Bitter melon is a gnarly looking veggie with a pungent bitterness to match, which may deter the uninitiated palate. Nonetheless, I invite you fearless eaters out there to broaden your palate and test your palate’s threshold for bitterness.
One of my favorite ways to stay cool during this past summer’s heatwave is with this Vietnamese basil seed and malva nut drink. The basil seeds (hột é) look very similar to chia seeds, but they are slightly smaller and don’t need to soak for as long. The seeds are often paired with malva nuts (đười ươi), which puffs into an algae-looking blob. It, too, has a slightly gelatinous texture and imparts a subtly earthy flavor. Both seeds have a very mild flavor, so the drink needs a little bit of sugar to give it more body.
Dressed with a traditional nước mắm sauce, this simple yet zestful green papaya salad (gỏi đu đủ tôm thịt) topped with pork belly and shrimp will take your taste buds on an unforgettable flavor adventure that will have you begging for more once you empty your plate!
The ease and versatility of quiches make for a delicious Sunday afternoon lunch or a light weeknight meal. You can add virtually any combination of ingredients you like to them. For this quiche, roasting bell peppers brings out their sweetness, which complements the savoriness of the feta and sautéed leeks. Paired with a simple green salad, this roasted bell pepper and leek quiche will certainly satisfy just about any appetite!
When the inhabitants of China’s Hainan Province migrated to Southeast Asia, they brought with them one of the province’s most notable culinary exports, Hainanese chicken rice. The eponymous dish made a mark on essentially all cuisines in this region. In Vietnamese cuisine, this delectable chicken and rice dish is known as cơm gà hải nam. It’s such a simple dish composed of few ingredients, yet tastes exquisitely delicious.
What could possibly be cuter than transforming classic Easter deviled eggs into a mother hen and a flock of baby chicks? Making these Easter egg appetizers require a bit of dexterity and patience, but the final outcome will give you a good giggle! This family of chicks will no doubt add a bit of glee to your dining table and amuse your guests. Even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time resisting these little cuties!
Bánh giò is a Vietnamese rice flour dumpling filled with ground pork sautéed with wood ear mushrooms and shallots. The pyramid shaped dumplings are wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, which give the rice flour dough a greenish hue and a slightly floral leafy aroma. This North Vietnamese specialty is not a bite-sized dumpling like potsickers. One dumpling can be a meal in itself and is commonly eaten for breakfast. They can also be enjoyed as a snack or light meal at anytime during the day. The dumplings are served warm and can be eaten straight out of the banana leaf without any sauce or garnishes. They can also be dressed up with Vietnamese ham and slices of cucumber.
Chouquettes are a choux pastry without any filling and adorned by sucre perlé (pearl sugar). This quintessential French snack is often enjoyed by children and adults alike. The light and airy puff will have you reaching for one after another!
Though meatless, these vegetarian egg rolls are far from bland, especially when served over a bed of vermicelli noodles and fresh Vietnamese aromatic herbs and dressed with a nước mắm sauce.
February tends to be the coldest month in Paris. I like to keep warm with this cauliflower soup when I’m craving a satisfying, yet fuss-free meal.