Monday, October 25, 2010

Banh Pate So (Pate Chaud)

Another one of my favorite food is Banh Pate So (Pate Chaud). This is something that my mom would often make to bring to family parties. No family get together would be complete without her Banh Pate So. It makes for a great appetizer. My brother even makes it to bring to his parties. This recipe is pretty simple... it's just one way to make them. If you would like to try it, keep reading! This recipe makes 18 Banh Pate So. If you need more, just double the recipe.


  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (there’s 2 inside)
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped shallots (a big one should be fine)
  • ¼ tsp tapioca starch or corn starch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper (or a pinch will do)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp soy sauce

Step 1

If your pastry sheets are frozen you should let them thaw out about 20-30 minutes before you need to use them. Mix the pork, onion, shallots, sugar, salt, pepper, tapioca starch, and oyster sauce together.

Step 2

When your pastry sheets are thawed out enough to work with, cut them into 3 equal pieces. Then unfold and cut into another 3 equal pieces (see pic).

Step 3

Prepare a baking sheet or pan with non stick foil or you may lightly butter it. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Step 4

Take your square piece of pastry and scoop a teaspoonful of pork into it and fold into a triangle (see pic). Be sure not to overstuff your pastry because then very lightly pinch the sides together.

Step 5

Take the straight side opposite to your knife’s blade and press down. Then take a fork and press the sides (see pic). Place on baking sheet.

Step 6

When finished assembling pastry, bake on the middle rack on 375 degrees for the first 10 minutes. In the mean time, lightly whisk egg yolk and soy sauce together to make the egg wash. After the initial 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for another 15 minutes, then carefully pull out oven rack and apply egg wash to your pastry and continue baking for the remaining 5 minutes. Keep an eye on your pastry because oven temperature may vary.

Let them cool for about 5 minutes before plating or eating them. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Muc Rang Muoi (Salt and Pepper Squid)

I finally made it to the Vietnamese market and bought ingredients to make Muc Rang Muoi. This dish is very simple to make and only requires 3-4 ingredients. This dish can be served with white rice or as an appetizer. Let's get started!

1 lb. squid
2-3 jalapenos
tempura mix (if you don't have tempura, then just use flour)
oil for frying
2 Tbsp olive oil
scallions (optional)
slices of onion (optional)

Step 1
Clean squid: Separate the tentacles and cut off the part with the eyes. Peel off the skin. Pull out the plastic like part (see pic). If you buy the ones that are already cleaned, you may skip the cleaning part.

Step 2
Cut the squid into 1/2 to 3/4 inch rings. Prepare a ziploc bag with an overflowing 1/2 cup of tempura mix. Slightly drain squid and toss in ziploc bag. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. In the mean time, slice your jalapenos, cut your scallions into 1 inch pieces, and set aside.

Step 3
After 30 minutes, heat a small pot with oil. Take squid out of freezer and when oil is hot start frying your squid until golden brown. Once you are done with frying, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a wok or large pan and add your jalapenos. Let cook on medium for a minute or two. Then add squid and sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper then toss for a minute. Add scallions and toss for another minute. Plate your squid and it's ready to be served. You may serve this dish with lime/lemon, pepper, and salt dip.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Recipes Coming Up Next Week

So this last week or so have been pretty busy, but after this weekend, things will have calmed down a bit. Just giving y'all a heads up on what's in store for the next couple of weeks.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll post the recipes for:
  • Banh Pate So (Pate Chaud)
  • Mi Hoanh Thanh (Wonton Noodle Soup)
  • Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) - if I ever get around to it ;)
  • Muc Rang Muoi (Salt and Pepper Squid)
This is just a tentative list, depending on what I'm craving or what's on sale, these recipes may change lol.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tom Rang Muoi (Salt and Pepper Shrimp)

I noticed that sometimes we cook what we crave, but we also tend to cook economically smart. I was grocery shopping today and saw that shrimp was on sale for $3.49 a pound. So guess what I made for dinner tonight ;) For under $5 you too can serve this yummy dish.

  • 1 lb shrimp head and shell on (medium to large in size, mine were medium)
  • ½ an onion sliced into strips
  • 2 stalks scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar, ½ tsp pepper (mixed in small bowl)
  • 3-4 dried chilies or ½ tsp crushed red pepper (that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or any that you have on hand)
  • Oil for frying
Step 1
Clean shrimp and let excess water dry off. This is optional, but I like to cut the sharp part of the tail off because some people like to eat the whole entire shrimp. I also use a toothpick to devein the shrimp (stick toothpick in the middle part of the shells and pull the veins out). Prepare ½ cup of corn starch in a large bowl. Coat shrimp with corn starch, shake off excess, and lay on a separate plate.
Step 2
Heat your oil in a pot. When oil is hot, fry your shrimp. Place fried shrimp on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Set aside, but remember to work quickly because we don’t want the shrimp to get soggy.
Step 3
In a wok or big pan heat 1 Tbsp oil and add minced garlic. Add onion and sauté for about 1 minute on medium heat. Then add the fried shrimp and sprinkle with salt, sugar and pepper mix and ½ tsp crushed red pepper. Flavor to your taste (I used about half of the seasoning mixture). Add more or less depending on how salty you would like your shrimp. Toss for about 30 seconds, then add scallions and toss for another 30 seconds.

Serve right away to avoid soggy shrimps. You may want to serve this with steamed white rice or it can be eaten a la carte, but I usually serve it with other entrees for our family dinner (see pic above). If you like squid, you may want to make Muc Rang Muoi (Salt and Pepper Squid). Good luck and enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sup Mang Cua (Crab and Asparagus Soup)

Sup Mang Cua is a soup that you probably see at a lot of Vietnamese gatherings. Most of the family parties that I have attended have served this type of soup. This is a light soup that enhances the flavor of crab meat blended with asparagus. This soup is a great appetizer, so try it out next time you have guests over... it's sure to be a hit :)

This recipe yields 4-5 servings (picture displays normal soup bowl)

  • 2 cans 14 oz chicken broth + 2 cans water
  • ½ lb fresh asparagus, cleaned and cut into about 1 inch or you can use canned asparagus OR 14 oz canned asparagus, white or green
  • 1 15 oz can quail egg
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp onion, diced very small
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 Tbsp for the crab meat and (optional) 1 for soup
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp rice cooking wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 full Tbsp potato starch (can sub tapioca starch, but my mom says potato starch is better)
  • ¾ cup water

Step 1
Pour chicken broth and water in a big pot. Bring to a boil. In the mean time, clean your asparagus by stripping off some of its scale/skin (see pic). Then cut into 1 inch pieces and wash. When your broth has come to a boil carefully add your asparagus into the soup and wait for it to boil again, then lower to medium heat for 15 minutes.
Step 2
Clean and dice onion finely. Drain quail egg from can and wash. Set both aside. Gently wash your crab meat in a metal strainer (you need to wash the crab meat because even though it comes prepackaged, it may be semi dirty). Let excess water drain out. Then in a small pan, melt butter, and then add onion and sauté for about 1 minute. Add crab meat, then fish sauce. Sauté the crab meat for 2-3 minutes then stir in cooking wine and cook for 1 minute.

Step 3
Add chicken bouillon powder to your soup and then add the crab meat to the pot. Bring to slight boil. In the mean time, mix ¾ cup water with 2 full Tbsp of potato starch very well so it is fully dissolved. This will thicken up your soup. Slowly pour the starch water into the soup while stirring constantly with chopsticks (or ladle). Make sure you stir constantly, otherwise you soup’s thickness won’t be even. *You may want to slowly add the starch water until it reaches your desired thickness… you don’t have to use all of the starch water*

Step 4
Add 2 tsp sugar and taste the soup. If it’s not as salty as you want it, you may want to add another tsp of fish sauce. This is the time to adjust the flavor in your soup. When you feel that the soup is to your taste, beat one egg and pour into a small strainer (see pic). You want to stir while your egg drips from your strainer to create those strands of egg. Then add your quail eggs and bring to a boil, and then you’re done. After you’ve turn off the stove, try not to stir the soup as much otherwise you’ll ruin the thickness.

Serve hot, sprinkled with some black pepper and this is optional, but I like to add some zing to my soup with hot chili oil (sate).