Butter Quail has to be my favorite appetizer!  I just don’t like paying for it at the restaurants… LOL.  It’s always 1 of most expensive items on the appetizer menu and the portion is very small (at most 2 quails cut in half).  I remember the last time I ordered was in 2014, right before I had my youngest son.  It was at Rice Paper Restaurant (at Eden Center) in Virginia.  I was very pregnant and hungry and I think I even licked the plate at the end.

It’s actually very easy to make Butter Quails at home.  The hassle that I hate is deep frying it in oil.  I hate cleaning it and always feel so wasteful using a ton of oil.  And not to mention the guilt of eating deep frying food.  Ever since we had the Air Fryer I realized it was so much easier and healthier to make this dish.  There is not a whole lot to clean afterward and you feel better knowing your food wasn’t soaked in oil for a long period of time.  I hope you will find this recipe easy and delicious!

Recipe: Cút Chiên Bơ – “Air Fryer” Butter Quails

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2014 – Butter Quails from Rice Paper Restaurant in Virginia
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I love freshly roasted peanuts.  It’s great for snacking and as a topping on your sticky rice or grilled fish/beef.  I usually have a few raw bags of peanuts in my pantry just in case!  Roasting on the stove can be challenging since you have to literally stand there the whole time and move the chopsticks constantly so the peanuts wouldn’t burn.  Someone told me about roasting in the microwave but I didn’t like the texture of it.  I found the easiest way to roast peanuts is using the Air Fryer.  It’s effortless and always comes out crunchy! Here are the easy steps:

  1. Lay the raw peanuts with skin in a single layer.  Do not overcrowd!
  2. Set temperature to 375 F.
  3. Set cook time to about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Remove from Air Fryer pour into a colander.  Allow peanuts to cool down.
  5. Use your fingers to remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts against each other. Shake the colander a few times to separate peanuts from the skin.
  6. Remove peanuts and store air tight in a container or zip lock bag if not used immediately.

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Allow the peanuts to cool down

 

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Single Layer ONLY! 

 

We love going to Costco and of course each time we always bring home a $4.99 Rotisserie Chicken.  What a deal so it’s hard to resist!  My kids love my “garlic chicken” which only consists of minced garlic saute shredded Rotisserie chicken meat, 2 tbsp of Maggie seasoning and sugar/mushroom seasoning to taste.  The boys eat good whenever I serve it for dinner.   We would pack chicken for lunch the next day too.  This saute garlic chicken can also be 1 of the toppings for Xoi Man (Vietnamese savory Sticky Rice).

A good way to save even more money is to make chicken broth using the bones/carcass from this chicken.  I brought 10 cups of water, an onion, and the carcass (along with the gelatin like chicken fat on bottom of the container) to a medium boil for about 25-30 minutes.  Discard the carcass and onion, run the broth through a fine mesh sieve and you get yourself delicious homemade chicken broth!  I store the broth in 2 Chinese carryout soup containers.   If I plan to use within the week it goes in the fridge, otherwise I store them in the freezer for later use.  Depending on what you plan to use it for you can also add carrot, celery… etc when you cook the broth.  I like using this broth with egg noodle soup (such as wonton noodle soup) or chicken noodle soup.  But you can use it for anything, really!  The color is fantastic!

$4.99 can go a long way, just need some effort!

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So I like to ask the kids in the morning what they want Mommy to make for dinner.  I typically follow with “noodle soup?” hoping they would say yes… LOL.  My husband then pointed out that most of my recipes posted are of noodle soup of some sort.  So I went out of my way today to post something no noodle soup related… well there is soup just no noodles.

Chicken rice is not hard to make using the Instant Pot, just a bit tedious with more steps than usual :).  I hope you’ll like this one too.  There is a change, Katie Le is posting a rice dish!

Recipe: Cơm Gà Instant Pot (Vietnamese Chicken Rice)

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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)

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

 

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