Panna Cotta with Fresh Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine-7 Passion fruit_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine-9 This past week the heat was so brutal that both of us got a cold from switching back and forth too often between a cool air-conditioned room to the burning heat. But we're ok now, and I'm back to the sauna/kitchen creating and documenting recipes with great enthusiasm! Read more

Lychee Panna Cotta

Lychee Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine Lychee_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine It's lychee season now, and next month it'll be longans. LONGANS! My hometown is a small Northern province that has a few specialties, a kind of soy sauce that some really love and my favorites, amazing longan and lychee fruits. There are several other Northern provinces that also grow lychees, and longan trees grow in many places from the North to the South, but the fruits from my hometown are claimed to be the best. They're fragrant, sweet but not too watery; the meat is thick and the seeds tiny. When I was 10, my mother and I took a Southbound train to visit my grandparents, whom we hadn't seen for years. Transportation was difficult then. It took us two days and one night, and we both shared one seat, me sitting in my mom's lap. The space was tiny but my mom still managed to bring some bags of lychee fruits as presents. Fruits were precious to us, and it was no brainer that our hometown's lychees had to be onboard traveling with us. Read more

Vietnamese Banana Pudding

There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. Banana pudding_Tapioca_Coconut milk_Indiechine_Vietnamese food blog_ recipe_Che chuoi_-3 Banana pudding_Tapioca_Coconut milk_Indiechine_Vietnamese food blog_ recipe_Che chuoi_-6 Weather update: I haven't seen blue sky here for the past few weeks. It's the burning season, when people burn newly harvested rice stalks to prepare for the next crop.  So the rice paddies behind my house have been all smoky and fiery. It looks like part of a battlefield, or my grandmother's countryside kitchen back in the 1980s when she cooked with leaves, straw and rice husks in humid and rainy weather... Read more

Vietnamese Mango Tapioca Pudding

*The Vietnamese word for mangoes is xoài, pronounced soai. Mango_coconut_tapioca_pudding_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-5 Mango_coconut_tapioca_pudding_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-2 If you happen to be in Vietnam in xoài season, you have to try them. Seriously! The mangos here are one-of-a-kind. I remember that sentiment being expressed in an endearing scene from the movie "Indochina" where the main character, a French colonist, handed her adopted daughter a plate of mangos that looked so juicy and delicious. I don't remember much else about the movie but that scene has stayed in my mind for years. Read more

Vietnamese Sesame Rice Donuts

*Scroll down to the end of this blog post for a video tutorial of this recipe.  Vietnamese Sesame Rice Donuts_Banh Ran Vung_Indiechine Calligraphy_Linh_Christmas_Indiechine Call me childish, but I'm a little more excited about this Christmas season because I took a calligraphy workshop last month. For the first time in my life, I can make pretty Christmas cards by myself. That really means a lot to me as I always find it so rewarding to hand make something from scratch for my loved ones. For almost two weeks now, I wake up really early, make myself some tea, put a candle under some essential oil, and practice drawing and writing. My dining table is piled up with papers, water colors and ink. It's messy, but I think it's a joyful, festive looking mess. (I think my husband thinks so too.) Read more

Vietnamese Crispy Banana Fritters

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. BananaFritters_LinhNguyen_Indiechineblog_Summer_2015-4 One morning just about ten days ago, my husband woke up in a hotel room, asking me: "Where are we?". He was confused because he was not totally awake, and also because we had been traveling for more than two months, driving from New York to Seattle across America, then flying to Vietnam and journeying across Vietnam. Traveling was always fun - being inspired by new people and fascinated by new scenery- but after two months of exciting adventures, we were ready for something different from living out of our suitcases. Read more

Classic Crème Brûlée

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. ClassicCremeBrulee_LinhNguyen_Indiechineblog_Summer_2015-6 I made this crème brûlée yesterday, when we were in the middle of packing to move next weekend. We'll be on the road for more than a month so I thought I should try to cook as much as I could this week, or I'd miss home-cooked food terribly. Read more

Crème Caramel, April, and Nostalgia

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. Flan_LinhNguyen_Indiechineblog_Summer_2015-5 It started with my Vietnamese friends sending me some photos of Hanoi in April, the month of white lilies, the romantic month, as many Vietnamese people call it. (Though April in Vietnamese is Month Number 4, which my husband often makes fun of, saying it sounds like a sci-fi secret code.) Flan_LinhNguyen_Indiechineblog_Summer_2015-4 Anyway, I had a slight feeling of nostalgia when I looked at photos of street vendors on colorful bikes, carrying huge bamboo baskets of gorgeous spring flowers. I missed sitting in a small outdoor cafe, on a sunny little Hanoi street which would smell like lilies and roses in warm breezes. I would order a cup of black coffee, followed by creme caramel. Read more