Tag Archives: dipping sauce

Nuoc Mam Gung – The ultimate Vietnamese dipping sauce

8 Aug

My mother in law’s nuoc mam gung (ginger dipping sauce) is legendary. No one in the family makes it like her.

I have made several feeble attempts that mostly proved to be failures. Edible, but failures nonetheless. Rather than ask her to make the sauce for me every time I prepare Bun Mang Vit (Duck and bamboo noodle soup), vermicelli bowls, or any of the other dishes we enjoy with the sauce, it was time for me to learn.

Over and over she says “No measurements, just taste.”

OK, fine.

But I still need to see about how much of everything goes in to this magical concoction.

We called her up the other weekend and said we’d be over to make the sauce with strong warnings not to have it already made before we arrived. She didn’t make it, thankfully, but had the other ingredients ready and waiting.

And the results were glorious.

Mom and I holding the finished product of ginger dipping sauce. Continue reading

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

Football Finger Food – Chim Cut Chien Don Crispy Spiced Quail

1 Nov

Are you in a mid-season slump for Sunday Football snacks? Have you already made more flavors of wings than Buffalo Wild Wings has on their menu? It’s time you tried a new bird for Sunday football.

Quail has never been one of my go-to proteins, but after making this easy appetizer or snack I’ll be sure to put it in the rotation. The international market has frozen quail for a good price, but  I had a coupon to my local butcher and picked up a tray of frozen Georgia quail they had in the freezer.

Frozen quail

These are best marinated over night, but I was able to keep the birds in this easy marinade for four hours before they hit the grill, and they were still extremely flavorful.

Chim Cut Chien Don – Crispy Spiced Quail

  • 1 tbs dark soy (Maggi)
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp Five Spice
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger (or ground)
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water

Mix all of the ingredients and pour in to a plastic bag with the quail, massaging into the birds and tossing well to get the seasoning in to all the nooks and crannies. Marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Again, overnight is ideal.

When you’re ready, heat up the grill to medium high heat and toss on the quail. They only need 4 minutes or so per side as they’re pretty scrawny bids. They’ll get a nice grilled char that make the flavors all the better.

While the hubs was grilling, I mixed up our favorite dipping sauce, Muoi Tieu Chanh, and I finally figured out the perfect ratio.

Muoi Tieu Chanh – Lime, Salt and Pepper dipping sauce

  • Juice of two limes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Thai chili, finely minced

For the rest of our football snacking, I used the leftover tempura batter from the Banh Tom made a few weeks earlier to fry sliced eggplant. With a little turmeric and salt this simple batter gives a nice flavor to the eggplant, fried golden brown and crispy. Dip these in a simple soy or fish sauce mixture. Try 2 tbs fish sauce, 1 tbs water and a Thai chili for some spice.

Now this is a Football spread!

Grilled quail and tempura fried eggplant slices


Family Supper Fish Rolls

25 Feb

Like a fish fry, a big grilled fish, tons of veggies and herbs with rice paper rolls is a great way to spend a family Sunday. So fresh, so satisfying, so HEALTHY. Have I mentioned that Vietnamese cooking is healthy? You can eat everything and not feel guilty about it.

Mom and Dad made a run down to the house to give us a poker table Pap Pap (my dad’s dad) made by hand years and years ago. It was pretty cool to hear stories of nickle, dime, quarter poker games being held at my Dad’s childhood home with local police and other folks. He said the cops always took off their guns and left them on the pool table. Safety first, you know.

Anyways. I wanted to make something that they would enjoy but would also fit with Mom’s diet as she’s counting down to fabulous for our wedding day.

Bánh tráng cuốn cá, Rice Paper Rolls with Fish, was a perfect choice. The only ‘cooking’ required is to toss the fish on the grill. My parents aren’t quite sure about fish sauce just yet, so I wanted to fragrance the fish in case they ate the rolls plain and stuffed the fish with a lemongrass stalk and a few slices of lime. This is totally optional.

Rockfish with lemongrass and lime Continue reading


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