bubbles during this infusion process as that will result in the oil being too hot and will likely burn the spices.

Once the shallots and garlic turns dark golden brown, remove them from the oil. Leaving them in the oil will result in some bitterness. This usually occurs around 30-40 minutes into the simmering process. Additionally, deep fried onion and garlic are also delicious on toast as a snack while you wait for your oil to infuse.

In a heat proof bowl, mix 1/3 cup of coarse Korean chili pepper flake (gochugaru) and 1/3 cup of Sichuan pepper flake and set it aside.

After 1 hour, turn the heat to medium for approximately two to three minutes until the temperature reaches around 350F or until you see large bubbles forming. You want the oil to be hot enough so that when you pour it onto the pepper flakes, you’ll fry them and create a wonderful nutty aroma in your kitchen. This takes some practice to get the perfect timing. Don’t worry too much about this as the chili oil will still taste good as long as you don’t overheat the oil and burn it terribly.

Place a mesh strainer over the bowl to catch the aromatics. Carefully pour the hot oil over the chili powder. You should see a lot of bubbles as the hot oil fry up the chili flakes. Let it cool completely and transfer into a container. Discard the aromatics. This chili oil should be good for a month.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author: Chau Hoang

Vietnamese Beef Stew / Bò Kho

Vietnamese beef stew is a fusion dish that was influenced by French colonialism. The stew reminds me of a rustic dish that I would get in the French countryside, but with Asian flavors. This recipe is not hard to make; however, it does take time like all good stews. Traditionally, a variety of cheap meat cuts are added to this dish such as tendons. To keep this recipe simple, we only used rough beef flank. Additionally, we demonstrated two ways to cook it using a pressure cooker or a Dutch oven. The pressure cooker cuts the total cooking time in half, but it does require that you know how to use a pressure cooker or have one available. The longer and more traditional way is to use a Dutch oven and simmer the stew over low heat for an extended period of time. This is a perfect dish for any weekend this winter.

Vietnamese beef stew has more of a watery consistency than the traditional western stew, which is much thicker. This is so folks can eat the stew with noodles or with a lot of French bread.

Difficulty: Moderate / Servings: 4-6 people / Time: 1 hour to 2 hours depending on cooking methods.

Equipment: Pressure cooker or a heavy pot like a Dutch oven

Ingredients:

2 pounds of rough beef flank or beef shank

(Optional): You can add tendons and other stew meat cuts that you prefer.

2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of rock sugar

2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons of Knorr Chicken Bouillon Powder (“Chicken BP”) or any chicken bouillon powder.

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon of bot ngu vi huong or 5 spice powder

1 tablespoon of Gia Vi Nau Bo Kho or Vietnamese beef stew seasoning (If you do not have this seasoning mix, you can skip it. Add 2-3 bay leaves to the pot during the braising process if you have it available in your pantry.)

7 star anise

2-3 small cinnamon sticks

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of unsalted canned diced tomatoes

6 oz. can of tomato paste

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 large carrots

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 onion sliced into 1 inch-thick wedge

3 stalks of lemongrass

12 cups + 1/2 cups of water

Garnish with mint, cilantro and serve with a squeeze of lime

Optional: Korean green chili and 3-4 medium size potato

Directions:

Cut 3 stalks of lemongrass into halves.

Smash each stalk with the side of a heavy knife or meat tenderizer to release the juice.

Peel and cut the carrots into 1-inch pieces.

Cut the beef into 1 inch cubes.

Marinate beef for 15 to 30 minutes with the following:  1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of Chicken BP, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of 5 spice seasoning, 1 tablespoon of Vietnamese beef stew seasoning (skip if you do not have this), 3 tablespoons of minced ginger, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

A. Using a pressure cooker (approx. 45 min cooking time):

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on low and sauté lemongrass, 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 7 star anise for 5 minutes to release the flavors and fragrance. Turn the heat to medium-high and brown 1 tablespoon of garlic.

Once the garlic starts to turn brown, add the marinated beef and sear the outside.

After the beef has been seared, slowly add 1/2 cup of water to the pan to let the beef cook for another 10 minutes to incorporate all the aromatics.

Transfer to a pressure cooker and add 8 cups of water. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high heat until steam starts to come out. Turn the pressure cooker knob to low pressure (215-220F) and set the timer for 25 minutes.

While the beef is cooking, in a separate pot, boil carrots with 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of rock sugar until they softened but are still slightly firm. This takes approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside. (If you cook this with the meat in the pressure cooker, the carrots will turn to mush.)

Ready to boil
Carrots cooked until softened but are still slightly firm.

Optional: If you want to add potatoes to the stew, you can boil them with the carrots. Make sure they are of similar size. Cook the carrots first and then after a few minutes, add the potatoes as they tend to cook faster.

After 25 minutes, remove the pressure cooker lid according to the instruction. Also remove and discard half of the cinnamon sticks and star anise from the pot.

Add to the pot, 1/2 cup of the can diced tomatoes, all of the 6 ounce can of tomato paste, onion, carrots, and its liquids.

Add the par cooked carrots
After adding all the liquids from the carrots.

Season with 2 tablespoons of Chicken BP, 1 tablespoon of rock sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bring to a rolling boil uncovered and cook for 15-20 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated. The stew is ready to be served.

B. Using a Dutch oven on the stove or in an oven (approximately 1.5 hours of cooking time)

You can braise the meat in a covered heavy pot like a Dutch oven and put it in the oven at 350F for 1 hour or on the stove on a low boil for 1 hour until it is tender. The cooking process will be similar to the directions above.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on low and sauté lemongrass, 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 7 star anise for 5 minutes to release the flavors and fragrance. Turn the heat to medium-high and brown 1 tablespoon of garlic.

Once the garlic starts to turn brown, add the marinated beef and sear the outside.

After the beef has been seared, slowly add 1/2 cup of water to the pan to let the beef cook for another 10 minutes to incorporate all the aromatics.

Add 8 cups of water and let the stock come to boil.

Once the stock comes to a boil, cover and turn the heat to low and let it cook for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Alternatively, you can braise the meat in the oven at 350F for 1 hour like below.

While the beef is cooking, in a separate pot on the stove, boil carrots with 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of rock sugar until they softened but are still slightly firm. This take approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside. (We like to cook this separately and add it to the pot near the end to get the perfect carrot consistency.) The carrots will continue to cook when they are combined with the braised meat later.

Optional: If you want to add potatoes to the stew, you can boil them with the carrots. Make sure they are of similar size. Cook the carrots first and then after a few minutes, add the potatoes as they tend to cook faster.

Once the meat is tender, discard half of the cinnamon sticks and star anise from the pot.

Add 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, all of the 6 ounce can of tomato paste, onion slices, carrots and its liquids.

Season with 2 tablespoons of Chicken BP, 1 tablespoon of rock sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bring to a rolling boil and cook for another 15-20 minutes to incorporate all the ingredients. It is then ready to be served.

This stew is traditionally topped with mint, chili and a squeeze of lime and accompanied with a crusty baguette. I personally like to add a spoon of my home made chili oil to add a kick to this stew.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Authors: Susan Tran and Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Bosnian Bread / Pogača

Bosnians love their breads and can’t have a meal without it. As such, it is not surprising to see the variety of breads available from the region. I heard that Sefira’s in-laws, Azra, makes the best pogača, a traditional bread that is similar to focaccia. On one Sunday, Azra came over and taught us how to make pogača from scratch. The texture is crusty on the outside and fluffy like a pillow inside and it’s absolutely tasty. This bread is best served warm right from the oven.

Serving size: 6 servings / Difficulty: Easy / Time: 3 hours total – 30 minutes of prep time, 2 hours of rest time and 30 minutes of baking time

Ingredients:

925 grams / 6 cups of All Purpose Flour

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

3 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash

3 teaspoons of instant yeast

600 ml of lukewarm milk

1 tablespoon of salt

1 teaspoon of sugar

Equipment:

A large deep baking dish. I used a 12.5 inch circular baking dish for this recipe. You can also split the dough into 2 baking dish if you do not have a large one.

Optional: A mixer with a dough hook.

*Butter not pictured

Directions:

Mix 3 teaspoons of instant yeast with 600ml of lukewarm milk. Cover with plastic wrap and set it aside for 5 minutes.

A. If mixing by hand:

In a large mixing bowl, mix 925 grams or 6 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 eggs beaten. While mixing the dough with your hand, pour in the milk slowly. Mix until the dough starts to come together and then you can dump the dough onto a floured surface to make it easier to knead. Knead the dough until you can form a smooth ball.

Depending on the humidity and temperature in the kitchen, you may need to add one to five tablespoons of flour, one at a time, as you knead to help it come together. The dough should still be sticky but manageable.

Coat a clean mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl for proofing. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

How to mix in milk by hand

B. Using a stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid (“KA”):

Mix 925 grams or 6 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the mixing bowl. Turn the stand mixer to stir setting (KA #2) and add 1 egg at a time. Next slowly pour in the milk.

When the dough starts to form, turn the mixer to medium (KA#4) and let it knead for approximately 5 minutes. If the dough is still wet and has not pulled completely away from the side of the mixer, you can add a tablespoon of flour at a time and continue mixing for another minute, and check on the dough again. Depending on the humidity and temperature in your kitchen, you may need to add between one to five tablespoons of flour for the dough to pull away from the side of the bowl. The dough should still be slightly wet and sticky, but manageable. Total mixing time will be approximately 10 minutes.

Placed the slightly wet dough onto a floured surface and knead for approximatley 1 minute until you can form a smooth ball.

Coat a clean mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl for proofing. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

C. After proofing period:

Preheat the oven for 400F.

Remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough again to form into a ball. This should take approximately a few minutes. Split the dough into two halves to make it more manageable to work with. Cover the dough that you are not working with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

How to knead dough

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin until you reach 1/2-inch thickness.

Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter on the stove on low heat or in the microwave. Brush onto the dough.

Using a ring mold, cut out semi-circles.

Stack them onto a deep baking pan so that each dough piece overlap each other. Beat 1 egg to create egg wash and lightly brush over the dough.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until you can insert and remove a toothpick cleanly.

This bread is best served right out of the oven.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Authors: Azra Hadzihasanovic and Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Bánh Chuối Hấp/ Steamed Banana Cake

Every culture likely has a dessert that utilizes overly ripe bananas so they do not go to waste. Vietnam is no exception. We have our version of a banana cake, which uses ordinary ripe bananas and turn them into a special treat. The concept is similar to a traditional banana bread, but you’ll be using tapioca starch and then steaming the cake to create a chewy texture. Add this to your dessert arsenal today.

Serving size: one 6 to 7 inch cake / Difficulty: Easy / Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

6 ripe to very ripe bananas

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder for color

1 and 1/2 cups tapioca starch

1/2 cup of water

1/4 teaspoon of pandan extract or vanilla extract

Unsalted butter or baking spray to grease the pan

Equipment:

6 to 7-inch cake pan or springform pan

a steamer big enough to fit the cake

a clean kitchen towel

Coconut Sauce:

1 can of coconut milk

1/2 can of water

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 tablespoon of tapioca water + 1 teaspoon of water

Directions

Peel and cut bananas into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the bananas. Use 2 tablespoons if your bananas are not too ripe.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 and 1/2 cups of tapioca starch, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon of pandan extract or vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of water.

Carefully mix the batter from bottom up to incorporate all the ingredients and be careful not to smash the banana slices. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

In a large steamer, bring water to boil. Cover your lid with a kitchen towel so that the condensation from the steam does not fall back onto the cake and ruin it.

Grease the cake pan with unsalted butter or spray with baking spray.

Pour the cake into the mold. Shake the pan lightly to evenly distribute the batter. Smooth out the top of the batter with a spatula. Flip a few banana slices to face upward for a prettier presentation.

Place the cake into the steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes on medium high heat until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Let it cool completely before removing from the mold.

Make the coconut sauce:

In a small pot on medium heat, combine 1 can of coconut milk, 1/2 a can of water, 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 tablespoon of tapioca powder with 1 teaspoon of water. Once the coconut milk comes to a low boil, add the tapioca water, and stir until the tapioca has dissolved into the coconut milk. The tapioca water will thicken up the milk, so it becomes a sauce.

Serve each slice with a large spoonful of coconut cream.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Authors: Susan Tran and Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Easy 4-Ingredient Potato Casserole

My brother-in-law’s mother made this ridiculously simple, yet creamy and delectable baked potato casserole that has become a weekly staple in this household. My niece loves to eat it and I like to make it for her since it requires minimal effort. This dish is the perfect accompaniment to any meal, especially on a busy day.

Ingredients:

6 starchy potatoes like russet, white or yellow potatoes

1/2 tablespoon of Vegeta (European vegetable based seasoning) or any vegetable seasoning of your choice.

  • If your vegetable seasoning does not contain salt, you will need to add at least 1 teaspoon of salt or an amount to your preference for this recipe.

1 tablespoon of olive oil

5 tablespoons of Mexican or Guatemalan crema or crème fraiche thinned with approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of lime juice or water. You can easily find this at your local supermarket, Amazon or Walmart online.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Cut 6 potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and soak in cold water for 5 minutes to remove excess starch.

Drain and pat dry to remove excess moisture.

Season the potato slices with 1/2 tablespoon of Vegeta and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix to incorporate all the ingredients.

Grease a baking dish with some olive oil. Assemble the potato slices on top of each other. (When I’m particularly lazy, I just toss them into the baking dish and smooth out the top.)

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes covered with aluminum foil until you can pierce through the potatoes with a fork.

Remove from the oven and pour 5 tablespoons of cream evenly over the top of the potatoes.

Bake for another 10 minutes uncovered until the top is golden brown.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author:  Sefira Mujanovic and Chau Hoang

Easy Holiday Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

One of the simplest crowd pleasing appetizer in my holiday cooking arsenal is this delectable baked brie in puff pastry. My version smothers creamy cheese with honey, cranberries and chopped nuts and then wrapped in a delicious puff pastry…just to be extra. Serve this salty and sweet melted cheese with thin slices of French bread or crackers to kick off the holiday season or any season of the year.

Difficulty: Easy / Time: 30 minutes / Servings: for 4-6 people

Ingredients:

1 Brie circle or camembert

1/2 cup of unsalted roasted nuts of your choice

1/2 cup of dried berries of your choice. My favorite is a mix of dried cranberries and other berries.

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry slightly chilled but not frozen (You can defrost frozen puff pastry in the fridge.)

3/4 to 1 cup of honey, depending on your preference for sweetness

1 egg for egg wash

Crackers or your choice of bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Rough chop 1/2 cups of roasted nuts and 1/2 cups of berries.

Add 3/4 to 1 cup of honey to the nut and berry mixture.

Flatten puff pastry with a rolling pin to make it pliable.

Place the brie in the middle of the puff pastry and top with your honey/nut/berry mixture.

Carefully fold one side of the puff pastry over and repeat for the next section. Cut off the excess dough but do not discard it. You can use the scrap pieces to decorate later.

Once you have folded all the sides up into a package, make little leaves out of the scraps and gently press them on top to hide the seams.

Beat 1 egg and brush the egg wash lightly all over the puff pastry.

Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes on the center rack or until the pastry turns golden brown.

Use a spatula and carefully move the baked brie onto a nice plate, add crackers or bread and serve.

This recipe is also delicious without puff pastry as well.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author:  Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Bánh Mì Chiên Chạo Tôm / Easy Vietnamese Shrimp Toast

A fantastic party dish that is easy to make ahead of time is my version of shrimp toast with a Vietnamese twist. Shrimp paste mixed with ground meat of your choice, pressed between slices of white bread and then deep fried is always a crowd favorite. I have deep fried these mini sandwiches and have also used the air fryer. Deep frying creates a crunchier and tastier shrimp toast. Air frying these mini sandwiches is a healthier alternative and you will still get the nice crunch in every bite. Whichever method you choose, your friends and family will love you for it.

Difficulty: Easy / Time: 30 minutes / Servings: 24 toasts

Ingredients:

3/4 lb. / approximately 22 shrimps/ 350 gram of shrimp (devein with no shell and no head)

1/2 lb. of frozen ground meat such as pork, chicken or turkey

1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper

1 and 1/2 tablespoon of a neutral oil

1/4 teaspoon of chili powder or annatto powder

1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of diced scallion

1 package of white sandwich bread

Equipment: Food processor

Directions:

Wash and dry shrimps well.

Cut shrimps into smaller pieces and marinate with 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder or annatto powder, and 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Cut the frozen meat into smaller pieces. Using a food processor, blend the frozen meat with 1 tablespoon of oil until you have a smooth paste. If you do not use frozen meat, the paste will be soggy. Set aside.

Blend the marinated shrimps with 2 tablespoons of dice scallion until it becomes a paste.

Mix the meat paste with the shrimp paste thoroughly.

Prepare the bread by cutting the crust.

1. If Deep Frying

Flatten the bread with a rolling pin and cut into 4 squares.

Add about 1 tablespoon of the filling to each mini sandwich.

Microwave the sandwich for 30 seconds to 1 minutes to par cook. Shrimp should still be slightly pink.

Heat up oil to 350F.

Once the oil is heated, add the shrimp toast. Once the bottom turns golden brown, which usually only takes a few minutes, flip over and fry the other side. It’s easy to burn the toast as bread will turn golden very quickly. That is why we par cook the toast before deep frying.

Remove the toast from the oil onto a plate with paper towel to drain any excess oil.

2. If using the air fryer

Cut each piece of bread into 4 squares. Add about 1 tablespoon of the filling to each mini sandwich.

Spray the toast with oil or brush on a light coating of oil on each side of the toast.

Bake it in the air fryer at 400F for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Turn them over at the halfway mark.

Serve the shrimp toast with ketchup and mayonnaise.

It’ll be hard to just eat one.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author:  Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Quick and Easy Egg and Tomato Noodle Soup

When I have only a few basic ingredients on hand and need a meal asap, I turn to this fairly simple yet delicious egg and tomato noodle soup to feed a family of four. Try it for your next weeknight meal. You won’t be disappointed.

Difficulty: Easy Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4 large bowls

*This recipe can be modified for one or two servings by cutting the measurements according to the serving size.

Ingredients:

6 cups of low sodium chicken stock

1 cup of water

3 large ripe tomatoes

3 medium size egg

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1/2 of an onion diced

1 tablespoon of oil

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder. (You can skip this if you do not have it.)

Tapioca starch water (2 tablespoons of tapioca starch mixed with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of water). You can substitute tapioca starch with corn starch.

A package of egg noodles (it usually comes with 4 servings). You can substitute with any noodles that you have on hand. I found that egg noodles pair best with this soup.

Optional Toppings: chili oil and fried scallions

Directions:

Dice two tomato and slice the third one into thick wedges.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high.

Sautee 1 tablespoon of mince garlic and half of the diced onion until they turn golden brown. Add the diced tomato and season with a pinch of salt and ground pepper.

Let it cook for about 5 minutes until the tomato have rendered some liquid.

Add 6 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water to the pot.

Flavor with 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder. Stir to incorporate all the seasoning.

Whip 3 eggs together and prepare the starch water.

Once the soup has come to a roiling boil, add the tomato slices.

Next, slowly stir in the starch water in one direction.

Continue to stir while slowly adding the whipped eggs to create ribbons similar to what you would see in Chinese egg drop soup.

Let the soup boil for another 5 minutes and serve with noodles.

Cook the noodles according to the direction on the package.

Assemble the bowl with 1 portion of noodles, add the egg and tomato soup and topped with a handful of fried scallions, herbs and a drizzle of chili oil.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author:  Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Bosnian Pita – Phyllo Pie with Apples, Walnuts and Cinnamon Sugar

Autumn is the perfect weather for apple picking and eating warm meals to welcome the cooler temperature. Apple pie is a classic American dessert to go along with many other seasonal treats. We took the basic Bosnian cheese pita recipe and made our sweet version of apple “pie” with phyllo dough filled with apples, walnuts and cinnamon sugar. It’ll be hard to eat just one slice.

This recipe has directions for home-made phyllo dough or you can substitute with frozen phyllo sheets. You may need approximately 10 sheets, depending on the size of your sheet pan. This recipe is customizable for the amount of apples and phyllo dough that you have on hand.

Difficulty: Easy (if using store bought phyllo dough) to medium (if making phyllo dough from scratch) / Time: 45 minutes – 1.5 hours and up to 24 hours rest time if making phyllo from scratch Servings: 8 slices

Ingredients:

approximately 10 frozen phyllo sheets thawed or make the dough below:

Dough from scratch:

325 grams / 2 and 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 egg

1/2 tablespoon of oil

Filling:

8 granny smith apples or similar tart and crunchy variety

1 and 1/2 cups of walnut grounded fine

1 and 1/2 cups of walnut coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of all purpose of flour

1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Toppings:

2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of sugar + 3 teaspoons of cinnamon

Powder sugar to sprinkle before serving

Equipment:

1 sheet pan that you have on hand

Directions:

1. Make the dough (up to 24 hours in advance):

Skip step 1 and 2 if using frozen phyllo dough.

In a mixer with dough hook attachment, add 325g or 2 and 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the flour. With Kitchenaid (“KA”) setting on #2 or stir, add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of oil.

Turn the mixer to medium or KA #4 and knead for approximately 5 minutes until dough forms into a ball.

Remove dough from the mixer onto a floured surface. Add more flour to the dough if it’s still too sticky to handle. Knead for 1 minute until dough has a nice spring and form into a neat ball.

Placed into a well-oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and rest for 2-3 hours or best overnight.

2. Roll out the dough:

(Check out our Cheese Pita recipe for a tutorial video and in-depth writeup on how to stretch phyllo dough.)

Prepare a big table with a clean tablecloth. Flour the tablecloth so the dough doesn’t stick to it.

Place the dough in the center of the table and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. Brush with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Using your hands, carefully pull on the dough to stretch it out. Do one section until you feel that there is no more give, move onto the next. Do this until you have stretched the dough to the size of the table or if you start seeing holes at the edges. (See video here.)

*You may have to rest the dough for 10 minutes if there is no more give in between stretching. It usually takes me 2 rest time to fully stretch out the phyllo into thin sheets.

Trim along the edges to create a straight line. Let it dry for 10 minutes. The goal is to have the phyllo sheet be semi- dry, but still malleable and not crumble when you maneuver it.

3. Make the filling:

*I usually prepare the filling in between the 10 minutes rest time while I work on the phyllo dough.

Rough chop 1 and 1/2 cup of toasted walnut and finely chop another 1 and 1/2 cup. Mix the two types together to create a more complex texture.

Peel and shred 8 Granny Smith apples. Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to keep it from browning too quickly.

Place it over a cheese cloth or kitchen towel to squeeze and drain out the excess liquid.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the filling. Mix to incorporate.

4. Assemble the phyllo pie:

Grease a large baking tray or line it with parchment paper.

Start from one side of the table, add the shredded apple filling in a straight line.

Pull the tablecloth up so gravity can help you roll the phyllo over the filling. Stop when the filling has been covered.

Cut the strip of phyllo with the filling and move it onto a baking tray. Make another phyllo strip and place it next to the first strip. Make sure the strips are touching each other so they will stick together.

Once you have assembled all the strips in the baking tray, brush 2 tablespoons of melted butter on top of the pie and generously sprinkle a mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar to 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 20-25 minutes until the pie turns golden brown.

Remove and let it cool a little bit before cutting into squares.

Dust powder sugar on top of the warm phyllo pie before serving. This apple phyllo pie is also delicious accompanied with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Author:  Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)

Easy 4 Ingredients Coconut Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is such an easy dessert to make and modify with a few ingredients. This version is made with coconut cream and coconut milk that tastes like fresh coconut meat according to my family. You can add decorations such as pretty flowers like I did for this post or top with toasted coconut strips for an extra crunch.

Difficulty: Easy / Time: 15 minutes to make, 4 hours to set/ Servings: 4

Ingredients

200 ml of coconut cream

200 ml of coconut milk

1/4 cup of sugar

2 and 1/4 sheet of silver grade gelatin (160 bloom) (You can buy this easily on Amazon. I prefer to use sheet gelatin as it is much easier to dissolve and use.)

Or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of powder gelatin. You will need to bloom the gelatin in some cold water and then melt over hot water before adding it to the warm cream mixture. Fine Cooking has a good how-to guide on using powder gelatin here.

Optional toppings:

Toasted coconut strips

Directions:

Soften 2 and 1/4 sheets of gelatin by soaking them in 1 cup of cold water. Set aside.

While stirring, heat up 200 ml of coconut milk, 200 ml of coconut cream, and 1/4 cup of sugar on low until the temperature reaches 90F-100F. (Gelatin will dissolve around 90F-100F. If you boil the liquid and then add gelatin, the high heat will reduce the effectiveness of the gelatin.) Turn off the heat.

Gently squeeze the excess water out of the softened gelatin and add to the milk mixture. Stir until the gelatin has fully dissolved, which takes less a minute.

Portion the panna cotta into 4 cups. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or until the panna cotta has set.

Enjoy this delicious treat any season.

For more recipes, visit our EAT page or Recipe Index.

Authors:  Chau Hoang

Photo Editing: Kevin Nguyen (https://www.kevwin.com/)