Tag Archives: Rau Muong

Ca Chim Fried Butterfish 3 Ways

21 Jun

Everyone must have been in the mood for the fried yet light, buttery fish Palmburo or chim (cheem) this week, or else it was on special at the market. Ma prepared the dish for us after work and sent me home with two fish to make later.

I’m still not great at frying things, but this went a bit easier. Preparation is simple – give a good rub down with iodized salt to clean inside and out of the fish, and rinse thoroughly. Slice each side of the fish for more even cooking.

Pour vegetable oil in a fry pan and heat well. Drop the fish in and cover loosely to fry for about 7 minutes each side.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fried Palburo fish

I like this fish because the bones are larger and easier to remove.

While the last fish was on its second side, I prepared the leftover rau muong water spinach with fermented tofu. So easy and flavorful – a really nice compliment to the fried fish.

Start with some oil in a wok or stirfry friendly pan and add 2 cloves garlic until fragrant.

Then add 2 – 5 blocks of the fermented chili tofu (we like more…), breaking up with a wooden spoon until soft. Then add the rau muong and toss to cover. It doesn’t take long for the greens to cook down and soften.

Serve with rice and you’ve got a quick (under 30 minutes) and inexpensive (under $8 for t wo) meal. Take that, Rachel Ray.

Fried Palmburo fish and stir fried water spinach

So what’s this third way, you ask? Later in the week we went over to his brother’s house after hanging with our nieces and much to our surprise what’s for dinner? Why ca chim, of course!

They fried the fish in a stock pot filled higher with oil and tossed them both at the same time. Smart, actually. Although you use quite a bit of oil this way.

To serve, they made a bed of rau muong for the fish and spooned the nuoc mam on top instead of dipping separately. I like both but may favor the greens with fermented tofu to balance the sweetness of the nuoc mam. 

Fried Palmburo fish with beef and green bean stir fry

To accompany the fish, they made an easy stir fry with flank steak thinly sliced and fresh green beans. The stir fry seasoning is easy with Oyster Sauce, Mushroom seasoning, sugar and pepper. All, of course, to taste.

So really the “3 ways” are very similar, mostly differing in presentation and accompaniments  All of them are damn good and easy. So give it a try!


Quick Weeknight Dinner

9 Jan

You just got home from work, it’s dark and cold and think: the Jetsons “food-a-rac-a-cycle” or Rosey the Robot would be really amazing. But unfortunately this is not my reality. Fortunately I did have healthy green veggies and leftovers on hand for a quick meal.

From chop to chow, these two dishes took just over 30 minutes.

Canh Bau Tom (Squash Soup with Shrimp)

1/2 – 1 lb Shrimp – peeled and deveined (get shrimp with the head on and keep the fat after you pull them off to mix with meat – adds more flavor)

1 Opo Squash (AKA Bottle Gourd)

1 shallot quartered and sliced

1 tbs EVOO

2 – 4 tbs Sugar (vary depending on preference for sweetness)

1 tbs Fish Sauce

2 – 3 tbs Vegetable/Mushroom seasoning

1 tsp Ground White Pepper

6 – 8 cups water

Half a bunch of cilantro and 1 green onion (sliced)

Chop shrimp to small pieces and toss with fish sauce and pepper. Cut squash as half circles, matchsticks, etc. The thinner you slice them, the mushier they are likely to become after cooking.

Add the EVOO to soup pot and saute the sliced shallot until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Add the chopped shrimp and stir until they become pink and opaque. Quickly pour in the water and bring back to a boil. Add Sugar and Vegetable Seasoning and allow the flavors to develop. Vegetable Seasoning are these whitish pellets that are like fake MSG. It’s salty and adds richness to the broth, but isn’t just like salt. Make sense? No. I know. Mẹ gave me a package when I started experimenting with Vietnamese cooking.

Unfortunately I’ve yet to find or talk to anyone with an explicitly written recipe that turns out how we like it. So there is a lot of tasting. Start small and add more sugar or seasoning or fish sauce until you figure out your ratios. We like a lot of dishes like soups and stews with a little more sugar than other blogs use, so I know to cut down on the salt and up the sugar a bit. Just don’t do what we did in our first attempt of making Chao Ga (chicken rice porridge) adding – all at the same time – big tablespoons of sugar and salt and fish sauce without letting the flavors blend. Give it some time.

Anyways. Once you’ve found the balance, the squash may already be overcooked but who cares. Easier digestion, no? In all this took 30 minutes max.

Add green onion and cilantro just before serving and enjoy!

Canh Bau Tom – I added Chili Powder after seeing a blog add to the dish but didn’t like it. Will leave this out next time.

The other dish for our quick meal is a variation of Rau Muong Xao Toi Chao (Water Spinach with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd), which is straight forward,but I found Wandering Chopsticks recipe to verify. I say variation because I’ve yet to find water spinach in any of the international markets nearby. So I grabbed a bag of normal spinach. Was ok…but may substitute Watercress next time if it still proves elusive. This is one of those dishes that you will either love or hate (much like Canh Kho Qua – Bitter Melon Soup). We order this at Mark’s Duck House with our noodle soup. Recipe after the jump! Continue reading


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