Taste of Vietnam: Beef and Green Bean Soup with Glass Noodles and Shallots

Beef and Green Bean Soup

While this dish doesn’t seem to be very well known, it should be. It is comforting and reminds me of my childhood. My mom would often make this for me and my sister when she was short on time and had hungry mouths to feed. It was also one of the few dishes I would eat with veggies in it when I was a child. Although I eat almost anything now, green beans are still one of my favorite greens to eat. I have never posted this dish before because Thogg still absolutely loathes them. He will eat this soup but carefully picks out every piece of green from out of his bowl and hands them over to me. Oh well, I guess you can win all the time. Continue reading

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Soy Sesame Marinated Pan Fried Tofu

Another lazy night dinner. Thogg’s throat is still a bit sore so I thought something with a soft texture would be appropriate. I also felt it was necessary to cook him a well balanced meal. The result was an Asian-marinated tofu with a soy sesame glaze, mixed brown rice, and a side of pan-seared broccoli rabe. Continue reading

Quick Fried Rice

Quick Fried Rice – It’s What’s for Dinner!

I was hungry tonight but not especially motivated to cook anything fancy. Thogg has a sore throat so I set him up with the remaining savory squash soup I made a few days ago. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough for two so I took a quick look in the fridge: left-over rice, some eggs, green onions, and some button mushrooms. Fried rice it is then.  Continue reading

Punjabi Dal Makhani – Indian Comfort Food

Healthy, hearty and comforting.

The name is a bit intimidating and exotic. But if you’ve had the pleasure of having Trader Joe’s Madras Lentils and you’ve wondered how they came up with something so tasty…. Well, I can tell you this. They took notes from a tried and true dish that has been eaten in India for a very long time. By calling it Madras lentils they promise something familiar, the humble lentil, combined with exotic spices. And that is exactly what this dish is. It is comforting and exotic all at once. I love Trader Joe’s version, I have nothing bad to say about it. But being that I am me, and I love to cook, I was inspired to find a way to make this dish from scratch. I also wanted to discover the non-Americanized version and see for myself how it compares. Continue reading

Indian Bhaji – Veggies With Some Serious Flavor

Vegetable Bhaji – colorful, healthy, and tasty

There was once a little vegetarian Indian restaurant not too far from my house. The first time I went there I ordered Pav Bhaji, which is a meal of spiced smashed veggies served with bread buns. I was hooked after the first bite. I tried other dishes over the years: Dosas, different veggie curries, etc. They were all good, but when the restaurant closed down I was literally almost traumatized that I might never have my Pav Bhaji again. I still have yet to find another Indian restaurant that serves them and is local to me. So after years of griping, I finally got off my butt and decided to do some research. Continue reading

Ingredient Spotlight – Fenugreek Leaves

Chicken with vegetables in a thick and savory sauce

For a while now I’ve been challenging myself to try new ingredients. I love world cuisine, but like many self-taught home cooks, sometimes I get intimidated by trying to create or recreate wonderful dishes I’ve had served to me by native cooks. Two years ago, my friend took myself and my husband to an Indian restaurant that I’d never been to before. They had this wonderful dish of murg methi (chicken with fenugreek leaves in a curry-like sauce) that was quite literally one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in my life. The flavor profile was bold but balanced and, while I’m sure it was horrible for me it tasted devine.

A few months ago, I picked up some dried methi leaves. They have been sitting in my spice cabinet all this time. I picked them up after chatting with my friend about that memorable dish. All three of us (she myself and my husband) remember it quite fondly. I had ordered it but the three of us had gobbled it up together and barely even touched the other two dishes, although to be fair, they were very tasty too. I told her I was dying to go back and eat it again and that we should all go back together. Sadly, she told me she had gone back a few times over the past few years. Perhaps they changed cooks or management, but she informed me that she had been very disappointed in the dish since.

I realized that it was up to me to find a way to make myself a substitute. Continue reading

Asian Fusian Meatless Lettuce Wraps

Served it on lettuce or cabbage. Yum!

Even though I am not a vegetarian, I have been craving non-meat sources of protein all winter. This was my latest invention which blends the flavors of China, Vietnam, and Thailand into one dish. It is savory, a little spicy, and has just a little bit of sweetness to bring harmony to the flavors.

This is full of protein, calcium and is low in carbs. If you use olive oil or another healthy oil this dish becomes a good source of mono and poly-unsaturated fats. Serve with fresh steamed veg on the side to up your veggie quota or serve over brown rice to make this a heartier meal. (note: This recipe is not completely vegetarian because it does use fish sauce.)

A savory tofu dish that will please most meat eaters!

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