Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Tag: vietnamese

Braised pork belly, with optional figs

An unctuous, and savory delight. We only let ourselves make braised pork belly once every six months or so. It’s wonderful served over rice, or as a component of the Normandie Wedding Banh Mi. Braised pork belly is a special treat, made with fresh figs in the summer. It ends up sticky, and slightly sweet — kind of like a pork jam. At another time of year, you can substitute coconut juice or guava nectar for the figs, and add a little bit of caramel for flavour.

Wendy, Brad

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Pork and mustard greens (aka Wendy soup)

Wendy soup (or canh cải chua) is one of the simplest, most delicious soups you can make in winter. It’s pretty much nothing more than cải chua (fermented mustard greens), and soup-cut pork ribs. The bones make a flavourful stock, the pickles balance the richness, and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As you can tell from the name, Wendy grew up eating it, and introduced it to the Normandie house. It’s in pretty heavy rotation, when the days get short. In this version, we take advantage of something that’s usually a negative — unripe, green tomatoes are common in winter, and are perfect in this soup.  Otherwise, daikon is more traditional.

Canh Cải Chua

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Hoisin sauce

Hoisin is a common sauce used in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. You can think of it as more-or-less equivalent to barbecue sauce — thick, pungent, sweet, and fragrant, it’s often used in glazes for roast meat. Many commercial hoisin sauces contain nothing more than sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and starch (plus a list of additives) — and are flavoured with five-spice. You can quickly, and easily, make your own hoisin using with the ingredients of a typical pantry. Bonus, it’ll taste better than Lee Kum Kee, and you won’t have an extra bottle of rarely-used sauce cluttering your cupboard!

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