Taste of Ha — Creative Project

What the Hell is Nuoc Mam? is a collection of simple Vietnamese recipes straight from the hearts of the Ha-Nguyen family. Here you will learn the delicacies of mi xao, spring rolls, etc. I chose to do a recipe book as my creative project because I see food as the link between my dad’s current life and his life in Vietnam. Throughout his life he used it as a means to connect with his family and friends. My dad learned at a very young age that the communion you share and who you share it with is more important than any job. Through these recipes, he hopes to share the same message with you.

Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng (Grilled Pork Sandwich)

A personal favorite of mine — can be found in almost all Vietnamese to-go places
  1. Cut lean pork into quarter inch thin slices.
  2. Add pork, brown sugar, black pepper, garlic, shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, and canola oil to bowl. Allow pork to marinade in mix in refrigerator overnight.
  3. Next day grill pork on each side for 4–5 minutes.
  4. Cut open french style sandwich roll longways.
  5. Place generous amount of warm pork in sandwich.
  6. Add cilantro, cut up carrots, cucumbers, fresh jalepenos, and daikon pickles.
  7. Sprinkle soy sauce and hot sauce for taste.

Chả Giò (Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls)

Mom’s famous eggrolls
  1. Fill a large pot with oil and start heating at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (about an inch deep).
  2. Thaw lean ground pork and shrimp. Put on gloves and squeeze until malleable.
  3. Sautee and chop mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, carrots, and garlic with soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place all ingredients in large bowl and begin mixing thoroughly. After a while let sit to marinate.
  5. Get egg roll papers and a small bowl of egg yolks.
  6. Separate egg roll papers.
  7. Place two spoon-fulls of ingredients in each sheet.
  8. Use fingers to smear egg yolk on corners so that they stick when rolled up.
  9. Fold sides in and roll egg roll.
  10. Fry 3–4 egg rolls at a time in the large pot until crispy or golden brown.
  11. Serve with thai chili sweet and sour sauce for a little kick.

Bánh Chuối Chiên (Fried Banana Cakes)

A favorite in the Ha household. Mom makes it for any and every celebration.
  1. Begin making the mix with eggs, flour, water, sugar, and a little baking powder. Optional: mix in a little beer of choice for flavor.
  2. Stir gently and cover for close to an hour.
  3. Begin peeling bananas (use baby bananas) and cut them in half longways.
  4. Prepare a pot of oil to fry the bananas in. Preheat to approximately 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  5. Fry two or three halves in the oil for a minute or so.
  6. Place the fried halves on paper napkins to soak up excess oil.
  7. Then place the fried halves in the mixture prepared.
  8. Fry the halves again. Soak up excess oil.
  9. Let cool and then serve.

Mi Xao Chay (Vegetarian Stir Fry Noodles)

This particular dish was prepared in observance of Good Friday when we couldn’t eat meat.
  1. Prepare tofu by cutting into half inch thin slices and fry in canola oil.
  2. Add garlic into mix and stir until tofu is golden brown and puffy. Then remove.
  3. Stir fry washed bok choy in mix with salt until it turns a glossy green color.
  4. Return tofu and garlic.
  5. Add sugar, chili paste, and stir in soy sauce.
  6. Add basil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Untangle egg noodles and boil in large pot with water.
  8. Cook until noodles are tender.
  9. Then add noodles to stir fry mix. Mix well.

Gỏi cuốn (Fresh Spring Rolls)

My dad and I share a favorite dish- nothing is better than a nice spring roll on a warm day.
  1. Boil vermicelli noodles in water until tender.
  2. Fill a large bowl with warm water to dip spring roll papers
  3. Dip spring roll paper (make sure it’s all wet) and place flat on plate.
  4. Place two shrimp halves near the bottom on the wrapper (leave an inch margin.)
  5. Add a handful of vermicelli, cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, and mint. Leave two inch margin on each side of the wrapper.
  6. Fold sides inwards. Then roll spring roll from bottom up.
  7. Make sure the wrapper is tightly rolled and fold uncovered sides inwards.
  8. Serve with either dipping fish sauce or hoisin peanut sauce.

Nước Chấm (Dipping Fish Sauce)

Last but certainly not least…
  1. Begin by pouring a generous amount of packaged fish sauce into a bowl.
  2. Cut up at least two limes to squeeze into the mixture.
  3. Add at least 3 table spoons of cane sugar. Test for taste. It should be sour but leave a sweet aftertaste.
  4. Begin adding chili paste for spice. At this point it should be an amber-brown color.
  5. Finely chop up garlic cloves and add.
  6. Chop chili peppers and add for garnish.
  7. Enjoy your dipping!