It’s all about Hotpot – Lẩu

Hi everyone, my name is Khanh, but as Kristin said, you can call me Banana. I know it’s a very strange nickname but I love it anyway :). I will get 24 this August (I’m proud of being a Leo). I love traveling, photography, shoes, motorbike and cooking :D.

First of all, I wanna say thanks to Kristin for letting me guest blog, and for her great post about me as well – you said so many good things about me ( My friend told me  ” I wonder whether did you bribe your friend or not” :P – I didn’t, right? :D).

I’m a Vietnamese girl, come from Central Highland, but now I’m living in Saigon. I came here for university and then I stayed here for working. I’ve been living here for over 6 years, and I really love this city. It’s a very beautiful city ( Or I can say it’s really amazing), you will love it for sure if you come here. Now I’m working as a tour guide in Saigon, and I’m also working as a freelance translator and photographer. My translations are mostly about history and culture. So, for my future posts in this blog, I want to share with you everything I know about Viet Nam: People, culture, landscape, food… But I’m not really good at writing, so sometimes, I will let the photos speak for themselves :D.

For my first post here, I wanna share with you my most favorite dish ever – HOTPOT – But I want to tell you a little bit about my favorite tastes of food first, I love the mix of  sweet, sour, salty and spicy. So lots of dishes I cook  will have these tastes. And another thing is that, when I cook, I love to follow the process but never follow the recipes. So for all my posts about food in this blog, I won’t give you any recipes, but I will just show you how to cook that dish, and then you can make it your own way. I think it’s much better because everyone has different taste of food, right ?

Okay, so back to the Hotpot – Hotpot is actually a Chinese dish, they put a stove with soup on the table and let you make your own dish. You eat Hotpot with yellow noddles or rice vermicelli. Usually, Hotpot is cooked with pork, beef, chicken or seafood. But in Viet Nam, we also cook Hotpot with goat, frog, snake, crab… I love Hotpot because this dish has all the things I love : Mix flavor of sweet, sour, salty and spicy and also a lot of vegetables ( I’m not vegetarian but I love vegetables). As my friend said ” I find that It’s very easy to make you happy, just take you to go eat hotpot and order a lot of vegetable for you :P”  – and yes, he said the truth :D )

Okay,now  get ready and I’ll show you how to cook Hotpot.

* What do you need ?

  • For the soup

– Pork bones

– Lemongrass, pineapple, tamarind, chili, garlic, tomatoes, onion, galangal root.

  • Others ingredients

– Beef, seafood, tofu

– Vegetables, mushroom

– Yellow noddles, rice vermicelli

* How to cook it?

IMG_5138

The most  important thing for the hotpot is the soup/broth. If you make a good soup, then you have a good hotpot.

– You marinate the pork bones for about 20 mins with minced garlic and onion, fish sauce (if you don’t like fish sauce, you can replace by salt), a little bit sugar and cooking granules.

– Then you cook the pork bones with lemongrass and pineapple in about 20 mins. The marinated pork bones + pineapple will give you a sweet soup, and the lemongrass will give you a very great flavor.

– Add the sliced tomatoes to the soup and continue cooking.

  • Now, it’s the most important part : how to get the mix flavor of Hotpot. We already have the sweet flavor, now we need salty, spicy and sour.

– You boil the tamarind with hot water,  remove the seeds and then you get the sauce as the photo below

Tamarind                        = >                          Tamarind

– You fry the minced garlic, chili and galangal root with cooking oil,  then you pour the tamarind sauce inside. Then you add salt, sugar and cooking granules to get the flavor you want and you cook until it becomes a thick sauce. => Sauce A

Tamarind sauce

  • Now you pour Sauce A into the soup and add more seasonings if you want. Then you add some herbs to the soup ( Culantro and rice paddy herb).

IMG_5152

YAY, so we are done with the soup, now it’s time for EATING….

  • Vegetable: You have okra, pineapple, tomato, bean sprout, banana flower, mushroom, morning glory, water drop wort…. You can add other kind of vegetables if you want.

IMG_5140     IMG_5141 IMG_5144     IMG_5145

  • Meat and seafood : I have catfish, beef, squid, clam, prawn, tofu and fish ball

IMG_5149     IMG_5150

Now you put the electrical hotpot cooker on the table with all the ingredients around, make some fish sauce with chili to dip the food. And here we go, let’s enjoy our food !!!!!

IMG_5153

Hotpot is a very ideal dish to cook when you want to gather with your friends and family, because it’s a very yummy dish but not so difficult to cook (just takes a little bit time for preparing). And then you get to sit around the table for a long time to make your own dish, hence promoting interaction and bonding among all the people. And plus, it’s a very healthy dish, you have all the fresh meat, seafood and lots of vegetable. You also can choose almost any ingredients for your hotpot based on your preference and budget. It can be really lavish (with lobster, abalone etc) or really simple. Either way is totally delicious.

Thanks for reading. Good luck with your hotpot :D

I can cook

P/s: If you are in Saigon and you want hotpot but you can’t cook, these are some places you can come to get hotpot:

  • Vegetarian hotpot

Lẩu nấm An Nhiên :

– 10 Phạm Ngũ Lão, 3, Gò Vấp  Hồ Chí Minh

– 94 Nguyễn Văn Thủ, P. Đakao, Q1, TP.HCM

– 16 Lê Ngô Cát, P 7, Q3

  • Goat hotpot

– Lẩu dê 3Q: 138 – Đường 9A – Khu Trung Sơn – Q Bình Chánh Tp Hồ Chí Minh

– Lẩu dê Trương Định: 45 Ngô Thời Nhiệm, 6, Hồ Chí Minh

  • Goby fish hotpot

– Quán Rau Đắng – số 4 Nguyễn Thị Diệu, phường 6, quận 3

– Lẩu cá kèo Bà Huyện – 12 Sư Thiện Chiếu, P.7 , Q.3

  • Thai Hotpot

– Quán ăn Ngân Nga – 26/11 Nguyễn Văn Đậu, P.4, Q. Phú Nhuận.

– Lẩu Pê đê bờ kè Trần Văn Đang – Quán Thùy Linh, p.11, Q.3

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