Fried Pork Goodness! Thit Rang Muoi

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What to do when you have a pork loin in the house and don’t feel like making Thit Kho? Why not deep fry the pork?

Rang Muoi is a five-spice batter that can be used to fry any meat of your choice. It is frequently used with squid or shrimp, but given that I love pork, we used pork to make Thit Rang Muoi.

The batter requires plenty of dry goods, but, overall, the recipe is pretty simple. As a quick note, on the initial ingredient listing, I forgot to mention that oyster sauce will be required for the final sauce to toss the crispy pieces of pork in.

Thit Rang Muoi can be served with rice, but for extra brightness, I served the fried deliciousness with lettuce lightly tossed in lime juice. Enjoy!

Generoso’s Version Of The Hearty Dish: Arista Di Maiale Al Latte

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Being that the last couple of weeks have seen the weather cool off considerably here in Los Angeles, I have decided to show you how to make one of my favorite fall dishes, Arista di Maiale Al Latte (Pork Loin Cooked In Milk).  This is an easy to make creamy, hearty dish that you can serve as a secondi.  Cooking time should be about two hours so save this one for the weekend.  Not too much prep but you will need a lot of cooking time.  The ingredients you will need are: A two pound piece of boneless pork loin, 750ml of whole milk, eight cloves of garlic, thyme, 3 spring onions, olive oil, salt, pepper. Lily really loved this one. Let us know how yours turns out and enjoy the fall!

XO Generoso

Music: Felix Mendelssohn: Organ Sonata, Op. 65 no. 111

An Update to Com Tam: Lily’s Thit Suon Nuong

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With the Los Angeles perpetual summer continuing its rampage, I have been running out of non-soup based recipes to show you. After some discussion and a recent purchase of four pounds of beautifully trimmed pork shoulder, Generoso, upon seeing pictures, asked if I could make the pork chops served with Com Tam.

Com Tam is a blanket term for rich dishes served with crushed jasmine rice and a small bowl of nuoc mam to pour over all of the treats on the plate. There are many variations on Com Tam, which contain different types of meats and preparations, but my favorite has always been the version with Suon Nuong, and that is what I decided to modify.

First, in my version, I use molasses as my source of color and caramelization to the meat. You can certainly use brown sugar if you would like! I also use pork without the bone; again, this is a preference. I also serve the pork with brown rice, which is a bit healthier, and this dish needs all of the help it can get when it comes to health. In addition, I serve my Com Tam without nuoc mam (the signature lime and fish sauce based dipping sauce); I let the pork marinade shine on its own but balance the richness of the dish with pickled carrots. Lastly, I pan fry my pork, whereas most preparations call for grilling or broiling. I like the texture of the pan fry myself, but you are welcome to broil or grill the Suon Nuong!

Please note: In the opening ingredient introduction, I forgot to mention fish sauce. There’s almost no savory Vietnamese recipe that does not have fish sauce! Make sure that you always have it on hand when you’re making Vietnamese food! 🙂

Enjoy! Please do share your results and variations of Suon Nuong!

Deep Frying Fun Episode #1 – Lily’s Gia Gio

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The Fierros have now acquired a deep fryer!!!! Now, with both a deep fryer and a mandolin, we can finally make gia gio a.k.a Vietnamese egg rolls.

Lily grew up eating egg rolls made from these egg roll wrappers:

But after years of eating Vietnamese egg rolls with a delicious bubbly, crispy skin in restaurants, she decided she would use the filling she loved with rice paper to make cha gio that would achieve this more complex egg roll skin.

Rolled gingerly and fried carefully in medium low heat, these cha gio are fun for a summertime party. Wrap with crisp lettuce and dip in fish sauce, and you have a perfect bright, fresh, crispy, chewy bite! They’re also super delicious cold and straight from the refrigerator! Enjoy!

Lily Makes Summertime Bun Thit Xao Xa!

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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!

Generoso’s Stufato di Maiale Italiano Con Farfalle (Italian Pork Stew)

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Generoso’s take on the Italian pork stew is a sweet and hearty dish that was made for these late winter’s when you crave something rich and filling after a long day. Think of this as an Italian Beef Bourguignon! You will need 2 pounds of pork sirloin, a can of puree tomato, ground bay leaf, salt, pepper, parsley, one cup of red wine, white flour, cinnamon, one box of farfalle, and a large onion. Takes about 2 hours to make from prep to plating.  Let us know how yours turned out!!  XO Generoso and Lily

Music: Aaron Dunn’s Sonata No. 1

Lily’s Savory and Geometrically Delicious Banh Gio!

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For Lily, many of these recipes bring back memories of eating after school meals with her grandmother. Nothing brings back more memories for her than Banh Gio.

This cone shaped savory rice dumpling filled with pork, onions, and wood ear mushrooms was something that Lily ate often when she was a little kid. The smell of them steaming was always a welcoming one when she got off of the school bus and entered her grandmother’s home.

Banh Gio is quite simple to make! The rolling and filling technique is a little tricky, but Lily will show you how to do it!

Once steamed, Banh Gio can be eaten plain or with a drizzle of soy sauce (Lily and Generoso’s preferred way to eat). Enjoy!

Music by Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet no. 2 in D

Lily’s Fabulous Cha Lua (Vietnamese Bologna)

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Have you ever eaten a “House Special” Banh Mi and wondered what was the pale bologna-esque meat filling your delicious sandwich? Well, that’s cha lua!

Lily grew up eating cha regularly in its steamed and fried form, often with a piece of bread on one side of the plate and a huge chunk of cha on the other. This week, she shows you how to make this delicious pork treat!

She’ll show you how to make the pork paste, how to steam it in banana leaves, and how to fry it into golden patties.

Cha is great with a little bit of rice, a piece of bread, or all alone! It keeps in the fridge too, so it is good to have on hand for a quick meal or late night snack (Lily and Generoso actually made small sandwiches while writing this post).

Enjoy!

Music by Gustav Mahler, Songs of A Wayfarer.

Lily’s Shrimp-less Version of Banh Xeo

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Banh xeo can be found as an appetizer in most Vietnamese restaurants. Lily has two main memories of Banh Xeo

  1. The giant banh xeo that took up an entire food tray made by a stand in a food court at the Vietnamese market/mall in Houston
  2. The hurried banh xeo made at banh xeo parties where someone was always at the stove churning out the treat and passing it to empty plates

In most translations, banh xeo is called Vietnamese crepe. Sometimes you’ll even see it described as Vietnamese pizza. Regardless of what it is called, banh xeo is a delicious dish perfect for entertaining and sharing. The coconut milk and the mung bean paste in the batter make the banh xeo batter perfectly savory, rich, and the tiniest bit sweet. Paired with lettuce, mint, and fish sauce, each bite of banh xeo has a mix of flavors, textures, and even temperatures.

There’s a good amount of preparation required for this dish, but don’t be intimidated; the cooking time is actually very short. Enjoy!

Music: Symphony no. 2 in Cm, WAB 102 by Anton Bruckner

Lily Makes Her Vietnamese/Chinese Cabbage Rolls

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Lily has no idea of the origins of this dish. She simply remembers eating cabbage rolls with soup ever since she was a young child. She suspects that it is a dish completely invented from the necessity to feed a family and the availability of cabbage, ground pork, and the standard pantry of a Vietnamese-Chinese household.

In this video, she shows you how to make her version of cabbage rolls, a dish that requires a fair amount of work but is perfect for the cold winters.

Music by Karl Goldmark Symphony No. 1 “Rustic Wedding,” Opus. 26

Enjoy! Let us know how your cabbage rolls turn out!