Tag Archives: Recipe

Viet Stir Fried Green Beans

19 May

This blog should be renamed – Stopping and Starting Vietnamese. But I have a really, really good excuse for the hiatus. You know, that darling little baby I told you about last summer.

Now that Little is eating more food, and loving everything we put in front of her, I’m getting back in to cooking. Usual modifications for our flavor preferences are upstaged by modifications for less sodium / sugar / spice. Not always easy with Vietnamese cuisine.

Not that we have to worry about flavors – the girl was squawking for more mouthfuls after her first slurp of bun mam, a fermented fish noodle soup that even took me several encounters to love. She hesitated a bit with stir fried bittermelon, but if that isn’t an acquired taste, I don’t know what is.

My frequent routine is to head to market Saturday or Sunday morning, and prepare protein or the most complicated dishes Sunday evening. If I cook ahead or at least marinate and have on hand the right proteins, all I need to do is prepare a quick fresh veggie and it seems like I was chained to the stove all day rather than in the office.

Lately these green beens have been a bright spot with our ca kho (caramelized fish) or ga kho gung (caramelized ginger chicken).

Vietnamese Stir Fried Green Beans

Serves 2 as a single side, 4 with multiple dishes

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and ends trimmed
  • 5 green onions, using only 2 white bottoms
  • 2 tbs neutral oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 tbs fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper (or more, to taste)

Clean and trim the ends of your green beans. Roughly chop green parts of all onions, using only 2 of the white bottoms. If you want super onion-y dish, go ahead and use them all. If not, use in soup or kho caramel dish.

Heat oil in sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add green beans and white onion pieces, stirring to coat in oil and garlic. Add fish sauce, sugar and light soy, mixing well so sugar dissolves with the vegetables. Stir frequently and cook for a few minutes.

Add green onion pieces and black pepper, cook for another minute or two. Remove and serve hot!

Beans will still be crunchy. If you want them softer, you could add some water and cover to steam-cook before adding green onions and pepper at the end.

We usually make a more Chinese-style green bean dish with oyster sauce, but after the first serving, Anh is won over. We’ll be making these from now on.

Enjoy!

Nuoc Mam Gung – The ultimate Vietnamese dipping sauce

8 Aug

My mother in law’s nuoc mam gung (ginger dipping sauce) is legendary. No one in the family makes it like her.

I have made several feeble attempts that mostly proved to be failures. Edible, but failures nonetheless. Rather than ask her to make the sauce for me every time I prepare Bun Mang Vit (Duck and bamboo noodle soup), vermicelli bowls, or any of the other dishes we enjoy with the sauce, it was time for me to learn.

Over and over she says “No measurements, just taste.”

OK, fine.

But I still need to see about how much of everything goes in to this magical concoction.

We called her up the other weekend and said we’d be over to make the sauce with strong warnings not to have it already made before we arrived. She didn’t make it, thankfully, but had the other ingredients ready and waiting.

And the results were glorious.

Mom and I holding the finished product of ginger dipping sauce. Continue reading

Bo Luc Lac Shaking Beef Recipe

15 Jul

I had a craving for the super simple yet flavor-packed Bo Luc Lac, or Shaking Beef. It’s also one of my favorite dishes to say. I know I’ve made it several times but apparently never blogged the recipe. My sister in law makes a really great version of this simple main dish adding mushroom sauce in addition to the typical oyster sauce. Traditionally, the seared beef cubes are served atop crisp, raw watercress and tomato slices. I had arugula and cherry tomatoes left over from and Independence Day fresh corn salad and decided to use those. The arugula has the same peppery bite as watercress, and it easier to eat!  I’ve seen many recipes call for tossing the greens in a vinaigrette, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the muoi tieu chanh (lime, salt, and pepper dipping sauce).

Ideally, you want to marinade the beef overnight to achieve maximum flavor, but 30-60 minutes will do in a pinch. You want tender beef – steer clear of the time saving beef cubes that are usually stew meat. You’ll tire of chewing before getting full.

Prepare in the order below and serve with rice and one or two other small dishes to round out the meal. Now if this isn’t a picture of summer, I don’t know what is!

Dinner table set with Shaking Beef, bowls of rice, and lime dipping sauce. Continue reading

Learning How to Blog (And Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit Lotus Root Salad)

2 Jun

That should be the name of this blog rather than Learning Vietnam. Tôi xin lỗi! (Sorry!)

The Year of the Horse is certainly off to the races (ba dum dum…couldn’t help myself). My husband and I both started new jobs in early Spring and have been running around like crazy people. Also, I’ve gone off the deep end with my yoga practice so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the yoga studio. So much, in fact, that I’ve decided to take yoga teacher training this fall! Stay tuned for more on that, if you’re interested.

However, even with all of this, it’s not as if I haven’t been cooking. I have. But not as much. Happy to report that I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of things, I think.

One of my favorite new meals came from the Ravenous Couple  Com Ga Hai Nam (Hainan Chicken and Rice). Really refreshing and flavorful at the same time. The cooking method for the rice was interesting – you use the fragrant broth after poaching the chicken with other spices and aromatics tossed in right in the rice cooker!

Poached chicken with rice and fresh Vietnamese shrimp rolls

Anh even helped roll some of the Goi Cuon.

Husband preparing fresh shrimp rolls with vegetables
 

With enough nuoc mam gung left over, I made Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt (Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork) and Canh Bi (Fuzzy Melon Soup) for dinner later in the week. I was pleasantly surprised how easy the salad is to prepare – really refreshing for a hot late-spring evening. Without the pork ear/cartilage, I’ll be sure to make this for my own family as well!

Squash soup with lotus root, shrimp, and pork salad

Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt (Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork)

Serves four with several other dishes, or two as main course

1 jar lotus roots in brine

Rau ram (coriander leaves), Mint, Thai Basil

Shredded Carrot

1/2 lb. Pork Shoulder

1/4 lb. Shrimp

Crispy fried shallots

Peanuts (optional)

Nuoc Mam Gung (ginger dipping sauce)

 

Boil the shrimp in water with 1 tbs sugar and 1 tbs fish sauce until opaque pink. Remove from water and set aside in covered bowl to cool. In the same water, add the pork and cook through – approximately 10-15 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from water and cool in plastic covered bowl.

While all that’s happening, prepare the lotus root. Drain them from the brine solution and rinse well. Slice on the diagonal so they are still long, but not as thick. One jar may not seem like a lot initially, but once you slice and toss with remaining ingredients you’ll have plenty.

Rough chop the fresh herbs and toss with the lotus roots and shredded carrot. Once cool, halve the shrimp, and cut the pork into thin slices. Arrange on top of the mixed salad and top with crisp fried shallots, drizzle with nuoc mam gung. 

Enjoy!

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