It has been a month since my culinary travels through Vietnam commenced. I have cooked in varied environments and conditions. On the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, in restaurants I Initially dinned in, homestays I traveled by buses, taxis, boats and motorbikes to get to, in the homes of friends friends, in outdoor kitchens along the Mekong Delta and cooking schools where I honed my cooking skills of my newly acquired knowledge of Vietnamese Cuisine. The journey has been vast and the experience unforgettable.
I have also eaten A LOT, some good, some bad, some indifferent, some interesting, but always an experience.
In a festive and luminescent night market in Ha Tien, where I had 3 types of snails, prepared with coconut milk, tamarind sauce and lemongrass and garlic.
In a pristine restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, where I had curried goat stew and learned to count from 1-10 in Vietnamese from my server.
On a beach front with salt soaked air in Phu Quoc Island, where I had lemongrass infused grilled snapper with a special type of Vietnamese ant and buttery sea urchin with toasted peanuts.
On the narrow, congested, chaotic streets of the “old quarter” in Hanoi, where I had rice noodle rolls with pork, mushroom and a few drops of water bug “pheromone essence” in my dipping sauce.
In the light of the moon, stars and sounds of the nocturnal animals on a wooden boat in Mui Ca Mau, where I went night hunting for my dinner of mud-crab on the banks of the Mighty Mekong, all while fighting off the relentless attacks of mosquitos.
In “hot-pot alley” in a restaurant surround by Vietnamese celebrity photos who dinned there in Can Tho where I had butter fried frog legs and duck hot-pot.
And these are just a few of my favorite memories.
During my travels through the Delta and staying in Ho Chi Minh off and on over the month of January. I did not have the opportunity to learn some very specific dishes, I had enjoyed while dining out during my travels.
As a result, upon my return to Ho Chi Minh, I Immediately booked two cooking classes at two different schools. Both private and both I requested to make very specific dishes.
This is one of the dishes I requested, which is “Mi Quang,” which derives from Quang Nam Province of Vietnam. It is made with Turmeric Noodles, chicken, pork, shrimp and has about 1/4 cup broth with every serving. So, it is more of a noodle dish, opposed to a soup.
I will say this, If you eat or learn to cook only five Vietnamese dishes, this should be one of the five.
This dish is served with toasted sesame rice crackers, which is a nice addition, as it serves two purposes, soaks up the delectable broth and provides additional texture to the dish. I wouldn’t leave this out. If I wasn’t “on the road,” I would post a recipe for homemade black sesame rice crackers (I do have one previous blog post for rice crackers, but it is a different texture, which won’t work for this recipe).
So, for now you will have to try to locate this in an Asian Supermarket or use “Chicharrones.” Chicharrones are fried pork rinds, which can be found in almost all supermarkets and Latin Markets. Or you can also use fried shrimp chips, which should also be easy to locate.
The stock for this recipe is made from pork bones, which takes about 2 hours to cook and can be made several days in advance and frozen. However, you can substitute store-bought chicken broth or just use the broth from cooking the chicken, pork and shrimp and skip making the stock all together.
Now I give you Mi Quang – Vietnamese Turmeric Noodles with Chicken, Pork and Shrimp. Enjoy.
- Pork Stock
- 3 pounds pork bones (neck, knuckles or a combination of both)
- 3½ tablespoons salt
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- Achiote Oil (annatto)
- 1 cup oil
- 2½ tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
- Pork, chicken and shrimp
- ¼ lb pork shoulder, cut into cubes
- ¼ Ib chicken, but into cubes
- ½ lb shrimp (shell on or off)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder or fresh, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅓ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon oil
- ⅛ cup achiote oil (annatto seed oil)
- 2 tablespoon of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- salt to taste
- Turmeric Rice Noodles
- 1 package of wide pho rice noodles, fresh or dry
- 1 teaspoon oil, if using fresh rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder or fresh turmeric
- Pork Stock
- Wash the bones under cold water, then place them in a stockpot.
- Put all of the ingredients in the pan and bring to a boil. Skim the impurities from the surface of the stock, decrease the heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for 2 hours, skimming constantly.
- Pour the stock through a fine strainer into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Pork, chicken and shrimp
- In a bowl combine chicken, pork, ¾ teaspoons turmeric, ¾ teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- In a separate bowl combine shrimp, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon sugar, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- In large pan, heat cooking oil and achiote oil, add garlic and shallots, cook until fragrant.
- Add marinated chicken, pork and cook for 20 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, fish sauce and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. The meat should be tender. Half way through cooking, add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, covered.
- Turmeric Rice Noodles
- For dry rice noodles: soak noodles in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain in a large sieve.
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil, add rice noodles, after about 3-4 minutes, add turmeric powder, and stir. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water until cold. Drain well, set aside.
- For fresh rice noodles: Combine fresh or powder turmeric and oil with the noodles, set aside for 10 minutes. To warm up, briefly submerge noodles in hot water.
- Optional toppings
- Bean Sprouts
- Perilla Leaves
- Mint Leaves
- Shredded Banana Blossoms
- Lime Wedges
- Roasted Peanuts
- Black Sesame Rice Crackers
- In a bowl, add noodles, pork, chicken and shrimp. Add ¼-1/3 cup broth to the bowl.
- Top with the above optional ingredients.
2. Achiote Oil (annatto) - You can make your own or purchase it from the supermarket. All latin markets will have achiote oil. It may be called annatto oil too.
3. Sesame crackers can be found in Asian Supermarkets. Or substitute chicharrones (fried pork rinds), which can be found in most supermarkets or latin markets.