Vietspices Search

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mì Xào Tỏi (Garlic Noodle)

It seems that I have not been able to part from my laptop since I resumed blogging. There are so many delicious dishes that I want to share with everyone.  One of my favorite dishes that I like to serve on holidays or parties is this flavorful buttery noodle with ample amount of  garlic.  Fragrant garlic sauteed with butter filled my kitchen with the smell of an Italian restaurant.  It didn't last that long once I added soy sauce however.

Garlic noodle is quick and easy to prepare.  When crab season comes around, we usually have crab feast and I would make a huge serving plate of garlic noodle to fill everyone's tummy.

Before taking on this role as a "Domestic Engineer", I worked in downtown Sacramento.  During lunch time, my coworker and I often strolled to a nearby noodle shop to buy fresh egg noodle.  It is a small shop that supplies a variety of egg noodle, produced by one elderly Chinese man standing on his feet all day turning out these wonderful egg noodle.   Now, it's a bit of a drive for me to get to downtown so I often make garlic noodle using dried spaghetti noodle from a bag instead.  Though the size of spaghetti noodle is smaller than the size of the egg noodle and the texture is quite different, they both taste yummy.  However, I would prefer the thick egg noodle for this garlic noodles dish. 

Today, I made garlic noodle tossed with shrimps for the girls to enjoy after school. They love eating the garlic noodle not just for the savor and flavor but it's fun for them to slurp each string of noodle.  It also gives their lips a lovely natural glossy sheen and a wonderful after taste with each licking of their lips!
RECIPE: Mì Xào Tỏi (Garlic Noodle)
Printable Recipe


1 bag (14 oz each) thick Egg Noodle or
1 lb Spaghetti Noodle
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Europe Maggie Soy Sauce
1/2 stick of Butter
1/4 cup finely chopped Garlic
1/4  cup finely chopped Cilantro
1 lb large Shrimp, shelled and deveined, tail-on
about 1/4 cups Parmesan Cheese, optional
Cooking Noodle

The preferred way to cook spaghetti noodle is 'al dente' - pasta that is cooked just long enough that it is neither crunchy nor soft. There are three choices for done-ness: Al dente, firm and soft. If used spaghetti noodle for this recipe, cook until it's soft. Drain, do not rinse, and set aside.

If used egg noodle, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the noodle into the boiling water and cook the noodle unitl al dente (cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture). Don't overcook as the noodle will become soggy. Rinse noodle under cold water.  Drain and set aside.

Preparing Sauce

Combine soy sauce and brown sugar and mix well.  Set aside.

Stir Frying Shrimps

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the hot skillet on high heat and sear the shrimps about a minute on each side or until shrimps turn pink and edges begin to brown. Remove and set aside.

Stir Frying Noodle

Bring the same frying pan on medium heat, add the butter and garlic.  Saute until fragrant. Add the sauce and give it a quick stir. Avoid cooking the sauce too long to prevent evaporation which could lead to a saltier sauce.

Add noodle and quickly toss the noodle to coat with the sauce for about a minute.  It also tastes wonderful with Parmesan cheese, so toss in some Parmesan cheese and mix well, if desired.  Add the shrimps and cilantro.  Mix well.


Transfer garlic noodles on a plate.   Enjoy!

Happy Holidays and May God Bless You and Your Family.
Be Full and Be Safe!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hồ Đào, Hạnh Nhân Rang với Thịt Lợn Muối Xông Khói (Roasted Spicy Bacon Mixed Nuts)

Wow...I am finally sitting in front of the laptop and blogging starts creeping back into my life after a long hiatus. As most of you know I have just settled into a new place. The process as some of you can relate was exciting and stressful at the same time.

As much as I miss blogging I had no time and no internet for me to blog. Now that the dust has settled, literally,  I can now get back to my old routine. 

Let's ring in the winter holidays with some nutty appetizer. I was introduced to this by one of my good friends and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I tweaked the recipe a little bit and here it is! This addicting snack/appetizer is a mixture of nuts and bacon covered in sugar, salt and chilly spice - the usual suspects in anything good right?

Nut by itself is crazy good for your health as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  It contains unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols, and L-arginineEating nuts helps lower your cholesterol; it reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also improve the health of the lining of your arteries.  But sometimes, snacking on plain nuts can be quite boring.  This recipe is probably not the best for your health, but more for your culinary soul;  I hope the two balance out.

We made three batches of the recipe, put them in jars, tied them with ribbons and gave them as Thanksgiving gifts to my daughter's teacher and our love ones.  My husband brought a huge container of these delicious nuts to share with his staff at work and I heard it was well received. Thanks for the support guys!

Walnuts, almond and macadamia are my husband's most favorite nuts, but you can use any kind of nuts you would like for this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and my girls do.
RECIPE: Roasted Spicy Bacon Mixed Nuts

1 bag (16oz) Applewood Smoked Bacon
3 Egg Whites
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 cup Sugar
3-4 cups raw Almonds
3-4 cups Walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cooking Bacon

Place bacon slices on a tray, bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Make sure to turn frequently, allowing slices to brown evenly on both sides.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Save the bacon fat for later use. When the bacon is cool down, break them into small pieces. Set it aside.
Preparing Nuts

In a medium bowl, separate egg whites from egg yolks.  Beat the egg whites and salt until just foamy. Gradually add the sugar, and cayenne and beat until just blended.

Add  almonds and walnuts.  Toss until the nuts are coated.

Baking Nuts

Pour a generous amount of the bacon fat on baking sheets and use a brush to spread it evenly.  Spread the nut mixture in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees until the nuts are crisp and brown, about 30 minutes, turning and stirring the nut mixture with a spatula every 10 minutes to allow the nuts brown evenly on both sides.

Remove from oven and let it completely cool down.  Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Add the bacon pieces and toss to blend. Store it in a jar with a tight fitting lid.

Enjoy these addicting nuts with a cup of your favorite tea!    


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cá Nục Kho Măng Tươi (Braised Mackerel with Fresh Bamboo Shoot)

Once in a while, I crave for Cá Nục (Mackerel) Kho (Braised) Măng (Bamboo Shoot) Tươi (Fresh).  I remembered as a little girl, I used to eat plain porridge  with Cá Nục Kho and it was so good.  It must have been 20 years since I last had it. This dish must have been jumbled along with other childhood memories somewhere in the recess of my mind only to be reminded recently by a scent of some braised mackerel.   

I'm fond of culinary bamboo in general; I love the distinguished smell of the dried bamboo and the crunch and  more subtle flavor of fresh bamboo shoots.  The combination of Cá Nục (Mackerel) and Măng Tươi (Fresh Bamboo Shoot) pairs well with one another.  Unlike the braised Mackerel that is left with little sauce after braising, I like mine with a generous amount of sauce so that I can enjoy it with Bún ( Rice Noodle) and assorted herbs and lettuce or roll it up with rice paper and dip it in its own sauce.

Salmon can be cooked in the same way but it doesn't go so well with bamboo shoots.  I usually braise just Salmon alone and it's still delicious.  For those expecting, Salmon would be the better choice of fish to consume.  Avoid Mackerel as it contains lots of mercury and is not safe.

Braised Salmon Belly 
RECIPE: Cá Nục Kho Măng Tươi


4 Mackerels, ask to have your fish clean, gutted and cut into halves
4 cups Water
3 Shallots, minced or thinly sliced
6 Cloves Garlic, minced or thinly sliced 
2 tablespoons Annato Oil, click here for recipe
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder, optional
3-4 fresh red Chili Peppers
3 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Mushroom Seasoning
3 fresh Bamboo Shoots, cut into strips
Preparing Bamboo Shoot

Cut bamboo shoots into 4 inches chunk. Cut into half length and slice it.
Braising Cá Nục and Măng Tươi

Heat a pan over a medium-high heat until hot then add annatto oil.  Add garlic and shallot and sauté until aromatic and softened.  Add bamboo shoots and continue sauté for about a minute.  

Add water and bring to a boil over high heat.  

Add fish and the remaining ingredients.  Be sure to add fish only when the water is boiling.  Adding fish before the water boils will produce a strong fishy smell.  Bring it back to a boil.  

Reduce the heat to  low.  Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes.  


Enjoy Cá Nục Kho Măng Tươi with noodle, accompanied with assorted herbs and lettuce. 
It's so good when you roll up the lettuce, herbs, bamboo shoot and fish with rice paper and use the fish broth as a dipping sauce.  This versatile dish can also be enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice.
Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gà Tây Cuốn Bắp Xà Lách (Turkey Lettuce Wraps)

Recently, Target has been my favorite store to buy meat.  If you happen to be at Target, be sure to check their meat department and look at the expiration date on the meat packages .  A couple days before the meat reaches expiration, it will be on sale at about 75% off! That in itself is worth reading this post right?

Twice a week, I'd show up at the store and check on the next expiration date on the meat packages so I know when to return to the store.  I usually get just enough meat to last through a week; I prepare the meat and marinate it on the same day, then freeze it to keep it fresh.

Ground Turkey happened to be the meat that I got at deep discount.  I had never cooked ground turkey as it's never been my favorite meat but since it was such a steal I had to try a new recipe with it.   I made Taco with ground turkey. It was wonderful.  I also made Turkey  Lettuce Wraps and it sat yummy in everyone's tummy.  It was a hit!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps make a wonderful healthy appetizer.  I love using the crispy Iceberg or Butter  lettuce leaves to wrap everything from grilled beef to grilled shrimps as they maintain a cool, crisp and fresh taste in your mouth. This Turkey Lettuce Wrap is packed with a juicy, flavorful ground turkey surrounded in the sweet, crunchy freshness of shredded carrot and cilantro and topped with roasted peanuts.
* * *
RECIPE:  Turkey Lettuce Wraps

about 1.25 pounds Ground Turkey
3 tablespoons Lab Namtok Seasoning 
2 1/2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 teaspoon Ground Pepper
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (ot bot), optional
2 tablespoons Annatto Oil, (Dầu Hạt Điều) click here for recipe


1 Iceberg or Butter Lettuce 
1 Carrot, shredded
Roasted Peanut
a bunch Cilantro, cut into 3 inch segments
Preparing Lettuce

Remove the lettuce core with a pairing knife.  Then use your hand to separate the leaves apart.  Rinse the leaves then shake the water off each leaf.   Blot the lettuce dry with paper towel .  Set aside.
Sauteing Ground Turkey

In a pan over high heat, add annatto oil when the pan is getting hot.  Stir in garlic and onion.  Stir until fragrant.

Add turkey, lab namtok seasoning, fish sauce, ground pepper and chili powder if you want to spice it up.  Continue cooking until the meat is cooked, about 2 minutes.


Arrange lettuce leaves, roasted peanut, cilantro, and shredded carrot on a large serving platter.  Pile turkey  in the center or place meat in a separate shadow plate.   To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf.  Squeeze a bit of lime/lemon juice.  Fold the lettuce around the meat like a taco.  Be careful this wrap may be too healthy for you!