Jersey cudweed glutinous rice balls (Xôi khúc)

Jersey cudweed glutinous rice is a dish originated from the North of Vietnam, made from Jersey cudweed leaves, glutinous rice, with mung bean and pork filling. This dish is usually made during eth Jersey cudweed season (February, March in the lunar calendar), and since the dish is usually seasoned with a lot of pepper and is served steaming hot, it is more popular in Hanoi (where the weather is usually colder) than in the South. The first time I had this dish was when my mom went to Hanoi and was given a box of this dish by a friend, and the taste of the dish stays with me until this day.

Jersey cudweed rice 1_copy

This is a very interesting dish to me. At a first glance it looks like a plain and boring ball of glutinous rice, but it turns out so much more complicated once you bite into it. First you have the soft and chewy sticky rice layer, then the chewy sticky rice flour skin together with the light sweetness of the Jersey cudweed, and then the rich taste of the mung bean and sometimes the firm texture of the meat. When my mom was here she made this dish for me 3 times and I still crave for it every day. She is back in Vietnam now so I have to roll myself to the kitchen to satisfy my stomach tongue

Jersey cudweed rice 4_copy

It is impossible to find Jersey cudweed here in France, so I learnt from my mom to use spinach as a replacement. I have some salted egg yolks sitting in the freezer so I put them in the filling as well. The preparation and cooking take quite a lot of time, but when I dig into one of those steaming hot rice ball, enjoying the rich and chewy combination of the skin and the filling, everything totally paid off wink

Jersey cudweed rice 3_copy

Công thức tiếng Việt: Xôi (bánh) khúc

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Watermelon sorbet & A simple tip to perfect sorbet mixtures

The frozen dessert that I want to introduce today is Sorbet. Compared to the banana ice cream recipe, sorbet only requires additional water and sugar, no fat included so it’s still somewhat suitable for people who are watching their weight or vegetarians/vegans. The bonus point of sorbet, especially homemade sorbet, is that the taste of fruit is very strong and the sorbet is very fragrant. I personally prefer fruit sorbet to fruit ice-cream that has additional milk and cream.

Watermelon sorbet 4_copy

Before we dive into the recipe, I want to talk a bit about the function of sugar in ice-cream recipes in general. I noticed that there are people who think that the sugar is only for the sweetness of the ice-cream, and thus they decide to increase or decrease the amount to their liking, and end up with rock-hard/full of ice crystals ice-cream (even with an ice-cream machine) or a slushy that wouldn’t freeze no matter how long it stays in the freezer. The reason behind all of this is usually the sugar.

When we freeze a mixture, the ice crystals will detach from the rest of the ingredients. These crystals will link together and make the mixture solid.  When sugar is added to the mixture, the sugar molecules will get in the way of these links, hence the time necessary for the mixture to freeze will increase and the ice crystal will be smaller. Because of that, a mixture with too little sugar will have a lot of ice crystals since there is not enough sugar molecules to prevent the ice crystals from forming. On the other hand, too much sugar molecules in a mixture will prevent the ice crystals from forming at all and the mixture won’t be able to freeze up at all. This can be applied to other sweeteners such as honey, agave honey, etc.

To sum it up, it is very important to achieve a balance of the sugar in an ice-cream mixture, especially with sorbet since it has a very high level of liquid, and sorbet doesn’t have any fat content so it totally relies on the sugar to prevent too much ice crystals.

(Sources: the kitchn ; Ice Cream Recipes ; Ice Cream Nation)

When I was reading about different types of ice-cream and sorbet I was very troubled by this ratio, I mean do I have to always follow a specific recipe without changing the sweetener or the types of fruits that is used, without messing with the sugar ratio? Luckily after a while of searching and reading into every possible documents available, I finally found a very simple and efficient tip to test if the sugar level is enough, and I will introduce that tip in this watermelon sorbet recipe.

Watermelon sorbet 2_copy

Công thức tiếng Việt: Sorbet dưa hấu & Mẹo để luôn có được một hỗn hợp sorbet chuẩn

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Ice-cream types & a super easy ice-cream recipe (no churning)

Summer is ice-cream season. Actually for me any time of the year is ice-cream season. It is obviously refreshing to have a nice cold ice-cream in the summer, but there is also a very interesting feeling when you at ice-cream in the cold winter. Is it such a weird hobby? tongue

Back in Vietnam I once made ice-cream with my mom, a very simple vanilla ice-cream with egg yolks, cream, milk and sugar, and we had to do the freezing in the freezer and using a fork to stir the mixture every 2 hours. After that I’ve always thought that every home-made ice-cream recipe starts from that same base. It was not until I bought myself a discounted ice-cream machine and started reading more on ice-cream recipes that I know the ice-cream base that my mom and I made is called “Frozen custard”, usually used in French and Italian recipes. Besides this there are more types of desserts in the frozen desserts family such as Popsicle, Granita, Sorbet, and so on.

Like I’ve said before, I want Miamivores to be more than just a food blog with recipes, I want it to also be a place where I share with you my day-to-day stories. My little ‘journey’ of ice-cream making has a lot of failed stories and experience. Therefore posts about ice-cream on Miamivores, besides introducing recipes, will also contains information that I’ve gain during my process of learning to make this refreshing desserts, as well as tips to ensure a nice and delicious ice-cream for your family. I’m only an amateur, so if you have any experience and tips please feel free to share.

Banana ice-cream 3

Công thức tiếng Việt: Các loại kem & công thức kem siêu dễ (không cần máy)

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Picnic & Nori glutinous rice (steamer & rice cooker)

The weather in Paris last week was so lovely love shining sun, blue sky, not too hot, not too cold. This lovely weather, together with the fact that the cherry trees at Parc de Sceaux, a very big park just outside of Paris, have blossomed made it impossible to stay inside, and that was why Tutu’s organized a picnic with her friends on a day where the weather was exceptionally nice. I was the one in charge of making the main dishes and desserts, since I’m the one with the most free time on my hands big grin

Cherry blossom 6

The park is pretty far from my house, so I chose dishes that satisfy the following criteria: can be eaten cold but still fill the stomach, and it must be easy to transport since I will have to sit on a bus the whole way, and I was alone as well.

The first dish was seaweed (nori) glutinous rice balls. My friends really enjoyed this dish, the fragrance of the seaweed helps reduce the heaviness of glutinous rice, and it still tastes good even after it’s been cooled down on the way. I made the rice ball the night before, then used cling film to tightly wrap them all up, and before I went to the park, I stuck them in the microwave for a good 3 minutes so they become warm and soft. I think this dish is very suitable for a quick breakfast, or to bring with you as lunch, and you can serve it with fried egg, sausage, etc

This is a very simple recipe, and I want to introduce the method of cooking rice in a rice cooker for Asian study-abroaders, who usually don’t have a lot of time on hands nor a steamer to steam the glutinous rice.

Nori sticky rice

Công thức bằng tiếng Việt: Picnic & Xôi rong biển (nấu xôi bằng chõ hấp & bằng nồi cơm điện)

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Glutinous rice balls with black sesame filling

I’m really fond of glutinous rice related food, so it is no surprise that one of my favorite desserts is Tan Yuang, or sweet glutinous rice balls with mung bean filling. However, I’m actually more in love with the glutinous rice skin, so usually what I do is making no filling Tang Yuan, which means only the glutinous rice ball in sweet soup.

One time when I was making this no filling Tang Yuan in Bristol, I saw my flatmate’s package of ground black sesame, and that gave me the idea of mixing them with some coconut milk to make the filling for goes so well with the stickiness of the dough, and I ended up loving it! I stumbled upon some Chinese blog food later on and found out that this dish does exist, although they use difference ingredients to make the ground sesame stick together.

In this recipe I will use the black sesame filling. At the end of the post I will also introduce the recipe for the traditional mung bean filling 😉

Glutinous rice balls with black sesame filling 1

Công thức tiếng Việt: Chè trôi nước nhân mè đen

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