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Vietnamese Recipes

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Salmon Fried Rice

salmon fried rice

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! This past weekend was hot hot hot in Regina, so we definitely took advantage of that. I spent all of my baby’s nap times sunbathing and reading on our deck.

Sunbathing and reading while baby naps

And when she was awake, we went on walks to the library and to the nearby coffee shop. With the summer coming up, Baby E is also in desperate need of summer clothes, so we hit up the White City Garage Sale for some gently used clothing and Giggle Boutique in Pilot Butte for some fancy new clothing!

Baby E in her new kicks from Giggle Boutique

However, it’s a chilly and dreary Monday today, and the husband said he would have an all day daddy/daughter day with baby, so I can get my errands and blogging done.  She’s eating solids really well, so I just need to pop home to nurse her before her naps.  She had a good two hour morning nap and I was able to do a Costco run, and now she’ll be awake with her dad for another 3 hours. I don’t even want to know what he has planned for daddy/daughter day – probably a TV marathon of Yukon Gold, Naked and Afraid or some other weird reality TV show!

I love going to Costco alone as I find it more efficient. Whenever I take the baby, there’s just not enough room in the cart to load up on all the groceries I need, and it’s a hassle to load her and the groceries into the vehicle, and then try to bring all the groceries into the house without her freaking out in her car seat. Plus, because I like to buy meat in bulk at Costco, I like to be able to come home, portion out the meat and freeze them right away, without worrying about the baby. The meats that I like to buy at Costco are steaks, eye of round roasts, pork back ribs, and fresh salmon fillets.

With the Costco salmon, I’m usually able to portion the huge fillet into about 4 portions, but there’s always that tail piece at the end that is super thin and flat, and not quite a full portion. Do you guys know what I mean? I always freeze that tail piece separately, thinking that I’ll bake it up for a small supper for myself whenever the husband is working nights, but I never do. Just the other day, I was going through the freezer and found three ziplock bags with these skinny salmon tail pieces in them. I was thinking of recipes that I could make with these pieces, and I was torn between salmon cakes or salmon fried rice. I decided to do a salmon fried rice this time around, but I’ll do salmon cakes next time!

This salmon fried rice recipe is similar to my shrimp and swiss chard recipe, just the protein and vegetable components have been switched up. I baked the salmon pieces and then broke up the cooked salmon into chunks.

I didn’t have any swiss chard or any greens on hand, so I just used frozen mixed vegetables as my vegetable component. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Salmon Fried Rice

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-3 small salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice (day old rice is best)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce

Instructions

1

Season your salmon fillets with salt and pepper, and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they are just done.

2

Using a fork, break up the cooked salmon into chunks and set aside

3

Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan or wok on medium high heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and scramble them with a spatula. When the eggs are scrambled, add the rice and stirfry for about 4 minutes.

4

Add the frozen vegetables and stirfry until they are heated through. (If you are using greens, stirfry until they are wilted). This should take about 4-5 minutes.

5

Add the salmon chunks and stirfry to combine all the ingredients well.

6

Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and mix well until all of the rice is coated. You may need to add a bit more of the soy sauce to taste and/or for all of the rice to be coated and have a golden colour.

7

Remove from heat and serve with a nice cold beer!

Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Dessert (“Che Chuoi”)

You know you’re an adult when you find yourself belonging in a dinner club with other couple friends, am I right? My husband and I are part of a dinner club with four other couples and we take turns every month hosting a dinner party. The hosting couple provides all the food and drink pairings and hosts the dinner at their house. So far, we’ve had a Mardi Gras themed event and a spring-themed event. It was my turn to host this past weekend, and obviously, my theme was Vietnamese. The other couples actually volun-told me what my theme was, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter!

In planning the menu, it was a no brainer what the appetizer and main courses were going to be. Appetizers were fresh rolls and the main course was a build-your-own vermicelli bowl, with spring rolls, vermicelli noodles, fish sauce, and various veggies and accompaniments. However, I had a tough time coming up with a dessert, mainly because I have never ever made a Vietnamese dessert before. My mom very rarely makes them, so I don’t really have a favourite Vietnamese dessert. After much research and consultation with my mom, I decided to make a Vietnamese banana coconut tapioca dessert (“che chuoi”). Vietnamese cuisine have desserts called “che” that are best described as a pudding. Some of these desserts have fruit in them, some have beans (like black beans), some are served cold, some are served hot, most of tapioca in them, and they come in varying textures (some are thicker and some are quite liquid-y like a soup). This banana dessert was easy to make and it’s dairy-free, which was the deciding factor for me. This dessert can be served hot or chilled, but I prefer it chilled.

I decided to do a wine pairing with my dinner, because I love introducing friends to wines and Vietnamese food. For the fresh rolls, I paired it with the Melipal Malbec Rose (Argentina). This rose wine is crisp, light and not too sweet, and it pairs well with the pork and shrimp in the fresh rolls. For the spring rolls and vermicelli bowls, I paired it with the Stark Raving Red wine (USA). This red wine blend is smooth, slightly sweet, and doesn’t clash with the fish sauce or overpower the spring rolls. And finally, for the banana tapioca dessert, I paired it with the Dr. Loosen Riesling (Germany). I bought two bottles of each and they were completely finished off by the women! The men could care less about wine pairings and drank various beers with their food (not that we were complaining, more wine for the wives!).

You know the dinner party was so much fun because I forgot to take lots of pictures for the blog! (Blogger fail!).  I completely forgot to take pictures of the fresh rolls, and only took a few of the spring rolls, vermicelli bowls and the banana tapioca pudding. Sorry guys! Enjoy the few pictures and the banana tapioca dessert recipe below.

Vietnamese dinner wine pairings

Vietnamese dinner wine pairings

 

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

5 dozen spring rolls for the party

 

Spring Roll Vermicelli Bowl

Build your own spring roll vermicelli bowl!

 

Spring Roll Vermicelli Bowl with Stark Raving Red wine

Spring Roll Vermicelli Bowl with Stark Raving Red wine

 

Vietnamese Banana Coconut Tapioca Dessert

 

Vietnamese Banana Coconut Tapioca Dessert

Vietnamese Banana Coconut Tapioca Dessert

Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Dessert (Che Chuoi)

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1 can (14 oz or 400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder (I used vanilla powder)

Instructions

1

Soak the tapioca pearls in cold water for an hour.

2

Drain the tapioca pearls and place in a big saucepan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes until the pearls are opaque. Drain and set aside.

3

In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut milk, 1 cup water, vanilla and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.

4

Add bananas to the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.

5

Add the cooked tapioca pearls and stir together for another 2 minutes.

6

Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool and thicken. After it is cooled to room temperature, you can put it in the fridge to chill.

7

Spoon into individual bowls, garnish with strawberries, mangoes or another colourful fruit, and enjoy!

Beer and Wine Pairings/ Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Soy Sauce Chicken

Sometimes whole chickens are on sale and I buy a couple and they sit in the freezer because I don’t know what to do with them. I read all these blogs that say that buying and preparing a whole chicken is very economical and frugal, but I think I’m doing it wrong. I feel like I have all these wasted bits and parts when I prepare a whole chicken. Maybe I’m just not that good at carving it and getting the most meat out of it. I also never do anything with the carcass, even though I know I should be using it to make homemade chicken broth. That will be my next culinary milestone – making my own broths. I’ll have to ask my mom how she makes her broths. She makes the best broths, super clear and very aromatic. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Anyway, so I had this whole chicken sitting in my freezer and I wanted to do something with it already to free up some freezer space. I was just going to make a basic roasted chicken, seasoned with lemon and rosemary, but then my sister shared a picture of a soy sauce chicken that she had made.

My sister’s soy sauce chicken

It looked so good, so I thought I’d give it a try. Now this recipe calls for a lot more effort than I usually put into a normal family dinner, so I wouldn’t make it on a regular basis. However, it would be a pretty impressive chicken to make for dinner parties!

There are a few key points to note about the ingredients. First of all, there are some pretty Asian ingredients in this recipe, so your best bet is to hit up your local Asian grocery store. (Ngoy Hoa, if you’re from Regina). Spend the money on these ingredients now because I guarantee you’ll be using them again if you continue to follow me on this blog. The Asian ingredients are star anise (a star shaped southeast Asian spice). Remember? We used it in the Vietnamese beef stew recipe.  The recipe also calls for light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. If you go to a Canadian grocery store, you’re not going to find different types of soy sauce (actually, Superstore might have light and dark soy sauces). Using the two different kinds of soy sauces will add depth of flavour to this chicken. The abundance of soy sauce in this recipe makes the chicken super salty. So for the chicken broth that is required, make sure you use no-salt or low-salt chicken broth. Otherwise, it will be way too salty.  Lastly, you’ll need some Chinese cooking wine. You can also find this at your local Asian food store.

Also, the green onion oil may seem like an optional addition but it is NOT optional. It is essential to the dish so don’t skip this step!

The layers of flavour in this dish is unreal. The salty, silky chicken, the pungent green onion oil, the steaming hot rice – it is so filling and comforting. The strong flavours of this dish would be best paired with a lighter red wine like a Zinfandel. However, I didn’t have any Zinfandel on hand but I had a bottle of Menage a Trois, which is a Zinfandel/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. It was an amazing pairing! This wine would also pair well with other strongly flavoured Asian meats like Chinese barbecue pork.

Soy Sauce Chicken

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 1.5-2 hours

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CHICKEN:
  • 1 small whole chicken, about 2-3 lbs
  • 2 stalks of green onion, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup no-salt or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • FOR THE GREEN ONION OIL
  • 2 cups finely diced green onions
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black better
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Instructions

1

MARINATING CHICKEN:

2

In a pot over medium heat, combine the green onions, ginger, star anise, both soy sauces, chicken stock, chinese cooking wine, brown sugar, oyster sauce, paprika and black pepper.

3

Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place the pot over ice to cool the sauce down to room temperature. Don't skip this step. If you pour hot sauce over raw chicken, you're going to end up cooking the chicken in random places and the uneven heat can cause the temperature of the chicken to rise to unsafe levels conducive to salmonella.

4

Place the chicken and the cooled soy sauce mixture into a large Ziplock freezer bag and coat the chicken all over with the sauce. Transfer to the fridge to marinate overnight.

5

PREPARING GREEN ONION OIL:

6

Place diced green onions, grated ginger, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

7

Heat canola oil in a pot over high heat until it starts to smoke slightly.

8

Pour the oil over the green onion mixture. It will sizzle and smoke so make sure your exhaust fan or air exchange is on!

9

Stir the mixture and then set aside and let it rest for 2 hours before using (I usually make this right before I put the chicken in the oven).

10

TO COOK THE CHICKEN:

11

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

12

Choose a pot that will fit the chicken neatly without too much extra space. I used my Le Creuset French Oven that I got for Christmas and it was the perfect size!

13

Remove the chicken from the Ziplock bag and then pour the marinade into the pot.

14

Bring the marinade to a simmer over medium heat, then place the chicken into the pot.

15

Turn the chicken a few times to coat it with the sauce, then put the pot into the oven uncovered.

16

Every 15 minutes or so, turn the chicken and baste it with the sauce evenly over every surface. (I did a poor job of this the first time I made it, so if you look at my chicken compared to my sister's in the pictures above, mine isn't as evenly darkened as hers).

17

The chicken should be perfectly done after 60-75 minutes.

18

Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest while you prepare the sauce.

19

Strain the sauce from the pot into a small sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp of no-salt chicken stock (or water) to thin out the saltiness. Whisk and keep it warm over low heat.

20

To serve, carve the chicken into small pieces and place over jasmine rice. Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken and rice, and add a spoonful of the green onion oil.