5 Health Benefits of Vietnamese Food

5 Health Benefits of Vietnamese Food

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

If you were asked what made you fall in love with Vietnamese food, what would you say? For me, there are numerous things to love about their food, from the noodle soups representing a balance of meat and vegetables, the Banh Mi –  spicy filling enveloped by fluffy bread with crunchy crusts – to its coffee – strong, almost chocolaty in flavor or even the beer for a hot day. But, it’s appealing not only for its great taste, but also for its advantages for our health.

  1. It improves digestion

If you have ever tried Vietnamese food, you will find that most of it contains the herbs like coriander, mint, etc. You may feel their flavor in the dish, but you should know that not only is it promoting the taste of the food, but these vegetables also have health benefits, such as reducing indigestion, headaches, and nausea.

 

Improves Digestion
Improves Digestion

 

  1. It helps weight loss

Vietnamese food is flavored by herbs and spices and is packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables, so it contains low calories and unhealthy fats. For example, a large bowl of soup may have between 300 and 600 calories and less than 3 grams of fat. You can eat it all day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and avoid weight gain.

Pho in Hanoi
Pho in Hanoi – 300 calories and less than 3g of fat

 

  1. It is good for those with blood sugar problems

Blood sugar appears to be a health danger on the same level with tobacco and alcohol. But this may be limited with Vietnamese food. Many soups and dishes of Vietnam are low in sugar (less than 5g per serving), and enjoying them will certainly help cut the intake of sugar.

  1. It keeps you young and beautiful

You will be surprised that eating Vietnamese food is a good way to keep you young and beautiful. Fresh vegetables and soups of Vietnam provide a lot of vitamins such as A and E due to its ingredients of fresh herbs, spices,  and no-fat meat. And as proved by science, while vitamin E works to fight free radicals in your body (one of the major causes of aging process), Vitamin A is essential for healing scrapes and scars, and keeping wrinkles at bay, leaving you with smooth skin.

Vietnamese Food
Vietnamese Food

 

  1. It enhances immunity, anti-fatigue

Why it is said so? Do you know that just a bowl of Vietnamese food contains loads of your daily vitamins and minerals? If this is the first time you hear this, let me tell you via a bowl of Pho. Its pure broth takes over 10 hours to be prepared. It provides up to 10 types of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, B3, B6, folate, iron and magnesium  that help reduce fatigue.

Do this make Vietnamese food appealing to you?

Tips for preparing for a trip to Vietnam:

If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, add this post to your bookmark to remember that Vietnamese food is not only delicious but also good for your health. In addition, you also need to check Vietnam visa, as at the moment, not all travelers to Vietnam need a visa. Only the following nationals are getting visa exemption: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belarus, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom. Those who do not get benefit from this policy will need to obtain a visa before departure for Vietnam. Otherwise, a visa is required.

3 Things That Make Vietnamese Street Food Special

3 Things That Make Vietnamese Street Food Special

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Traveling from North to South of the S-shaped country of Vietnam, eating on the street is a real treat. Vietnam street food has for years become world famous and  one should experience it at least once in their lifetime. So, what makes it special? Let’s figure it out.

Vietnam Street Food Tour
Vietnam Street Food Tour

 

  1. Herbal essence

If you are asked about one common thing to define Vietnamese street food from that of its neighboring countries, in North, Central or South, what’s coming first to your mind? For Graham Holliday – an author of several culinary publications , “it is all in the herbs”.  The taste may be different, spices used in each dish may also be different, but all dishes throughout Vietnam share the same feature: each contain a great load of herbs.

 

Vietnam Street Food with a Load of Herbs
Vietnam Street Food with a Load of Herbs

It is the heavy use of herbs that gives Vietnamese food “punchy clean flavors”, making it less oily, less heavy and richer than other cuisines in the region.

 

  1. Regionality

If you have ever been to Vietnam, you would know that Vietnam is not a particularly large country, but it is a very long one, with a north-south distance of 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles). As it relates to food, this means variety, each region has its own to treat your stomach well.

Taking a cuisine tour across Vietnam, one will easily find that Vietnamese food well represents its regionality. The dishes in the North strictly follow the ancient family recipes and do not focus on the use of spices but salt, fish sauce and shrimp sauce. Northern foods are a bit bold yet delicious and colorful. Some specific foods to remember are: green rice cake and fried fish cakes.

 

Northern Vietnam Street Food
Northern Vietnam Street Food

Central dishes, as the region was the formal capital of Vietnam where king’s and queen’s lived, are always well-decorated and sophisticated representing a perfect balance of taste: not too sour, not too salty or sweet, and mostly spicy. Special dishes of this region include bloating fern-shaped cake, country pancake, vermicelli with fish, and grilled cake with boiled pork.

 

Central Vietnamese Food
Central Vietnamese Food

Moving to the South, the foods are sweeter than those in North and Central thanks to its abundance of sugar and coconut milk. Many dishes are mixed with coconut milk like: sticky rice with mango and coconut milk.

 

Southern Vietnam Sweet Street Food
Southern Vietnam Sweet Street Food

 

  1. Culture of street food

For years, street food has become a habit of eating of Vietnamese people, then becoming a part of the culture of people here. So, enjoying Vietnamese street food is not only a way to treat you well for a memorable trip to Vietnam, but also a way to  experience and understand the culture of your destination.

It’s not really easy to adapt with food of a foreign country, but it is for Vietnam, we guarantee. So, don’t burden your bag with instant food from your country if you are on trip to Vietnam.

Important notes for those preparing Vietnam travel: In planning a trip to any country, what is the most important item coming to your mind? For me, it’s the visa. Vietnam visa is not required for all travelers to the country, but just for some. You can check its requirement here https://www.vietnam-visa.com/vietnam-visa-requirement. Those who need to obtain a visa to Vietnam have two ways to do so: get it via the embassy or get a visa on arrival. Despite being available for air travelers only, the latter is much preferred by travelers (including South Africans) for its convenience and simplicity.

How To: Make Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

How To: Make Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Back into history, one easily finds that Vietnamese cuisine is among the jewels of South-east Asia. It features a wonderful blend of Chinese and Asian spices, flavors and techniques, serving us with uniquely flavored, mouthwatering dishes that seems to satisfy all travelers to the country.

Some dishes are hard to prepare, but some are not. And today, we will introduce you to recipe to make one of the latter – Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (Goi cuon).

Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (Goi cuon)
Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (Goi cuon)

Ingredients:

  • About 14 round rice paper wrappers (this brand is my favorite)
  • About 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • About 7 oz – 200 g cooked shrimps, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise (I weighted them before peeling them)
  • About 14 lettuce leaves
  • About 2 cups cooked rice vermicelli, cooled down
  • About 3 cups fresh bean sprouts

For the sauce

  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
  • 1 tbsp grated carrots (optional)

Directions

Step 1: Softening the rice papers

Take a bowl of warm boiled water to soak one rice paper in it for around 10-20 seconds until it gets flexible and sticky. Then pick it out, place it flat on a glass or porcelain plate.

Step 1: Softening the rice papers
Step 1: Softening the rice papers

Step 2: Rolling up

Arrange around 4 mint leaves at the top 1/3 of rice paper closest to you, than place 4 shrimp halves on their next. Top with a lettuce leaf, a small handful of vermicelli and a small handful of bean sprouts.

Step 2: Rolling up
Step 2: Rolling up

Add additional mint leaves. That’s the moment when you can actually add pretty much anything you have in mind. Top with a second lettuce leaf. Always keep about 2 inches uncovered on each side.

Step 2: Rolling up
Step 2: Rolling up

Now, fold uncovered sides inward, then gently pull up the bottom of the roll and roll over the filling. Then, roll and use your hands to tuck the filling in as you go.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Step 2: Rolling up
Step 2: Rolling up

Step 3: Preparing the dipping sauce

In a sauce pan, combine rice vinegar, fish sauce, water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add garlic and carrot or cucumber.

Step 3: Preparing the dipping sauce
Step 3: Preparing the dipping sauce

Now it’s time to enjoy your dish.

In addition to the Fresh Spring rolls, Vietnam has so many others to offer, from Pho – noodle soups to fried spring rolls which are all worth trying at least once in lifetime.

Preparing for a trip to Vietnam?

Where to go?

Vietnam has so many destinations awaiting for you to explore from the quintessential city of Hanoi to a peaceful Hoi An with harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese architecture or Ho Chi Minh City – the Pearl of the Far East.

What with Vietnam visa?

Visa is an important documents for any travelers to a foreign country, and it is the same for Vietnam. Before going, checking Vietnam visa requirement is a must-do to make sure you need a visa or need as not all those traveling to Vietnam need this kind of visa, such as citizens of Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, UK and so on.

 

Vietnamese Food Culture and History

Vietnamese Food Culture and History

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

You have probably heard a lot about Vietnamese food but have you ever spent time understanding deep down this diverse cuisine arts? What is Vietnam’s unique history and culture?

Rice – The Main Food

Originally an agricultural country, living style and eating habits of this Asian country is also strongly influenced; therefore rice is considered the typical food for wet tropical Vietnam. Dated back from Hung King dynasty a long time ago, rice cake had been worshiped as the gift of Mother Nature of which “Banh chung” shapes square to reflect the Earth’s shape and “Banh day” symbolizes the round sky. Not just rice but in Vietnam there are other traditional dishes made from the jewel including noodle (pho), steam rice cake (banh cuon), and porridge (chao).

Banh chung – traditional food especially on Tet holiday
Banh chung – traditional food especially on Tet holiday


Common Bowls in Meals

 It can be strange to foreigners who usually enjoy meals in separate bowls. In Vietnam, people also have their own bowls but there are still some common dishes where they can get food there including soups, vegetable and main courses.

One typical dish called fish sauce that will be definitely shown up in the middle of food plates.  No matter what others say, fish sauce still plays an important role in contributing to Vietnamese culture because animal breeding was not developed from the old days so farmers had to find a way to store fish and shrimp in special methods so they could use for a long period of days. There are a wide range of different sauces now but fish sauce is an irreplaceable dish.

A traditional meal of various nutritious dishes
A traditional meal of various nutritious dishes


Using Chopsticks

Chopsticks might be the biggest difference between Western countries and Vietnam where only kids under 5 years old use spoons to pick up food. Let me explain: a pair of chopsticks includes 2 circular bars made from wood, bamboo or metal and users will have to skillfully hold the bar, open them in the right way to lift everything up. For first-time users it must be a challenge as it really needs comprehensive proficiency and time practicing as well.

Meals in the Day

Westerners see breakfast as the most vital meal , but dinner is the main meal of Vietnamese. Schools and work often start early so in the morning, locals don’t have enough time to cook and have breakfast at home but they will buy snacks on the way to save time and then prepare dinner for all family members to gather. Take some notes about meal time here: breakfast is usually served before 9:00, lunch not enjoyed after 13:00 and no later than 21:00 for dinner.

Other notes: For those who are interested in typical Asian food culture, just come to Vietnam as the procedures now are much easier. Entering the country is already hassle free thanks to 2 ways available for obtaining a Vietnam visa: to obtain via the Vietnam embassies or obtain a visa on arrival.

 

Vietnam Traditional Meals

Vietnam Traditional Meals

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

As part of Oriental culture, Vietnam also bears inside itself the unique value, of which traditional meal is great one. Normally in the old time, family members would gather to have lunch or dinner together, but now in both rural areas and big cities where parents go to work all day or are busy with their business, people can meet each other while they are having dinner only. Why is enjoying meals so important to the Vietnamese? What kind of food do they eat? The answers are waiting ahead!

As it is mentioned above, meal is considered the intangible string to connect all members and also a chance for them to share daily stories as well as ups-and-downs to find out the solutions together. Extended families are quite popular in Vietnam so there will be grandparents, parents and children having meals. This is also the time for the old teaching the young ethnic standards and suitable social norms, traditional rules and etiquette from ancestors.

There are usually 4 main dishes in a traditional meal including salt dishes (rich in protein), bland dishes (vegetables and soups), fruits (eaten at end of the meals), and rice (the most important, irreplaceable dish). It will need small bowls to store rice, big bowls to store soups and plates for others in along with a pair of chopsticks.

Typical Vietnamese family meal
Typical Vietnamese family meal

Let’s find out the unique features of traditional family meal in Vietnam to see if it is different with Western culture:

A meal is full of colors and savors: white of rice/fish, green of vegetables, red of pork/beef, orange of carrots or brown of peanuts, etc.

A meal that fish sauce, rice and soup are shared together: each type will be often stored in each bowl and everyone can take to their own small bowls. Foreigners can be surprised to see a Vietnamese family member use chopsticks to pick up food for others but just no worry, it is conventional here!

Fish cooked with sauce – a typical traditional dish
Fish cooked with sauce – a typical traditional dish

A meal that children show their respect to the older: Children will invite grandparents, parents to have meals and people have to eat in politeness with no noise.

If traditional meals interest you, then Vietnam should be in your country-to-visit list with distinctive moments such as enjoying great dishes as well as spending precious time with locals. Entering Vietnam is much easier now thanks to the improvement of visa documents. Now foreigners can get Vietnam visa on arrival with no inconvenience if they travel by air because all procedures are online before applicants get passports stamped at arrival airport. What’s to wait for? Let’s come and immerse yourself into paradise of Vietnam traditional meals.

5 Best Vietnamese Foods

5 Best Vietnamese Foods

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Vietnam for a long time has been definitely known a must-come country for any crazy food lover thanks to its diversity in scrumptious dishes and savors as well.

Mapping out the list of what and where to eat must drive first-come-to-Vietnam wanderlusts confused because in this country there are thousands of dishes to enjoy and it may take months to try all from North to South. So here comes the collection of 5 Vietnamese foods exclusive to Vietnam that visitors should try once in their lifetime. After reading, you perhaps will like to experience a Vietnam cuisine tour.

Com Tam (Rice with rib pork)

Com Tam (Rice with rib pork)
Com Tam (Rice with rib pork)

A typical dish which is made from “broken rice” visitors will try in Ho Chi Minh City as it is considered the icon of this city like The Independence Palace or Bitexco Tower. Com Tam is pure culinary with barbecued pork on broken rice, topped with a fried egg and salad.

Pho (Noodles)

Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup
Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

Literally Pho is just one typical in a wide range of noodle soups in Vietnam but people still love having Pho due to its taste, reasonable price, and because it’s the great choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner that is suitable for all walks of class. Some people say Pho originates from Hanoi while others think it is from Nam Dinh – a province 100km away from the capital, but no matter where they come from, you can say it’s a masterpiece of cuisine arts. This is a dish of many items including rice noodles, broth, chicken/beef meat/pork and fresh vegetables.

Rau muong xao toi

Rau muong xao toi
Rau muong xao toi

Known as glory morning, this is the food that every foreigner will have while in Vietnam. The vegetable will be stir fried with garlic and other spices.

Goi cuon (Spring Rolls)

Goi cuon (Spring Rolls)
Goi cuon (Spring Rolls)

Extremely delicious and easy to make with ingredients like shrimps, pork, lettuce and other herbs that will be rolled like a cigar with translucent rice paper on the outside. Sauce is also an important contribution with garlic, chili peppers, lemon and fish sauce.

Sweet “Che”

Sweet “Che”
Sweet “Che”

Che is a name for any sweets and sugar drinks which usually get covered in jellies and dried fruits on top. It can be called a mixture because there are so many ingredients in it such as longans, rambutan, mangoes, jackfruit chips, beans, black beans, and more sticky sweetness.

Tips: Not only being a must-come country for food lovers, Vietnam also for years has become a favorite destination for travelers in general and Israelis in particular for its magnificent landscape and diverse culture and also easy visa procedure. Getting Vietnam visa for Israelis and other has been made much easier thanks to introduction of visa on arrival which allows travelers to apply online for visa approval letter and the get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport.

7 Vietnamese Dishes You Really Should Try

7 Vietnamese Dishes You Really Should Try

by: Vietnam Discovery Travel

What’s the first Vietnamese food that comes to your mind? Phở? Spring Rolls? Or else? Yes, all of these are quintessential dishes of Vietnam, but it is difficult to list all here as it has so many to offer. Here, we will pick up 7 best Vietnamese dishes that wanderlusts should try upon their presence in the country. 

Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup
Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

What list of Vietnamese cuisine would be complete without Pho? It’s almost impossible to walk across the streets of major cities of the country without witnessing a crowd of locals enjoying their Pho. And one more thing travelers to Vietnam can easily find is that Pho is not for a breakfast or lunch or dinner, or a dessert only, it is for all the day long.

Consisting of light beef or chicken broth flavored with ginger and coriander, fresh rice noodles and a sprinkling of herbs, this simple bowl features predominately in the local diet.

Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Roll)

Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Roll)
Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Roll)

This is perhaps the most simple but still delicious dish of Vietnam to be prepared. The translucent cigar-shaped rolls are packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork, shrimp or crab. But what makes this dish to show off its entire taste is the sauce – a fish sauce based dipping sauce.

Almost every region in Vietnam has its own distinct spring roll but no matter where you are, the wrapping and rolling process is more or less the same.

Banh mi (Vietnamese bread)

Banh mi (Vietnamese bread)
Banh mi (Vietnamese bread)

A product combines a crunchy French baguette with pork, pate, and an ever-changing array of fresh vegetables. Its taste is so good that it’s been imitated around the world.

Banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe)

Banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe)
Banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe)

It appears that words cannot describe how delicious the Vietnamese Bank Xeo is. Crispy, coconut rice flour pancakes stuffed with deliciously crunchy raw veggies and fresh herbs served along with the typical sweet, sour, spicy, salty dipping sauce. It’s giving travelers all the feels and making us salivate just thinking about it.

Bun cha (Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)

Bun cha (Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)
Bun cha (Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)

Why Mr. Barack Obama chose Bun Cha for his dinner in Hanoi? Originating from Hanoi, this place is where its taste is kept original. It consist of grilled pork soaked in warm dipping sauce/ lightly fish sauce/ broth, which adds a wonderful acidity to the fried meat which is prepared both thinly sliced and ground into seasoned patties. It is also served with rice vermicelli (bún) and an assortment of greens and pickled vegetables (green papaya/ carrot, etc.).

Cao lau (Hoi An Noodles)

Cao lau (Hoi An Noodles)
Cao lau (Hoi An Noodles)

When you come to Hoi An, there is one thing you should not miss, which is to enjoy Cao Lau. Chewy noodles, smoky pork, crisp greens, crunchy croutons and refreshing bean sprouts: it may sound like an odd medley, but together these ingredients compose one of Vietnam’s most iconic dishes, also its most mysterious.

Cha ca (Fried fish cake)

Cha ca (Fried fish cake)
Cha ca (Fried fish cake)

If you have ever come to Hanoi and enjoyed its Cha Ca, you perhaps cannot deny that this is truly a super delicious Vietnamese dish.  Perfectly cooked and spiced fish, the most amazing flavor of the dill, tomato and turmeric, all live together to make a great taste.

Does this sound great to be noted down for your trip to Vietnam?

Tips: upon packing your things, remember to check your Vietnam visa as it is a very important travel paper. Policy of the Vietnam government has it that certain nationals may get visa exemption for certain period of time. They are citizens of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Belarus, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom. Those who do not get benefit from this policy will need to obtain a visa before departure for Vietnam.

*Guilt-Free Nut Crumble*

Never eat an unhealthy, high fat, high sugar dessert again. Create your own guilt-free nut crumble.

Unlike most desserts, this one is super nutrient-dense, and will not spike your blood sugar. Your combo of nuts and seeds will offer your body high quality proteins and fats (such as omega-3’s), vitamins (folate, thiamin, vitamin B6,  vitamin E, and riboflavin), minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and manganese). A little honey, cinnamon and all spice on top is all you need to make this the perfect dessert.

What You Need:
A variety of nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or almonds)
Dried fruit
Honey
Cinnamon & All Spice
Lime

Directions:
1. Use your nut grinder to chop your nuts or just break them a bit by hand or knife.

2. Add a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix about 1 part lime juice to 3 parts honey, and stir well. Add cinnamon and all-spice.

4. Pour over nut mixture evenly, stopping to stir frequently.

5. Serve immediately or put in the fridge for the next day.

Guilt-Free Crumble
Guilt-Free Crumble

Tao Hoo Tod Kratiem Prik Thai Dum :: Fried Tofu and Garlic with Black Pepper Sauce

This popular Thai dish is unique in that you could make it into three separate dishes. One dish would simply be ‘Tao Hoo Tod Kratiem’ which is ‘Fried Tofu and Garlic’. Traditionally that dish would be made with chicken or pork (see how in the video below). A second dish would be ‘Tao Hoo Prik Thai Dum’ which is ‘Fried Tofu in a Black Pepper Sauce’, and finally the third dish is a combination of both. Depending on which region you’re in, you may find any one of these three dishes.

What You Need: Serving size depends on your amount of Tofu.  The amounts of most ingredients below is to your own preference. The following recipe is for using 1 package of Tofu.

1 package of Tofu – Choose from already fried tofu, or deep fry your own by chopping into small chunks and completely submerging them in hot oil (see in video below)
10 cloves of sliced Garlic
1 Peppers (either red, yellow, orange, green, or a combination) cut into slices
1 medium Onion cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped Spring Onion
Thai Chili Peppers
– amount to your spice level
1 Tbsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper or more for your taste preference
1 tsp Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce
2-3 Tbsp Oyster Sauce – or Oyster Mushroom Sauce.
1 tsp Sugar
Oil
for deep frying- preferably Coconut

Directions:

1. Prepare your tofu. If it’s already deep fried then just make sure it’s in small chunks. If it’s raw then chop into small chunks and deep fry (seen in video below) by submerging in hot oil. The smaller the pieces the crispier it will be.

2. In a small bowl, prepare your sauce with the oyster sauce, fish sauce, black pepper, and sugar. If you need more sauce for your amount of tofu then double the recipe – or add to your taste preference.

3. Cut your garlic, peppers, onions and spring onions.

4. In a wok or frying pan, fry the garlic in coconut oil over high heat. You want it to be crispy but not burnt. If it’s close to being burnt you can remove it from the wok. If it’s not then you can leave it in while you fry the other ingredients.

5. Add the sauce into the pan and fry the peppers and onions for a few minutes (plus chilies which are optional)

6. Add the tofu (and garlic if it was removed) and stir all ingredients together.

7. Add the spring onion last and stir fry for 1 minute. Optional to add a few tablespoons of additional crispy onions and garlic (seen below).

8. Serve alone or with rice.

Fried Tofu and Garlic with Black Pepper Sauce
Fried Tofu and Garlic with Black Pepper Sauce

Watch how to make this dish and three others below in my Thai Cooking Class video:

 

Gaeng Massaman :: Vegetable Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman Curry was voted the most delicious food in the world back in 2011 by CNN, and I have to say I agree. This dish has maintained its position as my favorite Thai food for the last 5 years.

With influence from Malaysia and India, the dish can vary depending on the region of Thailand it comes from. Traditionally, Northern Thai Massaman is influenced by India, and tends to be darker and richer than you would find in Southern Thailand, where it is influenced more by Malaysia, and has a lighter, sweeter sauce sometimes containing pineapple.

Massaman paste is probably the most difficult paste in the world to make, requiring each spice to be roasted and ground on its own before being mixed together into the paste. I suggest you buy the paste from the store, and not try to make it on your own. Traditional Massaman paste consists of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, star anise, coriander, pepper, cumin, tamarind, chili, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, salt, shallots, nutmeg, mace, and peppercorns.

Traditionally, Massaman is made with potatoes, onions, peanuts, and either chicken or beef, although it is just as delicious vegetarian.

What You Need: Makes 2-3 servings
1  Large Potato
1/2 large White Onion
3/4 cup peanuts
1 large Tbsp Massaman Curry Paste
1-2 cans coconut milk
1 tsp Palm Sugar
1/2 tsp Fish Sauce
Coconut Oil for frying
2 cups of Vegetables of your choice: broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, mushroom, snap pea, purple cabbage, etc.

Massaman Curry Ingredients
Massaman Curry Ingredients

Directions:

1. In a wok or frying pan, fry a tablespoon of coconut oil with 1 large tablespoon of Massaman curry paste over high heat. Be careful not to burn the paste. Add a cup of coconut cream. You can find the cream at the top of the coconut milk can if you do not stir it. Mix the cream with the paste and fry for a minute or two.

2. Slowly add the remainder of the coconut milk, not all at once. Stir.

3. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir

4. Peel and cut the potato and add it too the sauce. Add the peanuts and onions. Let everything cook and develop flavors for 30 minutes or so over low-medium heat.

5. Taste. Need more salt or sweetness? Adjust accordingly. Too spicy? You can add more coconut milk. Less coconut milk makes for a thicker sauce.

6. Prepare the vegetables by cutting into small chunks. Add the vegetables to the sauce 5 minutes before finishing.

7. Serve over white or brown rice, or leave as a soup on its own.

 

Vegetable Massaman Curry
Vegetable Massaman Curry

Watch how to make this dish and three others in my video below:

World Recipes and Travel Itineraries