Pastas/Noodles · Poultry · Soups/Stews · Vietnamese

Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)

Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)

 

Chicken Noodle Soup…..what could be more comforting?

Cultures all around the world have their own spin on this soul warming dish. For the Vietnamese, we have at least two versions— Phở Gà and Miến Gà.

Phở Gà is the lighter alternative to the traditional beef Phở and follows a similar cooking method. Due to the slow simmering process of the broth and spices, it takes me a couple of hours to complete a quality Phở Gà. Miến Gà offers a lighter broth and is served with glass noodles (Miến). White on Rice Couple gives a great overview of Miến.

 


Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)

 

Both soups are delicious–especially on cold days. However, I find myself making Miến Gà more often. My version of Miến Gà can be done in a quick 20 minutes. In addition, you can tailor the ingredient amounts to make anywhere from 1 to 8+ bowls. Whereas with Phở Gà, you need a couple hours (at least) and are committed to a huge pot of it!

 


Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)
The key to my Miến Gà is homemade chicken stock—something I almost always have on hand.  That combined with a splash of what I call “Vietnamese Liquid Gold” and you will have a wonderful and clean broth for your Miến Gà.

Wondering what Vietnamese Liquid Gold is? Nước Mắm (fish sauce), OF COURSE! 🙂

 


Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)

 

Serve your Miến Gà with fresh herbs (cilantro, Thai Basil), a few slices of red chilies, and a squeeze of lime. The herbs, spice, and the tiny bit of citrus perfectly rounds out the flavors. This type of balance is the quintessential foundation in Vietnamese cuisine.

Miến Gà— now that is comfort food 🙂

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Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1.5 Quarts Homemade Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons Nước Mắm (fish sauce)
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, peeled
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 Boneless Chicken Breast
4 Ounces Dried Miến (glass noodles)
Hot Water
Garnish: Chopped Scallions, Chopped Cilantro, Thai Basil, Slices of Red Chilies, Lime Wedges

Fill a large bowl with hot water and add Miến. Soak Miến for at least 15 minutes until they have softened.

In a medium size pot, add chicken stock, Nước Mắm, peppercorns and ginger. Bring to a simmer and add chicken breast. Continue poaching chicken breast until it is fully cooked, about 8 minutes–depending on size. Remove the chicken breast. Once it’s cooled slightly, slice or shred the meat.

Turning back to the the broth, skim off any impurities that may have formed. Taste and adjust the seasonings—adding more pepper or a dash of Nước Mắm as needed. Keep the broth at a low simmer to ensure it stays hot.

Drain the Miến and add to bowls. Sprinkle with scallions, cilantro, and arrange chicken slices on top. Ladle hot broth over and noodles. Garnish with additional scallions, chilies, basil, and lime.

Note: It’s important that the broth remain piping hot when it’s poured over the noodles. The heat will finish cooking the Miến.


**This is my submission to Delicious Vietnam, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine which was started by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of  Ravenous Couple. To participate,  please send entries to theculinarychronicles@gmail.com by March 13th! For more information, please visit Delicious Vietnam**

 

 


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Soups/Stews

Corn Chowder and a Photo Quandry

In the age of Digital Cameras, photography novices (and I mean ME!) rely on taking hundreds of shots in hopes of getting 1 or 2 photos we like. It’s so easy to snap a photo, take a quick peak, delete, re-shoot….repeat.

Sure, I play around with aperture settings, ISO, composition, blah-blah-blah. But most of it’s trial and error. This especially occurs when I shoot food photos. I often torture loved ones by making them wait until I’ve snapped the thousandth photo before they can dig into their plates. It’s a sad thing.

So I decided to challenge myself the other day……. take only ONE shot of a dish. One quick click without any do overs.

The subject of the photo—a Corn Chowder to take the chill off the cold days we’ve been having.

Sadly, it definitely wasn’t a great photo.  But alas, I had to stick to my guns—- though I had a quandary on my hands. Even though the photo was BLEH the Corn Chowder turned out so darn tasty and tummy warming. If I scrapped the photo, I would have nothing to show you Friends.

Alas….here it is….

 

Corn Chowder

 

Meh……

Not my best work but I’m a work in progress. And although I’m glad to have challenged myself, next time I will continue to click away. Let’s face it….that’s why I bought a digital camera in the first place 🙂

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Corn Chowder
Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 Cups Russett Potatoes, diced
1 Cup Corn Kernels
½ Cup Carrots, finely diced
½ Cup Celery, finely diced
½ Cup White Onion, finely diced
2 Whole Garlic Cloves, finely diced
3 Strips Bacon, finely diced
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Quart Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

In a heavy bottom pot, cook the bacon slowly until crisp and the fat has rendered out—about 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate covered with a paper towel.

In the same pot with the bacon grease, add carrots, celery, and onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, potatoes and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring liquid to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a steady simmer.

Continue to simmer until the potatoes become tender—about 15-20 minutes. Once this has been achieved, use a wooden spoon to smash some of the potatoes against the sides of the pot to release some of the starch into the liquid. Stir in the corn and cream and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle the tops with the crisped bacon.

Poultry · Soups/Stews

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

A few weeks ago, my sister labored in the kitchen with her version of Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà). The next day, Pioneer Woman posted her version of Red Thai Duck Curry.

It was a Sign.

The Kitchen Gods were telling me to make Curry.

And I don’t mess with Kitchen Divinities. That’s just bad Ju-Ju.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I haven’t had Thai in awhile so I opted to give the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a spin. I heart PW. She wouldn’t steer me wrong.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I took a few liberties and slightly modified PW’s original recipe. First–I used chicken instead of duck since it was what I had on hand. I also added a few more tablespoons of the curry paste for an added oompf of flavor. Since I do not like the taste of cooked pineapples (BLEH!), I totally omitted it. I found that the curry had natural sweetness from the coconut and didn’t need to add any sweeteners to compensate for it.

And because this gal loves heat, I threw in a few Thai Bird Chilies. But if you don’t like your curries too spicy, skip it. Finally, I added some scallions and cilantro at the very end with the Thai basil.

It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Rich, savory, herbaceous—and just yummy! For next time, I’d like to throw in a few kaffir leaves for an added layer of citrus flavor.  Note to self: Smuggle a few leaves off my auntie’s kaffir lime tree next time I go visit.

If you want a seafood option, I think prawns would also be fantastic in this curry. Just wait until the last few minutes to throw them in because overcooked prawns is no bueno.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

 

And for the record, I did end up making my own curry paste. I contemplated using the jarred stuff but then I heard my sister’s voice in my head asking “So…..did you make your own curry paste?”  Sheesh…..That woman always keeps me honest in the kitchen 🙂

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Thai Red Curry Chicken
Slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Serves 5 – 6

Ingredients:

1½ Pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
8 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
14 Ounces Coconut Milk
2 Cups Hot Water
4 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, minced
½ Whole Red Onion, sliced
3-4 Thai Bird Chilies, minced (optional)
1 Whole Red Bell Pepper, cored and sliced
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Cup Fresh Thai Basil, chopped
½ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
½ Cup Scallions, chopped
Serve with Jasmine Rice Cooked

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken skin side down and cook for several minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden brown. (Don’t worry about cooking the chicken at this point. You just want to give the skin some great color.) Remove from the skillet and cut into slices. I also removed the skin but that’s completely up to you. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium low. If oil isn’t overly brown, go ahead and add the minced garlic to the pan. (If oil is to brown, pour it off and add some new oil.) Add red curry paste to the pan and stir. Cook paste for several minutes to release the flavors. Pour in the coconut milk, hot water, fish sauce, and minced ginger. Stir and allow to cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a separate pot heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook for several minutes. Make sure the pan is hot, then add sliced chicken and stir. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

Taste curry sauce, which should be slightly thickened by now. Add more spice if needed.  Pour curry sauce into the pot with the veggies, chilies, and chicken. Stir to combine and allow to bubble and simmer for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little hot water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it needs more thickening. Remove from heat and add scallions. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. At the last minute, stir in lots of chopped basil and cilantro. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.


Beef · Soups/Stews

Act 1: Corned Beef with Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

The Objective: Corned Beef Hash

The Method: Brine brisket for 10 days and make Corned Beef with Cabbage for dinner. Use the leftovers the next morning for Corned Beef Hash.

Seems like a long and tedious process to get to the original desired dish, right? But we’ve been wanting to make corned beef from scratch for a long time and this was a great excuse. And since we couldn’t get less than 4 pounds of brisket from the butcher, two dishes from one protein was a “Nguyen-Win Situation“!

After much deliberation, we turned to our guy, Alton Brown for his take on Corned Beef and Cabbage. Why Alton? Well…..because I actually have never even eaten Corned Beef Cabbage and Alton is a reliable guy. 🙂

The brining process was actually quite fun and I enjoyed peeking into the fridge every day to check on the brisket. And when the day finally came for us to cook the beef,  I was filled with anticipation! What would it taste like? Did the brine work? After 4 hours of braising the corned beef on the stove (which made the house smell delicious!), we filled our bowls and dug right in.

How would I describe it? Two words….Comfort Food. The beef and root vegetables were so tender–and the broth was simply yummy.  The pickling spices were on the lighter side but overall, we really enjoyed it. Sure, it was a long process but it was fairly simple and the end product was a dish that can warm the soul. Not bad considering Corned Beef Cabbage wasn’t even our first objective 🙂

Next up–Corned Beef Hash!

Poultry · Soups/Stews

“Kitchen Sink” Stew

 

I must confess that when I started dinner the other night, I meant to make a soup. But after throwing everything in the pot but the “kitchen sink”–it turned out to be more of a stew.

But that’s one of the things I love the most about making soups/stews. You can pretty much clean out your fridge and use all kinds of leftovers to create something warm, comforting, and delicious. Problem is, the next time you try to recreate the same dish, it will most likely be less spontaneous as you try to recollect all of the ingredients you threw in. With that said, I’ve decided to document this one so I wouldn’t forget.

This particular stew turned out wonderfully. The starch from the beans and potatoes added a “heartiness” to the dish and we did not require any accompaniment of bread. Good thing too, because we didn’t have any.  Store bought rotisserie chicken can be a perfect “quick fix” for the protein below, however, quickly poaching some chicken breast in the stock would be just as good.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen Sink Stew
Serves approximately 3-4

Ingredients:

1 Large Leek, finely chopped and thoroughly washed
1 Large Carrot, diced
3 Celery Ribs, diced
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced
1 Can Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1 Cup Broccoli Florets
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, stems removed
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Cup Cooked Chicken, Shredded
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ Teaspoon Chili Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a heavy pot, heat olive oil. Cook leeks, carrots, and celery until ingredients are softened-but not browned. Approximately 5 minutes. Add thyme leaves, chili flakes, and potatoes. Cook for additional 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring liquids to a boil. Add shredded chicken and Cannellini beans. Cover pot while lowering the heat to a simmer. After 10 minutes, add broccoli and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes with the lid on.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Soups/Stews

Cream of Asparagus Soup

I’ve been on a soup kick lately….it’s all I want to eat and all I want to cook. I’m sure the nonstop rain we’ve been experiencing may have something to do with it, too. 🙂

So, this past Sunday, I thought I would make a Cream of Asparagus Soup. It sounded earthy, fresh, and somewhat “indulgent” because of the cream. I threw together some ingredients we had on hand and was extremely happy with the results. Not only was it quick and simple but it was also delicious! The crab meat added such a great “hmmmm” factor to the simple soup without deterring from the fresh produce. The lemon juice is also a must—as the acidity helps with it to not be over “creamy”.

Enjoy!

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Cream of Asparagus Soup
Serves approximately 3-4

Ingredients:

1 Large Leek, finely chopped and thoroughly washed
2 Large Shallots, chopped
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Garlic Cloves, minced finely
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 lb. Fresh Asparagus (approximately 1 bunch), cut into 1 inch pieces
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ Cup Heavy Cream (or Half & Half)
½ Cup Crab Meat
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a heavy pot, melt butter with the olive oil. Cook leeks, shallots, and garlic until ingredients are softened-but not browned. Add asparagus, thyme leaves and broth. Simmer with lid on. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Purée the items with the lemon juice in a blender until smooth. This may be done in batches. Be sure to take precaution blending hot liquids. Pour the puréed soup into a clean pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently warm the soup until it begins to lightly bubble.

Ladle soup into bowls and place a heaping spoon of crabmeat in the center of the bowl. Serve with toasted bread.

Asparagus, Leeks, Shallots, and Lemon
Fresh Cream of Asparagus Soup with Crab. Served with Toasted Sourdough Baguette.