Pho means a lot to many Vietnamese including my husband. But for me Hu Tieu Mi means so much more! I think it’s because I grew up eating it. It’s also my Dad’s favorite noodle soup. When eating out at Vietnamese restaurants, my husband focuses mostly on the Pho section of the menu where I browse through the “Other Specialty Noodle Soups” section. 8 out of 10 times I’d order Hu Tieu Mi and 9 out 10 of those times I’d leave the restaurant very disappointed. So I’ve learned from my experience and now if Hu Tieu Mi is not in the name of the restaurant I won’t order it… LOL. That’s my rule.

When we lived in the DMV area Mi La Cay at Eden Center in VA was our go-to restaurant for this noodle soup. My husband would order the dry version and I’d go for the soup. Both are equally good there to be honest! Another good experience I had was when traveling to San Francisco for work. We went to a hole-in-the-wall Hu Tieu Mi spot in San Jose. It was one of the best Hu Tieu Mi I’ve had outside of Vietnam! My then 2-year old son finished his noodle and lifted the bowl to drink all his broth. He truly enjoyed every bit of that bowl!

So now that we don’t live in MD anymore and we don’t travel to California much either I decided to re-create this dish at home using my beloved Instant Pot. It can be time consuming depending on how many toppings you want to make. But it’s very doable with ingredients that you can find at your local Asian stores. Most people would argue that dried squid is necessary for Hu Tieu broth. To be honest, I never add it. You could also substitute dried squid with a handful of dried shrimps if you like. My recipe omits both 🙂

Recipe: Hủ Tiếu Mì Instant Pot (Vietnamese Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup)

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You know the broth is on point when your toddler does this.

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The dry version – A small bowl of soup is served on the side.

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Garlic Chive is a must (and Chinese celery I’d say)
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Even with 3 Instant Pots I still struggle to put decent meals on the table on weeknights.  I craved Bún Măng Gà and it took me about 4 days to get it to the table.  One night I soaked the dried bamboo; the next I cooked the chicken using the IP; then I boiled vermicelli and prepared the garnishes on the 3rd night; on the 4th night I made the dipping sauce and after the kiddos went to bed my husband and I were able to have a bowl of Bún Măng Gà in peace at 9:30 PM.  It’s laughable but it’s the truth.

Our lives are so busy now that the kids are back to school and we both work full-time.  With their homework and extra curricular activities after school cooking always comes last.  I’m one of those Moms that in the morning I have our dinner planned out then around 3 PM, I’d call my husband to see if he could pick up a pizza or fast food on the way home.  I feel defeated most nights but as long as the kids eat I am happy (So what if it’s pizza 3 nights in a row… LOL).

I amended my Bún Măng Gà Instant Pot recipe to have the option for using dried bamboo.  The version I had before was for fresh bamboo shoots which isn’t “traditional” but very delicious as well!

Tip: After you de-bone the chicken, put the bones (and carcasses) back in the broth and bring it to a boil.  Keep the bones in the broth if you have leftovers.  I think it will enhance the broth and make it sweeter.

Bún Măng Gà Instant Pot (Vietnamese Bamboo Shoot and Chicken Vermicelli Soup)

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We recently learned of another Vietnamese Noodle Soup similar to Bún Riêu from a friend who visited us last year that got my husband very intrigued.  We both never had Canh Bun before.

So I did some research to see what is so special about this noodle soup.  This is Bún Riêu’s sister with a few major differences:

1. Authentically, the “Rieu” is made of Field Crab (Cua Đồng) so it’s very light and fluffy, no ground pork!
2. The noodles are thicker and to be simmered in the broth before serving! I used BBH noodles.
3. No tomatoes! Tamarind sauce is served on the side (I didn’t have time to make that).
4. Boiled water spinach is served with Canh Bún versus split fresh water spinach

I attempted Canh Bun a few months ago using the grounded frozen Field Crab.  It had bits/solids so you have to filter it out to get the liquid mixture.  We love the flavor and complexity that Field Crab brought to the broth but I did not like the process.  It was not foolproof so I hesitated to share that recipe.  While wandering in the frozen section of our local Vietnamese grocery store I came across the ready-to-cook Fresh Water Crab Mixed.  No filtering is needed, all you have to do is mix with your egg whites and add to the broth to make the Rieu.  So do try this recipe if you can find the ready-to-cook Fresh Water Crab Mixed.

I can’t vouched for the authenticity of this recipe as I did not grow up eating Canh Bún.  But if you like my Bun Rieu and want to try a similar dish (with a more complex flavor broth) I’d recommend it.  My husband and 2 picky boys love it.  I hope you will too!

Canh Bún Instant Pot Recipe: Canh Bún Instant Pot (Vietnamese Water Spinach Noodle Soup)

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Thit Kho Tau (Caramelized Pork/Braised Pork) is a popular Vietnamese dish.  It’s 1 of the traduational Tet (Vietnamese New Year) food.  I have to say the Thit Kho Tau is 1 of the easiest dish to cook in the Instant Pot.  I love the beautiful amber color eggs after 30 minutes of pressure cooking (no, the eggs do not explode!).  In our house, this dish is enjoyed year round.  My husband loves bamboo shoots so I often add them to this dish.  Thit Kho Tau is not salty like Thit Kho Tieu (Thịt Kho Tiêu Instant Pot (Braised Caramel Pork with Pepper).  Here are 2 versions, with or without bamboo shoots:

With bamboo shoots: Thịt Kho Măng Trứng Instant Pot (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork, Bamboo Shoots and Eggs)

Without bamboo shoots: Thịt Kho Tàu Instant Pot (Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Eggs)

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I’ve been wanting to make chicken roti using cornish hens in the IP for quite some time now.  Our family loves chicken roti and perhaps more is the thick sweet sauce that this dish yields.  The sauce is a combination of the marinade and Coco Rico Soda!  If you have used/followed my recipes before you would know my passionate love for Coco Rico Soda! I use it for everything, from boiling pork for spring rolls to braised dishes. Of course Coco Rico Soda is technically a substitute for fresh coconut water.  So if you have coconut water, by all mean, use it!

I thought the chicken would be the main focus for this dish, but as it turned out it was the red rice!  My boys loved it!  They ate all the leftovers the next day.  Red rice is often served at Vietnamese restaurant accompanying different chicken and pork dishes.  It goes so well with chicken roti and it’s super easy to make.  It’s definitely a must!

Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Roti with Red Rice Instant Pot

 

I love having my boys help me in the kitchen.  If you have kids you know that can be very challenging at time especially when they are preschooler/toddler ages.  So I try to involve them when I make effortless dishes using the Instant Pot.

Last weekend I had a craving for a Vietnamese glutinous rice dessert with Blackeye Peas also known as chè đậu trắng.  The boys helped me with measuring water (counting and adding are their favorite things to do now!) and stirring the ingredients.  My picky eater, Logan, loves desserts with glutinous rice and coconut sauce.  For a kid who doesn’t like beans he requested for his own bowl. He must inherited that sweet tooth from me, poor kid… LOL.

Recipe: Chè Đậu Trắng Instant Pot (Vietnamese Blackeye Peas Pudding)

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How sweet is your sweet tooth? Mine is just awfully sweet.  I can eat dessert any time, any where.  I’d purposely look for things in the fridge or in the pantry to make dessert.

Last night at 9 PM I made Che Ba Ba, a sweet coconut milk soup using leftover taro that I had in the fridge.  This dessert has to be 1 of my favorite Vietnamese Che (sweet soup).  I used the 3-quart since I only had about 1 lb of taro, the size was so perfect for it.  It was quick and easy.

Recipe: Chè Bà Ba Instant Pot (Vietnamese Dessert Soup with Coconut Milk)

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In the world plentiful of food options, there is nothing more comforting to me than a nice hot bowl of noodle soup.  I don’t discriminate, I love noodle soup of all kinds.  Last week was a rough week at work.  I came home one night exhausted, beaten, felt like I fought several battles that day.  Luckily we had leftovers Bun Rieu in the fridge I cooked the day before using pre-made chicken broth, instead of pork bones like I usually do.  I immediately heated it up, threw all the toppings and garnishes into a bowl.  It wasn’t pretty but it was so good!  I felt better, my spirit was somehow lifted.  Food does wonder to me.  Does it do that to you too?

Recipe: Bún Riêu Instant Pot (Vietnamese Pork & Crab Noodle Soup

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My husband and I love eating out at different places. There seems to be a correlation with “hole in the wall” places and excellent food.  After all how does a run-down (dirty) place still in business if their food isn’t good, right? One particular hole in the wall spot is Pho Ga Thanh Thanh in Philadelphia. When we lived in Maryland we would travel up to Philly often and we would go out of our way to stop by Pho Ga Thanh Thanh.

Pho Ga is all they serve. The service is lousy (always reminded me of the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld) and the restaurant is a bit dirty to say the least (right underneath a loud train track). But if you go during lunch hours you could wait 30 minutes to an hours. If you go later in the day they might run out of chicken. The Pho broth is very good but it’s nothing spectacular that we can’t recreate at home. Most of us go there because of their chicken. They use Ga Di Bo (literal translation is “walking chicken”), it is free-range/cage free chicken. The meat of the walking chicken has a little bit of a chew.  At Pho Ga Thanh Thanh the chicken is always perfectly cooked and serve with a “special” dipping sauce which consists of salt, sliced pepper and lime juice (maybe MSG too?). This place got me hooked on eating chicken with this special sauce that I can’t eat chicken Pho any other way now.

Ga Di Bo is quite expensive compare to regular chicken, about 3X the price, so it has not been on our grocery budget.  Last weekend we had a major craving for Pho Ga Thanh Thanh so I decided to splurge a little.

So here is my EASY Pho Instant Pot Recipe using “walking chicken”: Phở Gà Đi Bộ Instant Pot (“Walking Chicken” Pho)

Pictures below was taken years ago when we ate at Pho Ga Thanh Thanh in Philadelphia.

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Pho Ga Thanh Thanh in Philadelphia
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Pho Ga Thanh Thanh
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Dipping Sauce from Pho Ga Thanh Thanh

 

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