Christmas menu: Banh Pate So \\\ Menu de Noël: Banh Pate So

(Version française plus bas!)

When I was a kid, my mom used to make Banh Pate So, the Vietnamese puff pastries, in huge batches. The smell of warm butter dough would fill our apartment, and I just couldn’t wait for them to be cooked. This Christmas, I really wanted to recreate my mom’s recipe, changing it to be vegan. I have been on the hunt for vegan pastry dough for a while, and I didn’t want to buy some with palm oil. Well, a stroke of luck made me find some made with canola oil: not great, but still.

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The result is warm, flaky, savory little bundles of deliciousness. I made them in advance for Christmas Eve as they can easily be warmed up in the oven to be enjoyed whenever. They are a bit long to make, but so worth it.

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Here is what you need for 20 Pate So:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 6 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1,5 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 900 g pastry dough

Here is what you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the onion. Cook until slightly translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and stir until they start to get tender.
  3. Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat to help the mushrooms lose their water. Once most of their water is gone, turn down the heat and add the celery, the pumpkin purée and the walnuts. Stir everything and let cook until the carrots are tender, but not mushy.
  4. Mix in the tahini, almond milk and thyme leaves. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  5. Roll the pastry dough until it is about 5mm thick. Using a glass, cut out circles of about 8 cm in diameter. Make sure you have an even number of circles. If you don’t want to have circles, you can also cut your dough in squares or any other shape you like!
  6. Place about 1 tbs of stuffing on half of your circles. Cover them with the remaining circles and use a fork to close everything up. Lightly brush the top pastry with a bit of oil or water mixed with maple syrup to get a nice golden color.
  7. Place your pastries on a lined cookie sheet and bake them at 350F (180C) for 45 minutes or until they are nice and golden. Enjoy!

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These really turned out perfect! I had a lot of fun making them, and they are delicious! I can’t wait to serve these on Christmas Eve! They are tender and flaky, and the stuffing is savoury and hearty. Give them a try!


Lorsque j’étais petite, ma mère préparait des dizaines et des dizaines de Banh Pate So, des délicieux beignets de pâte feuilletée vietnamiens. L’odeur réconfortante de la pâte feuilletée envahissait notre appartement, et j’attendais avec impatience qu’ils sortent du four pour les dévorer. Ce Noël, j’ai eu envie de recréer cette recette, tout en l’adaptant à ma sauce végane. Cela fait quelque temps que j’ai ce projet en tête, et j’étais donc à l’affût d’une pâte feuilletée végane et sans huile de palme. Coup de chance: j’en ai trouvée une faite seulement avec de l’huile de canola! C’est toujours mieux que de l’huile de palme!

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Le résultat? De délicieux beignets chaud et savoureux. Je les ai même préparés à l’avance pour n’avoir qu’à les réchauffer pour notre Réveillon. Parfait! Ils sont un peu long à préparer, mais ça vaut vraiment la peine!

Pour une vingtaine de Pate So, vous aurez besoin de:

  • 1 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
  • 1 oignon, finement haché
  • 10 champignons de Paris, coupé en tranches fines
  • 6 tiges de céleri, hachées
  • 4 carottes, hachées
  • 1 tasse de purée de citrouille
  • 1,5 tasse de noix de Grenoble
  • 2 c. à soupe de tahini
  • ¼ tasse de lait d’amandes
  • 1 c. à soupe de feuilles de thym frais
  • Sel et poivre au goût
  • 900 g de pâte feuilletée

Voici ce qu’il faut faire :

  1. Sur feu moyen, chauffer l’huile et y ajouter l’oignon. Laisser cuire jusqu’à ce que l’oignon commence à être translucide.
  2. Ajouter les carottes et mélanger jusqu’à ce qu’elles commencent à être tendres.
  3. Ajouter les champignons et monter le feu à feu vif pour qu’ils perdent leur eau. Continuer à bien mélanger. Une fois l’eau évaporée, réduire le feu et ajouter le céleri, la purée de citrouille, et les noix. Mélanger le tout et laisser cuire doucement jusqu’à ce que les carottes soient tendres, sans être molles.
  4. Incorporer le tahini, le lait d’amandes et le thym. Goûter et ajouter du sel et du poivre à votre goût. Étendre le feu et laisser refroidir.
  5. Rouler votre pâte feuilletée sur une surface enfarinée jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit d’environs 5mm d’épaisseur. Utiliser un verre pour découper des cercles d’environs 8 cm de diamètre. Assurez-vous d’avoir un nombre pair de cercles. Si vous le préférez, vous pouvez également simplement couper la pâte en carrés, ou en tout autre forme que vous désirez.
  6. Placez environs une cuillère à table de farce dans le milieu de la moitié de vos cercles de pâte. Recouvrez-les ensuite des cercles de pâte restant pour former des petits pâtés. Faites le tour de chaque bord avec une fourchette pour bien sceller le tout. Badigeonner d’un peu d’huile ou d’eau mélangée à du sirop d’érable pour obtenir une belle couleur dorée.
  7. Enfourner dans un four préchauffé à 350F (180C) pour 45 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que vos pâtés soient bien dorés! Savourez!

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Je dois dire, qu’ils sont sortis du four vraiment parfaits : croustillant et savoureux! Je me suis bien amusée à les préparer et j’ai vraiment hâte de les servir pour notre Réveillon de Noël. J’espèere que vous les essayerez!

 

 

Easy Jicama Recipe (and life update)

The last few days have really been busy!

First, last week-end was my birthday! Woohoo! As some of you may know, my boyfriend and I share the same birthday. To celebrate, I got us tickets to go see The Piano Guys! Their show was amazing! We had such a great time!

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I tried to spot my arms somewhere in there, but I’m afraid they’re lost in the sea of arms!

During the week-end, we went back to Sushi Momo and ate at their new location. It was amazing! and I took better pictures! This is probably the best sushi I have ever eaten. So flavorful, imaginative and skillfully prepared!

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After that, I was just buried under paperwork and school work. During this time, my mom brought me an amazingly fresh and delicious jicama. I prepared it with the idea of making Bo Bi, a traditional Vietnamese roll. Well, I got lazy and ate it unrolled with rice: still amazingly good!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 jicama, peeled and cut in julienne (small stips)
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut in julienne
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 4 tbs toasted sesame seeds (I used white, but both work)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan set on medium heat, warm up 1 tbs of sesame oil. Once this is hot, add the carrots and stir for a few minutes. Add the jicama and mix until the jicama is cooked. It changes color and becomes a little bit more translucent. It takes about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Season to your taste.
  3. Remove from the heat and mix in the remaining sesame oil.
  4. Serve with warm rice, or roll in rice paper with some greens.
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Yay for birthday flowers!

This is a very simple and quick recipe, but it is full of flavour and has a great texture. The jicama stays very crunchy even after cooking which goes great with rice. Let me know if you try this out! Hurrah for busy days!

 

Vietnamese recipe:Che Chuoi, Banana pudding

Another dessert! Again with bananas! This is a little bit different, but definitely in the same flavour combinations. I really enjoy this because, again, it is so easy to make and so delicious too! It is also very comforting as you can eat this warm. Perfect dessert for a cold day!

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As a kid, I would take only one banana piece and fill my dessert bowl with the coconut tapioca and add a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds: this was my favourite way of eating this dessert (and sometimes, it still is).

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3 cups of water
  • 500 mL coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 just-ripe bananas (we don’t want any spots)
  • dash of salt

Sesame Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds

Here is what you do:

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Pour the small tapioca pearls and give a quick stir. Let the beads expand and cook until there is only a little white dot in the middle of each pearl. Set on medium heat. Use a non-stick sauce pan because this is sticky!
  3. In a different sauce pan, pour the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the tapioca pearls and their remaining cooking water into the coconut milk. Mix well and add some water until you reach the desired consistency (we added 2 cups).
  5. Taste and add the sugar accordingly (you might add less if your bananas are really sweet).
  6. Peel the bananas and cut in 3 parts diagonally. In a large bowl, add water and the pinch of salt. Dip the banana pieces in this salty water to avoid browning. Add them to the coconut milk. IMG_2426
  7. Bring back to a boil and remove from heat. IMG_2427
  8. For the sesame garnish: Rinse the sesame seeds and put them in a metal sauce pan set on medium heat. Shake the pan often to avoid burning. You want the seeds to be golden, so keep an eye on them.IMG_2436
  9. Serve hot.IMG_2439

This is so good! The sesame seeds bring out the sweetness of the bananas and add a great flavour to the perfect banana-coconut combo. Let me know if you try this out!

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Vietnamese Recipe: Banh Chuoi, Banana Cake

I think it is about time we talk about desserts! This one is one of my mom’s favourite, and I remember her making huge batches of this. I would then bring slices of it as a snack for school: yum! It is very simple, but the lime flavour is super refreshing and light, which goes great with the slightly wet texture of this (almost) flour-free cake.

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Here is what you need:

  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil

To serve:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1tbsp corn starch

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a 9″ square pan in it.
  2. Zest one lime and press out the juice.
  3. Mash the bananas one by one and add a little bit of lime juice to each. Place in a large mixing bowl. The lime juice will prevent the browning of the bananas.IMG_2545.JPG
  4. Add the lime peel, the sugar and salt and mix well.
  5. Combine the water and flour until smooth. Add to the banana mix. IMG_2552.JPG
  6. Remove the pan from the oven (careful, this is hot!), and oil it with a little bit of coconut oil. Pour the dough in and cook for 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden. IMG_2561.JPG
  7. For the coconut sauce: In a small sauce pan, pour half the can of coconut milk and put on medium heat. Mix the corn starch to the other half and add to the pan once well combined. Heat up and mix until it is thick to your taste.
  8. Serve hot with a generous dribble of coconut sauce. We cut the cake in half and superposed the two halves to make the cake thicker.

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I really love how the crust of this cake has a slight crunch while the center stays moist and chewy. The coconut sauce balances out the sweetness of the bananas and rounds off the flavours delicately.

Give this a try! It is so easy and simple, yet so flavourful: the lime juice and zest really send you to a tropical island of your choice, or maybe a Vietnamese beach. Let me know if you cook this and devour it!

Vietnamese Recipe, Banh Cuon, Steamed Rolls

I cannot begging to explain how excited I used to be (and still am, if I’m completely honest) when my mom would make these steamed rolls. When I became vegan, she revamped her recipe, and it is so delicious! The vegan version has nothing to envy to the original one!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 pack (400g) banh cuon mix (We buy Taiky Food brand; this is a mix of rice flour and tapioca starch)
  • 2 tbs rice flour
  • 1L water + 2tbs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dry black mushrooms
  • 10 shallots ( 1 cup once shredded)
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 big king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp oil
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Soak the black mushroom in water for two hours. Drain and wash to remove dirt and sand. Press to remove excess water.
  2. Mix the flour mix, rice flour, salt and water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Shred the carrots; thinly slice the shallots, black mushrooms, and king oyster mushrooms. You should have between 1 cup and 1 1/2 cups of each. IMG_2331
  4. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil and saute the shallots first. Once these are cooked, add the oyster mushrooms and carrots. Set on high heat so that the water evaporates. Add a pinch of salt and saute until all the water is gone. Add the black mushroom last with a little bit of pepper. Stir until everything is cooked. Taste and add salt if needed. Put aside.IMG_2346IMG_2349
  5. Before you start making the crepes, set up 2 large plates next to the pan and put a thin layer of oil on both of them to avoid sticking. You can also keep some oil in a small bowl and use a brush to oil the pan. Keep your lid handy too.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan to high heat. Give your dough a mix. The first few pancakes will be wonky as the pan is heating up. If the have holes, it means that your pan is too hot. Adjust the heat accordingly. IMG_2377
  7. Cook your pancakes and transfer to your rolling station. Add 1 tbp of filling, fold the sides and roll.
  8. Serve the cakes with steamed soy sprouts, fresh fragrant herbs, fried onions and vegan fish sauce.

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These rolls are really good! They have a great texture. Adding the soy spouts and herbs really complete the dish.

Let me know if you try this out and what you think of it!

Wait! If you are wondering why these are called “steamed” cake, it is because the traditional way of making these does involve steam. This is the device used:

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The idea is simple: you fill the bottom part with water and bring it to a boil. You pour the dough on the heated cotton membrane and cover up to steam. Finally you use the bamboo stick to pick up the crepe. Pretty cool, no?

Vietnamese Recipe, Hanh Phi, Shallot Garnish

This is a really simple recipe, but full of flavour!

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This shallot garnish is used in many different Vietnamese dishes, including the upcoming Banh Cuon recipe. These steamed rolls were my favourite as a kid, and they were not complete without their fried shallots garnish.

Here is what you need:

  • 200g shallots
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Here is what you do:

  1. Wash and peal the shallots.
  2. Thinly slice them. IMG_2319
  3. In a small sauce pan, add the oil and heat up on high heat. BE CAREFUL! You know the oil is hot enough when one piece of shallot put in will immediately start bubbling up. IMG_2357
  4. Lower the heat and add the shallots. Let them fry until they reach a beautiful golden color. Stir from time to time. IMG_2359
  5. Strain and let the excess oil drop. IMG_2364
  6. Once cooled, you can keep these in an air tight container in the fridge for a few weeks.

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The steamed rolls recipe will be posted tomorrow, but really, these fried shallots are great in salads, on soups and in sandwiched.

 

 

Vietnamese Recipe: Vegan “fish” sauce

Many Vietnamese dishes require the traditional and hugely famous Nuoc Mam or fish sauce. As a vegan, this can be really discouraging and sad. However, a few months ago, my mom visited a new vegetarian restaurant in Montreal and brought me a bottle of soy-based “fish” sauce.

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I was so excited to try it out! Of course, this is only one of the ingredients that are used when making the traditional dipping sauce that I referred to in the Chia Gio and Banh Cuon recipes.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp nuoc mam chay (vegan fish sauce)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili sauce

Here is what you do:

  1. Mix everything together until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Check and adjust the amount of sugar and salt to your taste.
  2. You can add more chili if you like or also finely chopped garlic for more flavour.

This sauce is great for dipping fried rolls, spring rolls, tofu, veggies, anything really! It has a really complex flavour that comes from the fermented soy beans used in the mock fish sauce. I really think it is as tasty as the original Nuoc Mam.

Let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

 

Vietnamese Recipe: Chia Gio, fried rolls

For the first Vietnamese recipe I want to share with you, I decided on Chia Gio, which is the Vietnamese version of egg rolls. This is a dish that my mom usually makes for familly gatherings or special occasions as it is quite long to make.

The rolls are served with fresh lettuce leaves, Thai basil, cilantro, mint and any other fragrant herbs we can find. The trick is to roll the roll in a lettuce leaf with some herbs and to then dip it in the traditional fish-based sauce (nuoc mam). A vegan version of this sauce is coming up tomorrow.

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You can see the difference between rice paper rolls and wheat rolls.

I really like these rolls because they are so crispy! Also, because the Vietnamese version uses rice paper and not wheat paper, these are gluten-free! They are also quite versatile as you can pretty much add any vegetables or tofu to the filling: just keep in mind that the filling needs to be on the drier side. Any humid ingredient is better if cooked before adding it to the filling.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 handfuls of mung bean transparent vermicelli (about 2 cups; you can use any kind of transparent vermicelli here)
  • 1 cup black mushroom, soaked 2 hours

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    These black mushroom can be bought dried in Asian markets. Soak them for a few hours before using.

  • 1 leek, the white part only (about 2 cups)
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 taro root (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pack of rice paper (the one you use for spring rolls)
  • 1 1/2 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil to deep fry

Optional: mung beans (soaked overnight) or shredded firm tofu

Here is what you do:

  1. Let the vermicelli soak in cold water while you prepare the other ingredients. IMG_2470
  2. Peel and shred the carrots in a separate bowl. Add a pinch of salt, mix well and let sit. IMG_2474
  3. Finely chop the leek. I you have a food processor, now is the time to use it. IMG_2481
  4. Finely chop the king oyster mushrooms. IMG_2482
  5. In a large sauce pan, saute the leek to add more flavour. Do the same thing with the mushrooms until their water has evaporated. IMG_2484
  6. Finely chop the black mushroom. IMG_2483
  7. Press the carrots to remove the excess water.IMG_2486
  8. In a large bowl, place the leek, mushrooms, and carrots. IMG_2490
  9. Drain and dry the vermicelli with paper towels. Finely chop and add the to filling. IMG_2492
  10. Peel the taro root and wash. Use gloves for this because the sap of this root can irritate the skin. Shred and add to the mix.
  11. Prepare your rolling station: spread a large tea towel on your table. Put some lukewarm water in a large dish and add to vinegar and soy sauce (this will help your rolls to be crispy and brown a little bit more). Have a plate ready to put your rolls in.IMG_2515
  12. Once you are ready to roll, mix the vegetables and add equal amounts of salt, sugar and pepper. Adjust to your taste.
  13. Dip the rice paper in the water. Fold the bottom of the circle. Place one tablespoon of filling to the center. Fold the sides to the center, and roll. (I’m sorry if this is not clear, check the video to see what I mean!)
  14. Once all your rolls are all ready, heat up some vegetable oil to deep fry them. Add one roll at a time and be careful not to let them touch each other because they will stick! Fry until the become slightly golden. IMG_2528
  15. Let the rolls drain some of their oil by placing them on paper towels. IMG_2538
  16. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice (recipe coming up later this week) or sweet chilli sauce, lettuce leaves and fragrant herbs.

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If you don’t mind eating gluten, you can also use Chinese rolling paper, but I like the texture of the rice paper rolls. Make sure you have plenty of lettuce and herbs to serve this with as it really adds a lot of flavour and different textures.

Let me know if you give these a try!

 

Vietnamese Food Series!

Last week was my March break week: I have already started a very serious mourning period! I took advantage of the time I had to organize my school work, plan my exams, correct the pieces of work I had collected, and plan all my classes until the end of the year… I wish! I actually am entering a slight panic mode right now thinking about all the work I need to do today to prepare for tomorrow. Huh, teacher life!

I actually really enjoyed the break and spent many days in the kitchen with my mom learning some of her tricks on how to make delicious Vietnamese vegan food! Oh yes!

So be ready for some seriously delicious recipes during the month of March. I am so excited to share these recipes as these are staples from my childhood. Growing up, I was craving these foods and always felt so privileged having such a talented cook as a mom. I’m really grateful to have spent these few days with her cooking and laughing. Thanks mom!