A traditional Vietnamese meal usually contains rice – a meat dish – a vegetable dish – a soup. However after moving out I’ve been very lazy when it comes to preparing a complete meal like this, partly because I’m not really fond of cooking a lot only for myself, partly because I prefer comfort food like steamed buns, pizza, spaghetti, etc, so I only eat this kind of meals when I visit my brother during the weekends. My guest last week was a friend from Vietnam, and this is his first time coming to France for his study. I thought that he would still be tired from his long trip and the jetlag, so I didn’t have the heart to force him into following my ‘messed up’ eating habit, so into the kitchen I went, preparing Vietnamese meals. It was then that I realized cooking Vietnamese meals is not as time-consuming as I thought (given that I know better now how to arrange the cooking time), and the food also fill me up much longer.
For that very reason, I’ve decided to open a new category on Miamivores, named “Family meals”, with ideas for simple but nutritious family meals that doesn’t take too much time to prepare, suitable for students (like myself). Hopefully this category can be useful to you guys in finding delicious dishes and shorten your time thinking about what to eat for lunch or dinner. I will try to include Asian and Western dishes, and also dishes that can be prepared for a lunch box.
The day usually starts and ends later here than in Vietnam (when I was in college my classes stated at 8-9am and ended around 7-8pm). So I usually combine the vegetable dish into the soup, of course there are also exceptions during the weekend, or when I managed to get my hands on some nice and fresh veggies, I will introduce meals in both style on Miamivores
Công thức tiếng Việt: Bữa cơm gia đình
Meal no.1: Caramelized pork + Zucchini, tomatoes and minced pork soup
A. Caramelized pork
- 300g pork belly
- Fish sauce, pepper, sugar
- Sesame oil
- 1 small chili (you can omit it if you don’t like eating spicy)
1. Rinse the meat and cut into 0.3-0.5mm slices. Marinate the meat with a tablespoon of fish sauce and a tablespoon of pepper for about 15 minutes.
2. In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon of sugar on medium-high heat until the sugar turn a golden brown color (I put the heat at 5/6 on my electric stove), immediately pour the marinated meat in the pan and stir continuously until the meat is partially cooked and has released some juice.
3. Pour in some extra water so that it barely covers the meat, reduce to low heat and let it simmer, put the chili in now (if used).
4. When the water is reduced to more than half, you can start seasoning it to your taste. Let it continue to reduce until it starts to thicken, add a few drops of sesame oil and take it off the heat. Serve hot.
B. Zucchini, tomato and minced pork soup
- 100g minced pork
- 1 zucchini
- 1 tomato
- Salt, sugar, pepper
- Hot water
1. Rinse zucchini and tomato. Cut zucchini lengthwise and cut into slices about 0.3-0.5mm thick, cut tomato into wedges.
2. In a sauce pan on high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the minced pork. When the pork is about 50% cooked put the tomato wedges in, sprinkle some salt on top to make the tomato soften faster. When the tomato wedges have soften, pour hot water into the pan (the amount is up to you). Keep the heat on high and boil the soup.
3. Once the soup is boiled, put all the zucchini slices in, season the soup to your taste, when the water goes back to boiling for about 30 seconds, take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Don’t let the zucchini cook for too long or it will become mushy, in addition, the zucchini will continue to cook in the hot soup so if you’re not serving it immediately you can take all the zucchini out in a bowl, and then heat up the soup and pour on top when it’s serving time.
Meal no.2: Tofu with salted egg yolk sauce + Crown daisy leaves and minced pork soup
A. Fried tofu with salted egg yolk sauce
- 500g soft tofu
- Flour (I used store-bought flour that is specialized for deep-frying, you can use a mixture of 1 rice flour : 0.5 tapioca flour, or panko)
- Salt, pepper
- 3-4 salted egg yolks (recipe here)
1. Take the salted egg yolks and bake or microwave them until they are cooked, use a fork to mash them.
2. Soft tofu is pretty soft (duh!) and wet, so usually I use a few paper towels to absorb the water so that they become a bit more firm and wouldn’t break easily when frying. Dice into cubes and roll them in flour.
3. Heat up some oil in a sauce pan on medium high heat, deep fry the tofu until the outside turn a golden-brown color.
4. Use the same pan that you’ve just used to fry the tofu, drain off the oil, leaving about 1-2 tablespoon. Pour the mashed egg yolks in and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Then pour the tofu in and stir so that the egg yolks coat them all. You can adjust the oil amount so that the egg yolk sauce is not too dry making it hard to coat the tofu, nor too oily. Serve hot.
B. Crown daisy leaves and minced pork soup
- 100g minced pork
- 300-400g crown daisy leaves
- Salt, pepper, sugar
- Hot water
1. Rinse the crown daisy leaves, discard the spoiled leaves, cut into 4-5cm pieces.
2. In a sauce pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil on high heat and stir-fry the minced pork with some salt and pepper. When the pork is 80% cooked, pour some hot water in the pan (the amount is up to you). Keep the heat on high and let the soup boil.
3. When the soup is boiled, pour in the crown daisy leaves, season to your taste, when the soup goes back to boiling for 30 seconds, turn it off and pour into a serving bowl. I like the leaves to be a bit crunchy so I keep the boiling time really short, if you want them to be softer you can leave them boiling longer.