Vietnamese Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

September 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a traditional Vietnamese curry.

The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and coconut milk contrast against the curry spices, giving the dish a depth of flavour.
Sweet and strong – just like the Vietnamese women who I met in the mountain.


— Vietnamese Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry (serves 2) —

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric

250g skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal or ginger

1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped

1- 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes (adjust chilli to your taste)

200g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)

1/2 tablespoon palm sugar

300ml coconut milk

Hand full of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Cooked basmati rice (for serving)


Combine the curry powder and ground turmeric in a small bowl.

Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and coat with the half of the spice. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or heavy pan, stir-fry the chopped shallots, galangal and lemon grass over medium heat until fragrant.

Add the spiced chicken, the rest of spice and chilli flakes and then stir-fry about 2 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and stir-fry another 2 minutes.

Add the nuoc mam, palm sugar, coconut milk and 50ml of water. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or the chicken is tender. stirring occasionally.

Add the coriander leaves.

Serve with basmati rice.

Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns

January 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This stir-fried rice noodle dish is called “Pad Thai”. One of the national dishes of Thailand.

There are several regional variations, and this is my favourite version of Pad Thai recipe. It has a light, fresh and full of umami taste.


— Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns (serves 2) —

180g Thai rice noodles (sen lek)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tamarind juice

1 & 1/2 fish sauce

1 tablespoon palm sugar or sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped  shallot

8 raw king or tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined

1 egg

1 tablespoon pickled white radish, chopped into small pieces

1 tablespoon dried shrimps, ground or pounded

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

2 spring onions, slices

40g fresh bean sprouts

3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

Some chopped coriander for garnish

Lemon wedges for garnish


Soak the noodles in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, and drain well again. Set aside.

Mix the lemon juice, tamarind juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a bowl.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or frying-pan, stir-fry the garlic and shallot over medium heat until golden brown. Add the prawns and cook until turn pink. Break in the egg and stir-fry quickly for a couple of seconds.

Add the drained noodles and stir-fry, pour over the sauce mixture, add the pickled white radish, dried shrimps and chilli powder and spring onions. Keep stirring until the noodles a cooked through for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to serving plates, arrange the fresh bean sprouts over the noodles, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and garnish with chopped coriander and lemon wedges.

Pak Choi with Almond Garlic Chilli Oil

January 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This hot and bold flavoured chilli oil goes great with stir-fried / steamed vegetables, plain rice or plain tofu. It spices up meals.


— Pak Choi with Almond Garlic Chilli Oil (Serves 4) —

800g pak choi

Some vegetable oil for frying


– for Almond Garlic Chilli Oil –

4 tablespoons sesame oil

2 cloves garlicm, minced

2 tablespoons onion, minced

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1/2 teaspoon paprika powder

1&1/2 tablespoons light say sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 salt

20g toasted almond flakes


Place the sesame oil, minced garlic, minced onion, chilli flakes and paprika powder in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until the onion and garlic became golden.

Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Add the say sauce, sugar, salt and almond flakes and mix well. Set aside.

Cut the very ends off the pak choi and separate the leaves.

Heat some vegetable oil in a large frying-pan or wok, stir fry the pak choi for about 3 minutes until it’s lightly cooked.

Transfer the stir fried pak choi to serving plates and drizzle with the almond garlic chilli oil.

Spicy Lemongrass Tofu

December 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I love this Vietnamese style tofu dish.

The crispy cubes of tofu are simply seasoned by lemongrass, a pinch of chilli and salt. Very simple dish but it has a beautiful flavor and aroma.


— Spicy Lemongrass Tofu (serves 2) —

400g firm tofu, drained

3 tablespoons corn flour

Oil for deep frying

1 tablespoon vegetable oil for stir-frying

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender part only, very finely chopped

1 small chilli, very finely chopped

A pinch of salt

some coriander lives, finely chopped


Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes and pat dry with kitchen papers and lightly coat them with the corn flour.

Heat the oil to 340F/170C and deep fry the tofu until light golden, place them on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Heat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying-pan, add the lemon grass and chilli, stir-fry for 2 minutes over medium heat.

Add the deep-fried tofu and season with the salt, stir-fry everything together for 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat, sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves.

Thai Banana Fritters

October 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I had a bad news today and I felt blue.

But, sometimes you realise some very important things when you are having a problem.

I had a nice coffee,

I heard a very funny Santa Claus story (maybe he does exist),

walked in the refreshing clean & crisp autumn air,

I’ve got some lovely sweets.

I’m fine now. A big hug.


— Thai Banana Fritters —

3-4 unripe bananas

40g rice flour

30g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

40g sugar

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

200ml coconut milk

Oil for deep-frying


Sift the rice flour, plain flour and baking powder together in a bowl.

Add the sugar, salt, sesame seeds and coconut milk into the bowl and mix everything well.

Cut the banana half, and slice lengthwise into 4 slices.

Heat deep-frying oil.

Dip the banana slices in the batter, fry until golden and crispy. Drain excess oil on kitchen paper.

Sichuan Fried Aubergine

October 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a popular Sichuan vegetable dish (suitable for vegan).

The spicy and bold flavour makes me feel vibrant.

Serve with plain boiled rice or noodles.


— Sichuan Fried Aubergine (serves 2) —

400g aubergines

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon chilli bean sauce (available at oriental grocery store)

100ml vegetable stock

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon corn flour blended with 1 tablespoon water

Oil for deep-frying

Some spring onion for garnish, finely chopped


Cut the aubergine lengthways into 2/3 inch wide by 2 inch long strips.

Heat the deep-frying oil to 375F/180C. Deep fry the aubergine for about 3 minutes until slightly golden. Drain excess oil on kitchen papers.

Heat the sesame oil in a frying-pan, add the garlic, ginger, chilli bean sauce and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the deep-fried aubergine and vegetable stock and then simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, then add the blended corn flour and stir to thicken the sauce.

Garnish with the spring onion.

Vietnamese Style Turmeric & Dill Fish with Rice Noodles

September 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I was impressed by the beauty of Vietnamese women when I visited Vietnam.

They don’t deck out in expensive outfits or heavy makeup, they just really have amazing natural beauty. I think the beauty is coming from their inner strength.

They are honest and hardworking, always smily.

Also, Vietnamese food is my favourite. If I were to be born again and be a man, I would love to marry a Vietnamese woman :)


— Vietnamese Style Turmeric & Dill Fish with Rice Noodles (serves 2) —

500g white fish fillets

2 tablespoons salted peanuts, roughly chopped

30g spring onion, chopped

Some oil for stir-frying

2 portions of thin rice noodles (vermicelli)

Some coriander leaves for garnish


— for turmeric marinade —

2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce

1 tablespoon  turmeric powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped (without stems)


Cut the white fish into 2 inch pieces.

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the fish and coat well. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Cooke the thin rice noodles in a large pot of boiling water until cooked (follow the package directions). Drain and rinse well under cold water, and drain well again. Set aside

Heat some oil in a frying-pan, add the chopped peanuts and chopped spring onion and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Remove the fish pieces from marinade, remove the excess marinade.

Cook the fish under a preheated grill for about 3 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

Place a potion of rice noodles into a bowl, sprinkle with the sautéed peanuts and spring onion, top with a portion of fish and garnish with some coriander leaves.

Sautéed Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet

September 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I don’t like hot weather, I can’t swim, I hate mosquitos.

But, still I feel a bit sad at times when the summer is coming to an end.

This tropical summerly dessert is the last stand against Autumn.


— Sautéed Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet (serves 6) —

— for coconut sorbet —

170g sugar

150ml coconut milk

50g grated or desiccated coconut

1/2 lime, squeezed


— for sautéed pineapple —

1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored

3 tablespoons butter

30g brown sugar

3 tablespoons dark rum


— to make coconut sorbet —

Place the sugar and 200ml water in a pan. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved completely.

Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk, squeezed lime juice and grated coconut. Transfer the mixture into a freezer container and freeze for 1 hours.

Take the sorbet out from the freezer and beat it until smooth and creamy. Return to the freezer and continue to freeze until the sorbet is frozen.


— to make sautéed pineapple —

Cut the pineapple crosswise into six 3/4 inch-thick slices.

Melt the butter in a frying-pan over medium heat. Sauté the pineapple, 1 minute each side. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the pineapple, turning over occasionally and cook until golden. Pour the rum and cook for about one more minute.

Transfer the sautéed pineapples to plates and serve with the coconut sorbet.

Steamed Pork & Prawn Shumai

August 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Shumai is a traditinal Chinese dumpling  and it’s one of my favourite Dim Sum dish.

I added a little bit of Thai flavour into a basic pork and prawn shumai recipe and it works well.

Small but mighty dumplings.


— Steamed pork & prawn Shumai (18 dumplings) —

200g minced pork

60g raw prawns, peeled, finely chopped

50g water chestnut, finely chopped

2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped

3 tablespoons corn flour

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

18 sheets won ton pastry


— for garlic chips —

2 garlic cloves

3 vegetable oil


— for dipping sauce

3 tablespoons soya sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar


To make garlic chips: cut the garlic cloves into very thin slices. Heat the oil in a small pan over law heat and sauté the chopped garlic until golden brown. Drain the excess oil on kitchen papers.

To make dipping sauce: mix soy sauce and rice vinegar in a small bowl.


Place all the dumpling ingredients except for the won ton pastry.

Mix everything until the ingredients are well combined.

Hold a wonton pastry sheet on your palm, spoon 1 tablespoon of filling mixture on to the middle of the pastry, gather up the pastry and lightly squeeze the top of edges together, leaving the top open.

Place the dumplings in a steamer. Steam over boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with crushed garlic chips and serve with the dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Curry

July 15th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

This is a mild and creamy coconut milk-based Vietnamese curry. The beautiful fragrance of lemongrass brings refreshing bright flavour and it’s very simple and quick to make. A great dish for a lazy summer night.


— Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Curry (serves 4) —

700g chicken thigh, boned and skinned

3-4 stalks lemongrass

3 shallots, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 small green chillies, finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)

2 & 1/2 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce (nouc mam)

1 & 1/2 tablespoon curry powder

1 bay leaf

300ml coconut milk

2 tablespoons roasted peanits, chopped (for garnish)

2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)

4 portions of plain boiled rice


Cut the chicken thigh into 1 inch pieces. Crash the lemongrass stalks and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying-pan or wok, stir-fry the garlic and shallot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the chopped lemongrass, green chillies, curry powder, nouc mam,  palm sugar, bay leaf and chopped chicken thigh and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.

Pour the coconut milk and mix everything well. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Serves with plain boiled rice and garnish with chopped roasted peanut and chopped coriander leaves.