Author: Helen Nguyen

Snapper and Mango Empanadas

Snapper and Mango Empanadas

Of Latin America’s origin, the empanada is a stuffed savory pastry that makes a great appetizer any time. Each part of the world has their own version of empanadas, as you can get very inventive with the filling. Since it’s mango season, I’ve decided to make a snapper and mango version of these special little treats. Enjoy! 1 tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 Thai chili (optional, only if you prefer spicy) 1 tsp ground cumin 9 oz snapper boneless skinless filet, cut into small cubes 1 ripe mango, cut into small cubes (same size as the fish cubes) 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 2 eggs, beaten and divided in half 4 oz Gruyère cheese (or Swiss cheese), grated 12 oz pre-rolled pie dough (in the biscuit dough / dairy section) 1. In a small pan, add oil, onion, chili, and cumin. Stir over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Remove from heat and let cool. 2. Once the onion is no longer hot, add fish, mango, cheese, cilantro and half of the …

Pickled Carrots and Daikons

Pickled Carrots and Daikons

If you’ve eaten Vietnamese vermicelli, or any Vietnamese BBQ lunch plates, or Vietnamese banh mi, you’ve probably have had pickled carrots and daikons. Being our main go-to side dish, pickled carrots and daikon are super easy to make. Unlike other pickling method, there is no need to cook any ingredient, or to can the vegetables. If you’re unfamiliar with daikons, they are long, white roots that are about twice as big as a carrot. They taste similar to a radish. These carrots and daikons will last for about a month in the fridge. Enjoy! Carrots, peeled Daikons, peeled 1 tbsp salt 1 cup sugar 2 cup water 2 cups rice wine vinegar 1. Julienne the carrots and daikons into thin strips. I used a mandoline. 2. Add salt and mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes. 3. The salt should suck out a lot of the vegetables’ moisture. Rinse well and use a salad spinner to dry. 4. Combine sugar, water and vinegar 5. Pack the carrots and daikons tightly in a glass or plastic …

Beer Battered Calamari

Beer Battered Calamari

I accidentally found this recipe while I was looking for a salt and pepper squid recipe. I like the idea of adding beer, as it makes the calamari extra crispy. Enjoy! 1 lb fresh or frozen squid, cut into rings (like an onion ring) 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice plus more for serving Salt and pepper 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) 1 cup cold beer Frying oil Parsley leafs to garnish 1. Season your calamari rings with lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Set aside. 2. In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup of flour, 1 and 1/2 tsp salt, olive oil and beer. Stir until it becomes a smooth paste. 3. Pour 2 inches of frying oil into pan with high heat. 4. Pour the remaining cup of flour onto a plate. Dip the calamari to the dry flour and coat evenly, then to the better batter, coat evenly. Finally, drop into the hot oil and fry until the batter turns golden brown, …

Soba Noodles with Braised Pork

Soba Noodles with Braised Pork

I am absolutely hooked on these soba noodles. Unlike rice noodles, soba, which is made from buckwheat, has so much more depth in flavors. My favorite part about this dish is the rich broth. It is a bit sweet from the sugar, but also so fragrant from the five-spice powder. Enjoy! 1 lb of boneless pork (any cut as long as there a little bit of fat in it) 12 cloves garlic, minced finely 6 tsp soy sauce 2 tsp five-spice powder 1 tsp salt 4 tsp sugar 1 tsp ground pepper 6 cups of chicken stock Lettuce and mint 1. Combine garlic, soy sauce, five-spice powder, salt, sugar, black pepper together. Divide mixture into two equal parts. Take one portion and rub well on pork to marinade from 30 minutes to overnight. 2. After marinade, clean the pork free of any garlic. Save the marinade to revisit later. 3. Add 1-inch vegetable oil to large pan and sear the pork both sides on medium high heat. Once the meat browns, discard the oil. 4. …

Butternut Spring Rolls

Butternut Spring Rolls

When thinking of antioxidant, most automatically think of leafy greens. We forget that winter squash such as butternut also carries loads of antioxidant, vitamin C, anti-inflamatory, omega-3s, blood sugar regulation, prevention of type 2 diabetes, etc. So next time you’re at the grocery store, give the kale a break and bring home a squash. Below is a vegetarian friendly recipe using butternut squash. Enjoy! 2 tablespoons of olive oil 9 oz butternut squash (peel and cut into 1/2 inch cubes) 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 tbsp sriracha (optional – omit if you don’t want the rolls to be spicy) 4 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (plus more for serving) salt and pepper spring roll wrappers, defrosted (can be found at Asian markets, frozen aisle) 1 egg, beaten frying oil sweet chili sauce (for dipping, optional) 1. Heat olive oil in saute pan, add onion and squash cubes. Saute until they become soft. Alternatively, you can drizzle olive oil over the squash and onion, …

Caramelized Spare Ribs (Suon Ram Man)

This is one Vietnamese dish that I can eat everyday! I love bone marrow, and I can’t get enough of the marrow from this braised pork. I prefer to mix some of the sauce with hot steamed rice. Drizzle a bit of sriracha sauce, add some fresh cucumber and let the magic happen. 1 lb pork spare ribs chopped into into 1.5-inch pieces 2 clove of garlic, minced 1 tsp minced shallot 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 tsp chicken stock powder (or buoillon cube) 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp sugar 1/2 cup coconut soda (use water if you can’t find these, but trust me, it is much better with coconut soda) 1 tbsp fish sauce 1. Boil the ribs in plain water for about 3 minutes to reduce the pork smell. Rinse and drain. Pat dry with a paper towel. 2. Mix ribs with garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, chicken stock powder. Let marinade for 30 minutes. 3. To make the caramel sauce, warm oil in a medium pan in medium heat. Add the …

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Sriracha

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Sriracha

Preparing a home cooked meal for dinner can be challenging, especially for working moms. That is why this is my favorite go-to recipe. Shrimp cooks super fast, so this meal can be done in less than 15 minutes, if you have all your ingredients. The sriracha sauce adds a kick to the dish without overpowering it. I love rice, so I served my shrimp over steamed rice. However, it is also great with pasta. Enjoy! 3 tablespoons butter 3 cloves minced garlic 4 tablespoons Sriracha 1 pound shrimp, cleaned, shells and veins removed (leave the tails for a nicer presentation) 1 tsp anatto powder (optional – this powder will give your shrimp a warm orange color) 1 tablespoon lemon zest Salt and black pepper 2 wedges of lemon Green onions for garnish 1. Add butter to a sautéed pan. Once melted, add garlic and stir until fragrant 2. Add the sriracha to form the sauce 3. Once the sauce starts to boil around the edges, add the shrimp and sautéed 4. Add anatto powder if using. …