I learned recently that the word for celebrating lunar near year in Vietnamese is “an Tet,” which translates to “eat the New Year” (or more humanly “eating in the new year”). I think I might have had a hot pot during grad school and I went to the festival when I lived in New York, but I haven’t really feel like Tet was something I celebrated since I was little and we’d go to my uncle’s house for food and red envelopes (li xi).
I feel changed by my work in the work in civic tech, by the really kind and open people I work with who pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion passionately, by the civil rights project I worked on for the last two years, and by the spike in discrimination and xenophobia for the past year against Asian-American’s. And what better way to let out than change by doing a little celebrating in the form of eating in the new year. I kind of felt like, part of the problem was with me was wanting to fit and be part of of the white culture around me so much that I lost a part of myself. It wasn’t until I started working with people of color (for literally the first time in my life) that I met people who had experiences like mine.
If you couldn’t tell by my last post on Vietnamese food, I’ve been researching.
1. coconut pandan waffles
We got a mini waffle maker that I was excited about and when I was researching foods for my previous post I came across a recipe for fast pandan waffles, which I didn’t even know was a thing (it’s a real thing!) and definitely wanted to try it. There are more authentic recipes with different flours to create a chewier texture, but I went with the quick and easy recipe so I could make it before work (with some prep ahead of time).
- I bought frozen pandan at the asian store and used this recipe from Hungry Huy to extract it
- I used this recipe from Vicky Pham as the template (premix + pandan + coconut + sugar)
- I used Remix waffle mix as my pre-made mix, which I got from the recommendation of my friend. (support small businesses! I got a mini waffle maker from them too!)
- Because Remix had a different ratio of mix to eggs to oil, I used Remix’s ratio but with Vicky’s ingredients.
- I used more pandan because I thought the artificial extract would be stronger than what I had made.
- And I added few drops of green dye for drama (I think this is included if you use extract).
2. hanoi style pho
I also made real-deal, giant-stock-pot Hanio-style pho from Andrea Nyguen’s book, The pho cookbook. I was tempted to do the instant pot one but Scott encouraged me to go all out.
It was good! It tasted more like my mom’s pho than anything I’ve gotten at a restaurant. I also really liked the garlic vinegar sauce topping that was recommended with the recipe, I’ve never had it before.
I don’t have a picture of when it was done because you obviously have to eat pho when it’s hot! I plan on making the instant pot version with the extra bones I have so maybe I’ll add one later.
Sorry if you wanted me to post the recipes, but I don’t feel like I should post her recipes if they’re not online already! Here’s a similar beef pho recipe that she’s posted online.
3. pork steam buns
Scott was enlisted to make the most complicated piece: the pork steam buns from Andrea Nguyen’s other book, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. He had to marinade and barbecue the pork ahead of time, but it also had ground pork, mushrooms, veggies, and a boiled egg (he couldn’t find the Chinese sausage). After all that, then he made the dough, formed the dumplings, and then steamed them…You can see my giant stock pot in the background that just sat there for 3 hours.
I don’t see her recipe posted online, but here’s a similar recipe from Nguyen that might actually be more simple. Here’s a recipe that is from someone else that is pretty similar to what Scott did, but it doesn’t have the char siu pork.
Scott said he was going to try making the sesame balls too, so I’m excited for that.