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The Tastes of TET

Updated: Feb 13


Food is a key part of Vietnamese culture and no Lunar New Year would be complete without these iconic dishes! Not only are they for celebrating with family, but they are also a TET tradition, in celebration of those who have come before as well as carrying great cultural significance. Have a go at these meals yourself with these handy recipes, and be sure to check out the Taste of TET here at the TET 2021 website!


Thịt kho trứng gà

Thịt kho trứng gà (caramelised and braised pork belly with eggs), is a popular Tet meal families eat. This long lasting traditional meal is made as an offering to ancestors as well as being a symbol of family affection and peace. The key elements of this dish is characterised by its sweet and tender pork belly with melting soft skin.


Ingredients

Meat:

  • 1kg of pork belly

Aromatics:

  • 6 cloves of garlic

  • 4 whole dried chillies

  • 5 grams black peppercorns

  • ¼ cup raw sugar (for caramel) - OR cooking caramel 1 teaspoon

Seasoning:

  • ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 2 cans fresh coconut juice

  • ⅓ tablespoon MSG

  • 1 litre water

Method The Cut Up:

  1. Use a knife to crush garlic and peel off the skin.

  2. Cut the pork belly into large thick strips 4cm in thickness then dice into 4x4 cm cubes.


The Prep Cook:

  1. Make the colouring caramel by adding ¼ cup raw sugar into a pot with 1 tablespoon of water.

  2. Bring to a medium-low heat.

  3. The pot will bubble and look like it's dehydrating - this is normal, just keep stirring.

  4. When dark brown, turn down the heat while continuously stirring.

  5. When dark coffee in colour, pour in ⅛ cup water and take off the heat whilst stirring rigorously.

  6. Set aside to cool down. The mixture should be dark brown in colour and viscous.

  7. Place 6 whole eggs into a separate pot of boiling water.

  8. Cook for 6.5 minutes then place eggs into an ice bath before drying and peeling. Let it sit at room temperature in a steep bowl.


Cooking:

  1. Heat up 1 litre of water in a pot and pour in 2 cans of coconut juice.

  2. Add in the aromatics and bring to a rolling boil at high heat.

  3. Once boiling, add the meat in alongside with 1 teaspoon of the caramel mixture.

  4. Add fish sauce and MSG.

  5. Cover with lid and let it braise on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and take out any excess gunk that floats to the surface.

  6. 10 minutes into braising, pour out the mixture to colour the eggs in a separate bowl.

  7. Braise for 38 minutes and add the eggs in for another 2 minutes before turning off the heat.

Giá Chua

Giá Chua (pickled bean shoots) is eaten as a refreshing side dish to main dishes consisting of meats and fish. A common dish to have Giá Chua with is braised pork; as traditionally eaten during Tet. With this combination, Giá Chua possesses a refreshing crunch with a hint of tang to compliment the sweetness of the caramelised pork belly when eaten together.


Ingredients

  • 400 gram bean shoot

  • 65 grams or 1 bunch Hẹ (Chinese Chives)

  • 1 carrot

  • ⅓ cup white vinegar

  • ⅓ cup sugar

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon Salt

Method

  1. Combine the pickle mixture in a bowl by mixing thinly sliced carrots, white vinegar, sugar, water and salt together until dissolved.

  2. Clean chives and beans shoot in cold running water.

  3. Boil water and blanch the bean shoot for 1 minute.

  4. Cut the chives into 6cm strips and mix with the bean shoot.

  5. Pour the pickle solution into the bowl then mix.

  6. Store overnight prior to serving.

Canh Khổ Qua (Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)

Despite it being known for its intense bitter taste, canh khổ qua (stuffed bitter melon soup), is quite beneficial in lowering blood sugar and supplying vitamin C to our bodies. Specifically during Vietnamese New Year, eating this dish means that one’s past difficulties will pass thus preparing oneself for the new year coming. This symbolism derives from the direct translation of bittermelon. Khổ Qua = difficulties or hardships passing.



Ingredients

  • 4 Khổ Qua (Bitter Melon)

Stuffing

  • 15 grams dried fungus (before water)

  • 650 grams pork belly mince

  • 1 pack or 36.5 grams glass noodles

  • 20 grams dried shrimp

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon MSG

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce

  • A few strands of spring onion

  • 1 whole shallot

  • 3 small clove of garlic

Soup Seasoning:

  • 2 pork bone leg cut into two

  • 1.5 litres water

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • ½ tablespoon MSG

  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 whole onion

Method

Preparation:

  1. Rehydrate the fungus, glass noodles and dried prawns with hot water for 30 minutes in separate bowls.

  2. Wash the khổ qua (Bitter Melon).

Broth Method:

  1. Boil a pot of water ensuring that the pork bones are covered - add the pork bones in for 5 minutes on a rolling boil before pouring out the contents in a sink and cleaning the bones for gunk.

  2. Boil 1.5 litres of water whilst at a rolling boil, add in a peeled onion sliced in twos and the pork bones. Reduce heat to low and let the pork broth simmer.

  3. Cut the khổ qua into 5cm cylinders and, using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the khổ qua to form a tunnel-like hole.

  4. Dice the garlic and shallots.

  5. Thinly slice the spring onions.

Stuffing Method:

  1. Thinly julienne the fungus and crush the dried prawns and dice them too.

  2. Cut the glass noodles into small 1cm strands.

  3. Combine the pork belly, fungus, dried prawns, glass noodles, spring onions, garlic and shallots into a bowl.

  4. Add ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper, ½ teaspoon Salt, ½ teaspoon MSG, 1 tablespoon raw sugar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and ½ teaspoon fish sauce into bowl.

  5. Knead the mixture until fully combined and incorporated.

  6. Pick up one piece of bitter melon and cover it with one hand whilst spooning in the stuffing inside. Make sure to push in the mixture and squeeze out any air pockets so that the stuffing is tightly packed into the hole. Smooth off both ends once stuffed.

Soup Method:

  1. Remove any gunk from the broth.

  2. Season with 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon MSG, 1 tablespoon raw sugar, ½ teaspoon pepper and 3 tablespoon of fish sauce.

  3. Add in the stuffed bitter melon and cook for 20 minutes on medium low heat with the lid covered.

  4. Garnish with Spring Onion.


Gỏi Chua, Lỗ tai Heo đồ biển

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 daikon

  • 200 grams prawns

  • 1 medium squid

  • 2 pig ears

  • 5 stalks of Rau Răm (Vietnamese coriander)


The Pickled Solution:

  • ½ cup white vinegar

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup sugar


Final Goi Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon MSG

  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 2 chillies

  • Lemon juice from 1½ lemons


Method

  1. Julienne/Grate carrot and daikon after peeling skin.

  2. Cut the onions.

  3. Create the pickle mixture by mixing white vinegar, water, salt and sugar together until fully dissolved.

  4. Pickle for 2 hours.

  5. Boil pig ears for 10 minutes then place it in the fridge to firm up.

  6. Boil the squid and prawns then shock in ice water.

  7. Slice squid thinly and refrigerate with prawns.

  8. Rinse the pickled carrots, onion and daikon.

  9. Shake it out in a metal bowl.

  10. Clean and cut the Rau Răm.

  11. Thinly slice pig ears at an angle.

  12. Roast peanuts and crush it into small pieces.

  13. Combine all the ingredients together thus far.

  14. Make the seasoning mixture by combining sugar, MSG, fish sauce, garlic, chilli and lemon juice. Mix once combined.

  15. Season to taste and then plate the food.


Cháo gà (Chicken Congee)

Cháo gà provides a sense of warmth within the body as it heals the body and mind with the aromas of chilli and ginger. As comfort food for many Vietnamese individuals, this hearty soup is a light, warm meal which can be served on cold days or when someone is feeling under the weather.






Ingredients

Congee Ingredients:

  • 1 free range chicken

  • 1 cup rice

  • 1 whole white onion

  • 2 slices of ginger

  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon MSG

  • 1½ teaspoon sugar


Ginger Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of ginger

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 3 chillies

  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoon of fish sauce

  • ½ teaspoon MSG

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method

Making the congee

  1. Butterfly chicken after cleaning and loop the wings. Bend the head back through the feet.

  2. Boil 2 litres of water.

  3. Boil chicken in water for 15 minutes then turn and cook until internal temp of 66°C.

  4. When chicken is out, put in 1 cup of soaked long rain rice.

  5. Turn to low heat to make congee.

  6. Flavour with: 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon MSG, 1½ teaspoon sugar.

  7. Decorate with Sauce, Rau Ram and Chicken on the plate.


Making the Ginger Dipping Sauce

  1. In a mortar and pestle, crush 3 cloves of garlic with 3 slices of diced ginger and 2 Chilli.

  2. Add 1 teaspoon MSG and 1 tablespoon raw sugar.

  3. Using pestle, pound ingredients into a paste.

  4. Add in 1 tablespoon fish sauce and ½ tablespoon raw sugar.

  5. Mix and flavour to taste.


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The Vietnamese Community of Australia (Victoria Chapter) respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, work, play and hold our Festival and events. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nations and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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