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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Chao Vit Vietnamese Duck Porridge

My stomach has been feeling funny for the past few days so I made chao vit, or duck porridge, for dinner.  Whenever I was not feeling well, my mom would make a huge pot of chao.  Chao is made with a duck based broth and rice, so simple yet satisfying.  The broth can be made from chicken, pork, or just water.  Many people cook the rice directly in the broth, but I strained the broth to remove all the fat, and then added in the rice to make a healthier soup.  I probably removed 2 cups of fat.  When paired with toasted gio chao quay (Chinese donuts), they soak up the soup and add a wonderful texture to the meal.  I added a handful of bean sprouts to my chao, squeezed a few drops of lime juice, and topped it with pepper, a few pieces of red chili, cilantro, and green onions.  The crunch of the bean sprouts, the sourness of the lime, and the kick from the chilies brought so many flavors to the chao.  It was a comforting and satisfying meal!

Ingredients

One 5-lb duck
10 cups of water
1 tbsp of salt
1 bulb of ginger, sliced
2 cups of cooked rice
2-3 tbsps fish sauce
Gio chao quay (Chinese donuts)
Pepper to taste
Bean sprouts
Lime wedges, red chili, cilantro, and onions for garnish
Nuoc mam cham (fish sauce) for the duck

Instructions

Place the whole duck in the pot filled with 10 cups of water.  Add the salt and ginger.  Bring the pot to a boil and let simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes.

Remove the duck from the broth and strain the broth to remove any excess fat.  Add the rice to the pot.  Use a hand blender, blend the rice until finely ground.  Continue cooking for another 30 minutes to let the porridge thicken.  Add in the fish sauce and season to your liking.

While you are waiting for the porridge to finish cooking, chop the duck into small pieces, prepare the fish sauce, and toast the Chinese donuts.

Add a few pieces of duck and a handful of bean sprouts before ladling the porridge to a serving bowl.  Garnish with green onions, cilantro, pepper, and red chillies.

Enjoy!

Pho Bo Vietnamese Beef Noodle

Today, I am going back to my roots and sharing with you one of my all time favorite dishes, pho bo, or Vietnamese beef noodle.  Pho is a northern Vietnamese dish that has become well known worldwide.  Whether you are traveling in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, or America, you will likely find a restaurant with this wonderful soup.  If you can find a Vietnamese community, you can find a pho restaurant.  I grew up on pho, eating it for breakfast and lunch from the street vendors near my house.  And during the cold, rainy nights, it was the perfect soup for dinner.  My dad, a northerner, passed on his family recipe to my mom who came from south Vietnam.  Pho has a wonderful broth, flavored with star anise, Saigon cinnamon, charred onion, ginger, and many other spices.  The original recipe does not call for chicken stock, but my mom, who has more than 50 years of cooking experience under her belt, passed on her secret that one can of chicken stock adds even more flavor to the soup.  The daikon also adds a hint of sweetness lessening the amount of sugar needed.  Similar to many other Vietnamese noodle dishes, pho is served with lots of greens, mainly hung que (Thai basil) and ngo gai (which I do not know the English translation).  I also like the texture of bean sprouts in mine.  It adds a bit of crunch.  And of course, a bowl of pho is incomplete without the hoisin sauce and Sriracha!  People like to add brisket, tendon, tripe, and flank to their pho, but I enjoy mine with round steak and bo vien.  I am happy to share with you my mom’s recipe and hope it will send you in the right direction on your pho adventure.

Ingredients

A handful of spices (fennel, clove, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon)
1 large white onion
2 pieces of ginger, halved lengthwise
1 lb of daikon
1 tbsp of salt
2 lbs of beef bone
6 cups of water
1 can of chicken stock
¼ cup of fish sauce
3-4  tbsps of sugar
Rice noodles
1 lb of round steak cut in thin slices (ask your local butcher to prepare for you)
1 lb of meat balls  (bo vien from Kim Son)
Green onions and cilantro (cut in small pieces)
Bean sprouts
Hung que (basil leaves)
Ngo gai
Lime wedges
Hoisin and Sriracha sauces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the ginger, onion, and spices in the oven and broil for 10 minutes.

Clean the beef bones with warm water and place them in a large stockpot.  Add the daikon, ginger, onion, spices, salt, and water to the pot.  Cook on medium heat for  three to four hours.  Remove any scum.  Strain the broth and transfer to a clean stockpot.  Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar to the new pot and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Let it simmer for another hour.

To cook the rice noodle, in a clean pot, bring water to a boil.  Immerse the rice noodle in the boiling water for a few seconds so you do not overcook the noodle.

When ready to serve, place the bean sprouts and noodle in the bowl.  Place the steak and meat balls on top.  Add the hot broth to the bowl, and garnish with cilantro and green onion.

Serve with hung que, ngo gai, lime wedges, and condiments.

“Banh Canh Cua” Vietnamese Rice Noodle with Crab Soup

I am so happy that crab season lasts longer this year.  I plan on making “banh canh cua” or Vietnamese fat rice noodle with crab soup.  Banh canh cua is one of my favorite soups.  There are two versions, pork soup and crab soup.  I grew up with both but being a seafood fanatic, I enjoy the crab version much more.  The noodles look fat like udon, but are made with rice or tapioca, not wheat.  The tapioca noodles are clear after boiling and taste more chewy compared to the rice noodles.  This dish brings back fond memories of my pharmacy rotation in Vietnam.  My classmates and I would go to Ben Thanh market in Saigon for lunch or dinner and order banh canh from the various food stands.  The atmosphere was always lively, great for eating and people watching.  I hope you find this soup tasty and comforting!

Ingredients

2 Dungeness crabs
10 cups of water
2 lbs of pork neck bones
¼ cup of fish sauce
¼ cup of sugar
2 pkg (15 oz) fat rice noodles (they look like udon)
1 lb of deveined shrimps
chili pepper and pepper to taste (optional)
cilantro and green onions for garnish

Directions

Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes.  Save the crab stock.  Remove the meat from the body and claws, and save the juice from the body.  In a separate stockpot, fill 10 cups of water and cook the pork neck bones for 2 hours.  Pour the strained the pork stock, 2 cups of crab stock, and juice from the crabs into a separate stockpot.  Add fish sauce.  Let simmer for 30 minutes and remove any scum at the surface.  Add sugar to taste.

Boil the rice noodles until semi-clear.  Strain and leave the noodles in cold water so they do not expand.

When ready to serve, transfer the noodle to a serving bowl, top with crab meat and shrimps and then add soup.  Garnish with green onions, cilantro, pepper, and chili pepper.  Enjoy!

Homemade Crab Bisque with Saffron

I was out of town for a pharmacy conference in Anaheim for a few days and have not had time to blog.  It felt really nice to be back home and back to my daily routine.  For dinner, I decided to make crab bisque, inspired by a crab dish that I had at Joe’s Crab Shack near our hotel.  French in origin, bisque is a smooth and creamy soup based on a strained broth of crustaceans, usually lobster, crab, shrimp, and even crayfish.  I paired the bisque with toasted baguettes and a glass of white wine.  If you are entertaining guests this holiday, this bisque would be a perfect start to your dinner party.

Ingredients

2 (1 1/2-pound) crabs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots or onions
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp saffron
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
chives for garnish

Directions

Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes.  Discard the water. (you can also save 1-2 cups of this original stock if you want a stronger crab taste)

Remove crab meats from the body and claws.  Save the shells.

Place 5 cups of water in a clean stockpot and turn on high heat.  Put the shells in the stockpot and cook for 30 minutes.  This should yield 4 cups of crab stock.

Add olive oil to a large sauté pan and turn on medium heat.  Add the garlic, shallots, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, and saffron and sauté for 20 minutes.

Add 4 cups of strained crab stock to the sautéed vegetables. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Press entire contents of sautéed pan through sieve into a clean sauté pan.

To finish the bisque, add heavy cream slowly, using whisk to blend.  Add white wine. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes; bisque will thicken slightly.

Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and slowly add to bisque with whisk.  Simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.  Add pepper and sugar (more if you like a sweeter taste).

Place pieces of previous cleaned crab meat in bowl and add 1 cup of bisque.

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