I love snacking on roasted almonds.  Almonds contain a lot of healthy fats and protein in addition to fiber.  I like having it at work for a morning snack.  Just a handful of almonds is sufficient to keep my belly happy to lunch.

Before I had to ask my Mom to roast it for me on the stove top.  She would put a layer of salt on the pan then add the almonds on top.  The salt is to control the heat to prevent the almonds from burning too quickly.  Mom had to stand by the stove constantly stirring for a good 10 to 15 minutes to roast the almonds.  Recently I experimented with roasting in the Air Fryer.  Because why not?  I do use my Air Fryer to roast peanuts so this should work as well.  And indeed it worked like a charm!

Here are the easy steps:

  1. Lay the raw almonds in a single layer in your Air Fryer basket.  Like peanuts, do not overcrowd them!
  2. Set temperature to 375 F.
  3. Set cook time to about 5 minutes. (Please note cook time might vary base on the size of your Air Fryer and brand.  Check often initially to prevent over roasting!)
  4. Remove from Air Fryer and pour into a bowl.  Allow almonds to cool down completely.  You’ll hear crackling/popping sounds which is normal.  Don’t attempt to eat while it’s not, the texture will be soft/chewy.
  5. Once they have cooled down you can enjoy immediately.  Roasted almonds can be stored in your favorite air tight jars ,containers or zip lock bags.  It makes a perfect snack for your kids at school too!
I found some mini glass jars at TJ Max.  Great for gifting!
This is the bag of Almonds purchased from Costco.
Single Layer only please!
Testing out at different temperature and time.


We recently went to a nice/trendy downtown eatery.  We noticed that there were selling chicken broth for about $5 for a 4-cup container (large Chinese soup carryout container) and people were buying them left and right.  I told my husband for $5 I could make IP broth for a whole village (a little exaggerated, I know!) and with not much effort at all.

Every since I went back to work our fridge always has some kind of homemade IP broth.  I like to start the new week with making a fresh batch of homemade broth (chicken or pork).  I usually cook them on Sunday’s night in preparation for the work week.  I use homemade broth to make different things through out the week such as some type of noodle soup or just a simple Vietnamese “canh” to eat with rice.  It’s such a time saver so that dinner can be prepared in 30 minutes on a weeknight.

RECIPE: For pork broth I typically use 2-3 lbs of bones (I prefer marrow bones but neck bones would be fine too), one onion and a vegetable such as daikon (you could use carrot and/or celery too depend on how you plan to use your broth).  I parboiled the bones for 5 minutes on the stove top first to remove the impurities, washed and rinsed again with water then add to the IP.  I filled my 8-quart with water just slightly below the max line.  Selected Pressure Cook, High Pressure, 20 minutes.  There is usually no rush for me to use this broth so I let the IP NPR, many times I leave it NPR overnight.  Once it was done, I ran the broth through a sieve to make it 100% clear and discard all solid ingredients.  You can freeze them or store in the fridge for usage through out the week.

Last night I used the broth to make Lobster Wonton Noodle Soup.  We scored some good deals on lobster tails at the grocery store recently.  It was such a satisfying meal to have on a weeknight and would not have been possible without my pre-made stock.  Total time it took was about 40 minutes (rolling the wontons took some time!).

I hope this will help speed up your weeknight dinner preparation!



I’m finally putting a sticky rice IP recipe to this blog!

Xôi Mặn (Savory Sticky Rice) is so easy to make!  It’s always a hit at Vietnamese parties.  You have a variety of topping choices, can add all or just a few.  I always think of this dish when I have leftover rotisserie chicken.  If you have time use the carcass from the chicken to make the liquid/broth for the rice.  It gives the rice so much more flavor versus using water or store bought broth.  Here is the link to my post on making broth with Costco rotisserie chicken: Multi-usage for Costco Rotisserie Chicken

Regarding the rice itself, I prefer to cook sweet rice for Xoi Man directly in the inner pot with no soaking ahead of time.  I often use my 3-quart IP to cook the rice.  Adding oil and cooking spray really help to prevent rice scorching to the bottom of the pot.

I hope you’ll find this recipe easy and simple just like the other recipes on here!

Recipe: Xôi Mặn Instant Pot (Savory Sticky Rice)


I often make Vietnamese Style Wings at home.  Cánh Gà Chiên Bơ and Cánh Gà chiên Nước Mắm are our favorite kinds.  Before the Air Fryer’s time, I’d deep fry the wings in hot oil with a good layer of corn starch as the breading.  After discovering how easy it is to make wings with the Air Fryer I’ve not turned back!  These are “naked” wings, no breading needed!

My Philips Air Fryer is small so I have to make 2 batches.  Do remember to only single layer the wings.  Stacking might cause uneven cooking.  Cooking time depends on the size of your Air Fryer, type, brand… etc.  So please use the time and temperature as a guide only.  Check on your wings and cook until they are golden to your liking.

Air Fryer Recipe for Garlic Butter and Fish Sauce Wings: “Air Fryer” Vietnamese Style Wings

Fish Sauce Wings
Garlic Butter Wings

I finally had time today to add a new recipe to the blog.  Sorry this one took me so long to put together.

As I’ve shared previously that vegetarians run in my family, my grandma was and now my Mom.  Many of my cousins in Vietnam are now vegetarians as well.  Therefore, I grew up eating excellent vegetarian food.  Every time we go the Buddhist temple I look forward to having a hot bowl of Bun Hue Chay.  It’s always so flavorful and I prefer it over the meat version.

Like any noodle soup, the key is the broth.  Vegetarian broth relies on many different types of vegetables.  My family uses corn, jicama, daikon and carrot a lot to make/sweeten our broth. I hope you’ll like this recipe as well!

Recipe: Bún Huế Chay Instant Pot (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spicy “Hue” Style Noodle Soup)





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

2014 – Butter Quails from Rice Paper Restaurant in Virginia

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.


Allow the peanuts to cool down


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!


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)

20171220_1900135621472979097879441.jpg  20171220_1856237547291149756514686.jpg

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)

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


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


Garlic Chive is a must (and Chinese celery I’d say)
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