Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

Chong and I had our Christmas feast a little early this year, we did it on Saturday, December 22, 2012 .  We may do a smaller dinner tomorrow, maybe hot pot or rice rolls (Chong’s favorite). It’s already Monday and we still have a lot of leftover! Since I’ve been MIA for a while, I’m going to post Christmas 2012 and Christmas 2011.

Christmas 2012: cream cheese wontons, eggrolls, peanut sauce, lo mein, duck, Ho Ho chicken wings, baked spicy squid, Happy Family, Seafood Delight, papaya salad, purple sticky rice and jasmine rice. Not pictured: turtle cake and tiramisu cake (both from Byerly’s).

Christmas 2011: raw and cooked laab, papaya salad, eggrolls, Happy Family, Seafood Delight, spring rolls, duck, purple sticky rice and jasmine rice, classic vanilla cheesecake and an ice cream cake.

As you can see, we had similar food for both years and I think I might make it a tradition–to cook less and enjoy the company more.  The only food that were made this year were the eggrolls, cream cheese wontons, and the sticky and regular rice. It was a bit of a hassle to have people run around town to get the food but all in all, the food was worth it.

Chong and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!



I didn’t even know that my mom grew edamame in her garden until I went over one day and she gave me a bunch of edamame plants and asked me to cook it for her.  Although I’ve seen edamame plants before and cooked and eaten plenty of frozen edamame, I’ve never actually touched the fresh stuff so this was a first for me.

Edamame plants

Close up

What Chong and I started with

What we ended up with

Enjoying the veggies of our labor

Eggrolls Pictorial

Last week, my sister, Mai Lee, wanted to make eggrolls so she texted me over to help her. We went shopping and got tons of stuff, thinking that we were going to make 120 eggrolls but ended up only making 60, which were gone within hours.  Recipe to be posted at a later date.  Enjoy the pictorial for now.

Eggroll Pictorial

Bean thread noodle soaking in warm water

Bean sprouts


Green onion/cilantro

Shredded carrots

Ground pork

Most of the ingredients

All of the ingredients

Mixing the eggroll filling


Eggroll wrapper

Cooking the eggrolls

Another view


**The peanut dipping sauce recipe and pictorial can be found here.

Steamed Rice Rolls (Fawm Kauv) Video

Fawm Kauv, one of my favorite food.  Enjoy the video!  Here’s the pictorial.

Steamed Rice Rolls (Fawm Kauv) Pictorial

I loved eating these when I was younger because it was a treat whenever my mom made it–which was only once or twice a year.  As I grew older and started cooking, I would often make these whenever the mood struck me.  Nowadays, my husband is sick and tired of eating them because I’ve made them so often.  There was a point when I made these almost every week.  And now I’m getting a bit tired of making them (and eating them), too.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with the 12 bags of powder we have in the closet….

Steamed Rice Rolls/Fawm Kauv


–  2 lbs ground pork

–  1 bunch green onion, sliced thinly

–  3 tbsp canola oil

–  2 bags of steamed rice roll powder

–  8-9 cups water *

–  2 tbsp oil

–  salt, to taste

–  black pepper, to taste

*The directions on the back of the bag says use 4 cups of water/bag but I like my batter thinner so I use 4.5 cups of water/bag.  Start out with 8 cups and adjust to your taste.


1.  In a pot, heat up the oil and add the ground pork.  Salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Once the ground pork is fully cooked, add the green onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3.  Drain the mixture in a colander or spoon the mixture into a bowl.

4.  In a large bowl, mix the 2 bags of rice roll powder, 8-9 cups of water, and 1 tbsp of oil.  Stir until there are no more lumps.

5.  On medium high heat, heat a non-stick pan.  Take a small piece of paper towel, fold it into a small square and dab it into the oil.  Wipe the hot pan with it and set aside.

6.  Pour a small amount of batter (1/4 – 1/2 cup)  into the pan, making sure to swirl the pan around so the liquid covers the bottom of the pan.

7.  Cover the pan and let cook for about 15-20 seconds.

8.  Uncover the pan and flip the thin crepe onto a plate.  Fill with the meat mixture and fold it like a burrito or eggroll.

Steamed Rice Rolls/Fawm Kauv Pictorial

Cooking the ground pork

Cooked ground pork

Add green onions

Cooked meat mixture

Meat mixture in a bowl

Bag of steamed rice roll powder

Steamed rice roll batter

Uncooked (seconds after the batter hit the hot pan)

Cooked (notice that it shrunk and the edges are crispier)

Add pork & green onion filling

Fold in opposite ends

Fold in third end

Continue rolling

All rolled up

Finished product

Peanut Pepper Sauce


–  1 cup peanuts

–  1/2 lime

–  2-3 Thai chili peppers

–  fish sauce, to taste

–  water, to taste

–  MSG, to taste

–  salt, to taste


1.  In a mortar and pestle, crush the peanuts.  Scoop out and put in a bowl.

2.  Add Thai chili peppers, MSG, & salt and pound until broken into small pieces.  Add to peanuts.

3.  Add about 1-3 tbsp of fish sauce, 2-3 tbsp of water, lime juice, and a dash of MSG to the peanuts and pepper.  Stir and add more fish sauce/water/lime to taste.

Peanut Pepper Sauce Pictorial


Crushed peanuts

Hot Thai chili peppers

Salt & MSG



Add fish sauce

Add lime juice

Add water

Add pepper


Dry Chili Pepper


–  1 tbsp dry chili pepper

–  3 tbsp fish sauce


1.  In a small bowl, add the dry chili pepper and fish sauce together.  Stir and serve.

Dry Chili Pepper Pictorial

Dry chili powder

Dry chili powder in a bowl

Add fish sauce


My plate:

Plate of fawm kauv

Add sauces

Cut up and ready to eat!

I have to admit, these are VERY time consuming to make because you can only make them one at a time but trust me, they are worth it.  I don’t like most restaurant or deli fawm kauv because they’re 1) too thick  2) taste weird  3) not enough filling and 4) they’re EXPENSIVE!  Depending on where you buy them, they can run from $3-$6 for a small package.  I can make enough to feed Chong and myself based on $6.  Plus, when you make them yourself, you can eat it while it’s still hot and freshly made, which is the best time to eat it.  Oh yes, these were what I spent 6 hours making on Mother’s Day.

Spring Rolls

Finally, a spring roll post! Spring rolls are so easy to make, although the prep time is very time consuming, and I’d say they’re pretty healthy for you. For some reason, whenever Chong and I go to Saigon, I’d always want to order the make-your-own spring rolls for $9. That’s pretty expensive, considering that there’s only 5-7 wraps in there! I can make my own spring rolls for that amount of money–and I’d still have a ton of ingredients leftover.

Argh. Since I made this a few weeks ago, I lost track of my ingredients and measurements so bear with me on my guesstimations.

Spring Roll


– 2-3 lbs of pork (shoulder or butt)
– 1 package of Asian BBQ powder (char siu)
– 1 cup water
– salt, to taste
– black pepper, to taste
– 1 bunch cilantro
– 3 carrots, grated
– 15 pieces of red lettuce, quartered
– 1 cooked pork meatloaf, julienned
– 1 package of rice wrappers
– 1 package rice vermicilli noodles, cooked according to the package


1. In a large ziploc bag, mix the packet of Asian BBQ powder (char siu) with salt, black pepper, and water. Add the pork and marinade for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

2. Turn the oven to ‘Broil’ and place the pork in a pan. Broil the pork for 7-10 mins on each side, or until cooked. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Once cooled, slice thinly.

3. In a large bowl or cake pan (depending on the size of your rice paper), add 1/2 inch of hot water (cake pan) or 2 cups of hot water (bowl). Soak the rice paper in the hot water either by placing the whole wrapper in the water or soak 3/4 of the wrapper and rotate slowly. The rice paper just needs a few seconds in the water because it’ll soften up out of the water.

4. Lay the soft/wet rice paper on a plate and add the lettuce, noodles, carrots, cilantro, bbq pork, and pork meatloaf 1/4 from the edge.

5. Starting from the shorter edge, fold the rice paper over the ingredients, then roll it over once, then tuck in the left and right edges and continue rolling. *Like how you would roll egg rolls or a burrito*

It’s so much harder to try to explain how to make spring rolls than it is to show it. Next time, I’ll try to post a video of it up.

Spring Roll Pictorial

Package I used/Powder+salt+black pepper/Add water

Chunks of pork—>Marinading—>Ready to be broiled

Next time, more powder, less water and all in 1 bag

Noodles/Carrots, cilantro, bbq pork & julienned pork meatloaf/red leaf lettuce (uncut)

I’m in love with this wrapper.  It’s better than the kind I usually get (and it’s HUGE!)


I made about 20-25 spring rolls, with a lot of left over ingredients.  During the spring/summer, I love growing or buying my own fresh herbs from the Farmer’s Market and add mint and sweet or Thai basil and cucumber for a little crunch.  Some version include shrimp but Chong is allergic to shellfish so no shrimp for him.  Spring rolls are so easy to make and very refreshing.  I can’t wait until the weather gets warmer so I can have an excuse to make and eat more spring rolls.  : )