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If you grew up in Vietnam like I did you would probably remember all the wonderful snacks that we eat at breakfast before heading to school.  A lot of them involve sticky rice, one of which that is very memorable to me is Xôi Bắp Nhão.  It was served wrapped in banana leaves, and the “spoon” was the hard part of a Pandan leaf.

The words “Xôi Bắp” mean corn sticky rice, and the word “Nhão” can roughly be translated as “mushy” (sorry my Vietnamese isn’t great and my English isn’t good either!).  So after searching online for awhile I found no translation for this snack item, so I’m going to call it “Mushy” Corn Sticky Rice… LOL.  If you guys have a better name for it please feel free to let me know!

Normally this snack takes awhile to make and you have to babysit the stove to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorched.  With using the Instant Pot, it’s super easy.  NO SOAKING AHEAD OF TIME IS NEEDED!  Today I literally put all ingredients into the IP and went for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  When I came back the IP was already at full NPR.  It cannot get any easier.  I hope you guys will give this recipe a try!

Recipe: Xôi Bắp Nhão Instant Pot (Vietnamese “Mushy” Corn Sticky Rice)

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Wow… my first blog post in ages!  The 2nd half of 2019 was a bit of a blur for me as we went through a complete kitchen renovation.  It was so painful but the end result was well worth it.  Stay tuned for photos of my new kitchen which I love so much that I’ve been cooking up a storm since December!

Happy Lunar New Year to those who are celebrating!  I wish you all a properous Year of the Rat with good health and much happiness.  In our Vietnamese culture Tết (Lunar New Year) is the biggest holiday of the year.  I tell my non-Vietnamese friends that Tết is the equivalent of Christmas celebration in the US.  There are a few traditional dishes that Vietnamese people prepare for the new year.  These dishes can be enjoyed year round but due to the high cost for the ingredients and the time it takes to make, Vietnamese people tend to save them for Tết.  I remember vividly that Mom and Grandma would stay up late to cook the Caramelized Pork and Stuffed Bitter Mellon.  Days before Tết they would start the process of pickling Mustard Greens and Bean Sprouts.  These dishes were used as offerings for our ancestors which my Mom still do so here in the US.  Here are links to the traditional dishes cooked via the Instant Pot to save you some time:

Thit Kho Tau IP (Caramelized Pork and Eggs)
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I have Thit Kho Tau  for quite awhile on the blog.  It’s 1 of the most popular recipes on here beside Pho Bo.  This year I decided to add large/tiger shrimps to add another layer of flavor.  The amended the recipe to include directions for adding optional items such as shrimps and fried tofu.
Thịt Kho Tàu Instant Pot (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Eggs)

Kho Qua Ham IP (Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)

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Khổ Qua Hầm Giò Sống Instant Pot (Pork Paste Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)Khổ Qua Hầm Giò Sống Instant Pot (Pork Paste Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)

Dua Chua (Pickled Mustard Greens)

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Pickled Mustard Greens (Dưa Cải Chua)

Dua Gia (Pickled Bean Spouts)

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Pickled Bean Sprouts (Dưa Giá)

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We recently moved out of the house that I planted so many lemongrass bushes.  Those lemongrass plants are still thriving so the new tenant asked me how they should cook it?  Lemongrass chicken came to mind as it’s the easiest way to cook/use lemongrass.  I brought over to them Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken made with the IP for dinner one night and they loved it!

I’m sharing this same IP Lemongrass Chicken recipe and hope you will like it too!  Previously, I added a Lemongrass Chicken recipe but it was non-IP and I used chicken breast instead of drumsticks.  My preference is bone-in chicken for this dish.  The coco rico sauce is thick and addictive.  The downside to this dish is that you’ll consume so much rice!

Recipe: Đùi Gà Kho Xả Instant Pot (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken)

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It has been awhile since I post a new recipe to the site.  We have had quite a busy Summer so far with moving and lot of visits from our family up North. The kids are home so spend most days trying to entertain them while unpacking.

Today I want to share with you a simple Instant Pot recipe that the kids will love (at least my picky eaters did last night): Vietnamese Ginger Chicken.  This dish can be served with steam rice and raw veggies (cucumbers and tomatoes) for dipping if you like.  The sauce is fingers licking good!

Note: It’s good to use bone-in chicken for this dish.  You can also try bone-in chicken thighs.

Đùi Gà Kho Gừng Instant Pot (Vietnamese Ginger Chicken)

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Similar to the last 4 menu ideas this one is also quick to prepare.

Menu #5 – Menu #5 consists of: Braised Fish IP (Ca Kho To), Stir-fried Water Spinach (Rau Muong) with Garlic, and Watercress with Ground Pork Soup.  For the Water Spinach (Rau Muong), I typically season using sea salt and mushroom seasoning (for 1 lbs of water spinach, 1/2 to 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1-2 tbsp of mushroom seasoning).

Recipes: 

Canh Xà Lách Xoong Nấu Thịt Bằm (Vietnamese Watercress with Ground Pork Soup)

Cá Kho Instant Pot (Vietnamese Braised Fish)

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Today my Mom came over to help me harvest my lemongrass.  They are so easy to grow, super low maintenance and supposedly deter snakes!  I have 7 bushes total.  We harvested almost 7 lbs on the largest bush!  Mom will mince them with her food processor and we’ll freeze for later use.  Newly harvested lemongrass is amazing!

I’m sharing with you 2 of my favorite lemongrass dishes.  Lemongrass Tofu is a very easy dish to make, great for vegetarians!  I grew up eating it since my grandma was vegetarian.  My sons also love it as well.  For the Chicken Chili Lemongrass dish, I typically use and prefer bone-in chicken such as drumsticks.  But since my husband is on a healthier diet I decided to use chicken breast this time.  Chicken breast cooks really fast which is a plus when you are on a crunch for time!  I boiled potato leaves to eat with these 2 dishes but you can use raw vegetable such as cucumber and tomato.

Links to Recipes:

Gà Xào Sả Ớt (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Chicken -Boneless Version)

Đậu Hũ Muối Sả (Lemongrass Tofu)

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Recently I scored a few set of chicken bones at the local Asian market. I’ve been making broth for different dishes using these chicken bones.  I love using the IP to make chicken stock.  It’s so easy, effortless and efficient.  I can turn 2-3 lbs of chicken bones ($2) into over 20 cups of chicken stock.  It’s a great way to save money!

Today I made Wonton Noodle Soup using the IP chicken stock.  Typically Wonton Noodle Soup is made with pork stock but using chicken was just as good.  The broth felt lighter and healthier than using pork.

Recipes:

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Adding daikon to help sweeten the broth.
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Very clear broth!

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This has to be the most excited Budget Friendly Family Dinner that I want to share with you.  Similar to the last 3 ideas this one is also quick and not so expensive to prepare.  It can be done easily on a weeknight with little prepping as well.

Menu #4 – This is Vietnamese comfort food as its best: Caramelized Pork Belly with Quail Eggs in the Instant Pot, Stir-fried Snow Pea Leaves with Garlic, and Opo Squash with Shrimp Soup.  For the Snow Pea Leaves, I typically season using sea salt and mushroom seasoning (for 1 lbs of snow peas, 1/2 to 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1-2 tbsp of mushroom seasoning).

I hope you will enjoy this combo as much as my family did!

Recipes: 
Thịt Ba Chỉ Kho Trứng Cút Instant Pot (Caramelized Pork Belly with Quail Eggs)

Canh Bầu Nấu Tôm (Vietnamese Opo Squash and Shrimp Soup)

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Introducing another quick Budget Friendly Family Dinner.  This Menu #3 has a very authentic Vietnamese flavor.  Stuffed bitter melon soup is somewhat an acquired taste due to the fact that well… it’s bitter.  But once you are used to it this dish can be quite addictive.  Bitter melon has tons of health benefits including high in Vitamin C. It can also help reduce blood sugar.  Cooking bitter melon in the IP takes no time at all, about 7 minutes high pressure seems to be good.  I prefer the texture of pork paste instead of just ground pork.  You can find pork paste in the frozen section of your Asian stores or check out a local Vietnamese Deli that sells Vietnamese Ham and such.  They usually carry pork paste as well.  In Orlando, I can get a pound of fresh pork paste for $5.00.

What goes well with stuffed bitter melon soup is Dau Hu Ram or Caramelized Tofu.  Growing up with a vegetarian grandma in Vietnam I ate Dau Hu Ram very often.  It was almost a stable dish in our family.  Not only it’s good with rice but also in sandwiches.  Pair with daikon/carrot, some slices of cucumbers and you’ll have a delicious vegetarian sandwich (Banh Mi Chay)!

RECIPES:

Đậu Hũ Ram (Caramelized Tofu)
Khổ Qua Hầm Giò Sống Instant Pot (Pork Paste Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)

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I’ve cooked using the IP for about 2 years now but I have not yet attempted one pot pasta until recently. This has to be the easiest and tastiest thing you could make using the Instant Pot.  My kids love Spaghetti Meatballs and they love this one pot recipe even more.  My Logan, the world pickiest eater, gave me a thumbs-up and asked if he could have it again after school today.  Well of course, dude!

I shopped by Aldi yesterday so all ingredients in this recipe can be found there.  The garlic bread from Aldi was quite good.  I used my Philips Air Fryer to quickly toast it up: 390 F for about 5 minutes.  No need to pre-heat the large oven!

Please note this recipe is for 6-8.  I made extra for us to pack to school/work the next day.

Recipe: One Pot Spaghetti Meatballs Instant Pot

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