All posts filed under: Eat

Mom’s Superghetti / Easy Spaghetti with Sausage and Meat Sauce

One of the first American dish that my mom made after emigrating to the US from Vietnam was spaghetti. Since we didn’t know English, spaghetti sounded like superghetti and that’s what we have called this Vietnamese fusion pasta since then. My mom’s version of spaghetti has a lot of depth with traditional Vietnamese flavors, which takes this simple Italian American dish up a notch. It’s slightly savory, slightly sweet and filled with umami that makes it hard to just eat one serving. Serving Size: 6 servings / Difficulty: Easy / Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: 4 sausages of your choice 1 to 1.5 pounds of ground beef 1 jar (28 oz) of marinara sauce 2 cups of low sodium chicken stock 1 package (16 oz) of thin spaghetti or pasta of your choice 4 stalks of celery for about 1 and 1/2 cup diced celery. Peel the outer layer. 1/4 teaspoon of salt 2 tablespoons of sugar 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper 1 tablespoon of fish sauce 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil Yellow onion 3 …

Coffee and Coconut Jelly Cake

Jelly cake was very popular in Vietnam in the 1990’s. It required few ingredients and is inexpensive to make. I remembered creating gelatin in rainbow colors with my mom growing up and pouring it into fun molds to create visually stunning cakes. This is our equivalent of Jello and is also a very refreshing dessert for those warmer days. Serving: Makes a 4-inch and 6-inch cake Difficulty: Easy Ingredients: 1 cup of sugar 4 tablespoons of Vietnamese instant coffee with creamer and sugar mix (If you do not have Vietnamese coffee mix, just use any instant coffee with cream and sugar mix.) 1 can of coconut milk 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon or 10 grams of agar agar gelatin powder (The Vietnamese agar agar gelatin brand that we used is platinum strength. You can buy it at any Asian supermarket.) If you have regular gelatin, the ratio should still be the same. 6 cups of water Equipment: Any mold that you would like to use. I used a 4-inch and 6-inch cake pan for this …

Bosnian Cheese Pie / Pita Sirnica

My brother-in-law family’s emigrated from Bosnia to the US during the Bosnian War. With it, they brought along their culture including the wonderful rustic cuisine from the Balkans region. My brother-in-law’s mother, Sefira, bakes really delicious traditional cheese pie called pita sirnica with phyllo dough made from scratch. I was very intimidated at the thought of making phyllo dough by hand rather than getting it from the friendly frozen section of the supermarket. Her recipe and handed down phyllo technique are actually beginner friendly and not as laborious as I had expected. Try this delicious cheese pie today. This recipe makes approximately 6 to 8 cheese pies depending on how large the phyllo sheet will be at the end of the stretching process. You can also use store bought phyllo dough and skip to the filling section. Buy the largest sheet that you can find. Ingredients: Phyllo 4 and 1/3 cups / 600 grams of all-purpose flour 1 and 3/4 cups / 400 grams of water 1 teaspoon of salt Approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons …

Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Sauce

Nothing says summer quite like a berry dessert. One of my favorite restaurant treat is panna cotta. The mixture of creamy panna cotta with a sweet and tart berry sauce is simplicity at its best. This dessert is super easy to make, but still has that wow factor whenever I serve it. Enjoy this summer treat at the end of your next meal. Ingredients: Panna Cotta 200 ml of milk 200 ml of heavy cream 2 and 1/4 sheet of silver grade gelatin (160+ bloom) (You can buy this easily online or 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.) 1/4 cup of sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract Berry Sauce 2 cups of frozen berry mix 1/4 tablespoon of lemon Zest …

No-Knead Artisan Bread with Dutch Oven

As I dive deeper into my quarantine bread baking journey, I became fascinated with different baking and kneading techniques with essentially the same four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. The variety of bread is endless. As much as I love making French baguettes from scratch, it can be a process. Using the same four ingredients with a 75% target dough hydration, I tested different proofing time and folding techniques that I learned from my research. I came up with my new favorite rustic bread recipe. It’s so effortless and only requires some patience for the yeast to do its magic. This will be your go-to recipe for a weekday bread…it’s just too easy not to try. This recipe makes 1 large round boule. Ingredients: I didn’t provide measurements in cups as I found that you need to be precise with breadmaking to have the best result. You can buy a good digital baking scale for less than $15 on amazon. 450 grams of bread flour 340 milliliters of lukewarm water 1 teaspoon of salt …

Quick Caramelized Chicken

My niece’s favorite meal, whenever grandma comes around, is this caramelized chicken dish with rice. It comprises of classic Vietnamese salty and sweet flavors with tender moist chicken and crispy skin. It’s a flavor bomb and it never lasts long in this household. This is a very simple dish, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal. Ingredients: 6 drumsticks or other cuts of chicken that you prefer 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of cane sugar (You can substitute with white sugar if it’s not available. Cane sugar gives a nicer caramelized color to this dish.) 1/4 teaspoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder 1 tablespoon of water 3 tablespoons of coconut soda 2 teaspoons of fish sauce 1 tablespoon of diced onion and thick slices of 1/4 of an onion to garnish 2 tablespoons of minced garlic A few Thai chilis (optional)   Directions: Prepare the drumsticks by removing the main bone, while leaving the end piece intact. You can also skip this step and opt for boneless …

Bánh Tiêu Mật Ong/ Honey Glazed Sesame Hollow Donuts

Bánh tiêu is essentially the Vietnamese version of fried dough or donut. One can find them sold throughout any town from street vendors. These donuts differ from American donuts due to bánh tiêu having a hollow center. This creates a light and fluffy donut with a chewy texture, which also has a light crunch from the sesame seeds. To take this traditional hollow donut up a notch, I incorporated honey into the batter and also applied a light honey glaze. This version of bánh tiêu has just the right amount of sweetness that my family cannot get enough of.  This recipe makes 12 donuts and takes about 2 hours with proofing time. Ingredients: 2 and 3/4 cup of bread flour / 400 gram 1/2 cup of water 1/2 cup of 1% low-fat milk 3 tablespoons of sugar 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of salt 1 packet of vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 teaspoon of instant yeast 1 teaspoon of baking powder 1/2 cup of sesame seeds 2 tablespoons of honey Honey glaze …

Chè Nhãn Hạt Sen / Longan and Lotus Seed Summer Pudding

Summer in Vietnam can be brutal with the average temperature hitting in the high 80F’s and with the suffocating humidity, it can feel like it’s 100F degrees. I remembered taking two to three showers a day when I was visiting my family in July. As a result, locals turn to refreshing food and drinks such as longan and lotus seed summer pudding served with a generous scoop of ice in order to keep cool. This chè comprises of sweet longan, crunchy lotus seeds, and other ingredients that are also common Chinese herbal medicine known to have cooling properties. Don’t worry…this dessert will not taste like medicine but it does help keep your body from melting during a hot summer day. Ingredients: 1 cup of dried lotus seeds 1/2 cup of dried logan meat (You can substitute with dried lychee.) 8 dried red dates (red jujube) 12 dried black dates (dried Ziziphus jujuba mill) 1 cup of rock sugar. 1/4 teaspoon of salt 5 cups of water Directions: Soak all the dry ingredients for 1 hour …

Honey Milk Bread

Ever since my first trip to Japan years ago, I have been obsessed with fluffy white bread that is drastically tastier than the US version. I could only find this at good Asian bakeries like Tous Le Jour. Due to the pandemic, milk bread was hard to come by. I scoured Youtube and blogs to find the perfect recipe and after a few trials and errors, I finally modified one that works for me. This recipe is based on Aimee’s Cooking’s dinner rolls, where I adjusted the sugar and honey ratio and used a different bread formation. The differences make the honey flavor more pronounced and the bread less sugary tasting. The loaf method compared to the dinner roll method also gives the bread more structure while retaining the fluffiness.  I hope you like this as much as my family. This recipe is for one bread using an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2” loaf pan. It’s medium in difficulty and takes around 2.5 hours including a lot of waiting time. Ingredients: 3/4 cup of milk …

Viet-Cajun Butter Sauce for Seafood

Like all good recipes, I accidentally created this addicting crack sauce (per my foodie family) when I was experimenting with new toppings to take steamed seafood up a notch. In the summer, our family likes to have a variety of crustacean and shellfish. Viet-Cajun style butter sauce has been popular for seafood boil starting in the southern region of the US for a few years now. This sauce is not for the faint of heart…literally, as it comprises of melted butter and a lot of different seasoning. This sauce will make you the star at your next seafood feast. This sauce serves up to 8. You can always freeze the leftovers. Ingredients: 1 large orange 1 large lemon 4 sticks of salted butter 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of fish sauce 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon of sugar 6 tablespoons of minced garlic 1/2 tablespoon of cajun boil seasoning like Zatarain’s 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper powder 1 tablespoon of paprika 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon of onion powder 4 Thai Kaffir lime …