how to

How to make blue crabs with savory sauce

Blue crabs is one of my favorite dishes!  I first ate this wonderful dish at my Aunt Ong's house ten years ago and instantly loved it at first taste!  The flavor is savory and succulant, omg is it finger licking good!  It is best served with sticky rice.  You dip the sticky rice into the sauce and eat. OMG YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 pounds of blue crab (cleaned, gutted, and split in half)
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1 package of imitation crab meat
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped ginger
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 jar crab paste
  • 1 jar shrimp paste

 

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How to make Hmong Jello

Making Hmong jello is very easy.  It is great for all occasions.  All you need are a few ingredients! Let's get started.

Hmong Jello Ingredients:

Version 1

  • 1 cup of Knox Unflavored Gelatine (if you can find the 16 oz can it will save you lots of $$)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (13 oz can)
  • 5 cups of hot water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of sugar
  • add small amount of salt (optional)
  • add drops of smell flavoring (cov tsw tsw qaab rau nabvam) OPTIONAL
     
  1. Add sugar to a large bowl.
  2. Measure out 5 cups of boiling water to a big bowl. (becareful cos it's hot!)
  3. Then add the water to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add coconut milk and stir.
  5. Lastly, add the Knox unflavored gelatine. 
  6. Divide the mixture into three equal parts. 
  7. Add food coloring as you wish. 
  8. In a large pan, pour one color mixture and place in the refrigerator until firm (usually 15 minutes, depends on the temperature of your fridge). 
  9. When the layer is firm, add another layer.
  10. Once it's all solid, cut it up into smaller pieces!

 

VERSION 2 - this one tastes creamier!

5 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unflavored gelatin
1 can of coconut milk (13 oz)
5 egg yolks
pinch of salt
Food coloring of your choice

Mix the water, coconut milk, and sugar in a bowl and heat over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, optional.
When little bubbles start to form on the surface, add the egg yolks and stir immediately. Do not let it boil or else you will have scrambled eggs.
Sprinkle the gelatin carefully and stir so it does not get lumpy.
Remove and separate into 3 equal parts.
Add food coloring as you wish.
Pour one color in a pan and chill in the freezer or fridge until solid.
Pour next color when the layer is solid enough to hold another layer.
Continue until all colors are done.
Cut and serve!

To make egg shell mold, crack the narrow end of the egg with a toothpick or knife. Carefully remove a dime size hole. Pour out the egg whites, then the egg yolk will come out last. You can use the egg yolks for this recipe or save for another time. Rinse the egg shell in water. Place upside down back in the egg carton so the water drips out.  If you are concerned about using real eggs, I suggest you can buy egg molds online or at the store.  They make jello molds for eggs.

To fill the egg shells, use a plastic bag and pour it carefully into the shells. OR put the liquid into an empty plastic squeeze bottle and pour into the egg shell.

Where to find the large can of unflavored gelatin?
I bought a 16 oz can of Knox Unflavored gelatin at a large American grocery supermarket. Here in Madison, WI I bought it at Woodman's.  If you cannot find the 16 oz can, you can buy the individual unflavored gelatin packages at any supermarket.  It is cheaper to get the 16 oz can if you plan to make a lot of jello! You can make a few batches with the 16 oz can!

Where to find the powder food coloring like the one in the video?
I bought the Swad food coloring at my local asian grocery store.  If you cannot find powder food coloring, you can use liquid food coloring too.  Powder form just makes the colors brighter but any coloring would work. 

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Try it with different colors and see how it turns out!  Please subscribe to my youtube channel for more updates and new videos!

How to make Nab Vam tapioca strings

This is a super easy recipe to make Hmong Nab Vam strings (pronounced as na va), also known as tapioca worms.  My fellow sister in Christ, Nam Phoumee, taught me how to make this recipe! Thank you Nam Phoumee!!!!!

Nab Vam Ingredients:

  • 1 - 16oz bag of Bot Banh Gio flour (see picture below)
  • 9 cups of cold water
  • food coloring of your choice

Other stuff to get ready

  • a really big pot to cook the mixture
  • a steamer pot with a top pot that has holes and a bottom pot for water (I got mine from a korean store)
  • a big strong spoon (flat or round, preferably a wide spoon)

Let's start!

  1. Mix the flour and the 9 cups of cold water in a pot.  Stir until disolved.  It will resemble white milk.
     
  2. Add the food coloring of your choice.  I prefer to use the powder food color cos it makes the color brighter.
     
  3. Place the pot on the stove and cook on high heat and stir.
     
  4. Watch the pot closely and stir continously.  Within 3-5 minutes the mixture will start to thicken.  Then in the last few stages it will get really thick within a few seconds!!!! This is why it is important to use a big strong spoon. Keep stirring!
     
  5. When the mixture starts to develop big bubbles and get shiny, turn off the stove.
     
  6. Stack the steamer pot in the sink.
     
  7. Pour the hot mixture into the steamer.  Using the big spoon with a downward pressing stroking motion, press the mixture down through the holes.  The tiny strings will fall into the bottom steamer. The technique to this is to press downward and stroke it to the side.
     
  8. Scoop out the strings and put them in the container of your choice. (see picture above)

Update!!! -- I recently bought a potato ricer to try to make my worms and they turned out beautifully! You should try it out. You can buy it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

 

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment! The key to this is continuous stirring!

Dynamite Mussels

These mussels are exceptionally easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen mussels (I bought mine from the asian store)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (you can use the Japanese Kewpie brand or regular mayo)
  • a few squirts of sriracha sauce (adjust to your liking)
  • smelt roe fish eggs (optional)
     
  1. Thaw the mussels. Pat dry with a towel or napkin.
     
  2. Place mussels on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
     
  3. Mix the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce together til it blends together.
     
  4. Using a spoon, scoop out the sauce and layer it onto the mussels generously.
     
  5. Broil in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until it turns golden brown.
     
  6. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Variations

  • Add the smelt roe after you layer the mussels with mayo / sriracha sauce.
  • You can also cut up the mussels into smaller pieces and then place them back on the shells, then add the sauce and bake.  It makes it easier for eating.

Enjoy! Leave me any comments if you tried this! :-)

Hmong Long Cheng Bread

 

This is a delicious, warm sweet bread that is great with coffee or tea.  I learned how to make this bread from my sister in law Ntxawm Cheng.  Thank you Ntxawm Cheng!!!! It's a simple process.  She taught me how to make a huge batch.  But this version below is one that I slightly modified to make half the batch (about 30 loaves depending on how big you make them). 

I don't know what the real name of this bread is.  But it kind of tastes like the bread that I ate once in California, so I'm just nicknaming this that bread!

Hmong Long Cheng sweet bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 lb sugar (this is about 25% of a 4lb sugar bag)
  • 5 packages of vanilla sugar
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 and 1/2 can water (use the coconut milk can)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 5 packages instant yeast
  • 5 lb bread flour (save at least 2 cups for dusting)
     
  • 1 large rectangle aluminum pan
  • 2 large aluminum baking sheets
  • parchment paper
     
  1. In a really large aluminum pan, mix evaporated skim milk, condensed milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, coconut milk, water, baking powder, and yeast.  You'll get a slushy consistency.  I used my hands to do the mixing but if you want, you can use a whisk.  By using my hands, I'm able to feel if the sugar has been dissolved.
     
  2. Add the bread flour to the mixture and continue mixing until incorporated.  The mixture will resemble a really thick pancake batter and will be very sticky.
     
  3. In an oven, heat to 170 degrees.  If you have a warm feature in your oven, keep it at 170 degrees.  Cover the aluminum pan with foil and let the dough rise in the oven for about 1 hour.
     
  4. The dough will double its original size.  Remove from oven and place the pan on a solid surface.
     
  5. Dust your hands in flour and take a baseball size piece of dough.  Roll it into a hot dog bun shape and place onto the parchment paper 1 inch apart.  You can also roll it into a circle if you wish. Try different shapes!
     
  6. You can use two baking sheets to cut the cooking time in half.  Just remember, the bottom one will cook faster so you will have to keep an eye on it.
     
  7. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the bottom turns slightly brown.  The top may not be brown, but as it cools it gets brown. Remove and cool on a rack.

Variations:

  • Add some pandan custard to the inside when you are rolling the dough into pieces.
  • You can also try taro, vanilla custard, nutella, etc ... be creative!
  • You can also try to slice the top to make cool shapes like X's or other. Get creative!

Tips:

  • Personally, I like my buns soft so I try not to let the bottom part brown too much.  Once you take it out of the oven, it still continues to cook a little.  You will notice that the top will start to brown more even after it's out of the oven.
     
  • If you want to freeze the buns for later use, don't cook them all the way brown.  Use a tong to lift up the bottom to see how solid the bun is.  If it's flimsy, it's not cooked.  If it's firm but not brown, remove from oven. Let it cool first before putting into a bag or freezer.  If it's hot and you freeze it in a bag, condensation will build up and you will have a slimy bun hehe.

Good luck!  Please leave me a comment if you have any questions.  I'll be back to post more step by step pictures.  A lot of people have been asking me for this recipe so I am posting it here for you to try! I love to share, so sharing it is!

Here's a video if you want to see me in action!

 

How to make Khaub Piaj - homemade rice noodle chicken soup

This soup is great to eat on cold winter days or just days when you are feeling under the weather.  It can be enjoyed with various condiments such as fried garlic, chili paste, cilantro, green onion, fish sauce, etc ... Today, I will show how to make a simple rice noodle soup with chicken.

Serves 4 servings
 

Stock Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken pieces (you can use whatever pieces you want)
  • 5 cups water (you can add more later if you want it less thick)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (chopped into 3 pieces) - optional
  • 3 chopped green onion for garnish - optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt
     

Noodle Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup hot boiling water
  • tapioca flour for dusting (keeping it from sticking)

     

Making the stock:

  1. Boil the chicken, salt, & lemonstalk in the water.
  2. Scoop out any foam that may be floating in the water.
  3. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will depend on how big you chopped up your chicken pieces.
  4. Take the chicken pieces out and shred them with a fork until you get small pieces.  Set the chicken aside in a bowl.

Making the noodles:

 

 

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Mix the 1 cup rice flour (red one) and the 1 cup glutinous rice flour (green one) in a large bowl.
  3. Add 1 cup boiling hot water slowly into the mixture and mix it together until incorporated. You will have to use your hands to knead the dough.  If it is too dry, add 1 tsp water.  If it gets too sticky, add a few tsp of tapioca starch (blue one).
  4. On a large surface, lightly flour with tapioca starch.
  5. With a rolling pin, flatten out the dough.  Add tapioca starch so it doesn't get too sticky.
  6. Cut the noodle into long strings.

Putting it all together:

 

 

  1. Carefully place the noodles into the stock and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Then add back the chicken pieces.  Add more water if it gets too thick. Be careful not to stir the noodles too much or else they will break.
  3. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Then it's ready to serve!
  4. Add any condiments of your choice!

Modifications to this recipe - time saver!

  • If you have a KitchenAid mixer or similar, mix the flours and water with the dough mixer.
  • If you have a KitchenAid noodle cutter, use the fetticine blade to cut the dough into strips.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Feel free to leave me any comments.

 

I have a Mac. Now what?

Have you ever wondered to yourself, "I have a Mac, now what?"  Well fear not, I've said those words to myself too when I first bought my iMac back a few years ago. First thing I remember was, "well now what do I do?"  If you are like anyone else on the internet, the first thing you want to do is get connected to the web!  But how do you do that?

First you must get connected to the internet either by a cable, dsl, or wireless router.  That assumes you have an internet provider!

All iMacs and MacBooks come with Safari.  It's the icon that looks a compass in your tray dock (which is probably located at the bottom of your screen).  As soon as you click that, Safari launches and takes you to Apple's home page.  If you like Safari, you can continue browsing the web with it.  Me, I prefer Firefox so I use that most often.  You can download it at www.mozilla.com

All executable files on Macs are called "dmg" files.  This is the equivalent of what you were probably used to execute "exe" files on Windows.  To open a "dmg" file, all you do is double click it and it should load right up.  Sometimes you are presented with an icon to drag to your "applications folder."  If you see it, just drag it!  Simple as that.

Some really cool free programs that you can immediately start using are:

  • Safari - web browsing, surfing, checking internet email
  • iPhoto - for organizing all your photos and making cool slideshows
  • iMovie - for editing videos and making movies.
  • iDVD - for burning your video files to a DVD so you can play it on a DVD player.
  • Garageband - for editing music files, creating music, and learning how to play instruments.
  • Textpad - for easy text editing, writing.
  • iTunes - for organizing your music, video, and syncing to your Apple devices such as an iPod, iPhone, iPad.

Some other cool free software you should download:

  • OpenOffice - the equivalent of Microsoft Office except that OpenOffice is free!
  • Skype - for messenging your friends
  • Firefox - web browser!
  • Chrome - web browser!
  • GIMP - for photo editing, similar to Photoshop

Other paid software that are helpful if you like advanced editing photos, video.

  • Adobe CS5 products - suite of all things video, photo, web editing.
  • Logic Pro - for editing sounds, music
  • Final Cut Pro - for really awesome video editing
  • DVD Studio Pro - for authoring really custom masterpiece DVDs

Also, you can download really awesome and cool apps easily from the Mac App store.

If you would like to venture into making iPhone or iPad apps, try XCode.  It's also available for a minimal price from the Mac App Store.  However, if you want to sell it in the iTunes store, you must be a licensed Apple Developer.  It costs $99.00 per year.

I plan to put some tutorials up soon.  Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or requests!

 

How to download a Youtube video or Youtube audio

1.

Open up Firefox. If you don't have Firefox, download the latest version of Firefox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/  

2.

Install Easy Youtube Video Downloader: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/easy-youtube-video-downl-10137/. Then click the green button that says "Add to Firefox" and follow the instructions.

3.

Go to Youtube and search for any video. Look for the button that says "Download As" and click i.t

4.

Select the file format you want to save and save the file to your computer.