Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Garlic, Lime & Chile Dipping Sauce)

In Vietnamese, Nuoc means water, and cham means to dip, so nuoc cham literally means dipping sauce. Here we have the union of sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons warm water
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped bird’s-eye chile
Freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water.. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, add the lime juice. Add the garlic and stir. Gradually stir in the fish sauce, adding just enough to suit your taste. Add the chopped chile and then grind over some fresh pepper to taste.

Chicken Matzah Ball Pho Fusion

Two amazing soups that were begging to be mashed together.

Pho was created in Viet Nam in the 1880’s under French occupation, influenced by the French taste for beef based dishes. Some even speculate the name comes from the French Feu (fire, as in pot au feu), though others believe that the dish may have inspired by Chinese occupiers from the previous thousand years.

Matzah Ball Soup was likely invented thousands of years ago, from leftover Matzah meal and an egg. Matzah is a flat cracker that is the “bread of affliction” during the Passover Holiday, symbolizing the Israelites hasty escape from Egypt. But the soup we think of as Matzah Ball Soup came to particular prominence in Eastern European Shtetl’s with קניידלעך kneydlach dumplings.


For the broth:

  • 2 medium unpeeled yellow onions, halved
  • 1 large 4”-5” piece of ginger, cut lengthwise in half
  • 5 quarts cold water
  • 1 4-5 lb. chicken, cut up
  • ½ lb. chicken wings
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp rock sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

For the matzah balls:

  • 1 cup matzah meal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup minced scallion

For the toppings:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh Thai basil
  • limes cut into wedges
  • 3 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced thin
  • Hoisin sauce if desired
  • Garlic chili sauce if desired
  • Sriracha if desired


To make the broth:

  1. Char your onions and ginger.  The onions and ginger should be nicely charred but still firm, this step will deepen the broth’s flavor. Once the onions and ginger are charred, remove the skin from the onions. Rinse the onion and ginger, and use a small knife to scrape off excess charred bits to prevent your broth from getting bitter.
  2. Cut your chicken into parts, separating the breasts, legs, wings and backbone. This will ensure that your chicken cooks evenly.
  3. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cinnamon, anise and coriander until lightly browned and fragrant 2-3 minutes. Don’t burn the spices. Add onion, ginger and chicken to a large pot. Fill the pot with 5 quarts of water. Bring the water to a simmer; continuously skim the impurities as they rise to the top.
  4. After about 20 minutes of simmering, or once they’re cooked through, remove the chicken breasts and allow them to cool. Add the toasted spices, salt and sugar to the pot. Continue to gently simmer the mixture for at least 1 hour for flavors to develop.
  5. Remove the remaining chicken parts and strain the liquid through a fine meshed sieve. Bring the liquid back to a simmer until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter. This will deepen the broth’s flavor.
  6. While simmering, shred the chicken meat and reserve for serving. Once reduced, turn off the heat and add the fish sauce to the broth. Taste, and add additional seasoning if desired.

To make the matzah balls: 

  1. While the soup is simmering, in a large bowl whisk together the matzah meal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the beaten egg and oil (schmaltz would be a lovely replacement for the oil.  Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat). Add the scallions. Mix everything together until just combined.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Form the matzah ball mixture into even-sized balls. You can determine the size based on your preference, but they will double when cooked.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer and gently drop the matzah balls into simmering water. Place the lid on the pot and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Once cooked store in their cooking liquid.

To serve:

  1. Add the shredded chicken, raw sliced onion and scallions to a bowl. Ladle hot broth into the bowl. Add the matzah balls to the soup.
  2. Serve with Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, hoisin and hot sauces. Allow people to garnish and customize their pho to their liking.

“Kimchi Chronicles” Inspired Quick Hot Kimchi

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 head napa cabbage, coarsely chopped, core discarded
  • 1 Korean cucumber (or ½ hothouse cucumber, seeded), coarsely chopped

Whisk together the gochujang, vinegar, and fish sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the onion, coriander seeds, and gochugaru. Cook until the onion begins to brown, about 1½ minutes.

Pour the gochujang mixture over the onion, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 minute, until the liquid is nearly evaporated, then immediately stir in the cabbage and cucumber. Cook until the cabbage is wilted and the flavors are nicely combined, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional vinegar or fish sauce if you think it needs it.


Bindaetteok (Korean Mung Bean Pancakes)

2 cups dried mung beans, rinsed a few times
¼ cup sweet rice, rinsed a few times
½ cup kimchi liquid
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
1 generous cup finely diced kimchi
Vegetable oil, for frying
Korean Scallion Dipping Sauce

Add the mung beans and rice in a medium bowl. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and soak for at least 6 hours and up to 24.

Drain the soaked mung beans and rice and place in a blender along with ½ cup fresh water, the kimchi liquid, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt. Blend being careful not to over mix as it should be coarsely pureed.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the kimchi.

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Using a ¼-cup measure, ladle in the pancake batter to form pancakes and cook until crisp and browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until crisp and browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and continue with the remaining batter and more oil as necessary.

Serve hot with Scallion Dipping Sauce.

Korean Culinary Terms

Anju: Food consumed with alcohol

Banchan: Small plates presented before a meal

Bap: Rice

Bokkeum: Stir-fried

Bokkeumbap: Fried rice

Bulgogi: Grilled, thinly sliced, marinated rib eye

Ddeok: Rice cakes

Doenjang: Fermented soybean paste

Dubu [also called Tofu]: Bean curd

Ganjang: Soy sauce

Gim [also called Nori]: Dried seaweed

Gochugaru: Dried red chile powder

Gochujang: Spicy fermented red pepper paste

Gui: Broiled or grilled

Guk [also called Tang]: Soup

Hwe: Raw seafood

Jeon: Savory pancake

Jeongol: Large stew or casserole

Jjigae: Stew

Jjim: Steamed and/or braised

Jorim: Long-simmered to reduce

Kalbi: Short ribs

Kimchi: Fermented or pickled vegetable side dishes

Makgeolli: Unfiltered alcoholic beverage made from rice

Mandu: Dumplings

Muchim: Seasoned or marinated side dishes

Myeon: Noodles

Naengmyeon: Cold noodles in a beef broth

Namul: Seasoned vegetable side dishes

Noraebang [also called Karaoke] Singing bar or room

Pojangmacha: Late-night restaurant, usually tents in Korea

Ramyun: Korean ramen

Samgyeopsal: Grilled, unmarinated pork belly

Soju: Clear alcoholic beverage, the most popular alcohol in Korea

Soondae: Blood sausage

Soondubu: Soft tofu

Ssam: Vegetables used to wrap grilled meat

Ssamjang: Barbecue paste; made with doenjang and gochujang

Easy Mulligatawny Soup

12 Cloves Garlic Minced

2 1” Pieces Fresh Ginger, Peeled And Chopped

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

½ Teaspoon Turmeric

½ Teaspoon Curry Powder

2 Tablespoons Water

4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Lb. Ground Beef

1 Large Onion

2 Quarts Chicken Stock

4 Tablespoons Uncooked Brown Rice

6 Tablespoons Cornstarch

½ Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Lemon And Lime Juice

Coriander or Mint Springs For Garnish, Fried Onions For Garnish

Combine garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, and curry with 2 tablespoons of water and mash into a coarse paste.  In a large pot heat oil over medium heat.  Add beef, onion, and spice paste.  Cook fifteen minutes or until beef well browned.  Add stock and rice.  Bring to a boil.  In a small cup blend cornstarch and water until smooth.  Add to soup and stir constantly to reheat to boiling.  Cover,  reduce heat and simmer forty minutes. Add lemon and lime juices.  Stir well and serve hot in small bowls for an appetizer or over bowls of white rice for a main dish.  Top with garnishes.

Jiao Yan You Yu (椒鹽魷魚): Salt & Pepper Squid

2 small squid (1 lb 7 oz uncleaned, 11 oz cleaned)

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (Sake or Mirin may be used as a substitute.)

3 tbsp potato flour

1½ cups plus 2 tbsp (400ml) cooking oil

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion whites

1–2 tbsp finely sliced fresh red chilli

¼ tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper, mixed with ¾ tsp salt

2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens

Gently tug the tentacles, innards and bony blade out of the body. Cut the tentacles away and pull out the beak. Discard the head, innards and beak. Peel the wings from the body of the squid. Peel away and discard the purplish membrane that covers the wings and body. Rinse everything well in cold water.

Slice open the body of the squid along its length and lay it flat on a board. Score the whole surface in parallel cuts a few millimetres apart. Don’t worry if some of your cuts go through to the board: the squid will taste delicious and look appetizing anyway. Make parallel scores at right angles to the first cuts. You should end up with the whole surface cross-hatched. Do the same with the wings. Cut the body into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with the wings and tentacles, add the Shaoxing wine and mix well.

Drain the squid. Add the flour and mix well. Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame to 350°F. Add half the squid and deep-fry until lightly golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat.

Drain off all but 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic, spring onion whites and chilli to the wok and stir-fry over a medium heat until they smell wonderful. Increase the heat to high, return the squid with the Sichuan pepper and salt mixture to the wok and stir and toss for a minute. Finally, add the spring onion greens, mix well and serve.