Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunny with a Chance of Sai Ua ໄສ້ອັ່ວ | Laotian sausages

Sai ua ໄສ້ອັ່ວ | Laotian sausages have been a bbq staple for us for many happy years and we've introduced it to our friends and family.  (I did a brisk interstate trade there for a while).  Sai ua are also common to Northern Thailand (since nation-state borders are an artificial capitalist construct and cut across language and cultures).  I am eternally grateful to Saysana for ordering this delicious dish at Champa Garden--and also for the gift of a nifty Laotian sticky rice steamer.  

A few years back, I convinced the owner of Vientiane Cafe to sell me the sausages frozen to grill at home and now they do a brisk sideline selling the sausages.  Since we moved to Fremont, we rarely hit up Vientiane anymore, and though Green Champa Garden makes it, it's a smaller portion and I react to the MSG besides.  You gotta get your sausage where you can.

I set myself the goal this year of using the slabs of pork belly from our annual pasture-raised organic hog buy.  I used one slab for making Bánh Chưng and I've been meaning to make sai ua with the rest.  If you must use conventionally-raised pork, my mom recommends soaking it with lemon juice and water overnight to "sweeten" the meat before marinading. The acidulation helps to break down the tough meat fibers from chemically laden, stressed out pigs.

The soft start to summer over Memorial Day Weekend provided the perfect opportunity to make some sai ua.   We kept the skin on which gave the sausage a great chewy/dense texture.  Since the pork belly is very fat-rich (and very healthy fat I might add), we supplemented the pork belly with some boneless pork shoulder roast from our local Whole Foods Market.  According to Phia Sing (b. 1898, d. 1967), Royal Cook in the Royal Palace at Luang Prabang, an ideal ratio would be 1:4 fat to meat; I got to 1:2 maybe 1:3 ratio and we were perfectly content with the result. 

I used Phia Sing's recipe as the basis and added other Southeast Asian flavors that I've tasted at Champa and Vientiane--lemongrass, lime leaf, galangal.  Galangal is a rhizome in the ginger family; it has a distinct zingy, pungent flavor almost mustardy/horseradish/wasabi-like.  If you cannot source galangal, omit it. I buy the biggest tuber I can find and then freeze whatever I don't use. Lime leaves also have a distinct taste without substitute.  If you cannot source them from a Southeast Asian market, you can occasionally find them dried in the spice aisle.  Lucky for me, my MIL has a makrut lime tree.  I harvest a bundle of leaves, wash & dry, and then freeze them.  They keep well in the freezer (actually all the spices used in this recipe store well in the freezer).  I completely forgot about the cilantro so it's not pictured but you should add it.  Thai bird's eye chile peppers are the preferred chile to use; spiciness can vary by pod so you can pre-taste a chile and judge how many you'll need from there.  Habañero is also another fine substitute, use sparingly.  I think I used serranos (I always forget to label things I throw in the freezer and then am annoyed at myself).  Use gloves when chopping any chiles and handling the spiced ground meat.  I have had Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad experiences involving habañeros and contact lenses.  Spare yourself the agony.  I always make a separate no-spice version because my daughter doesn't eat spicy.  You'll want to process that first before adding the chiles.

I happen to have a meat grinder because I raw feed my critters (benefits: optimal health, sleek bodies, silky fur, low odor stools, no parasites) and I used to make my own grind pre-kid.  The Northern Industrial meat grinder can take on chicken bones for whole prey feeding.  If you don't have a meat grinder, you can use a food processor though be sure to keep the grind coarse.  Though I do have a sausage stuffing attachment, I didn't bother to source casings from organic hog or not, so we ended up making sausage sliders.  I was going to wrap them in blanched banana leaves for grilling, but then it was faster to make patties than wrap 5 dozen links.  If you don't have equipment, you can use the old school method of chopping the meat into ever finer bits (as instructed in Phia Sing's recipe).   If you are into ancestral food ways, you would grind the spices in a mortar and pestle.  I don't know the science of why mortar & pestled food tastes better, but it just does.  Though I have a bit of a mortar and pestle collection going on (used to be five, I've downsized to the two my parents gave me--a volcanic rock molcajete and a Costa Rican mahogany one), I was pressed for time so used a food processor. I had a fine sous chef for this recipe run which cut my production time (wish I took a pix!  but my hands were busybusybusy); he cut the meats into smaller chunks, helped make patties and washed up a little bit.  It always takes time to establish a rhythm and harmony with a kitchen partner.  We've been together for over 15 years, married for 8, and partner well in the kitchen now.   I cannot even tell you how excited I am about this recipe!  It would be as if it rained breakfast food in a marvelous foodtopia.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Sai Ua ໄສ້ອັ່ວ | Laotian sausages

Makes 5 dozen two oz. patties


  • 3.5 - 4 lbs of pork belly including skin
  • 3 lbs of pork shoulder
  • 4 shallots
  • 1/2 garlic head
  • 4 lemongrass stalks
  • 4 inches of galangal 
  • 2 handfuls of makrut lime leaves
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 3 handfuls of celtic/grey salt 
  • 1/2 cup+ of Red Boat fish sauce
  • chiles to taste

Spice paste

Prep the spices for grinding or processing. Chop off the top third of the lemon grass and the base of the bulb and compost.  Using the dull edge of the knife, bruise the lemongrass to release the juices.  Cut into three pieces lengthwise. Peel garlic.  You can do the fancy chef 10 second way or use the flat side of a knife to smash the cloves and then remove the skin. Skin the galangal and cut into smaller chunks. Throw all the spices and salt into the food processor.  I found I didn't need additional liquid, but if you do need some to help with the processing, add fish sauce.


Cut the pork belly into thick strips if you are using a grinder, cubes if you are using a food processor.  Cube the pork shoulder. Mix together the pork belly slices pork shoulder cubes and the spice paste.  Add more fish sauce.  In the ideal world, you would marinade this at least 2 hours and up to one day.  I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn't marinade at all.

Meat Grinder: Use a coarse grinding plate.  Put a mix of belly/meat into the hopper of the grinder.  Reserve a high fat/skin piece of belly for to feed into the grinder last.  This clears out all the meat bits and with a grinder there is a very small amount of wastage that doesn't grind, so I'd rather waste fat & skin then meat.  Normally, I'd feed the leftover bit to the dog or cat, but since it had chile, I did not and had to throw it out.  (I hate wasting like that! I suppose I could have chopped it and added it, but time was a factor.)

Food processor: Fill the bowl with cubed belly & meat and pulse until coarsely ground. Once it's all ground, give it another mix to blend into the fat/skin, meat, and spices.  Add additional fish sauce at this time. Give the sausage a taste test at this time following these instructions from Phia Sing:
Take a very small sample portion of the mixture, wrap it in pieces of banana leaf and grill it until cooked. Taste it and check the saltiness. (If this test is satisfactory you can proceed to make the sausages. If the taste of the grilled sample is not right, adjust the seasoning.)
Line a roasting pan with parchment paper or banana leaves.  Make balls and form into patties.  I have a 2 oz cookie scoop that my sister gifted me that I use for baking (it's the exact amount of batter for a cupcake) and meat balling because it saves me time & energy.  If you are storing these for later, separate the layers with wax paper, parchment paper or banana leaves. Broil for 10-15 minutes or grill. Serve with brown sticky rice (recipe forthcoming).

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Faux Cheezy-cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, vegan, paleo, raw, full fat)

Go Shorty! It's my husband's birthday, and I'm making him his favorite dessert cuz it's his birthdayit's cheesecake.  (Yes, in my mind that everything preceding the em dash really did come out as a rap.)  Only, it's whole food, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, no bake, mostly raw, vegan, paleo, full fat, and all kinds of yummy.  

I'm calling it Faux Cheezy-cake
That's the anthem, Get your damn hands up!
Good times.
lilikoi & apple caramel faux cheezy-cupcakes
Everything looks better staged on our new table!
Industrial rustic chic.
This is another case of not being able to find the exact recipe I want/need to make my heart's desire.  So I mashed up three very different recipes from three disparate though intersecting nutri-dietsWeston Price + Paleo + Raw/Vegan ==> mine own Faux Cheezy-cake version.  (I do want to give the sour coconut cream one a go though.  Probiotics!)

This is also a case of lack of menu planning and some pantry raiding though I did run out to Whole Foods to get raw macadamias (forgetting anything else besides).  For the crust, I used 1 cup soaked & sprouted pesticide-free almonds (soaked overnight and allowed to dry then rinsed daily for 2 days), 1 cup lightly salted & roasted cashews because that is what I had on hand though I would have preferred walnuts or pecans.   Actually for this crust recipe, any nuts will doMay I return to the beginning, The light is dimming, and the dream is too, The world and I, we are still waiting, Still hesitating, Any dream nut will dothough the nutritional optimum would be soaked/sprouted, raw nuts to reduce the anti-nutrients and encourage sprouting.  Funnily enough, the crust is pretty much the same recipe as what we call "dookies" in our household which are a healtheir/less processed version of Lara bars (aka pemmican/biltong/iron rations) which we started eating when we cut processed foods, wheat, dairy, sugar from our diets then had to give up when they (Lara bars) got bought out and started adding sweeteners and junk (brown rice syrup triggers major blood sugar/intolerant reactions in me).

I've recently learned the difference between true or ceylon cinnamon and cassia (commonly called saigon cinnamon); here, I'm using fair trade, organic, true ceylon cinnamon and it is zingy as all get out!  (I'm finding Indian spices to be zingier than the cultivars from Southeast Asiahey, that Spice Trade was for a reason, eh?).  You can substitute cassia/saigon cinnamon and I will still be your friend.

For the filling, soaked raw nuts are the best.  No roasted nuts, because you will get nut butter, not the creamy almost milky flavor ya need for faux cheese.  I like raw macadamias because they only need to be soaked a few hours.  Raw cashews can be substituted however they take 1-2 days of soaking.

If necessary, you can substitute 1 tbs of gelatin (which is made from animal collagen and therefore not vegan, if you care) for the agar (made from seaweed) or leave out.  The agar gelatinizes at around room temperature so it helps keep structure at temps where coconut oil would melt.  Gelatin requires a lower temperature (i.e. refrigeration) to set.  You can also omit agar/gelatin, but keep it refrigerated.  Coconut oil has a melting point of 78 degrees F so it'll be very soft at room temperature (cf. butter & cream cheese have a melting point of 82.4 F.)

And because I'm lazy to make a new topping, I used what I had on hand--cocoa hazelnut spread (aka nutella-the-good-parts-version, as you wish!  Recipe forthcoming), my special  lilikoi butter and apple juice caramel.  Any fruit preserves or fresh fruit will do. 

Just a note that going sugar free over a long period of time resets one's sweet tolerance.  This is a very low sweet dessert which is perfect for me & mine.  Not that my beloveds have a choice.

Faux Cheezy-cake

Makes 13 cupcakes or one 8-inch pie

  • 2 cups nuts (unsalted best)
  • 1/2 cup organic unsulfured apricots
  • 1 tbs organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • Pinch of himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 t ceylon cinnamon
Agar powder
Can call all you want but there's no one home

And you're not gonna reach my telephone

Out in the club and I'm sippin' that bub
And you're not gonna reach my telephone

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked 2-4 hours
  • 3/4 cup melted organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup apricot syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice (~ 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp agar powder dissolved in 1/4 c very very hot water
  • pinch himalayan salt
If you are using any refrigerated toppings, take it out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature.

Line a 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper OR use a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.

Pulverize all the ingredients in a food processor until a coarse meal is formed.  Press into the pan firmly until you have 1/4 inch depth cupcakes or 1/3-1/2 inch depth for springform.

Leftover crust mix can be shaped into balls or bars and stored in the fridge and eaten as you would eat granola bars/energy bars.  (Dookies!)

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or a blender.  
Use a 2 oz cookie scoop to scoop it into the cupcake liners while it's still warm.  

Use room temperature topping if you have something that is unmalleable at refrigerated temperatures.  Coat the Faux Cheezy-cake or Faux Cheezy-cupcakes. 

If you are using fresh fruit and want a glee to hold the fruit: mix 1-2 tsp agar powder in boiling hot water until dissolved.  Add any sweetener.  Layer the cake with the fruit then pour the agar syrup on top while it's still very warm.  

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

Faux Cheezy-cake with apricot syrup

Happy birthday Trung (and Đàn Tâm too)!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nước rau má | Yo Mama's pennywort juice (Gotu Kola)

Word to Yo Mutha

Uống nước nhớ nguồn
Drink water, remember the source
Ơn Nghĩa Sinh Thãnh by my favorite Viet singer Hoàng Lan

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm posting a recipe for a beverage that your mother approved.

Rau má | "mother's herb"*--alias Centella asiaticapennywortgotu kola/mandukaparni (Ayurvedic), 
崩大碗 ("chipped big bowl" TCM) not Lei Gong Teng/雷公藤 (important correction below)**  is a powerful herbal cure-all that has been called the "elixir of life."  (The many other names of pennywort throughout Asia.)
Apart from wound healing, the herb is recommended for the treatment of various skin conditions such as leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, diarrhoea, fever, amenorrhea, diseases of the female genitourinary tract and also for relieving anxiety and improving cognition. [Source]
"yo mama's so wise that Yoda calls her for advice"

Centella asiatica (rau má , pennywort, lei gong teng, gotu kola)
Influenced by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, in Viet folk medicine--which is based on humoral theory--the body is governed by gió mát (âm)|cooling winds (yin) and gió nóng (duơng)|hot winds (yang) humors.  In this folk medicine belief and practices, food is medicinal and is governed by these properties.  If your body is suffering from too much yang-heat, you consume yin-cooling foods and drinks to balance yourself to homeostasis.

Nước rau má is a popular juice made from a wetland medicinal herb native to Asia and is widely used in AyurvedicTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and South African/Madagascar healing modalities.  It is considered a cooling drink in thuốc Nam | Viet folk medicine (versus thuốc Bắc or Chinese medicine).  

Rich with chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals, rau má is mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, a diuretic, nervine and vulnerary.  It's being researched as a potent anti-cancer medicine.
Active ingredients are asiaticoside (a triterpene glycoside) (triterpenoid), brahmoside and brahminoside (both saponin glycosides), madecassoside (a glycoside with strong anti-inflammatory properties), madecassic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, vitamin K, asparate, glutamate, serine, threonine, alanine, lysine, histidine, magnesium, calcium and sodium. ... high concentration of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6).  (Source)
Though I've drank it throughout my life, I first
 encountered its folk medicinal purpose when I was doing ethnographic fieldwork in Vietnam in 2000.  Between my daily cà-phê sữa đá, chronic dehydration, and the tropical heat, inevitably I started to experience a mild urinary tract infection considered nóng | hot-yang in the the Viet folk system. Though I had brought all purpose international travel antibiotics (this is back when antibiotics were given out like candy), I was reluctant to use them.  My aunty (a real aunty, not the fictive kin that white anthropologists love to claim adopted them, not understanding that in kin-relational languages lacking a 2nd person pronoun like "YOU", if one is not kin, one doesn't exist; and since one can't not exist, one is assigned a kinship pronoun, not adopted.  If one was really adopted, one would have family obligations like getting random phone calls every few weeks to fix this that and the other and to cook/buy/make/deliver this that and the other for such and such relation even when one lives 500 miles away.  Not that I mind because I adore my phamily.  Ahem)--So my aunty ran out to the market and returned with a bunch of rau má.  With one glass, the infection was gone.

Shaken, not shtirred.
The other week, as I was suffering from some "hot wind" (...) and the heat wave, my MIL picked up some rau má at Vietnamese market for me.  The leaf is astringent tasting and the juice is not pleasant in and of itself. Typically this is served with a grip of sugar to counter the astringency.  Since I am low to no sugar, my MIL suggested coconut water as complementary cooling liquid.

Lacking fancier juice extraction equipment I used my handy dandy Cuisinart immersion blender (bought on clearance from Sur le table) to pulverise it with some water and then used a nut bag to strain it.  This left a little fine debris so next time I would use a cheesecloth instead.  I tried some as a straight shot.  Regretted it.  Gave some to my husband as a straight shot because I like to share the joy.  Haha.  Wish I took a photo of his face the moment it hit his tongue.  Tried some with Stannard Farms organic grade B maple syrup.  Then I remembered I had some with some Trader Joe's coconut water which was a vast improvement.  (I also have some fresh coconuts that I froze in the deep freeze--note: do not freeze coconuts ever again--but didn't have the patience to partially defrost them and macguyver a filtering system so that the semi cracked coconut didn't melt everywhere.) Then for the remainder, I just poured it into my daily, organic herbal infusion of red raspberry leaves, stinging nettle and red clover with a teaspoon of himalayan sea salt.  It's really quite uh, special.  The things one gets used to...  After lingering for a week and a half despite cranberry juice, bearberry/cranberry/mannose extract supplements up the wazoo (I haven't done antibiotics in over 14 yrs), my "hot wind" cleared up with 2 days of drinking r
au má.

I recommend using coconut water to blend the rau má, fresh if you can source the young coconuts or use your preferred brand of the bottled/boxed kind.  The more coconut water you add, the more you dilute the astringency.

We've become so accustomed in our (post-) modern, consumer-driven society to consuming our nutrients in pill form as concentrated, isolated elements.  This is not how our biological systems optimally function.  It is best to get our nutrients from whole foods.  Prepared correctly within its cultural context/foodways, medicinal herbs are an excellent way to obtain these nutrients.  

Before you run off and start adding this to your chia-goji-quinoa-dragon fruit-blue green algae-superfood smoothie, keep in mind: Like any medicinal plant, pennywort is best to drink in moderation and not on a ongoing, daily basis. There is conflicting info about using this herb during pregnancy and breastfeeding mostly because no one has officially studied its use in mothers (this is true of most herbal remedies even when folk medicinal practices do condone it during the childbearing year).  Use your own common sense.

Straight up now tell me do you want to love me forever?  Woah oh oh! Or are you just having fun?

Word to the Mutha!

Aaaaaaand... I couldn't resist Mr. T's rap about yo mama.

*I'm not clear on the etymological/ethnobotanical origins of Rau má which translates as "mother's herb".  Some Western herbalists purport that it aids in breastfeeding.  I haven't heard of any mother-specific uses in Viet folk medicine, but then I've never investigated it.

** I've been informed by a careful reader that Lei Gong Gen | Thunder God Vine is actually a different TCM plant Tripterygium wilfordii that is mistakenly attributed as Pennywort and is toxic if not consumed properly.  Thanks, Hai for catching that!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vegan Lilikoi Butter (GF/DF/SF)

Our phamily matriarch Aunty Len goes back to Hilo every year or so to visit her in-laws.  She always comes back with the best treats--homemade pickled baby mangoes, chocolate macadamia nuts (macadamias are my favorite thing ever!), and lilikoi (passionfruit) for making butter.  My daughter VL loveloveloves aunty Len's lilikoi butter.  And then one day, I googled the recipe and realized it has dairy (1/2 lb of butter!) and refined sugar!  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  Sigh.

So I am finally getting around to making a dairy-free, refined sugar-free lilikoi butter.  I used this vegan lilikoi butter recipe but have substituted healthier, real food choices like unrefined sweetener and coconut cream concentrate.  (I have a reaction to agave in all its forms likely do to chemical contamination in the production which means alas, tequila is no longer my friend.  And agave syrup is not without its criticisms besides.)

I just bought the Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Cream Concentrate and I'm excited to give it a try.  Previously Artisana Organic Coconut Butter has been a staple in our house.  You can google all the benefits of coconut, but from my experience, having a spoonful (or more) of coconut butter a day helped to restore my brain function, stabilize my blood sugar, and boosted my immune system.  I've just given the TT CCC a taste and it's more viscous, smoother and lighter than the Artisana.  I'm presuming the difference is the production; TT is produced in the Philippines from perhaps fresh or fresher, whole coconut.  Artisana is produced in Oakland I presume from dried whole coconut as it is a little denser (not a bad thing per se).  Both are delicious!

We don't eat very much GF bread, but I will have to crank out some paleo bread for the occasion.  

Previously I've made DF/SF apple juice caramel (essentially apple butter with a sexier name) and I forgot how long it takes to reduce.  I'm inclined against the lemon called for in the original recipe.  Usually it is added to fruit preserves to retain the color against oxidation.  Passionfruit is already so tart though that it pushes it even tarter which requires more sweetener to balance and still the tart lingers on your palate afterwards.  I've taken it out of the recipe but in case you are concerned about the aesthetics, add 1-2 squeezes of lemon.

Generally, sugar is added to the reduction process to carmelize and ergo thicken the preserves.  If you are using raw honey, put it after the reduction to retain all the nutrients and keep it from being cooked.  Apricot syrup can be added to the reduction as can palm sugar.  We are fairly low sweet so you should taste and add more/less sweetener to your taste.

I'm very pleased with the way this came out, especially the texture of the TT CCC which is very creamy & silky.  It's almost custard-like in consistency.  In the future, I'm thinking this calls for a classic Hawaiian POG variation--passion fruit, orange and guava.

This recipe has also been posted on Tropical Traditions website.

Vegan Lilikoi Butter (GF/DF/SF)

makes 1.5 cups


  • 18 oz lilikoi pulp*
  • 1 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (or substitute coconut butter)
  • 6+ tbsp raw honey, apricot syrup, or coconut/palm sugar*
Simmer the lilikoi and apricot syrup or coconut/palm sugar in a small saucepan at the lowest heat setting until it is reduced by one-third to one-half (about 60 minutes depending on how hot your burner is).  Turn off the burner.  (A low boil would speed things up but I prefer a slow cook method.  You could also use a slow cooker to achieve the same purpose, but mine is clay and absorbs flavors so its savory smelling).

Stir in the CoCo Cream until dissolved.  If the CCC is solidified, dip a metal 1/4 cup measure into hot water and then scoop.  If using raw honey, add and mix.

Pour into sterilized half-pint jars.  Refrigerate one jar to eat right away.  Can the rest for later using the water bath method or freeze it.

Best served at room temperature as the coconut cream will solidify in the fridge.

* I found this in the freezer section of Mi Pueblo; more likely to be found in Latino-Carribean markets or Japanese-Hawaiian markets.  Give the package a quick rinse before opening to remove any residue, dirt, etc.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

Basic chicken broth & Miến Gà | Glass noodle chicken soup

Sometimes we eat 12 organic chicken leg quarters a week.  To make this go the mile, I roast the legs (sesame chicken) and shred the chicken while its still warm and pliable.  I reserve the bones, cartilage, & parts of the skin for chicken broth in the freezer.  My sister Uyên recommends roasting the bones to deepen the flavor.  This is another 30 minutes of prep/cook time so I've yet to try it out. 

My daughter requested "Minnie-strone" so I got the chicken bones out of the freezer and I soak/boiled some kidney beans, but then looking at our vegetables--bok choy & organic bunashimeji from a recent run to Ranch 99 (this is the VietAm grammatical noun-adjective transposition), organic kale & broccoli greens from our garden, and the roast sesame chicken leg quarters in the fridge... and well I started feeling more Asian than Italian and I started craving Miến Gà.  Only, anytime I eat Mien I get very agitated and have an accelerated blood sugar/hunger pattern--maybe from processing or maybe it's the tapioca (thought: cornstarch is frequently a cheap substitute for tapioca so that might be the trigger)--still haven't figured it out.  So I used what we had in the pantry--dangmyeon (Miến khoai lang).

Anyways, I used what we had in the pantry, garden, and fridge.  Improv whatever mild green vegetables & ingredients you've got on hand.

Basic Chicken broth


  • 2 lbs of organic chicken bones
  • 2.5 qts of filtered water
  • 1 organic shallot
  • 3 organic garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp of organic ginger powder
  • 2-3 handfuls of grey sea salt
  • generous splash of Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 splash of raw, organic apple cider vinegar*
  • optional carrot (sweetens broth)

Throw all the ingredients into your 5 QT dutch oven or stock pot.  Put the lid on and let it low boil for 30 minutes.  Alternately, throw it in the pressure cooker for 15 mins plus decompression time.  Remove the chicken bones.  (You can optionally freeze and reuse the bones but I generally only use them once.)  

*The ACV helps to acidulate the bones so they release their minerals.

Miến Gà recipe

  • chicken broth (no carrot)
  • veggies: bok choy, broccoli greens, kale, etc.
  • 1/2 c organic dried shitake mushrooms
  • 7 oz (2 packages) organic bunashimeji (beech mushrooms)
  • optional nấm mèo | wood ear fungus
  • 2 bunches of dangmyeon (Korean sweet potato noodles)
  • roasted sesame oil
  • Red Boat fish sauce
  • shredded roast chicken
  • cilantro
  • chile paste for condiment (Youzi XO sauce, etc)

If you are making the broth from scratch, start making it first.  Then start a pot of water boiling to make the noodles.

If you are using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in separate bowls with hot water.

Meanwhile, thoroughly wash & chop your greens.  The traditional way of washing greens uses less water than letting the faucet run.  Fill a tub, bucket or large bowl with water and submerge the mustard greens to wash them.  Plunge the greens up and down to get the water sloshing; the dirt and sediment sink to the bottom.  Rub your thumbs across the inner stalks to remove any dirt.  Remove the greens and compost the water lightly rinsing any residue off the tub.  Repeat at least once more until clean.

Once the water is boiling, cook noodles for 8-10 minutes until softened.  Drain in a colander (you can compost the water) and rinse with cool water to remove extra starch.  Pour 2-3 tbs of sesame oil over the noodles and toss thoroughly.  You can also use your hands to massage it in. This keeps them from clumping/sticking.

Drain the mushrooms and squeeze out excess water.  Slice shitake if necessary.

Remove any bones from the broth at this time.   Add veggies, mushrooms, 1/4 cup sesame oil, a handful of salt, and a generous splash of Red Boat Fish sauce.  Cover and cook for ~10 minutes until veggies are just cooked.  

In each soup bowl, add glass noodles, shredded chicken, and top off with veggies & broth.  Garnish with cilantro and serve with chile paste.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!