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Tet Menu - Vietnamese New Year's

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Today is Tet - Vietnamese New years

Tet Blessing for household

As Tet (Lunar new year holiday) is the biggest holiday in the year, the Vietnamese people prepare by decorating their homes and preparing traditional dishes to enjoy themselves and entertain their guests. the Vietnameses' expression of "An Tet" which covers all activities they do in Tet, literally means "Eating the Tet".

sorry no photo of the soup-so here is crab and white asparagus

White asparagus and crab soup (Sup Mang Tay Cua)

Serves 4 as part of a family-style meal

1   (11-ounce jar) white asparagus spears OR equivalent amount of fresh white asparagus  

4   cups chicken stock  

1/4   pound cooked crab meat  

1   teaspoon salt  

1   tablespoon fish sauce  

1   teaspoon sugar  

2   tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water  

1   egg, beaten  

2   tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves  

1   green onion, thinly sliced  

  Black pepper  

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Bring chicken stock to a boil over medium heat. Add asparagus and crab meat seasoned with salt, fish sauce and sugar.

Reduce heat to medium, pour in cornstarch mixture and stir well until soup is slightly thickened. Add beaten egg in a slow stream, stirring well until egg sets. Remove from heat and ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with cilantro leaves, green onion and a dash of black pepper.

This salad is almost the same as the Thai one I also make.

Pomelo salad

Serves 4 as part of a family-style meal

  For garnish:   

2   large shallots, thinly sliced  

1-2   tablespoons canola or vegetable oil  

  For salad:  

1/2   pound medium-sized prawns  

1/2   teaspoon salt  

1/2   pound cooked chicken breast, shredded into bite-size pieces  

1   medium pomelo, peeled, with segments torn into bite-size pieces  

1   carrot, cut into matchsticks  

1   shallot, thinly sliced  

1/2   cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks  

1/4   cup fresh mint leaves, chopped  

2   tablespoons chopped peanuts  

1   tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves  

  For dressing:  

2   tablespoons fish sauce  

1   tablespoon rice vinegar  

1   tablespoon sugar  

2   tablespoons water  

1   teaspoon sambal chili sauce  

1   teaspoon lime juice  

To make garnish: Separate shallot slices into individual rings. Blot with a paper towel to absorb some of the excess moisture. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring occasionally. Cook until shallots are a deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove shallots to a plate lined with a paper towel. Allow to cool in a single layer.

To make salad: Bring a pot of water to boil. Add prawns and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove prawns as soon as they turn pink. Place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, peel, and devein.

Put prawns, chicken, pomelo, carrot, raw shallot, cucumber, mint leaves, peanuts and cilantro leaves in a bowl. In another smaller bowl, prepare dressing by mixing fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, water, sambal chili sauce, and lime juice until sugar is dissolved. Add dressing to the salad, and toss to mix. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle fried shallots on top.

 This is a very traditonal Vietnamese dish.  I cook this dish in a clay pot on top of the gas burner which helps create a crust o the rice.  I make the caramel sauce and always keep a little glass jar of it in the refrigerator.


Clay pot chicken rice (Com Tay Cam)

Serves 4 as part of a family-style meal

  For chicken:  

1   pound chicken thigh meat (skinned and deboned), cut into 1/2-inch pieces  

1   teaspoon cornstarch  

1   teaspoon sesame oil  

1   tablespoon soy sauce  

1   teaspoon sugar  

1   teaspoon chopped garlic  

1   teaspoon chopped ginger  

1   tablespoon vegetable oil  

  For stir-fry:  

6   fresh shiitake mushrooms cut into thin slices  

2   Chinese sausages (thinly sliced)  

1   tablespoon oyster sauce  

1   tablespoon Maggi seasoning sauce or light soy sauce  

1/2   tablespoon sesame oil  

  For rice:  

2   cups long grain rice (washed and dried)  

2 1/2   cups water  

  Fresh cilantro leaves  

  Black pepper  

In a bowl, mix chicken with cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan or wok and stir fry chicken until lightly brown. Add mushrooms, sausages, oyster sauce, Maggi seasoning sauce, and sesame oil. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meantime, cook the rice with water in an electric rice cooker. As soon as the switch turns to warm, add chicken and vegetables to the rice cooker and replace lid. Leave undisturbed until steam subsides. Transfer rice to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves and a dash of black pepper. Serve hot.

Caramel Sauce

Makes about 1/2 cup

1   cup sugar  

3/4   cup water, divided use  

Bring 1/2 cup water and sugar to a boil over medium high heat. Do not stir. When mixture turns dark brown, immediately remove from heat and slowly add 1/4 cup of water to thin the sauce. Pour into a glass jar and allow to cool. Keeps well at room temperature for 1 month.

Pork cooked in coconut juice  (Thit Heo Kho Nuoc Dua)

Serves 6 as part of a family-style meal

  For pickled vegetables:  

1/4   cup vinegar  

1/2   cup water  

1   tablespoon salt  

2   tablespoons sugar  

1   cup shredded carrots  

1   cup bean sprouts  

  For pork:  

1   tablespoon vegetable oil  

2   pounds pork shoulder, cut into chunks  

1   tablespoon chopped garlic  

1   tablespoon chopped green onion (white part only)  

1   (12-ounce) can coconut soda (or substitute 7-Up mixed with a splash of coconut water)  

1   young coconut, juice extracted and saved  

4   eggs (hard-boiled and shelled)  

1/4   cup fish sauce  

1   tablespoon caramel sauce (see recipe above)  

To make pickled vegetables:

Bring vinegar, water, salt and sugar to boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean container and add carrots and bean sprouts; refrigerate. Allow at least 2 hours to marinate before serving. Serve chilled.

To cook pork: Heat oil in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add pork, garlic and onion and saute 2 minutes. Then pour in coconut soda, coconut juice and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that floats to the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until pork is tender. Add cooked eggs to pot and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Serve hot with pickled bean sprouts and carrots as a side dish.

recipes from - Tammy Huynh, executive chef of Tamarine in Palo Alto and Bong Su in San Francisco

Another must for Tet

    Vietnamese New Year Cake - Banh Chung

    2000 grams of rice
    800 grams mung beans
    1000 grams of pork
    a sprinkle of pepper
    Vietnamese Onions

    1. Prepare the mung beans the night before by siaking them in water. Drain the mung beans.

    2. Prepare the rice by soaking it in cold water for at least 2 hours.

    3.Cut pork into pieces, place in a bowl with onions, salt and pepper and mix together.

    4. Boil or steam the mung beans with 1 teaspoon of salt until they are soft. Mash the mung beans up until they are like mashed potato.

    5. Prepare the wrapping for the cake by placing two pieces of bamboo leaves like a cross. Press this into an ice cream container to make it easier to shape.

    6. Divide the rice into two portions then divide the mung beans into two portions.

    7. Press a layer of the first portion of rice into the container. Make the second layer of mung beans. Spread the pork pieces over the beans. Then another layer of mung beans then the final layer of rice.

    8. Fold the leaves over the cake so that it looks like a square parcel.

    9. Tip this onto another layer of foil and tie it up.

    10. Place this sealed parcel into a large saucepan, cover with water and boil gently for 6 hours. Add more water every hour.

    11. Carefully remove the saucepan and place in a large strainer. Submerge it in cold water for a few minutes, then gently tip it from side to side to drain off all the liquid.

    12. Place the wrapped parcel onto a wooden board and place then place another board on top of it for 2-3 days in a cool place. This will ensure that the cake is firm.

    13. Remove the wrapping and serve in pieces or serve cut into slices and fry both sides until brown. Do not grease the pan if you intend to fry. The slices should form a kind of omelette by running together.


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Tet Menu - Vietnamese New Year's