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.
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?
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.
Another idea for your baby 3-quart IP. Perfect for dessert like I was hoping when I bought it.
This is a quick and easy dessert to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours. I made this last year and shared it in the Vietnamese IP Recipe Group. A lot of members loved it but this is the 2nd time I made it since (a lot of other desserts got in the way… LOL). So I did some tweaking and I hope you will find it easy to follow as well.
Water is good for you but I’m not big on drinking just plain water. So in an attempt to keep myself hydrated during the day at work I decided to make Artichoke and Chrysanthemum Tea last night. It was so refreshing over ice. It woke me up so I didn’t have to make 2nd cup of coffee 😊.
This is the easiest thing ever to make in the IP. Before heading to bed I set 20 minutes HP and let it NPR overnight.
Ingredients (used 8-quart): 1 artichoke (halved), 1 bag of dried Chrysanthemum, a few pieces of rock sugar to your taste, and water to below max. I discarded all solids after cooking.
If you are like me and don’t like to cook whole chicken in the IP just for a few bowls of noodle soup then consider using chicken leg quarters. Leg quarters consists of about a quarter of the chicken meat on the chicken, hence the name! It includes a thigh, drumstick, and a part of the back . One leg quarters is usually sufficient for 1 serving of meat for a bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. Another benefit is it’s much easier to clean than whole chicken. And lastly, it cooks faster, about 9 minutes HP.
If you like fresh bamboo shoot then you should try this soup. Traditionally it was made using dried bamboo shoot. But the texture of the dried bamboo can be a turn-off sometime especially when you get a bad batch that consists old shoots. I always make a “chicken salad” and ginger fish sauce to go with the soup. I feel like they make the dish looks more complicated than it really is. Plus I am a sauce kind of girl, I dip everything in anything… LOL. Enjoy!
I’m one of those when I see someone eats something I salivate and have to eat it too, especially late at night. My good friend, Vy, shared a photo of her braised fish in the IP one late night when we were chatting and that was it. I woke up wanting fish. But of course with the busy schedule I was not able to make it that day or that week, in fact I think it has been over a month.
Last weekend we went grocery shopping and I found Swai Fish (Ca Bong Lau) in the frozen section and immediately thought of Ca Kho. Swai Fish, as you know, is native to rivers in Vietnam. So we can only get imported Swai in the US. It has a similar texture as Catfish. They both go really well in Vietnamese Sour Soup (Canh Chua) or braised fish in a clay pot (Ca Kho To). Braised fish is traditionally cooked in a clay pot but it’s just as good in the IP :).
I used my 3-quart IP to make it and it was absolutely the perfect size for 1 lb of fish! The sauce turned out thick and so rich in flavor. I will make Canh Chua to go with it tonight for dinner. Can’t wait!
Having time in the kitchen is now a luxury (never thought I’d say that!). Wonton Noodle Soup was requested by the kids quite a few times. They love egg noodles more than anything. Once again, I used the Instant Pot to make the broth overnight. I prefer marrow bones to make broth over neck bones. The broth always come out clear, neck bones can cause “cloudiness” which is kind of a pet peeve of mine.
My Mom is mastering her Philips Pasta Maker so she made the egg noodles from scratch. It was so good! That woman will forever be my idol.
So I ate out the entire first week at work. I went from food truck to food truck on campus. It was expensive (about $10 for lunch) and for some days it was disappointing. So this week I decided to “pack” lunch to work. My idea of packing lunch was Lean Cuisine frozen meals… LOL. I ate LC 2 days in a row and called it a day.
I was determined to actually make something for lunch for the rest of the week. On the way home last night I stopped by a small Asian grocery store to see what I can grab.. This store is the closest one to us but doesn’t have fresh meat or seafood. Most of the time I’d just shop for spices, dry noodles, and some produce. Last night I walked by the vegetarian can food section and it triggered some dishes my Mom used to make. So I grabbed the mock duck and the veggies cans and also some fresh green beans. I got home and literally in 15 minutes I made this delicious vegetarian stir-fry. I’m not big on eating can food as I’m sure most of you are too but when mixing with fresh vegetable I feel less guilty 😉
– 1 can of mock duck (or any kind of bean curb vegetarian food, for protein), discarded liquid, cut to bite sizes
– 1 can of Vegetarian Chop-Suey (can substitute for fresh mushrooms or anything you like), discarded liquid
– 1 can of quail eggs, discarded liquid
– 1/2 lb of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut to bite sizes
– 3 cloves of garlic and 1 shallot, minced
– 2 tbsp of Maggie Seasoning
– 1/2 to 1 tbsp of sugar
– 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning
-1/4 tsp of ground pepper
– 2 tbsp of cooking oil (I used olive)
In a deep skillet, add cooking oil follow with garlic and shallot. Once fragrant, add your green beans. Stir well and saute on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vegetarian foods and quail eggs. Mix well and season to your taste with Maggie, sugar, ground pepper and mushroom seasoning. Continue on low heat for about 3 more minutes.
I’m eating for lunch today with white rice. Oh so good!
Last night I managed to make 2 pots of Pho: one beef and the other vegetarian for my Mom.
The Beef Pho I actually made it while sleeping thanks to the IP. Before heading to bed the night before, I set 30 minutes HP and allowed it to NPR and “Keep Warm” over night. In the morning I placed the inner pot in the fridge. When I got home from work I removed the fat layer and bones, turned on Saute mode, add more water, and seasoned to taste! If you have time I’d highly recommend making Beef Pho this way. The broth was rich, clear and beautiful!
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