Homemade popcorn (4 flavours: browned butter, chocolate, spicy, black sesame)

I remember back when I was in middle school, I went to Hanoi to visit my relatives. At that time my older cousin just bought a popcorn machine, so we were really excited to try it out. I don’t know if it was because the machine was not functioning well or there were some problems with the corn, but the machine was running for over 10 minutes straight without any kernel popping, although the sweet smell was already penetrating the whole house. My mom after that tried to make popcorn on the stovetop but did not succeed either. When I read about popcorn machine online, the sites that sell it often say that it’s really time and effort consuming to make popcorn on stovetop: you have to adjust the fie often, to shake the saucepan often, that the corn kernels can be easily burned or not popped, etc, so I was really hesitant when it comes to making popcorn at home.

Homemade popcorn

It was not until I stumbled on this video, and saw that she made it so easily, that I wanted to try making it again. I read the original recipe, tried it out and…succeed! The whole process was really hassle-free, you only have to keep one level of fire from start to finish, and there is almost no corn kernel that is burned or not popped. I said ‘almost’ because of course the fact that the kernels pop or not also depend on the quality of the corn, whether the corn is new or old, etc. But I’ve used this method for over 10 batches, and the result were all amazing. In this post, besides introducing the method, I will also introduce 4 popcorn flavours, both sweet and savoury.

Homemade popcorn

Công thức tiếng Việt: Cách làm bắp rang (4 vị: bơ nâu, chocolate, cay, mè đen)

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Fast and simple way to make Kimchi (Mak Kimchi)

Beside pickled mustard cabbage, Korean kimchee is also one of my favourite side dishes. Other than the crunchy texture and acidic taste, kimchee has a spiciness that is really fitting for this cold weather, and of course besides eating kimchee with rice or bbq you can also use it to make other dishes such as kimchee tofu soup, hotpot, etc, just thinking of all those dishes make my mouth waters already. Making kimchee is not difficult at all, the ingredients are a bit more complicated and it’s quite time-consuming, bit the method is really simple and of course the result is super tasty.

Mak-kimchi/Simple kimchi

There are two ways to make kimchee: the traditional method where you pickle the whole napa cabbage leaves, and the modern method (called mak-kimchi) where you chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. The traditional method has the advantage of longer storage, but personally I found that the modern method takes less time and is also more suitable for students and people who don’t have much time. I learnt this method from my friend whose mother is a Korean, and he also lived in Korea for a while when he was small. I only changed the ingredients measure a bit according to my taste and what I have in my pantry.

Mak-kimchi/Simple kimchi

Công thức tiếng Việt: Cách làm Kimchi nhanh và đơn giản (Mak Kimchi)

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Vietnamese meat balls in tomato sauce

I love eating meat balls in tomato sauce. A plate of meat balls in tomato sauce can “carry” a lot of rice. When I first attempted to make this dish, one problem I had was that my meatballs tend to fall apart while cooking, and they have a rather crumbling texture. In my memory, the meatballs I ate back in Vietnam were very tender, and when you bite into them they are smooth, not crumbling and falling apart. After doing some readings on the internet, I found out that the minced meat I bought is rougher-minced than the one I usually have in Vietnam, so they will have a more crumbling texture. Luckily I have a food processor so in went the meat, pulsed once or twice and the meat is much smoother. I also got a small tip from making Meat loaf of adding breadcrumbs into the minced meat to help the meat balls stay together and keep them moist as well.

Vietnamese meat balls in tomato sauce

For the cooking part I kind of follow the cooking process of fried tofu in tomato sauce, so I flash-fried the meat balls and then simmer them in the sauce. Personally I prefer frying to steaming, since it give the meat balls a very tempting golden brown crust and fragrance. I usually make this dish for dinner, eat half of it, reheat them the next day and put them in bread and I’d have a delicious meat ball sandwich for lunch. You can also make a big batch on the weekend, divide them into smaller boxes and freeze them, and when you don’t have time to cook you just have to take some out, thaw, reheat, and serve with rice or bread wink

Vietnamese meat balls in tomato sauce

Công thức tiếng Việt: Thịt viên (xíu mại) sốt cà chua

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Kimbap and how to cook Japanese rice

One of my favourite Korean dishes is Kimbap, because it’s very quick to make, it’s convenient, easy to make, and it has everything: rice, meat, vegetables, etc, 1-2 rolls are enough for a meal. Moreover this dish can be consumed cold, so I think that it’s very suitable for summer, when you don’t want to spend too much time in the hot kitchen doing complicated dishes, and it’s also a very nice choice for a picnic or when you go on a trip, and you don’t have to think about how to keep food hot.

Tuna kimbap

Kimbap is a fairly familiar dish so I won’t introduce it too much, I just want to outline some main differences between this dish and Japanese Sushi (I have a lot of people asking me this). For me, two of the most prominent differences are the seasoning of the rice and the fillings. The seasoning for Sushi rice is vinegar and sugar, which gives the rice a light sweet and sour taste, for Kimbap it’s salt and sesame oil, which gives the rice a salty and slight rich taste. The fillings for sushi is mostly fresh and raw, such as raw fish or squid, and for Kimbap it’s mostly cooked ingredients that is seasoned to taste, for example I used sweet and salty tuna, which is my most liked fillings.

Tuna kimbap

I will also introduce how to cook Japanese rice. I’va always struggled with Japanese rice before, and the result was usually by chance, and most of the time I ended up with undercooked or mushy rice, even though I let it cook for a long time and used the exact measurement for water. After reading on many food blogs, I finally found a fool-proof way to cook delicious chewy rice, and Japanese rice is not a threat to me anymore.

Công thức tiếng Việt: Kimbap và cách nấu gạo Nhật

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Crispy skin pork belly (no skin poking, no vinegar)

The biggest question when making crispy skin pork belly is probably always “How to make the skin crispy?” (of course, we wouldn’t call it crispy skin pork belly if the skin is not crispy tongue).

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The most popular method is to poke and brush on the skin a mixture of vinegar + salt or baking soda. However this method is quite time-consuming and you always have to worry about not poking the skin too deep, because if you do the fat will leak to the skin while roasting and stop it from popping and turning crispy. Furthermore, if you’re too heavy on the vinegar + salt mixture, the skin can turn very salty.

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I always use this method before, so it was inevitable that I sometimes poke the skin too deep and ruin the whole piece. Until one day I found a recipe of a Malaysian food blogger. Calling this recipe the holy recipe would not be an overstatement, because it’s so simple that it’s almost unbelievable! No need for poking the skin, no need for brushing the vinegar + salt mixture, and final result is so tasty with the skin all popped and crispy. Compared to the traditional method, this method takes much less time to prepare, and the success rate is also higher (the prove is in how many times I, a clumsy girl, had succeeded with it). The original recipe is here, I only change the marinating ingredients to suit my personal preference.

Công thức tiếng Việt: Thịt quay giòn bì (không cần xâm bì & quét dấm)

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Tips on making uniform fried spring rolls and keeping them crunchy

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Fried spring roll is possibly one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam. I fell in love with this dish from a very young age, and when I went abroad for my study this is still one of the dishes I chose to cook the most. I always make a big batch, quickly fry and store them in the freezer. On days that I feel too lazy to cook, I just have to thaw some, stick them in the oven, served with some rice noodles and fresh veggies and I have myself a delicious and nutritious meal.

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It’s because the popularity of this dish that I was a bit hesitant when I started this post, just like when I wrote the recipe for caramelised braised pork, since I think probably everyone knows how to make it already. However when I think back to the first time I made this dish, I read no less than 10 recipes online because I don’t know what I should put in the filling, how to fry the rolls so that they are crunchy and stay crunchy, etc. This post, due to that, will not only be to share a recipe (because I think everyone’s taste preference is different, so this recipe is for reference only), but also to share some experience and tips to make uniformly-sized rolls, how to fry the spring rolls, etc. Of course these are just things that I’ve got from making them myself, and it is inevitably lacking, so hopefully I can learn more tips from you guys big grin

Công thức tiếng Việt: Mẹo cuốn chả giò đều và rán được vàng giòn

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Caramelised braised pork & Tips on braising

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Caramelised braised pork is one of my favourite dishes. I love the tenderness of the meat, the juicy flavourful sauce and the balance of saltiness, sweetness and richness that this dish brings. It’s one of those dishes that is easy to make, easy to eat and can be kept in the fridge for a long time, so it’s perfect for students like me. Back when I was in college, I used to have classes until 8.30 in the evening for 2 days in a row, so this dish was my go-to dish so that I didn’t have to cook when I got home from class.

There are a lot of variations of caramelised braised pork, it differs from regions to regions, from families to families, and even within one family, every member will have their different ways of making this dish. In this post I will introduce the most basic caramelised braised pork recipe that I’ve learnt and combined from a lot of sources, as well as from my own taste and experience. This recipe is very simple, yet produces a very delicious end result.

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Công thức tiếng Việt: Thịt kho & Mẹo kho thịt

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Student’s style “Seafood” fried rice – Tips on making a good fried rice

Fried rice, for me, is a very tasty and nutritious dish, it’s quick, simple, and at the same time very economical, because fried rice is one of those dishes you make to clear the pantry. Whenever there are too many left-overs in the fridge, one big pan of fried rice would take care of that in an instant.

Fried rice (2)

This bowl of mine was ‘born’ when I had half a carrot in the fridge, some crab sticks left from making kimbap, a few shrimps in the freezer, some pickles, half a can of corn, I added one small can of tuna from the pantry, and got myself a bowl of fried rice with fish, crab, shrimps, so I decided to name it “Student’s style seafood fried rice” tongue At the end of this post I will also share some tips that I learned from others and from experience on how to make a good fried rice.

Fried rice (1)

Công thức tiếng Việt: Cơm rang “hải sản” kiểu sinh viên & Các mẹo rang cơm ngon

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Cooking rice on stove top

Happy New Year!!! I hope you will all have a year full of delicious dishes from your cosy kitchen. To start off the year, Miamivores will be back to basic with a very simple yet important dish: rice and how to cook rice without a rice cooker, hoping that this whole year will be fulfilling and filled with happiness  big grin

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The tale of this whole cooking rice without a rice cooker was due to my very gracefulness: I brought my rice cooker from Paris to Grenoble but forgot the adapter, and I had to wait for more than a month for the holiday to go to Paris again and get it. Fortunately as the saying goes “Bad luck brings good luck”, not having a rice cooker gave me the chance to learn how to cook it on stove top from Matthias wink I found that cooking rice on stove top is pretty quick and convenient, and it is especially suitable for people who don’t own a rice cooker, so I’m sharing it today with you guys.

Công thức tiếng Việt: Nấu cơm không cần nồi cơm điện

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