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Monday, June 23, 2014

Sữa Đậu Nành (Soy Milk)




Yesterday, while my girls and I were browsing through the aisles at Henry's Farmers Market, my eyes caught on to the bin of soy beans.  I have always wanted to make fresh soy milk but for some reason haven't gotten around to it. So this time, I was determined to make fresh soy milk for my family to enjoy this summer.

The thought of fresh homemade soy milk always brings back so much memories of my childhood.  As I was a child growing up, just about my daughters' age now, I loved being in the kitchen.  I often begged the workers at my family's coffee shop to let me do something such as washing the dishes but I could never convince them. I could only watch from afar. I still remember how I sneaked around to see the workers ringing the soy milk from the cloth. I loved to breathe in the pleasant, nutty aroma that filled the kitchen during the boiling process.

My kids love to make soy milk but they are not very fond of drinking it. I'm trying to coax them.  My husband loves it and requests to have a glass every morning. Making soy milk at home is so inexpensive, healthy and easier than you think.  It costs about $1 to produce 5 liters of soy milk. But more importantly, you know exactly what's going into your soy milk. 
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RECIPE: Sữa Đậu Nành
Make about 5 quarts
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Ingredients


3 cups Soy Beans
15 cups Water
1 1/4 cups Sugar
4 Pandan Leaves, tied into knots
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Powder
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Directions

Preparing the Beans


Rinse the beans a few times until water is cleared. Soak the beans in a large amount of cool water overnight as these beans soak up lots of water and they expand quite bit.    

Use your palms to scrub the beans to separate skin from beans. Remove the skin of bean that floats to the top of the water. Pick through bean and discard those that haven't expanded. Rinse beans a couple times. Drain and set aside.

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Blending the Beans


In a Vitamix blender, add 1/4 of the bean with 4 cups of water. Let your blender run at maximum speed which is 10 and on high for about 30 seconds or until blended. You want to blend the beans as smoothly as possible. Pour it in a large bowl.  Continue blending the remaining batches until done.

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Straining the Beans


Pour the blended soy milk into a fine mesh bag.  Milk the soybean blend until there is no liquid left.  I made the soy milk spontaneously, so I cut off my thin t-shirt and used it as a strainer. (Yes, it was washed with soap then boiled to sterilize before using.)


Repeat a few times until done. 


The residue that's left after straining the soy milk is called Okara. There are many recipes that called for Okara, so you might want to save it to use later.  Okara would also make great compose for your plants.

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Boiling the Soy Milk


Before boiling the soy milk, use a strainer to filter it into a pot one more time. Discard the foam.  Set aside.


Bring the pot of soy milk and pandan leaves to a boil.


Reduce heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Make sure to stir the soy milk occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

While it's cooking, there are layers of soy milk foam on top; skim them off. These layers are called tofu skin or bean curd skin (tàu hủ ky). I actually like to eat off these layers but you can also collect and dry them. 

Add sugar and taste it as you go until you reach your desire sweetness. Some people prefer to drink it bland but I like it with a taste of sweetness.


Turn off heat.  Add vanilla. Stir it well.  

Let the soy milk cool down. Transfer it to a glass jar and keep it refrigerated.  It will last for a week.
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Presentation


I love to enjoy a warm glass of soy milk when it's fresh off the stove. Soy milk also tastes great when served cold.


To enrich the flavor of soy milk, you can also mix soy milk with roasted peanut paste, roasted mung bean powder, almond powder or flavoring of choice.


Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thịt Heo Chiên/Nướng (Grilled/Pan-Fried Pork)



The last few days have been exciting. My little girl just got promoted from kindergarten to first and her sister to third grade. My oh my where the years have gone. How I wish I could turn back the clock and watch them grow all over again.

It was just yesterday . . . 

Okay, back to the kitchen. To kick off the grilling season, what I would like to share with you this month is a recipe of Thịt Nướng (Grilled/Pan-Fried Pork). After many tries on this dish, this is by far my best work. The meat is very flavorful and tender. Give it a try and please leave me feedback.
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RECIPE: Thịt Heo Chiên/Nướng
Ingredients


about 12 pieces Pork Chop or 
2-3 pounds Pork Shoulder (Costco has pork shoulder that are cut into thin strips)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) European Maggi Soy Sauce
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) Hoisin Sauce
4  tablespoons Olive Oil
4  tablespoons Sugar 
1  tablespoons Garlic Powder or 4-5 cloves of Garlic, pasted
2 Eggs, for tenderize the meat
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Directions

Marinating the Meat
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except eggs. Mix well. Add meat and marinate for a few hours or overnight. 


Half an hour before cooking, mix eggs in a mixing bowl. Transfer meat (discard the sauce if any) into the egg bowl. Mix well. Let it sit for at least half an hour before pan-frying or grilling.

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Frying the Meat


If frying, drizzle some oil in a frying pan and heat it up at medium heat. When oil is hot, add pork.

Cover the pan while frying except when it's time to flip. Remove the lid toward the end to clear the steam.  Fry for another minute before removing the meat.

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Presentation


Serve pork with steam rice or cut it into thin strips and make a sub-sandwich with pickled carrot/daikon, sliced cucumber, cilantro and sriracha sauce.


Enjoy!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lễ Phục Sinh! (Happy Easter!)



I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!  
I had a beautiful day with friends and family.  My college roommate's family drove all the way from Yorba Linda to spend time with us for the weekend.  In the bright early morning of Easter, we started with a fun sweet treat project for our kids.  We ended up with cute little yellow peeps made out of marshmallows, chocolate and food colors.  




While the kids were busy doing their own thing, we secretly set up a surprise table for them. They were thrilled to receive the cuddly, cooling and huge-able heating thermal aid zoo characters from the Easter bunny. Their new favorite pets' names are Tiny, Bella, Jojo, and Olive.


Our morning rolled by quickly and by the time we got back from dim sum, it was almost three o'clock.  Since we promised the kids an Easter party, off to the kitchen we go.  With the help of my new "adult" sous chef,  we were able to get a few more treats done in just about an hour.  
The coconut macaroon nest is a simple recipe but the result was spectacularly decadent.




The rice crispy Easter eggs were not only cute but mighty tasty. Even the adults love them.


The kiddos challenged me to carve a bunny watermelon.  Voila!




I had a couple more treats in mind, but no more time so it was time to set up the sweet treat table.








My sous chef for the day was incredibly creative. She decorated the egg shells with wild garden flowers and leaves that she picked from the backyard. So vibrant and beautiful!



The table was set, the treats arranged and off they go hunting for Easter eggs.






Both parents and children had a great time playing sack racing game, and munching on sweet treats.  







my wonderful sous chef for the day

It was a perfect Easter day as the weather was gorgeous.  We closed our day with a delicious barbecue dinner.





And to top it off, we also enjoyed the delish homemade pate that was delivered to me in the morning of Easter from one of my blog readers from San Francisco.  It was so good that everyone begged for the recipe.



And for dessert, a super rich and yummy chocolate cake was served to our delight. It was also delivered from the same person. In case you read this post, thank you so much for the amazing food and your thoughtfulness! We thoroughly enjoyed every morsel.


Until next Easter, may you and your family be blessed!