Hello, it’s me.
I have just begun to defrost from the epic Blizzard of 2016 and realized that I have not blogged in two months. The holidays, the snow, let’s just say blizzard-winter-brain is no bueno.
Let’s unfreeze with one of the best Vietnamese comfort dishes, Bò Kho.
Bò Kho is a beef stew made with beef chuck, carrots and onions. The characteristic flavors stem from cinnamon and star anise. I opted out of including potatoes, because this way I can eat more noodles. This dish can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serve with:
- French baguette, torn to pieces and dipped
- Pho noodles for Pho Bo Kho
- or in my case of ramen obsession, with Ramen noodles for Ramen Bo Kho.
It’s officially “soup season” and this soup combines two of my favorite things:
Dumplings and Noodles.
Mì Hoành Thánh Vịt Quay is a Vietnamese soup with egg noodles, wonton shrimp and pork dumplings with bok choy topped with roasted duck. It’s a Vietnamese dish long ago influenced by the Chinese. This dish is completely different from that Wonton Soup you find at chinese take-out. Please, do not confuse the two.
My strongest memory of this dish, one I will always correlate with Mì Hoành Thánh is from 2009. We arrived into Saigon, Vietnam from a late, long flight and slurped up a bowl of this soup at 3:00 am. It was the perfect remedy for jet lag and fatigue.
As always, this recipe is my own rendition of a traditional dish without the MSG, the pre-packaged powders and as least sugar (or none in most cases) as possible. It may taste a little different than what the restaurants and Grandma may make, but kitchen experiments in Mama Melly’s Messhall are always ground-breaking!
My very first food blog post is my very first favorite food, a Vietnamese dish my mother would make for me growing up in Virginia. Canh Chua directly translates to English as “sour soup” and originates from Southern Vietnam, in the Mekong Delta region. It’s somewhat similar to Thailand’s Tom Yum Soup.
Canh Chua is a soup with a tamarind broth, full of tomatoes, pineapple and bean sprouts. From there, you can personalize it many different ways. Usually, fish, Bac Ha (also called elephant ear stems) and okra is added, served with Jasmine rice. I prefer to add enoki mushrooms and serve over quinoa.
I prepare my fish sous-vide, which preserves the beautiful vibrant orange color of Salmon as well as keeps the texture, moisture and flavor of the fish intact. Sous vide cooking is great for cooking food evenly, ensuring the core is fully cooked without overcooking the exterior. It’s putting your food in a zip-loc baggy and putting it in a food jacuzzi. It’s fun! (If you do not have a sous vide, you can boil your salmon in the broth, but remove promptly after it’s cooked through because the fish will crumble and fall apart into the soup. This is the traditional way to cook Canh Chua, however I find that the salmon loses a lot of its own flavor and dries out this way. I am also in love with my Sansaire, so I may be biased!)
Here’s my step-by-step non-traditional, healthy take on a Vietnamese staple. No sugar, no salt, no chemicals or preservatives!