All posts tagged: Main

Phu Quoc’s Squid Simmered in Lemongrass, Pineapple and Thai Basil Sauce

Phu Quoc is known for their sweet tasting squids.  You can see the locals fishing for these jewels right at the dock.  They taste incredibly sweet due to the pristine water surrounding the island.  We were lucky to have these local treats cooked by our first mate on our boat. Click on the link here to read all about our adventures in Phu Quoc. In today’s post, we will recreate the classic Phu Quoc’s style squid simmered in a lemongrass, pineapple and thai basil sauce.  This is a wonderful dish to serve at a dinner party because it is so simple. All you have to do is put it together and let it simmer before you serve. This recipe serves 2 people and is rated easy. Ingredients 1 pound of whole squids (cleaned, remove all of the guts) ½ cup of large sliced lemongrass (substitute with frozen lemongrass, available at asian supermarkets in the frozen food aisle) ½ cup of cubed pineapple (from can) ½ cup of diced Thai Basil 1 cup of water 1 …

Ech Chien Bo (Fried Frog Legs Tossed in a Butter Sauce)

Ech chien bo or fried frog legs is a classic accompaniment for late night drinking in Vietnam.  You can usually find this dish in any countryside or city sidewalk cafes.  I have a theory that this dish came about because frogs were abundant back in the day and chicken was more expensive.  Frog legs are eaten in France and many other parts of the world, but not necessarily in the US.  Additionally, frog legs tend to have higher water content than chicken, so they will keep the moisture better during cooking. I know my fellow Americans will likely be turned off by frog legs, but give them a try and you will be pleasantly surprised with the burst of flavor.  Alternatively, you can also use chicken for this dish. This recipe serves 2 people and is moderately difficult. Ingredients: 1 lb of frog legs (about 6 frog legs or 3 pairs)  You can buy this at a Chinese market or Chinatown.  Alternatively, you can also use chicken or pork. 1/2 cup of diced onion ¼ …

Mì Quảng / Quảng Nam Style Noodles for the summer

Vietnam is famous for its noodles soups: pho, bun and many others.  When it is hot, it is hard to work up an appetite to eat a steaming bowl of noodle soup.  Lucky for us, Vietnam also has “dry” noodle dishes which are basically noodles topped with fresh vegetables and various protein and covered in a broth to wet the noodles. One of this dishes is called  Mì Quảng noodles. It is very popular in central Vietnamese cities like Da Nang.  I spent a few years living with my grandmother in Da Nang. My extended family still resides in the city.  This is my mother’s recipe for quick and easy Mì Quảng. It is an easy dish to prepare for the summer. This recipe serves 4 people and is rated medium in difficulty.  This recipe takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on how fast you prepare the ingredients. Ingredients: 2 lb of pork belly 1.5 lb of shrimp with head 1 bunch of scallions 1 red romaine lettuce 1-2 cup of Mint 1-2 cup …

Bò Né (Vietnamese Steak and Eggs Breakfast)

Every culture has its own spin on steak and eggs.   I remember running off to school with some pocket money for breakfast which would include banh mi, steamed sticky rice, soy milk and many other wonderful dishes.  Bò né is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Who can resist a skillet of marinated beef flank with butter and sunny side up eggs served with a crusty french baguette? Bò né  literally translates into dodge beef.  I think this has to do with having to “dodge” the splatter of oil on a hot skillet when you add beef to it.  The trick to tasty bò né is to marinate the beef the night before.  This is ideal for Sunday brunch. Ingredients: 1 lb of flank steak 1 teaspoon of fish sauce 1-2 stalks of scallions diced Onion garlic butter 4 eggs (2 per person) ½ teaspoon of sesame oil 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce 1 teaspoon of sugar 1 teaspoon of pepper a pinch of 5 spice seasoning   Directions   Marinate: Trim fat off of …

Phu Quoc’s Grilled Shellfish with Herbs and Crushed Peanuts

Vietnam is surrounded by seas and filled with rivers bringing with it an abundance of freshwater and saltwater seafood.  Last week, Thai-Anh took you on her weekend in Phu Quoc where seafood is cooked in its most simplistic form to highlight the freshness and taste of the sea. One of the easiest dishes to make that she had while staying in Phu Quoc was grilled clams with herbs.  Like most Vietnamese cuisine, this simple dish has a melodic combination of herbs, crunchiness and of course, chewy clams.  Here is our recreation of this classic and very easy dish from Phu Quoc. Ingredients   Shellfish: 2 pounds  of any type of large shellfish (clams and oysters).  Use the larger variety if you are putting them directly on the grill. Toppings: 1 cup of culantro finely chopped (Culantro has long, serrated leaves and is used often in Caribbean, Mexican and Asian cooking.) 1 cup of cilantro finely chopped 1 cup of Thai basil finely chopped (i.e. Asian basil. It is a variety of sweet basil commonly used …

Canh Chua (Countryside Sweet and Sour Soup)

In last week’s Eat post, we made ca kho to or catfish braised in a clay pot.  This week we will explore a companion dish called canh chua ca.  This is a wonderful complex, yet simple soup.  Vietnamese soup is a meal in itself and is usually eaten with rice and shared family style.  This soup is traditionally made with the head and tail of a catfish or whatever fish that the family is eating that day.  You can substitute the protein with shrimp, salmon or any other type of fish or seafood that you would like to eat. There are two ingredients (bạc hà and rau om) that may be hard to find if there is not an Asian supermarket nearby or if it’s out of season.  Bạc hà is the porous stem of a type of taro plant’s leaves with a sponge like texture when cooked.  You can usually find it shrink wrapped in a styrofoam tray at your asian supermarket in the summer.  Due to bạc hà’s porous stem, the stem soaks …

Ca Kho To (Fish Braised with Caramel Sauce in a Clay Pot)

My all time favorite meal in the countryside of Vietnam, especially around the Mekong Delta, is the braised catfish in a sweet, salty and slightly sticky sauce cooked in a clay pot.  Whenever I think of my favorite home cooking in Vietnam, I dream of ca kho to (catfish braised in a clay pot) and canh chua (sweet and sour soup).  They are traditionally paired together as most family would buy one fish for dinner. They would use the filets for the ca kho to and the head and tail parts for the canh chua.  The sweet and sour soup complement the salty and sweet catfish nicely. In this recipe, we will make the traditional ca kho to in a clay pot with cat fish. If you don’t have a claypot, any heavy pot will work fine.  You can also use any fresh water fish instead of catfish and many restaurants also use salmon filet.  If your local grocery store does not have catfish, you can substitute with catfish nuggets.  For me, nothing beats the …