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Bo Luc Lac Shaking Beef Recipe

15 Jul

I had a craving for the super simple yet flavor-packed Bo Luc Lac, or Shaking Beef. It’s also one of my favorite dishes to say. I know I’ve made it several times but apparently never blogged the recipe. My sister in law makes a really great version of this simple main dish adding mushroom sauce in addition to the typical oyster sauce. Traditionally, the seared beef cubes are served atop crisp, raw watercress and tomato slices. I had arugula and cherry tomatoes left over from and Independence Day fresh corn salad and decided to use those. The arugula has the same peppery bite as watercress, and it easier to eat!  I’ve seen many recipes call for tossing the greens in a vinaigrette, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the muoi tieu chanh (lime, salt, and pepper dipping sauce).

Ideally, you want to marinade the beef overnight to achieve maximum flavor, but 30-60 minutes will do in a pinch. You want tender beef – steer clear of the time saving beef cubes that are usually stew meat. You’ll tire of chewing before getting full.

Prepare in the order below and serve with rice and one or two other small dishes to round out the meal. Now if this isn’t a picture of summer, I don’t know what is!

Dinner table set with Shaking Beef, bowls of rice, and lime dipping sauce. Continue reading

It’s Grilling Season – Suon Nuong Grilled Pork Chops

12 Jun

If you’re like our little family, spring time is grill time. My stove and oven get very little use in warner seasons and I love cooking on the grill. Steaks and chicken are easy, but pork has never been my go-to protein. Hubs loves a good pork chop and pork is his favorite meat, so I figured  I’d give non-ground pork dishes a try. You know what they say – a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. (Mine too, by the way)

Grilled pork chop with rice, mustard greens, and fresh herbs Continue reading

Learning How to Blog (And Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit Lotus Root Salad)

2 Jun

That should be the name of this blog rather than Learning Vietnam. Tôi xin lỗi! (Sorry!)

The Year of the Horse is certainly off to the races (ba dum dum…couldn’t help myself). My husband and I both started new jobs in early Spring and have been running around like crazy people. Also, I’ve gone off the deep end with my yoga practice so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the yoga studio. So much, in fact, that I’ve decided to take yoga teacher training this fall! Stay tuned for more on that, if you’re interested.

However, even with all of this, it’s not as if I haven’t been cooking. I have. But not as much. Happy to report that I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of things, I think.

One of my favorite new meals came from the Ravenous Couple  Com Ga Hai Nam (Hainan Chicken and Rice). Really refreshing and flavorful at the same time. The cooking method for the rice was interesting – you use the fragrant broth after poaching the chicken with other spices and aromatics tossed in right in the rice cooker!

Poached chicken with rice and fresh Vietnamese shrimp rolls

Anh even helped roll some of the Goi Cuon.

Husband preparing fresh shrimp rolls with vegetables

With enough nuoc mam gung left over, I made Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt (Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork) and Canh Bi (Fuzzy Melon Soup) for dinner later in the week. I was pleasantly surprised how easy the salad is to prepare – really refreshing for a hot late-spring evening. Without the pork ear/cartilage, I’ll be sure to make this for my own family as well!

Squash soup with lotus root, shrimp, and pork salad

Gỏi Ngó Sen Tôm Thịt (Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork)

Serves four with several other dishes, or two as main course

1 jar lotus roots in brine

Rau ram (coriander leaves), Mint, Thai Basil

Shredded Carrot

1/2 lb. Pork Shoulder

1/4 lb. Shrimp

Crispy fried shallots

Peanuts (optional)

Nuoc Mam Gung (ginger dipping sauce)


Boil the shrimp in water with 1 tbs sugar and 1 tbs fish sauce until opaque pink. Remove from water and set aside in covered bowl to cool. In the same water, add the pork and cook through – approximately 10-15 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from water and cool in plastic covered bowl.

While all that’s happening, prepare the lotus root. Drain them from the brine solution and rinse well. Slice on the diagonal so they are still long, but not as thick. One jar may not seem like a lot initially, but once you slice and toss with remaining ingredients you’ll have plenty.

Rough chop the fresh herbs and toss with the lotus roots and shredded carrot. Once cool, halve the shrimp, and cut the pork into thin slices. Arrange on top of the mixed salad and top with crisp fried shallots, drizzle with nuoc mam gung. 


Oh My Pho Ga – Chicken Pho Noodle Soup Recipe

21 Jan

If you’re like us, snow days are pho days. Except today, I had zero interest in going out in to sub-arctic temperatures and a swirling snow storm. So after waking up to find out OPM graciously closed the government I ran out to the grocery store to pick up a few things.

The last time didn’t go so well, and I heard somewhere (or just made it up) that Pho Ga, Chicken Pho, is easier. A language lesson for you today – my husband corrected me this morning on my pronunciation of ga.

Me: Anh, I’m going to make Pho Ga (fuh gah) today for lunch!

Him: Great! But it’s not Ga like Lady Gaga. You have to drag and drop the “g”. 

Me: Oh, ok. But I like the sound of Pho Gaga

I have no idea how to type that “g” pronunciation except to explain it as if you’re taking a big theatrical “gulp” in the back of your thought. Know what I mean? Do that on the front, but not like you’re on stage.

Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up. Here’s the recipe, which thankfully turned out really really nom. After lunch, Anh said, “Maybe you should just make Pho Ga and then add beef at the end, would you even notice the difference?” Resounding endorsement!

Bowl of Pho Ga chicken noodle soup with fresh Thai Basil, bean sprouts, onions and lime

I took some shortcuts, because none of my soups using just the bones have ever turned out particularly flavorful. If you want to be super chef, go for it! The liquid amounts will be the same, but just dial back the seasoning a bit and taste/adjust as you go. Continue reading

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