Vietnamese Chicken Ragu

vietnamese chicken ragu
Although nothing about Vietnamese Chicken Ragu screams Vietnamese, it remains one of our most beloved dishes. Clearly, it is a culinary delight left behind by the French from the old colonial days. Perfect on a cold winter’s day, or any day for that matter, this stew-like dish is traditionally eaten with freshly baked, crusty French bread. I simply love dipping the bread into the savory broth!

After years of watching my mother and grandmother make this dish, I have perfected the recipe by combining their techniques with a few of my own :-). I prefer to use a combination of chicken drumsticks and thighs because they are my favorite; however, you could use any combination of chicken parts you prefer. I hope you give this recipe a try soon!

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Cá Nướng Cuốn (Vietnamese Roasted Fish Rolls)

Those who are familiar with Vietnamese cuisine understand that it’s all about freshness and different flavors coming together perfectly. Cá nướng cuốn is no exception to the rule. Cá nướng means ‘fish grilled or roasted’ and cuốn means ‘roll.’ Using a fish, such as Bluefish, that has a lot of flavorful, white meat with a minimal amount of bones is very important; however, what makes this dish so fresh and bursting with flavor is the combination of herbs and vegetables in the roll. Fresh mint, Thai basil, cilantro, lettuce and cucumber are the usual suspects in any Vietnamese roll. The fish sauce, though, takes everything to a whole new level!20140408_175524

Vietnamese people love to socialize and have a good time over a meal. Hence, dishes like this are typically eaten for lunch or dinner in a group setting. Growing up, I watched my grandma, mom, aunts and uncles make this dish many times for our family gatherings. Using their original recipe, I made a few adjustments based on available ingredients and my own preference. I hope you enjoy this dish with your loved ones too :).  Continue reading

Dưa Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens)

dua chua
Dưa chua, approximately pronounced y-uh chwa, is a very common and popular Vietnamese side dish. Often served with lunch or dinner, this dish is loved by Vietnamese people of all ages. It is probably one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest Vietnamese dishes to make. The recipe requires only five ingredients and is ready to eat in just two days! I decided to pickle a batch of mustard greens myself and post the recipe because my cousins wanted to learn how to make it. Well, this one is for you all! <3
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My Mother’s Chè Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Coconut Pudding)

This recipe is very special to me because it belongs to my mother. We used to make chè chuối together all the time when I was a little girl. The sweet and rich aromas of coconut milk would fill our entire kitchen. It was our little way of spoiling ourselves. I am reminded of these fond memories of cooking with my mother whenever I make this dish today. Luckily, Michael loves this dish just as much as I do, so I always make a little extra ;).

Chè chuối, approximately pronounced “che chuy,” is prepared by simmering lady finger bananas in coconut milk and tapioca pearls. Although traditionally eaten as a snack by Vietnamese people, it can also be eaten for dessert. Chè chuối can be served cold on a hot summer’s day, or warm on a cold autumn night. Either way, it is simply delicious. I hope that you will fall in love with this recipe just as I have. Continue reading

Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls (Gỏi Cuốn Tôm)

My favorite Vietnamese appetizer is gỏi cuốn tôm, approximately pronounced “goy coon tome,” otherwise known as shrimp summer rolls. I order them every time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, and my mother makes them for me whenever I visit her. I don’t know what it is about these rolls, but I just can’t seem to get enough of them! Unlike Vietnamese spring rolls (which are pretty amazing too), summer rolls are not fried, making them a lighter and healthier option. To make the summer rolls, shrimp, rice vermicelli, lettuce, fresh mint, Thai basil and cilantro are rolled together in rice paper sheets. Traditionally, thin slices of pork loin are also included, but I prefer to use only shrimp in my recipe. I also make vegetarian summer rolls sometimes by simply using fried tofu instead of shrimp. Just cut the fried tofu into little matchsticks and add shredded carrots for more flavor and color. The peanut sauce for dipping is incredibly delicious. It is truly the perfect accompaniment to the summer rolls.

Although these rolls require a little more time than dishes I typically make, I promise the amazing flavors that explode in your mouth will be well worth it! Be sure to give my recipe a try one night when you have a bit more time on your hands :). Continue reading


Phở, pronounced “fuh,” is a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup. It is probably the most popular and well known Vietnamese dish among foreigners. Originally from northern Vietnam, this noodle soup is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and as a snack for some of us 😉 (don’t judge, it’s just THAT good). Phở is traditionally made by simmering beef bones, roasted onions and ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise for three to four hours. (Don’t worry, my recipe will only take 30 minutes!) One must also constantly skim the top of the pot to ensure that the broth is completely clear. I used to always watch my mother and grandmother make phở as a little girl. I remember the entire house would be full of its wonderful, fragrant aroma.

There are other variations of this dish, including phở gà (chicken) and phở chay (vegetarian). I, however, like to stick with the traditional beef version, phở bò. There are a few types of beef you could use in phở bò: thinly sliced eye round or flank steak, bò viên (Vietnamese beef meatballs), tendon, and/or tripe. I prefer to use beef eye round because I find it to be tender and lean. The trick is to make sure each slice of beef is very thin because you don’t actually cook the beef in the pot of broth. Rather, you simply top the noodles with the beef and ladle the hot broth over it. The broth’s hot temperature cooks the beef just enough so that it is still soft and tender. Continue reading

Bún Riêu

The first Vietnamese dish I ever made was bún riêu, pronounced “boon rew,” which is a tomato and crab noodle soup. Of all the Vietnamese noodle soup dishes, I think this is the easiest to make because it requires the least amount of time and ingredients. This doesn’t mean there aren’t many ingredients, it just means less. 😉 Vietnamese cooking is all about flavor and finding the perfect balance between sweet, savory, spicy, and sour. So that means a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Continue reading