In this article, we will be showing you how to make a Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge also known as Cháo Gà using an Instant Pot. The Chicken Porridge is a rice gruel for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is light yet filling. Not to worry if you do not know what Instant Pot is. Please click ==> Review on Instant Pot to know more.
Like chicken soup in the United States, it is used as a Vietnamese cold remedy. Many people believe that the warmth of the broth and the wholesomeness of the chicken help regain one’s strength. It kinda likes chicken noodle soup instead of noodles we use rice. This recipe can be used with minimally 4 ingredients: chicken, rice, water, and salt. However, the extra ingredients enhance the flavor. If we have the extra ingredients, why not use them. There are many ways to make Cháo Gà. My way is one of many. I like to start with simple successes and then add on.
We had a live video of making Chao Ga online — Here is the video:
- 2 chicken breasts, approximately 1 to 2 pounds
- 1 cup of Jasmine rice or your favorite rice
- 6 cups of water (or optional chicken broth)
- ½ an onion or ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 to 2 slices of ginger
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ lemon, quartered
- ¼ cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- ½ pound bean sprouts (optional)
- Sprinkle of ground roasted peanuts (optional)
Prep the Rice
First, put a cup of rice in a bowl and rinse the starch from the rice. When the water becomes clear, drain the water. It’ll take approximately 2 to 3 minutes. The main reason I clean the rice because sometimes we find unwanted items such as little pebbles, dirt, or even bugs. The bugs are not uncommon especially when you are keeping the bag of rice in the moist area and/or on the ground.
Roast the rice in a frying pan or an IP (Instant Pot) using sauté mode. Make sure the saute heat is medium or low. Roast the rice until all the water has evaporated and the rice is dried. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. You don’t have to roast the rice. This method adds a subtle nutty roasting flavor to the porridge.
Prep the Chicken
Pour about 4 to 6 cups of water in the IP and push sauté high mode. Wait for 6 minutes or until the water boils, add the chicken breast for one quick minute. At this point, we are only cleaning the chicken to reduce excess fat and the foul odor. Press cancel or turn the pot off. Drain the water.
Leave the chicken in the pot and add 6 fresh cups of water or chicken broth. The chicken broth will help enhance the flavor of your porridge. However, if you don’t have chicken broth, water will do. Also remember, if you use mostly chicken broth, reduce the fish sauce or salt seasoning. The chicken broth may have seasoning of its own. You can add less seasoning and slowly add as needed to taste.
Press pressure-cook. If you are using 1 to 2 pounds of chicken, adjust the cooking time to 7 minutes.
The time depends on the weight of the chicken. Check the IP pressure cooker time chart. In my case, I have 1 lb. 2 oz. chicken so I put the timer for 7 minutes. It will take around 2½ minutes for the IP to pressurize and then cook for 7 minutes. When you are cooking on a regular stove, it will take about 30 to 40 minutes to make the porridge broth.
Prep the other Ingredients
While the IP is going, clean the cilantro, onion, and ginger. Dice the onion or leave it whole. I usually leave it whole so I can scoop it out when the porridge is done. I mostly want the onion flavor. You can leave it in if you like the onion texture. By the time the porridge is completed, the onion will be very mushy. Cut the cilantro into small pieces. Sliced one to two slices of ginger. Remember to remove the skin. You can add more ginger if you like. I prefer just a scent of ginger flavor. Quarter the lemon.
Once the IP pressure-cooking is done, open the valve to depressurize. It takes about 2 minutes. I usually cover the valve with a towel that you do not mind getting wet or dirty. The steam and water may spatter everywhere. Once the IP is depressurized, you can now open the lid.
Add rice, onion, ginger, and pepper to the chicken. Close the lid. Now press the porridge button. Adjust the timer to cook for 15 minutes. When using a cooking stove, it will take at least 60 minutes before the porridge is the right consistency.
Once the time is up, I leave the IP to depressurize naturally for 15 to 17 minutes or manually depressurize the IP. Press cancel when the lid can be opened. Check for the porridge consistency. It should not be too thick where the spoon gets stuck moving around. It will be like soup. Press sauté and have it at low mode.
At this point, you should be able to use a spoon and a fork or chopsticks to shred the cooked chicken breasts inside the pot. It should fall apart pretty easily. Add fish sauce or soy sauce and salt. If you do not have either fish sauce or soy sauce, you can try salt only. Add 1 teaspoon first. If it is not salty enough add another teaspoon and so on. I would not add all 2 tablespoons of salt at the same time. It may end up too salty and you will have a hard time fixing it.
Add sugar and pepper. Instead of MSG, we use sugar. It is a great flavor enhancer to compliment the salt. Mix well for another minute or two. This will help thicken the broth. The longer you cook the thicker the porridge. Make it to the consistency that you prefer. Turn off the IP and get ready to serve.
When served, you can add cilantro and bean sprouts. Squirt in the lemon juice and sprinkle over the porridge with ground roasted peanuts. Soothe your throbbing and scratchy throat or warm yourself with a pleasant bowl of porridge on a cool drizzly morning!!!
With Vietnamese chicken rice porridge, you can make it simple with the four basic ingredients or you can go all out with pork including organs such as intestines, liver, blood cubes, stomach lining, etc. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it. That is a special authentic treat for Vietnamese. Here is a YouTube video of how to make Vietnamese Chao Long:
I have not tried this recipe yet. I found it to share so that you can see the differences. I personally prefer simple chicken porridge.
You can also download this recipe –> Vietnamese Chicken Porridge chao ga
I love to hear your experiences with chicken rice porridge, whether you have never made them before or you are a pro at it, please leave me your thoughts below.
Generally, rice is a Vietnamese stable. Therefore, most Vietnamese households have a rice cooker. My own dependable rice cooker has been working for me at least twenty (20) years. However, it has been acting up a little lately so I thought I should research and find myself another one just in case.
I found rave reviews on Instant Pot DUO with 7 in 1 appliance which includes making rice. Another point that won me over was the stainless steel inner pot. Initially, my first intuition was if an appliance is multi-purpose it may not be excellent solely with making rice. However, I was curious and I wanted to try something else other than Teflon coated inner pot so I decided to invest in one.
Now that I have an Instant Pot, I find my intuition is correct. The Instant Pot makes mediocre rice. It is not as easy and straightforward as the standalone rice cooker. It does not yield the same results. The rice appears to be denser and stickier. Whereas, the rice from a standalone rice cooker is light and fluffy. It also took me a few tries with trial and error before I have the correct amount of water so the rice is not too wet or gooey.
Here is my recipe on how to make rice with an Instant Pot so that you don’t have to go through a bunch of trials and errors before you have a good consistency with your rice.
The ingredients are simple: rice and water. The rice that I prefer to use is jasmine rice. However, it is your choice of brand and the type of rice that you are familiar with. The amount of water will vary with the type of brand as well as the type of rice you choose.
The common rice sizes are 5 lbs, 25 lbs, or 50 lbs. I usually buy myself a 25 lb of rice from an Asian grocery store. It is much cheaper. I store it in a container. You want to keep it dry and covered. Humidity will bring bugs.
I included coconut water as optional. It is a little bit more exotic and tastier. I have not tried coconut water in the Instant Pot before. I am sure it will be similar to the standalone rice cooker. You can give it a try if looking for something different.
For Jasmine rice that I have been using so far, it is a one-to-one ratio of water and rice. If you cook one cup of rice then use one cup of water. I also notice that if you are using a 6-quart Instant Pot two (2) cups of rice or more works best. Otherwise, there will be a chance that your rice will burn or stick to the pan with too little amount of rice. You can get away with less rice in the smaller size 3-quart Instant Pot.
For my family of four, I use two cups of rice and two cups of water. You can use that amount to gauge for you and your family.
Clean the Rice
First and foremost make sure to rinse the rice. Sometimes, I found pebbles, rice bugs, and other possible dirt in the rice. You never know how long the bags of Jasmine rice sit in an Asian grocery store before it is sold to you. I do sometimes find bugs in them and they do multiply pretty quickly. Even though the bugs are harmless, it is good to know.
I do not want to alarm you. It is rare to find bugs but it is something you might want to be aware of.
I usually clean the rice until the water is clear instead of opaque. Once the rice is rinsed, I drain as much water as possible from the rice. I add new water. If you use two cups of rice, add two cups of water. It does not matter if it is hot or cold.
Cook the Rice
Once the rice is rinsed and clean, I wipe the bottom of my pot and place it in the Instant Pot cooker. Remember to plug in the cord. Make sure the lid is properly closed and secure. Also, check to make sure to have the steam valve at the close. If the valve is open, the rice will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. I cooked it with the valve open before just to see. Also, you can start cooking with the lid open for other cooking functions such as sauté so always make sure your lid is closed before you press the rice button. It will take about 15 minutes to cook the rice. It takes several minutes for the pot to calculate after you press the rice button. The word AUTO will appear. After the calculation is completed, the timer “00:12” minutes will pop-up and count down.
Once the cooking is complete, the cooker will beep several times. At this time, you will have a hard time opening the lid because of the pressure. You can do one of the two things:
- Allow the pressure to depressurize naturally and do nothing.OR
- Open the release value to allow the steam to dissipate. Turn the release valve to Venting. Be careful, do not put your hand on top of the vent. The steam is coming straight out and it is very hot. You can get burn. Use your fingers pushing on the side or use a kitchen mitten.
There is the silver round metal looking thing. If it is up then that means there is pressure, you will not be able to open the lid. If the silver round metal is down, the pressure is gone. You can open the lid safely.
It will take about 15 minutes for the lid to depressurize naturally. After the rice is done cooking, the pot will automatically change to keep warm and a new timer will appear starting at L00:00. This is a nice feature because you can tell how long your food is being kept warm in the pot. However, I would not recommend leaving your rice in the cooker longer than an hour. The rice will burn and stick to the pot. It will be a challenge to clean.
Yes, the Instant Pot does make rice. The rice turns out mediocre in comparison to the standalone rice cooker. I noticed that there was a lot of water condense under the lid causing the rice to be wet and dense. However, Instant Pot is great at pressure cooking. If you are not familiar with Instant Pot and would like to learn more, click on my Instant Pot Review => Instant Pot Review – Can It Make Good Rice.
In my opinion, if you are picky like me and use it every day, look into a standalone rice cooker. Otherwise, if you do not make rice every day and not picky, you do not need to invest in another appliance to clutter your kitchen counter. An Instant Pot would be perfect for your occasional rice consumption.
Thank you for visiting me. I love to hear your thoughts and experiences with making rice using the Instant Pot and/or other rice cookers. Please leave your comments below.
Instant Pot Duo 60 Review
Name: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Cooker
Inventor: Robert Wang
Manufacturer: Instant Brands
Initially, I was looking for a rice cooker to replace at least a 20-year-old Zojirushi rice cooker. My rice cooker still works but it is getting old and the Teflon is peeling. I did some research and found the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 to be the best choice since it has 7 different functions in addition to making rice. There were over 66k reviews and many of them were positives. Why not give it a try. Looks pretty interesting.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, Product Overview
Instant Pot is becoming America’s popular go-to cooking appliance because it is convenient, safe, fast, and easy to care for. Instant Pot Duo 60 is one of the best-selling models. It is a smart electric multi-purpose cooker with the latest 3rd generation technology designed by Canadians and made in China.
The Instant Pot Duo is equipped with 7 appliance functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. It speeds up cooking by 2 to 6 times using also cooks up to 70% faster overall. There are 14 one-touch Smart Programs in memory making beans, ribs, soups, rice, poultry, yogurt, and others with one touch of a button.
The pot and the lid with components and accessories are removable and easy to clean or hand wash. I love this feature, especially for the steam parts. They can get dirty quickly when you use them every day. The inner pot is dishwasher safe which is a great feature. With 10+ built-in safety features such as Overheat Protection, Safety Lock, and more for safe pressure-cooking. It passed rigorous safety tests for both the UL and ULC certification.
Safety is a big concern when comes to pressure-cooking on a stovetop. We do not want anything to blow up by our own missed calculation. With the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, the built-in microprocessor monitors pressure and temperature. It also keeps time and adjusts heating intensity and length to yield the desired outcomes removing any possible user error.
What really sold me to the product was that the inner pot was food grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel with 3-ply bottom for even heating and so is the lid which is fingerprint resistant stainless steel. Most rice cooker inner pots are coated with Teflon considering the nature of the rice is very sticky. Because of the Teflon material and the possible exposure to PFOA, I wanted to shift to stainless steel. I found a nice article by Healthline that explained a little more about Teflon and the PFOA exposure if curious to learn more ==> Is Nonstick Cookware Like Teflon Safe to Use?
Instant Pot Duo comes in 3 different sizes:
- 3-quart pot which is great for one to two people
- 6-quart pot is great for a family of four
- 8-quart pot is for a large family of five or more
The Good & the Bad
PRO #1 – Convenient and fast cooking time with 70% energy savings and speed up by 2 to 6 times
PRO #2 – It has the capability to cook 7 different ways using one pot and does not take up space on the counter.
PRO #3 – Once you understand how to use the Instant Pot and the pressure-cooking method, the sky is the limit. There are so many things you can make such as main dishes, appetizers, dessert, fermenting, delay cooking, even baking, and many more.
PRO #4 – There are so many recipes now available for Instant Pot to give you ideas and instructions making your cooking experience more enjoyable and simpler. However, most of the recipes are for the 6-quart pot. The 3-quart pot is not as popular. Because of the difference in size, the proportion for the recipe is not as similar so it may not yield similar successes.
PRO #5 – Instant Pot App is available for your mobile device with over 1000 recipes making it easier for you to learn how to use your Instant Pot.
CON #1 – One common complaint in the reviews was bad customer service.
CON #2 – If you are new to Instant Pot, never put your hand directly over the steam valve release to release the steam. You will burn your hand or fingers. When releasing the steam, the food steam will release and can make a mess. Put a towel over it to prevent splatter.
CON #3 – It requires a little of a learning curve if you are new to the pressure-cooking. There are lots of recipes for Instant Pot online.
CON #4 – This one is my opinion — Not as easy to make rice the way that I like comparing to other instant rice makers. The rice comes out stickier and wetter because of the condensation. If you are not careful, the rice will burn or stick to the pan when you leave it longer than an hour under the warm button. I would have to soak the pot in water for a while before I can clean it.
Who is Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 For?
The Instant Pot Duo is great for someone who loves to speed up the cooking process. The pressure-cooking mode decreases the cooking time dramatically. Instead of 6 to 8 hours of cooking or stewing the soup bones or baking the pot roast, you can finish within an hour or less depending on the weight of the meat.
In addition, it has 7 functions of different appliances built into one (pressure-cook, bake, saute, stew, etc) saving lots of counters and cabinet space in the kitchen. It is also simplified your cooking with one push of a button. The longest process is prepping.
Also, I think it is a great cooking gizmo or techie. For people who love gizmo and cooking, I think they will fall in love with just the aspect that it is a simple and practical gizmo that produces consistent cooking results.
I also like the fact that the inner pot is stainless steel. The lid has different removable components that help for an easy cleaning process.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Tools & Training
The Instant Pot came with safety, maintenance, and warranty booklet, a getting start guide, and a cooking time tables. If you are new to pressure-cooking and Instant Pot, make sure to review those booklets. They do come in handy to understand how the Instant Pot works. Also, the cooking time table will help with the estimation of how long certain food will take to cook.
Instant Pot also has an app with a thousand plus recipes to assist you with making your meals perfect every time. The number of Instant Pot enthusiastic increased over the years. You will also find different recipes available online especially for Instant Pot Duo 6-quart pot.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Support
Personally, I have not used Instant Pot support yet. Knock on wood. There is a website available for Q&A and also a contact page using “Open a ticket” online submission. They also included phone numbers: 1800-828-7280 with operating hours of 9 am – 5 pm EST from Monday through Friday.
There is also an instant Pot Facebook community support –> https://www.facebook.com/groups/InstantPotCommunity
My Final Opinion of Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
I bought the Instant Pot Duo primarily to replace my rice cooker. After a full month of making rice every day, I find it not as effective and as intuitive as my old simple rice cooker. In my opinion, the rice comes out dense, gooey and sticky. I need to use less water than the old rice cooker. One positive aspect, the rice fragrance fills out the house much more than my old rice cooker.
One day I left my rice in the Instant Pot keep-warm function for longer than two hours, the rice burned and stuck to the pot. In my old rice cooker, I often left the rice in the pot with a keep-warm function. The rice kept warm for an entire day without being burned or stuck to the pot. Perhaps, the heat of the keep-warm function in the IP is probably much warmer than the traditional rice cooker? Either way, I do not like that.
Even though I love the fact that the inner pot is stainless steel, I find it is cumbersome to make rice with. The rice is naturally sticky. It seems even stickier with the IP which makes washing the pot a little more challenging. If you have an IP and would like to make rice with it, visit “How To Make Rice With Instant Pot” to learn how.
Nonetheless, I love the fact that I can make pot roasts, pork tenderloin, and stew quick and easy. The meat melts in your mouth at every bite. While I am using the IP to make my main course, I still need another pot to make my rice.
I may have to bite the bullet and buy myself a standalone rice cooker. Finding an appliance that is dedicated to one thing well is probably the way to go. Nonetheless, I will keep the IP around for making my main-dish.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 at a Glance…
Instant Pot Duo 60 Review
Name: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Cooker
Inventor: Robert Wang
Manufacturer: Instant Brands
VERDICT: WORKS GREAT for pressure cooking but mediocre for making rice.
Happy Lunar New Year 2020! I distinctly remember writing an article wishing a happy New Year 2019 not too long ago. Wow, 2019 came and went. We are now on to the even decade of 2020, vision into the future.
Everything is coming quickly in a blink of an eye. There are so many opportunities out there. The tricky part is to be open and aware of them. Otherwise, it’ll pass you by. I am constantly learning to seize the opportunity when I am aware of one. I’ll keep you posted when I catch one successfully. There is so much to learn and never-ending. =)
Year of the Rat
Today, February 2, 2020, is the 9th day of the Lunar New Year. ‘Tis the year of the metal RAT. According to the Chinese astrology, the rat symbolizes wealth, intelligence, success, wisdom, and the beginning of a new day. The New Year starts on January 25, 2020, and ends February 11, 2021.
Which animal are you? Are you born in the year of the rat? My mom often reminds me to be careful during the year that you are born. It is 50/50 chance that you’ll be lucky all year round or unlucky all year round. She would say more often or not you’ll be unlucky all year round. I am not sure what to believe. I usually play it safe and not do anything risky during my year which is the year of the monkey.
Here are a few fun links to Chinese Zodiac fortune-telling. Remember this is for fun and “take it as it goes, with a grain of salt”. I know it’s a cliche… Just enjoy and have fun with it. =)
Did you miss an opportunity to create a goal for 2020 at the beginning of the year? Well, now is your opportunity to create a goal for the Lunar New Year. What are your goals for the year 2020?
The Lunar New Year in Vietnam is called Tết. It is celebrated heartily in Vietnam. We celebrate Tết for a whole week. Stores would be closed during the week of Tết. Everyone returns home to visit their family.
It is when everyone becomes one year older. It is almost like we are celebrating our birthdate. People pay off debts in advance to be debt-free by the new year. Everyone is bustling and hustling to clean and decorate their house before the New Year. The markets are usually colorful especially decorated in red and yellow.
Traditionally, there would be a family altar. We pay respect to our ancestors and our deceased loved ones with money, food, and drinks for the afterlife.
Here is a nice link to more detailed information on a Vietnamese New Year celebration ==> Tết Tradition. I also wrote an article regarding Vietnamese Culture and Traditions under my Journey to America.
I didn’t really want to create a goal or thought of one at first but now I am stacking them up quickly as each day passed. I will share my first three goals:
- Pass my Oral Court Interpreting Exam and become a certified Vietnamese court Interpreter.
- Continue to listen to my intuition and learn more about myself.
- Sell at least 300 bottles of my yummy Peanut Sauces by the end of the year.
How am I going to achieve these goals? For my first goal, study, study and study for a few hours every day until the day of the exam. Practice and hone into my interpreting through my interpreting jobs, listen to audios/videos and write down words that I am not familiar with.
I practice listening to my intuition by meditating 15 minutes every day. Allow my mind to become clear of clutter and allow myself to be in the moment with minimal thoughts.
Last but not least, for this year I am introducing a new size (10 ounces) of my sauces and a new item, roasted peanuts to complement the sauces. Currently, I have a promotion until the end of February 2020 for my sauce. Please visit My Facebook page or https://www.Facebook.com/phoQueenCooking/ for the promotion.
Now that I shared with you a few of my goals. How would you plan to bring your goals to life? How would you set up yourself up for success?
I have been creating hands-on fun demonstrations for 11 years now. I didn’t realize this until my recent notification from Linked-In in celebrating my 11th year anniversary.
We had a fun demonstration this past Sunday on January 26, 2020, at the Maitland Public Library. It was a full house. We celebrated and welcomed the Lunar New Year 2020. Our topic was Seven-Course Beef or also known as “Thịt Bò Bảy Món” and we learned how to make spring rolls. We also tasted a variety of Vietnamese Tết treats and learned a little about the culture. I had a lot of fun sharing Vietnamese culture and food.
My next demonstration will be in May. We shall celebrate South Pacific Asian Month with learning how to make Boba Tea. Please visit my website for future demonstration dates: https://phoqueencooking.com/demo/.
Please visit my Facebook page https://www.Facebook.com/phoQueenCooking for the latest update of what I am up to. Remember to push on the button to “LIKE” me.
Fun Activities for Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year has started last week and the fun has just begun. “You are the creator of your own reality,” a quote by Abraham Hicks. I really believe that. She also wrote a book called “Ask and It is Given“. Sorry, I digressed.
There are different Lunar New Year celebrations such as the Dragon parade or Chinese New Year Festival in Orlando, Tampa, Miami and other cities that are not widely advertised. If you live in Orlando, you can check out a magazine called Asia Trend or online website https://asiatrend.org/events/ for different Asian fun activities throughout the year. I posted a few events on my Facebook. You may need to scroll around to find them.
For me, 2020 is a special year. It is a new beginning or a symbol of rebirth. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it is the first animal of the Zodiac sign. It is not only a beginning but also lands on a number 2020 which is itself a special number. I am choosing this year to be my special year. Remember, I am the creator of my own reality.
What would you like to do, if you are the creator of your own reality? I love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments, questions, or feedback below.
Tofu is a bean curd that is made from three main ingredients: soybeans, water, and a coagulant. A coagulant is an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar. The coagulating soy milk creates a curdling effect and lumps together into curds. The curd then is pressed and drained in a mold to produce the final product which is tofu.
Tofu is often used in vegetarian cuisines to substitute meat. By itself, the taste blends in flavor. When use with other fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, etc, it adopts and absorbs their neighbors’ flavors. It is light and become flavorful by its surrounding environment leaving you light and sated feeling in your tummy. You can also add meat to enhances the flavor.
In this article, we will learn how to make tofu from soybeans with three simple ingredients. This recipe is borrowed from www.Instructables.com. I found this recipe to be simple and straight forward. I will be adding my comments along with the existing recipe based on my experience.
medianet_width = "728";
medianet_height = "90";
medianet_crid = "722767626";
medianet_versionId = "3111299";
3 cups (1lb) dry soybeans, Hunza Organic Soybeans (2 lbs)
Choose ONE from the list of coagulants below:
- 2 TBSPN Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) – Amazon Brand – Solimo Epsom Salt Soak, Magnesium Sulfate USP, 8 Pound
- 6 TBSPN of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 4 tsp Nagari (magnesium fluoride), Ohsawa Natural Nigari, 1 Pound
- 4 tsp Gypsum (calcium sulfate), Gypsum- 1 lb.
Food processor or blender
2 large pots
a mesh bag or cheesecloth
1 colander or a tofu mold
Soak and Blend
Soak the soybeans overnight. Make sure it is a big bowl because the tofu will expand. Rinse the soaked beans and discard any discolored ones and drain the water.
Pour the soybean into a blender or a food processor. You may not be able to pour all the soybeans into the blender at once. It is best to divide them into several batches. Some blenders may not handle too many soybeans at one time.
Fill the blender with enough water to cover the beans. Process the beans for a few minutes in the blender or until the beans are thoroughly ground.
Making Soy Milk
Add the processed beans to your largest pot with 12 cups of water. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching the bottom and simmer for about 20 minutes under medium to low heat. This may foam up a bit so be careful not to let it boil over. If the foam boils over, lower your heat.
After 20 minutes, strain the cooked processed beans into your second pot. Use a spoon to press out as much of the milk as you can. You can use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the excess liquid as well for a quicker result. The liquid is soy milk. The solids are okara.
If enjoy soy milk, pour out one to two cups of soy milk for your consumption at this point and continue with the rest to make tofu. Add sugar, honey, or any of your sugar substitute if desire to your soy milk. Drink it fresh and warm or refrigerate and have it cold.
The okara is full of nutritional value containing soluble and non-soluble fiber, protein, calcium, and other minerals. It seems like a waste to throw away. Here is a great article that talks more about okara along with recipes using okara –> https://justhungry.com/2006/04/milking_the_soy.html. You can dehydrate okara and freeze it for later use. When I have too much okara, I use it as compost for my garden.
Heat the soy milk back up to around 180 F degrees (depending on your stove it may take from 5 to 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, dissolve your choice of coagulant (Epsom Salt, lemon juice, vinegar, gypsum or nigari) in 1½ cups of warm water.
Remove the soy milk from heat and gently stir in the coagulant. Start with a small amount and then increase as needed at 180 F degrees. In about 5 to 10 minutes the curds will separate. If it takes a little longer, you can add a little more coagulant until the liquid becomes clear and less milky. Be careful not to add too much because the tofu maybe come bitter. I used vinegar as my coagulant so the flavor is slightly sour.
Line your colander or mold with a mesh bag or cloth. Skim out curds and pour into mold. Wrap the remaining cloth on top of the tofu and even it out with a hard flat object such as a flat plate.
The mold I used look like above. Make sure to wet the cloth so it will help with smoother surface and less creases in your tofu. The picture of my homemade tofu has a lot of creases because I didn’t wet my cloth to make it straight.
Place a heavy object on top of the plate. This help squeezes and drains as much water as possible from the tofu. Less water and more setting time create firmer tofu. Leave for about 20 to 30 minutes or longer for a firmer result.
Making tofu is a simple process. However, if it is your first time, the process may take a little longer since you do not know what to expect. It gets easier through experience. The coagulant Nagari and gypsum are not as easy to come by. You will need to order them online like Amazon.com or visit an Asian grocery store.
The texture and taste may vary depending on the coagulant that you use. I have not tested all the different coagulant yet. I have tried gypsum before and does not require a lot of gypsum powder before the curds coagulate. Gypsum is calcium sulfate. Make sure it is food grade. It yields mild-tasting and slight sweetness to the tofu in comparison to nigari. It also adds calcium to the tofu. You can find it at home brewing supplies, online, or Chinese stores.
From my research of nigari, it consists mostly of magnesium chloride also called bittern. Nigari creates smoother texture tofu. Nigari is a mineral salt residue when the table salt is extracted from seawater and comes in liquid or powder form. It is a traditional Japanese ingredient used to make tofu.
The easiest of all coagulants to find are vinegar and lemon juice. However, they produce grainier texture and a little sour flavor to the tofu.
Click here for an article with more FAQs on coagulants –> Tofu coagulant guide: what to buy and where to find it.
If you enjoy cooking, it is a pretty fun experiment like chemistry on food reactions. From this recipe, we produce three products: soy milk, tofu, and okara.
The soy milk itself is refreshing. However, the version I made tastes leafy green and organic to me. Perhaps, I did not add enough sugar or honey. To be honest, I do not like it too much. The tofu is a little sour because I used vinegar as my coagulant. I am saving my okara to test the recipes I found online to see if it enhances the flavor of the food I make.
I am dehydrating the okara using the oven and then freeze it for longer self-life. It is a lengthy and smelly process. My kids complain about the smell. It smells like dirty laundry. Worst-case scenario, I can use it as compost for my garden.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. I love to hear about your experiences, successes, failures, and/or questions. Please leave your comments below.
In this article, we will be showing how to make a Vietnamese Mung Bean Dessert called “Bánh Đậu Xanh”. They are available primarily during the Vietnamese holidays. “Bánh Đậu Xanh” is also known as mung bean cakes. You can find them in Asian stores during Tết New Year or Harvest Moon Celebration.
I extracted the recipe from a video on YouTube.com created by Văn Phi Thông. The video is in Vietnamese. I translated and converted the recipe content into English. The recipe is simple and the final product turns out delicious. The procedure is straight forward. The most difficult operation is cooking the beans. There are five main and 1 optional ingredients. They are gluten free and dairy free.
This recipe was created solely for my demonstration at the Maitland Public Library. The Mung Beans Cakes turned out perfectly each time when I made them. I decided to make this recipe available online to share with others. I hope you find it useful and tasty.
2 cups (400 g) mung beans
¼ cup (100 g) coconut milk
2 cups (400 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (50 g) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Salt
(optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla powder packet
Clean the mung beans thoroughly until the water is nice and clear. Soak them for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight. If you are in a hurry then use warm water to soak for 2 to 3 hours. Warm water speed up the soaking process. After soaked for the allotted time, clean the mung beans once again. Place the mung bean in a colander or a strainer and drain the water.
Cook the Beans
- Place the drained mung beans in a large pan. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add water until the water covers two to three inches over the mung beans. You can use the knuckle of your fingers as a measuring device, the water covers one to two knuckles would be sufficient. I often measure with my fingers. I think it is an Asian thing.
- Cook the mung beans using medium high heat. Cover until water boil. Keep cooking until the white foam covers the entire surface. Then we pour out all the foam. Pour out most of the water and leave very little water left. How much is little? It is a judgment call on your part. We don’t want to see the water. The only time you would see the water is when you lean the pan over to one side. You could then see the water. The intention is for the mung beans to be cooked just right, not too dry then it’ll be flaky and not too wet then it’ll be mushy.
- Cook under low heat with cover, if the heat level is from 0 – 10, use about 2. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes. After 12 minutes, open the cover and check to see if the mung beans are done. When the mung beans are very soft to touch then they are done. They should not clump together or be burnt at the bottom. We avoid too wet and mushy. This cooked mung beans are great fillings for many other Vietnamese cakes.
Process the Beans
- Wait until the mung beans are completely cool before we put it into a blender. The hot temperature is not good for blender. It may blunt the blades. Split the mung beans into 2 to 3 batches to process the beans. We want the beans to be really fine so it will melt in your mouth with no clumpy texture.
Frying the Beans
- Once processed, put all the mung beans in a large frying pan. Add 2 cups sugar and ¼ cup coconut. Mix well while the pan is on medium high heat. The hardest is cooking the mung beans and achieving the balance so they are not dry or too wet. Bring mixture to boil then turn the heat down to medium. Taste the mung beans to see if they are sweet enough. Add sprinkle of salt to enhance the flavor of sweetness. Mix well.
- Make sure the beans folded well together. They’ll become less sticky. If you feel the beans are too sweet you can add less sugar next time, perhaps 1-3/4 cups instead. Traditionally, the mung bean cakes are sweet. The sugar also acts as a preservative to keep the cakes last longer without refrigeration.
- Add oil once the mixture becomes dryer and less sticky. If prefer, you can add optional vanilla flavor – 1 packet or liquid vanilla. Mix well.
- The consistency will get heavier and harder to mix. You can form it into a large dough. Remove pan from heat.
Forming the Dough
- Pinch a piece from the dough and form it into 60 gram balls or to the size of your mold. Place the ball in the moon cake mold. Press and form the dough into shape. Do it quickly while the dough is still warm. We don’t want the dough to cool then it’ll be harder to form and become flaky.
This batch should yield approximately 20 cakes varying to the size of your molds. Please Keep in mind, you can adjust the amount of sweetness of the cakes. Traditionally, the cakes are sweet. The recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar. You can use 50 grams or up to 1/2 cups less sugar if you prefer less sweet. If your mixture has less sugar, the cakes will not preserve as long at room temperature. Eat within one week or less. Otherwise, the mung bean flavor and fragrance will dissolve and leave behind an oily flavor and taste. Keep the mung beans refrigerated to keep them last longer.
The cakes serve well with hot tea. If there are any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to hear how the recipe works out for you. Enjoy!
Summer is quickly coming around the corner. Pho Queen has three demonstrations coming up in May 2019 at three different libraries: Maitland Library, Winter Park Library, and Orange County Library. Please visit my website https://phoqueencooking.com/demo/ for more details.
I have postponed in participating at the Farmer’s Market this year. At this time, I am engaged in providing Vietnamese Interpreting service. In the process of learning about self, I learn that enjoy interpreting Vietnamese tremendously. I feel that I am making a difference in the community by building a bridge of communication between two languages.
Here’s an interesting statistics of interpreting and translating careers — https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm
I have initiated the process to become Florida certified court interpreter. I have been taking classes and studying for the written and oral exams. It is very challenging and I need all the brain cell I can muster. Not only am I learning Vietnamese at high level language, I will also need to know court terminologies in both languages. It is difficult but rewarding and exciting at the same time. In addition, I have been watching “Law in Order” to learn more about the court procedures. There are 20 seasons and I am only on season 5. Yipes!
My next demonstration is at the Maitland Library on May 12, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm. Please RSVP to 407-647-7700 to reserve your seat. Seats are limited. We will be making Pad Thai. Although it is not a Vietnamese dish, it is from Vietnam neighboring country, Thailand. I am excited to expand and learn cooking skills from different culture.
Here is my Facebook invitation:
https://www.facebook.com/events/350251949172746/ See you at the demo!!!
You can also visit my website at https://PhoQueenCooking.com for products, services, demos, and blogs.
Love to hear your thoughts on our newsletters and blogs – comments
Looking forward to see you soon! Happy Eating Healthy!
Welcome to the New Year 2019! I am finally advertising my sauce at the Farmer’s Market. October 2018 was my first month being at the Farmer’s Market, ever! It only took me at least 8 years or more to build the courage. Yahoo!!!
What has stopping me all these years? Fear of the unknown is a big factor. However, I cannot give it all the credit. I think another part is fear of being judged. My pride or ego is too big for its own good. I do not want to look bad or being judged critically. It seems pretty silly. The fact is I am being judged all the time whether I like it or not.
Why am I sharing this? My new goal this year is to be honest to self. I am sharing myself to break free of my comfort zone. It is a pretty big “aha” for me.
“I am my own worst enemy” is an interesting cliché. Yet so true. I stop myself from growth with all the fear. I am constantly learning more about myself. I am continuously learning to love the good and the bad that comes along with the process.
The Lunar New Year is also around the corner.
‘Tis the year of the pig. “According to the chinese astrology, 2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life” — https://www.thechinesezodiac.org/astrology/chinese-horoscope-2019-year-of-the-earth-pig/
What are your goals for the year of 2019?
Wanna to know which Farmer’s Market I am at each weekend? Visit my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/phoQueenCooking
for the latest update of the different locations. Remember to push on the button to “LIKE” me.
You can also visit my website at https://PhoQueenCooking.com
for products, services, demos, and blogs.
Are you ready to learn more? Join us for a fun filled and hands on demonstration of Vietnamese cooking this coming Sunday, February 3, 2019 from 3p to 4p at the Maitland Public Library. We will be making and tasting Grilled Pork Noodle or also known as “Bún Thịt Nướng” It is a free event for library patrons. Please RSVP to 407-647-7700 to reserve your seat. Seats are limited.
Here is my Facebook invitation:
See you at the demo!!!
Love to hear your thoughts on our newsletters and blogs. Please leave your comments below.
Looking forward to seeing you soon! Happy Eating Healthy!
This is an ironic situation. I am not a coffee drinker. I grew up drinking diluted coffee with sweet condense milk and lots of water. My mom occasionally made this for me and my sibblings for breakfast. I can safely call it condensed milk with coffee flavored water. We dipped our baguette into the coffee drink and enjoyed the sweetness flavor of milk and bitter aroma of roasted French coffee. This was a treat.
As I grew up, I really never liked the bitter taste of coffee so I did not drink it. I do enjoy the aroma every time I pass a coffee shop. If I have to drink coffee to keep me awake, I would usually add lots of cream and sugar to mask the bitterness of coffee.
I learned that Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee or also known as Cafe Sua Da has been gaining popularity in the US by leap and bound. So here I am, I thought it would be good that I do my research, make it, and put a recipe together from an unbiased coffee perspective. Plus, Cafe Sua Da has plenty sweetness from the condense milk for me to try.
Vietnamese Coffee Filter – Phin
In order to make the Vietnamese coffee, we will need a Vietnamese coffee filter or also known as Phin in Vietnamese. It’s a cute mechanism. I went out bought myself one from an Asian market. You can also make Vietnamese coffee with the French Press.
Originally, there are three different sizes: small, medium, and large.
The small is commonly seen in your average Vietnamese household which yield 6 oz of coffee. The medium size can be found at coffee shops which yield 8oz of coffee, and the large size is not as common which yield 11 oz of coffee the size of a coffee mug.
I just found on Amazon with a vendor that offers 5 different sizes: x-small (4 oz), Small (6 oz), Medium (8 oz), Large (11 oz), or X-Large (15 oz). CLICK Amazon Phin filter or the picture below to see MORE…
There are three components to a Phin:
- The coffee filter – This is where the coffee and hot water will be brewing and filtering through.
- the insert press – This is a screw on press inserting on top of the coffee. Its job is to provide pressure, allow the hot water to bloom the coffee into flavor, and slow down the drip of the coffee into the cup. The tighter the press than the slower the drip.
- the lid or cap – the lid traps the heat inside the filter chamber to help the coffee stay hot.
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French so I assumed the Phin was also a French filter. I asked my French friend and he said that the Phin is a Vietnamese filter and not a French thing. Silly me. As I dug a little more, according to Trung Nguyen coffee website, the Phin filter may originated from possibly Laos in the 1800s. It is not unique to only Vietnam. Other regions such as Laos, Combodia, and Thailand also enjoy the simple stainless steel filter.
I found two popular brands of Vietnamese coffee here in the US. The most popular brand is called Cafe Du Monde. The second brand is called Trung Nguyen. The Phin filter requires a medium coarse grind coffee and both brands provide the right grind. Also, dark French roasted coffee are often used by Vietnamese.
You can find both brands at your local Vietnamese market or on Amazon.com.
Did you know that Vietnam is the leading producer of coffee in Southeast Asia and the second largest producer of coffee in the world next to Brazil? Because the mountainous terrain, altitude, and climate, Vietnam offers half a dozen of unique species and varieties of coffee. The terrain and climate of Vietnam are considered ideal for almost any species of coffee.
There are three main ingredients for Cafe Sua Da recipe:
- 1 tablespoon medium coarse ground coffee (French roasted, Cafe Du Monde, or Trung Nguyen)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons condense milk (depend on your sweetness of flavoring)
- 1 tall glass of ice
Set your hot water for boiling. While the water is being heated, we can setup the coffee. Remove the coffee insert press from the Phin. Turn the insert counter clockwise until the insert comes out freely. Depending on how strong you would like your coffee, add the ground coffee into the Phin. I would start with 1 tablespoon of coffee. If it is not strong enough, next time add a little bit more.
Make sure the coffee is spread out evenly inside the Phin. Place the insert back into Phin. This time tighten the insert clockwise with your hand until you can’t turn any more. Then release the tightness of the insert with one counter clockwise. This process keeps the coffee in place allow the coffee to drip into your cup at a slow pace.
Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of condense milk to the glass or mug you will be using for the drip coffee. I usually add at least 2 tablespoons because I like it sweet. If you add 3 tablespoons, the coffee will taste more like caramel.
Once the water boils, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 30 seconds to a minute or until the water temperature at 185 to 195 degrees. While waiting for the water cooling down to the right temperature, place the coffee filter on top of a mug or a glass. Pour about 2 tablespoons of hot water into the filter. This will help moisten and swell the coffee to bring out its flavor.
Wait for 20 seconds then fill the filter with hot water. Place the lid on top and wait for 3 to 4 minutes. According to Trung Nguyen coffee website, the dripping process should finish within 4 minutes to achieve the best flavor.
If the water drip through too slow, then you may have your insert in too tight or make the coffee grind coarser. Loosen the insert a little bit. The medium coarse grind should do well. If the water drip through too fast, then the insert may not be tight enough. You can either tighten the insert, add more coffee, or make the coffee grind finer.
Once the coffee finish dripping, remove the filter from your cup. Mix the coffee and the condense milk. Fill a tall glass with ice. Remember, the more ice you have the less strong the coffee will be. Pour the mixed coffee into the glass of the ice. You now have a glass of delicious Cà Phê Sữa Ðá. Enjoy!
Here’s a video with details on how to brew Vietnamese coffee:
I learned how to make Cafe Sua Da along with fun interesting facts about coffee. The flavor reminds me of the coffee energy drink. However, I think this coffee maybe better for me than the energy drink. I think it could grow on me if allow it to. I know it can be addicting so I’ll have to drink it in moderation. Right now I am going to stick to my boba smoothies or tea.
If you stumble across questions or comments about coffee, I love to hear it. Please leave your comments below.
There are many great recipes available on the internet and sometime it is hard to choose one over the other until you try them yourself. My aunt shared a recipe she found on the internet that reminded her of my grandmother’s version of Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad Recipe. I tried it and turned out pretty good so I thought I shared that recipe with a slight modification of my grandmother’s technique. The recipe came from Runawayrice.com.
The recipe has two ways of making the papaya salad. The second recipe with shrimp and pork is the similar recipe to my grandmother. The Vietnamese name for the papaya salad is Gỏi Ðu Ðủ.
Green Papaya vs Orange Papaya
First of all you may wonder if the green papaya is a different variation of a papaya versus the orange papaya. Well I did. My guess was correct. The green papaya is the same fruit. The only difference is that it is picked at a different stage of the fruit.
The green papaya is picked at an immature stage where the flesh and the seeds are white. The skin is dark green. There is very little flavor and it is still hard. Whereas the ripened papaya is soft, sweet, and juicy. The seeds turn black and the skin turns yellow orange.
The papaya offers rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, vitamins C and flavonoids. It contains enzyme called papain that aids digestion. Along with high fiber and water content, papaya helps prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
How to Prepare the Papaya for the Salad
- 1 lb green papaya
- 1 tsp salt
I found my green papaya at Fancy Fruit & Produce. You may also find green papayas at an Asian grocery store. Make sure the skin is dark green and the fruit is hard (not mushy to touch). You do not want a lot of yellow color on the skin because it may be too ripe. It is OK to use a slight ripen papaya as long as it is hard enough to shred without pulverizing it into pulp. When it is too ripe it will be sweet and too soft to shred into strands.
Peel the papaya using a vegetable peeler. Be sure to peel off the skin completely. Cut both ends of the papaya and then slice the papaya in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds using a spoon.
Shred the papaya into 2-3 inch strands using a shredding tool, mandoline or food processor. Remove the core or the membrane in the center of the papaya. The membrane is bitter.
Immerse the papaya in a bowl of tap water and 1 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Adding salt is my grandmother’s technique. Adding salt removes the bitterness and enhance its own flavor. Then remove the papaya from the salt water. Rinse 2 times in new water to remove the sticky residue which also cause the bitter taste. Drain and shake off the water.
Use a salad spinner to remove the remaining water. If you don’t have a salad spinner, place a small amount of the papaya in a clean kitchen towel. Roll up the towel and then twist the ends of the towel in opposite directions to wring the papaya dry.
Making the Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce
The sauce is the key to a delicious papaya salad. It is simple, light, and very easy to make.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3 finely chopped red chilies (optional)
Add all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. The sauce can keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
From my grandmother’s experience if you would like to save it for a longer period, put all the ingredients except the garlic and the chopped chilies into a sauce pan. Bring the sauce into boiling point for several minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan. Add garlic and red chilies. Pour the sauce into a glass jar. This sauce can keep for months or even years.
Remember, you can substitute soy sauce for fish sauce so vegetarians can also enjoy this flavorful salad.
Add Them All Together
- Shredded papaya
- 1 bunch Thai basil, washed, plucked and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb pork shoulder or country-style ribs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb shrimp size 31/40 peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
Bring a medium pot to a rapid boil. Add salt. Put pork into boiling water. Simmer on low with the lid slightly open for 15 minutes. Pork is cooked when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer or when pricked with a knife the juices run clear. Remove pork from pot and allow cooling.
Drop shrimp into hot broth and cook for just 1 minute or until the shrimp turns pink. Remove shrimp and allow cooling. Cut pork into 1/4-inch thick slices. Then cut into thin strips.
To serve, place a generous amount of the shredded papaya on a salad plate. Add basil, pork and shrimp. Top with the crushed peanuts and serve with sweet and sour fish sauce. This recipe yields 4-6 servings.
My Final Thoughts
The green papaya salad is possibly originated from Ethnic Lao people. It is very popular in Thai culture. It is originally served spicy and savory. Many Asian countries adapted the papaya salad as their own and they modified it to their culture. The Vietnamese version is slightly sweet and sour with the optional of spicy peppers.
I am not a spicy eater so my version of the papaya salad has the chilies as optional. The salad is definitely light, fresh, and delicious with or without the chilies.
The most lengthy process of making the papaya salad is preparing the papaya and shredding it. Make sure to read through the whole process and check your ingredients. The recipe is pretty simple and straight forward.
Please leave me a note below if you have any questions or comments. Looking forward to hearing from you.