A Bite Sized Appetizer Transforms Into a Meal: Lily’s Banh It


Vietnamese food from the Hue region is some of my favorite food. Particularly, I have fond memories of eating a version of banh it with a chewy, crispy piece of fried dough underneath it in a grimy restaurant specializing in food from the Hue region in Houston as a child. Man, that restaurant was a rough place to eat at, but the food really was unlike any other.

Unable to find that version of banh it again, I decided to make my own interpretation. The version I had as a kid was served in bite sized servings as an appetizer, but since I lack such a level of portion restraint, I made my banh it much larger, making them less of an appetizer and more of a meal.

There are many steps to this recipe, but I promise the outcome is a delicious mix of flavors and textures, especially when served with a piece of lettuce to wrap around these hybrid steamed and fried rice flour dumplings and all topped with nuoc mam.

Perfect for a special occasion, banh it will definitely impress your friends and loved ones! Enjoy!

Lily Makes Summertime Bun Thit Xao Xa!


Summer is almost here, and with the warm weather, Generoso very kindly asked Lily if she could make a bun dish.

Bun (vermicelli) comes in many forms. It can be served with soup, or it can be served with crisp, fresh veggies.

For this week’s recipe, Lily made bun with lemongrass pork, a cross between the very traditional Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli with BBQ pork) and Ga Xao Xa Ot (chicken with lemongrass and chilies) that you will find in most Vietnamese restaurants.

This episode also has a new friend in it….the mandolin! It is a great tool to prepare the carrots and the cucumbers that give this dish perfect amounts of crisp textures and freshness.

Music by Franz Liszt, Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178

Enjoy! Happy summertime!

Making Banh Cuon in the Western Kitchen


Banh Cuon is a dish that Lily grew up eating often in restaurants because it required too much effort to make. The best Banh Cuon has a paper thin, chewy wrapper that is created by a stretched out cloth on a large steamer. However, on a few lucky occasions, her grandmother would make it at home, and for this week’s recipe, Lily shows you how to make Banh Cuon with a non-stick pan and a lid.

Banh Cuon is a very general name for rice flour rolls filled with meat. Traditional versions are filled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms or deep fried scallions, but the filling is completely up to you! Lily’s grandmother actually filled her Banh Cuon with ground pork and crab meat, and some Vietnamese restaurants will even fill them with BBQ pork! This video recipe uses a pork and scallion filling.

Included in this video is a recipe to make a very simple Nuoc Mam (fish sauce for dipping), which is the final serving component of any Banh Cuon dish.

As a warning, the process to make the rolls can be difficult; the rolls should be paper thin, but on the stove, that is not the easiest thing to achieve. It took Lily and Generoso a few tries before we found the method that worked best. Be patient with the first few rolls; they may not be the prettiest, but we promise that they will taste great! Music: Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Concerto no. 9 in Bb, G. 482