hmong food

Ben's Birthday

Food display
 

Sweet Pork

 

Rice Cakes

 

BBQ Pork

 

Blue Crabs
 

Pork Larb

We had a great time celebrating Ben's 19th Birthday! He invited his friends and cousins to help him celebrate his special day. A few of his friends pitched in and they went to kill a whole pig. This was the first time these boys went out together and butchered a whole pig without any help from the elders. Good job boys! Every hmong man has to learn this at some point in his life!

 

 

Pho Broth Recipe

This is how I make my pho broth recipe:

Ingredients:

  • beef bones with marrow (leg bones) cut up in 2 inch pieces
  • 2 charred onion (then rinse and remove black parts)
  • 1 thumb (about 4 inches) charred ginger (same as above)
  • 1 spice packet (get it at the asian store, put in the small white mesh bag - coriander, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cardamom)
  • 1 inch chunk rock sugar
  • lots of water (about 1-2 gallon)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Pho broth seasoning

     

  1. Wash the beef bones clean.
  2. Add the bones to a large pot and fill with water until covered.
  3. Boil the bones for 5-10 minutes to get rid of the impurities
  4. Dump water out and rinse the bones
  5. Put the bones back in pot and add lots of cold water
  6. Bring back to boil, cook for 1 hour
  7. Add the charred onion, charred ginger, spice packet, rock sugar, fish sauce, salt, pho broth seasoning
  8. Cook for additional 1-4 hours. Cook longer if you want stronger flavor.
  9. Season to your tasting.

Condiments: (optional and up to you!)

  • basil leaves
  • bean sprouts
  • sliced jalapeno
  • lime
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha sauce
  • crushed peanuts
  • culantro
  • chopped green onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • sugar
  • oyster sauce
  • fish sauce
  • meatballs
  • sliced beef
  • tendons
  • sliced tripe
  • other
 

Sesame Seed Balls

Home made sesame seed balls with mung bean filling. I don't like eating a glob of flour, so I don't use baking powder in my recipe.

Here's how I make mine:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (add more sugar if you like)
  • 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 cup hot water

Mix all with your hand until it looks like play dough. If it's too dry, add a little more sprinkles of water. Then roll them into 1 inch balls.

  • 1/4 cup split mung beans (soak 1 hr then steam until soft)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
 
Mash up and form into little balls.
 
  1. Take the dough and flatten with palm of your hand.
  2. Make indentation with your thumb.
  3. Put in the filling.
  4. Fold/wrap the dough edges around the filling and snip off extra dough.
  5. Add white sesame seeds. You can dip the balls in water and then roll them in the sesame seeds.
  6. Fry in peanut oil on medium heat. Try not to use vegetable oil because this burns too easily.
  7. When the ball starts to float, press on it lightly to release some air. This will cause the dough to expand. Keep doing this while rotating the balls in the oil. It needs to cook evenly for about 15-20 minutes. Use lots of oil becaues the balls need to be submerged.
 
Stuffing alternatives
 
  • Try mashing up oreos and adding Nutella. Then form them into little balls.
  • Try cream cheese and sugar.
  • Try red bean paste or azuki beans.
  • Try peanut butter and vanilla wafers. Form them into little balls.
  • Try Andez chocolate mints, yum.
  • Try any kind of chocolate bar

Frequently asked questions:

How do I get them hollow?
When they start to float, lightly press on them. It will cause the dough to expand.

My balls become flat after they are out of the oil. How do I keep them crispy?
This all depends at the temperature and duration of how you fry them. Keep in mind, you must fry them for at least 15-20 minutes on medium heat, preferably using peanut oil. If yours cooks too fast, the outside will be golden but the inside will not be cooked. You also must turn these balls continuously so that they cook evenly.

Do you have any recommendations for beginners? I am making them for the first time.
Try making mini sesame balls. Make them smaller and fry them so you get a feel for how it should taste. Then gradually make them bigger until you get comfortable with the technique to get them to expand.

How do I get a lot of sesame seeds on the ball?
Dip the ball into water and roll them around in a bowl of sesame seeds. Then use your hands to lightly press the seeds on so they stick.

I don't have mashed potato flakes, do I need it?
You can leave it out if you don't have it.

Some recipes use baking powder, why doesn't your recipe use it?
I'm not a big fan of biting into globs of dough. I've tried a lot of recipes that use it with rice flour but I didn't like the texture. I like mine similar to the chinese sesame balls.  If you like it chewier and thick, you can add 1/2 tsp of baking powder.

 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below!

Soft sweet milk bread

This bread is soft, sweet, and delicious! This bread was inspired from my experience eating soft sweet japanese bread. I used a chinese method to make the flour paste. This helps the bread be soft!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages of instant yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, softened and cut up in slices

Step 1

  1. Add 1 cup water and 1/3 cup of bread flour to a sauce pan. Mix on medium heat until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Remove and set aside to cool

Step 2

  1. In a mixer, mix 5 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together.
  2. Mix wet ingredients together: 1 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 eggs, the flour paste from step 1.
  3. Make a well in the mixer and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  4. Using the bread/kneading hook, knead until smooth.
  5. Add the softened butter one at a time.
  6. Knead for 20 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  7. Set in a dry place and let it rise until double in size.

Step 3

  • Shape the dough into any shape you like.
  • Mix 1 egg white with 2 tbsp of water.
  • Brush onto the buns before baking.
  • Bake for 10-13 minutes on 350 degree oven OR until the top is golden brown.
  • Do not overbake, it will make your bread hard.
  • Remove and let cool.
  • Enjoy!

Hmong Pork Sausage

Hmong Pork Sausage, Asian Sausage

It's been a fun journey making hmong sausages over the past year.  Prices have really peaked here where I usually buy hmong pork sausage. Now it's about $10 for a 2 pound pack.  So I opted on my quest to make my own home made Hmong style pork sausage.  I am happy to share with you what has worked for me and that I've received great feedback on my sausages.  The recipe below will make about 10 pounds of pork sausage.  They keep very well in the freezer, so you can keep them there for months and they will still taste great!

I also have another recipe for an herb infused hmong pork sausage. I will make a video of that one another day.  For now, the one below is for the spicy hmong pork sausage.  If you don't like spicy, omit the thai chilies.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds pork belly grounded up
  • 5 pounds ground pork
  • 1/4 cup thai chilis minced
  • 1 cup red onion minced
  • 1 cup green onion minced
  • 1 cup ginger minced
  • 1 cup lemon grass finely minced
  • 1/4 cup lime leaf minced
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce in peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sodium nitrate (seasoning salt meat tenderizer)
  • 1 tbsp MSG (optional)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce (three crabs brand)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • hog casings
     
  1. Remove the hog casings and let sit in cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse each hog casing with cold water until the salt is removed. May need to repeat several times.  Set aside.
  3. Mix the water, chili sauce, and thai chilies in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and pour the sauce in step 2 into the mixture.
  5. Stuff the sausage in the hog casings.  You can use various methods to stuff your sausage.  In my video below, I will demonstrate to how stuff sausage using a sausage stuffer I bought from Gander Mountain.

Tips and Advice

  • Get a good quality sausage stuffer if you are going to make a lot of sausage.  Doing it manually takes too long.
  • I bought a Kitchenaid sausage stuffer attachment for under $20 but it took too long and my arms got sore pushing the meat into the stuffer.
  • I tried doing it manually with a milk jug and 2 liter bottle. Too long.
  • Do not overstuff the sausage, leave it loose so that the meat can expand and cook.  If your sausage explodes, it means it was too packed too tight.
  • If your sausage comes out too salty, it usually means you left a lot of salt in the hog casings and didn't rinse all the salt out.
  • Sodium Nitrate is the same thing as the Morton Tender Quick salt. You can find this at most grocery stores.
  • MSG is optional. It's a meat flavor enhancer, if you don't like it don't use it.
  • Don't skimp on the chili sauce in peanut oil. This gives the sausage that nice flavor and color.

 

 

Asian Pork Sausage, Hmong Sausage, Lao Sausage

Chinese Sponge Cake

chinese sponge cake hmong food

This recipe is very easy to make! I love eating these any time of the year! They are soft, moist, and delicious! Reminds me of my childhood.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar (see instructions below to make your own)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Steps

  1. Beat the 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg. 
  2. Add the oil and beat.
  3. Add the cake flour and mix. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. In a mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Then add sugar.
  5. Continue to whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter until combined.
  7. Pour into paper lined cup cake pan.
  8. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes (or until top is golden brown).
  9. Cool on a rack and serve!

Making your own fine sugar

  • Put sugar in a food processor and process it until it is powdery soft. 
  • You don't want to end up with powdered sugar, but you want the consistency to be soft and fine.

Green Papaya Salad

I love eating green papaya salad especially in the summer! It is light and refreshing.  It's a little sweet, sour, and spicy! You can make it with a few key ingredients!  This is a recipe that I created through experimentation and trial/error.  Hope you like it. This is a very popular salad that Hmong people love to eat especially at Hmong soccer tournaments and Hmong New Year celebrations.  Green papaya salad originated from Laos/Thailand. 

Green Papaya Salad Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded green papaya
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 thai chili pepper (add more or less pepper to suit your taste)
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1/4 tsp crab paste
  • 2 tbsp salted crab
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar crushed + 1 tbsp water (melt for 30 seconds in a microwave)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (three crabs brand)
  • 1/4 cup tamarind paste water
  • 1/2 lime (this also equals about 1 tbsp, add more lime if you like it more sour)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed peanuts
  • 5-7 cherry tomatoes sliced

Preparation

  • Peel the green skin off the papaya with a peeler. Use the asian shredding peeler to get thin shreds. Or if you don't have one, chop the papaya all around and then use a knife to slice it into strips (doing it the old fashioned way makes the salad crisp).
  • Melt the crushed palm sugar with 1 tbsp water in a microwave for 30 seconds
  • To make the tamarind paste water, take a block of tamarind and add equal amount of hot water.  Let is soak for about 10-15 minutes and then squeeze out the juice.  You can use it just like this or put it through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Putting it all together

  1. In a mortar, smash/grind the thai chili pepper.
  2. Add the garlic clove and smash.
  3. Add the shrimp paste, crab paste. Mix.
  4. Add the salted crab and smash lightly to remove the juices from the crab.
  5. Add the fish sauce, sugar syrup, tamarind paste water. Mix.
  6. Add the tomatoes and smash lightly to bruise the tomatoes.
  7. Put the shredded green papaya in a large bowl.
  8. Add the sauce and crushed peanuts to the papaya and toss to coat the papaya.
  9. Serve

Adjust the ingredient measurements to suit your taste! 

Kicking it up a notch:

  • Add some long green beans
  • Add some shredded carrots
  • Add some dry small shrimp
  • Add some khaub poob noodles
  • Eat it with some pork rinds
  • Add padek (mud fish) to give it a pungent kick
  • Anything you like!!!!!

You can buy the ingredients at most asian grocery stores.  Just ask the clerk to help you find them.

Leave me a comment if you try this recipe!

 

How to make cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 premade graham cracker crust
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can cherry (optional for topping)
     
  1. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. It can be lumpy.
  2. Then pour the mixture into the graham cracker pie crust. 
  3. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Chill until cold.
  5. Then add your favorite topping.

How to make chinese steamed pork buns

This is a simple recipe that you can make at home.

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or you can substitute it with canola oil
  • 3 tbsp instant dry milk powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Filling ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or meat of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup cabbage (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice tofu (optional, but I suggest you use it because it makes the pork moist)
  • 1 chinese sausage (optional, sliced into small pieces)
  • hard boiled eggs (optional)
     

Making the dough

  1. Combine the yeast with the warm water, set aside.
  2. Combine all the dry dough ingredients together in a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds.
  3. Mix the oil with the yeast and water mixture.
  4. Open the food processor and pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Process for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.

Making the filling

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands.

Putting it together

  1. Divide the dough into 16 pieces (or make bigger buns -  your choice, you just get less buns)
  2. Roll out with rolling pin into 6 inch diameter
  3. Add 1 tbsp meat mixture.
  4. Fold ends of dough into each other like you are building stairs with them. (watch my video)
  5. Place onto cut up squares of parchment paper.
  6. Steam for 12 - 15 minutes depending on the size of the bun.

 

How to make steamed rice cake banh bo

steamed rice cake, banh bo


 

This is a delicious Vietnamese dessert called steamed rice cakes also known as banh bo.  When I was little, my grandma used to make this for me (minus the coconut milk). There is a chinese version to this cake that doesn't use coconut milk. In hmong we call this "ncuav sawv".

Many years ago when I tried to learn how to make this dessert, I failed miserably 13 times.  On my 14th attempt, I finally got the beautiful honeycombs in my steamed rice cake. Oh boy, what a journey that was!  The key to this recipe is PATIENCE!!!! Do not rush anything otherwise, you'll end up with a flat and unflattering cake.  I also found that the secret to nice honeycombs is also in the preparation of the first step. It is critical that you have a good solid container.

Update!
If you use instant yeast, you only need to allow the batter to rise for about 1 hour, then add the coconut/water/sugar mixture and let rest 20 minutes and then you can steam it. No need to wait 5-10 hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 - 16 oz bag rice flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 package yeast or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 - 13 oz can coconut milk (the cooking kind is preferred, do not use dessert coconut milk)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar (adjust sugar to your liking)
  • 1 cup water
  • gallon ice cream bucket or other airtight container

Step 1

  1. Add 2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1 tbsp sugar to an ice cream bucket. Mix.
  2. Add rice flour and mix.
  3. Close lid, set aside for 5 - 10 hours (or overnight).  The batter will rise and fall.  The longer you keep it in the container, the stronger the flavor. 

Step 2

  1. In a small pot, add 1 cup water, coconut milk, and the sugar. Heat on medium until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
  2. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until cool.

Mixing it all together

  1. Using a whisk, stir the batter to loosen it from the ice cream bucket.
  2. Add the syrup from step 2 to the batter. Mix.  It will become the consistency like milk.
  3. Close lid.
  4. Set aside for 1 hour.

After 1 hour

  1. Open lid and you will see tiny air bubbles form.
  2. If you want to make multiple colors, separate the mixture into equal parts. Add food coloring of your choice. Skip this step if you don't want color.
  3. Heat a steamer to boiling and place a metal pie pan.  Make sure the metal pie pan is hot before you pour in the mixture.
  4. Steam on high for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. When the rice cake is done, the top surface should be solid.
  6. Remove from steamer and place into a freezer for about 10-15 minutes until cool.
  7. Transfer onto plate and cut. Serve

I hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out for you!

Variations!

  • Steam in tart molds
  • Cut up the bottom of soda cans and use as a mold.  It has a unique shape!
  • Steam in small round molds or dishes

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