To keep cool and hydrated during this scorching summer heat, I’ve been slurping these Vietnamese drinks: iced coffee with condensed milk, chilled artichoke tea, basil seeds & malva nuts, avocado smoothie, and grass jelly.
This xá xíu chay (vegetarian char siu) is a satisfying stand in for the meat version of pork char siu. It can be served in a number of dishes, such as stir-fried chow mein noodles, steamed buns, Vietnamese sandwiches, etc.
This spicy lemongrass king oyster mushroom dish is a meatless version of gà xào sả ớt (lemongrass and chili chicken). Although the cooking time is much shorter than that of the chicken dish, it’s equally as flavorful and delicious.
There are a handful of dishes that I turn to time and again because I can make them in my sleep. The simplicity and familiarity of these dishes wrap me in a soothing blanket of comfort with every bite. When I’m low on creativity and motivation, I pull from my repertoire of these tried and true dishes. Bún riêu is among those dishes for me because I can whip it up in no time. Not only does it require minimal effort, it also has a satisfying combination of savory + slightly tart + umami flavors that hits the spot every time!
Fried tofu stuffed with minced pork, woodear mushrooms and bean thread noodles bathed in a tomato sauce is a simple, yet satisfying weeknight meal.
Canh cà bung is a North Vietnamese specialty. The soup is composed of eggplant, tomatoes, tofu and pork ribs seasoned with turmeric & garnished w/Vietnamese perilla. I usually eat it with either steamed rice or vermicelli rice noodles.
This variation of the French cake salé | savory cake infuses the flavors of a traditional Vietnamese chicken curry into a radiantly colored loaf. You’ll often find such savory cakes served alongside apéritifs during the cocktail hour. Given how easy they are to make and their versatility, they also make an ideal hors-d’œuvre for picnics or potlucks. They travel well and can be served warm, room temp or even cold.
Whipping up a satiating weeknight meal doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. Preparing these roasted chicken leg quarters with lemongrass and curry require minimal time and effort and only a few kitchen staples.
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.