Panna Cotta with Fresh Passion Fruit

 

This past week the heat was so brutal that both of us got a cold from switching back and forth too often between a cool air-conditioned room to the burning heat. But we’re ok now, and I’m back to the sauna/kitchen creating and documenting recipes with great enthusiasm! Read more

Vietnamese Silk Tofu “Tempura”

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post. 

My husband and I just signed a new house lease for the next quarter and began our 10th month living in Hoi An. Both our landlady and we couldn’t believe that it had been that long. We all remembered the first day we met at this house as vividly as it had been some time last month. My husband and I fell in love with the house the moment we saw it. For my husband, it was the beautiful furniture and airy rooms. For me, it was the light-filled kitchen and a garden full of blooming bird-of-paradise flowers. For one, it meant free flowers for me, which was awesome! But more importantly, I somehow believed that if the owner had cared to grow beautiful blooms in the back yard, she must be somebody who would take good care of the house too.
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Classic Vietnamese Braised Pork

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

 

Many, if not all, Vietnamese women I know who know how to cook learned from their mothers or grandmothers or both. I didn’t.

Working 12+ hours a day, often seven days a week, my mother has never had time to cook, except for traditional Tet holiday once every year. My father has always been the chef in our family. He’s not a good one though, I have to admit. Now I understand how difficult it could be to learn cooking without cookbooks, Internet, or somebody to guide you, but I was small and so I used to blame him for not feeding us very well. I used to long for the rare days when my mother had some time off to cook something for me and my little brother.

One time she made braised pork, and it was the only time she cooked that dish. It was 15 years ago but now I can still remember very clearly how that caramelized meat melted in my mouth like butter. It was one of the best things I’d ever eaten.
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