A Taste of Vietnamese Cuisine
September 25th, 2016
Unique flavors—including coconut water, coconut cream and red curry—meld for a tasty chicken dinner. Photos by Trang Bui

Unique flavors—including coconut water, coconut cream and red curry—meld for a tasty chicken dinner. Photos by Trang Bui

Expand meal possibilities with flavors from Asia

Curry Chicken in Coconut Cream

Step 1: Marinate/bake chicken thighs

  • 3 pounds boneless chicken thighs with or without skin, cut in thirds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Toss chicken pieces with salt, pepper, oil, curry powder and garlic. Spread chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil. Let the chicken marinate for about 15 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until crisp and golden. Save liquid from chicken to use in step 3.

Step 2: Bake potatoes

  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread on a baking sheet and put on the bottom rack of the oven to bake with the chicken. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 3: Final braising/cooking

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut water or chicken broth, or 1 tablespoon chicken soup base mixed with 1½ cup water
  • 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 stems lemongrass, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stems green onion, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

Heat oil, onion, garlic and lemongrass in a large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Stir in curry paste and liquid from baked chicken. Cook 2 more minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add coconut cream, coconut water or chicken broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add baked chicken and cook for 5 minutes more or until tender. Add roasted potatoes and green onion. Serve with French baguette or rice.


Asparagus and Crab Soup

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons corn or potato starch, mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound fresh green asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ pound sliced mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 ounces fresh or canned crabmeat
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chinese parsley for garnish

Combine broth with salt and sugar in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Add asparagus and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the starch mixture and stir gently until the soup thickens.

While the soup is actively boiling, add the eggs and stir gently. Reduce heat and simmer.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until lightly brown. Add the crabmeat and pepper to taste. Stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute.

Serve soup in an individual bowl. Spoon crabmeat on top and garnish with parsley and pepper.


Bo Bia/Jicama Salad Rolls

  • 1 large jicama, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • 6-ounce piece of fried tofu, cut into ¼-inch strips, or half of a package of Chinese sausages, thinly
  • sliced and stir-fried for 2 minutes
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce or plum sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, optional
  • 1 head green-leaf lettuce, washed, drained and cut into small pieces
  • Asian basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 24 8-inch dried rice paper rounds
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick pan over moderate heat. In a bowl, combine the eggs and a sprinkle of salt; beat well.

When the pan is hot, pour in a third of the beaten eggs and quickly swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until firm, about 1 minute. Flip the egg crepe and cook another minute. Transfer the crepe to a plate. Repeat with the remaining egg batter. When the crepes are cool enough to handle, cut into ¼-inch strips and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over high heat. Add jicama, carrot, ½ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss well and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a dish.

Combine the hoisin sauce and chili paste in a small bowl and set aside. Set up a work station by placing the ingredients in the order in which they will be needed: rice papers, egg strips, lettuce, jicama mixture, tofu or Chinese sausage, hoisin mixture, basil and peanuts.

Fill a large bowl with hot water. Prepare two plates, working with two rice paper rounds at a time. Dip one, edge first, into the hot water and turn to wet it completely. Lay the round down on the plate. Repeat with the other round on the second plate. This allows you to work with one while the second rests.

Neatly place on the top third of the first round a few strips of egg crepe, 1 piece of lettuce, 2 tablespoons jicama mixture (no juice), 2 pieces of tofu (or 3 to 4 pieces Chinese sausage), 1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce mix, 2 or 3 basil leaves and a sprinkling of peanuts. Make sure the filling is neatly stacked.

Fold the top edge over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll into a cylinder. A perfect bo bia is about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve the rolls whole or cut in half.


Banana Cake

  • 10 to 12 large ripe bananas, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 small loaves of bread or 1 whole baguette (not rustic), torn into small pieces
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk coconut cream, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add banana and bread; mix well. Mix in melted butter.

Grease two 8-inch round pans or two cupcake pans. Divide batter equally, almost to the rim. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Coconut Tapioca Sauce

  • 14-ounce can coconut cream
  • 14 ounces water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup tapioca, soaked in lukewarm water for 5 minutes
  • Crushed peanuts

Combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat until boiling, then add tapioca. Stir well, cooking until tapioca turns clear. Spread a layer of sauce on a plate, then top with a slice of cake and crushed peanuts.

Recipes courtesy of Trang Bui

Unique flavors—including coconut water, coconut cream and red curry—meld for a tasty chicken dinner. Photos by Trang Bui

Unique flavors—including coconut water, coconut cream and red curry—meld for a tasty chicken dinner. Photos by Trang Bui