Vietnamese Recipes

During my 10day stop in Ho Chi Minh, I stayed at the Ngoc Thao Guesthouse in the backpacker area. The owners and everyone who worked there were very friendly and helpful with whatever we needed. They offered to prepare a typical Vietnamese meal for us where we would get to go shopping with them to the local food market, help them cook and then finally eat with them. The other time, one of the girls who works there, Tran, took me for breakfast to her favourite place which is actually a few tables set up in somebody’s house. Let me tell you, it was best Mi Quang I’ve had (see featured image of this post). I hope I can treat her to breakfast someday!

Back to recipes, there will be 3.

Sauteed Morning Glory – This one is dead easy but we really enjoyed it and decided to put it up lest I forget by the time my travels are over.

Braised chicken with ginger – This one was everyone’s favourite

Sour Fish soup – a light soup for those hot summer days

Happy cooking!

Chicken with ginger

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Medium
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  • 200g Chicken with bone (Cut into 3cm squares)
  • 4cm Piece of Ginger (around 100gms), cut into fine julienne
  • 10 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped,
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
  • 3 Teaspoon of Chicken Powder/Stock
  • 3 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • Pinch of Ground Pepper
  • 2 green chillies, chopped (optional)
  • 4 sprigs of Spring Onion, chopped
  • 1tbspn sunflower oil


  1. Caramelize sugar in water until brown.
  2. Marinade chicken with fish sauce, caramelized sugar sauce, chicken stock, green chillies and pepper.  Set aside for 30mins.
  3. Heat oil, on medium heat, in a pan. Saute garlic and onion until brown. Keep stirring as not to burn garlic.
  4. Add chicken mixture to pot and stir fry for around 10 minutes.
  5. Add 100ml water to the bowl with marinade, stir to gather remaining marinade and add to the pot.
  6. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Add julienned ginger and cook till raw taste of ginger is gone and chicken is cooked through.
  8. Garnish with spring onion and serve with rice

Sour Fish Soup

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Medium
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  • 4 – 5 Tamarind Pieces
  • 2 Okras
  • 10cm Taro Stem (can use Pak Choy as a substitute)
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • handful of Buffalo Spinach
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 Slices of Pineapple
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Cooking Oil
  • 1 Slice of Mackerel
  • 3 Teaspoons of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
  • 3 Teaspoons of Chicken Powder/Stock


  1. Mix tamarind and 50ml of warm water together to make tamarind juice
  2. Cut okra, taro stem, cilantro and buffalo spinach into 0.5cm pieces and set aside
  3. Cut tomato and pineapple into quarters and set aside
  4. Dice garlic as small as you can
  5. Add cooking oil and garlic into a pan and saute until garlic is golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside
  6. Add 400ml of water into a medium sized pot. Add in pineapple and tomato until the smell of pineapple is strong
  7. Add in fish and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Remove fish and set aside.
  8. Add in 1 – 2 tablespoons of the tamarind juice into pot depending on the taste you want. Also add in sugar, fish sauce and chicken powder bring to the boil for 10 minutes
  9. Add in okra and taro stems bring to the boil for 5 minutes
  10. Remove from heat and add buffalo spinach, cilantro and garlic for garnish
  11. Serve warm with rice.

Mattar Paneer

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients (serves 5)

  • 750gms mattar (green peas)
  • 250gms paneer cubed, shallow fry in 1tspn little butter)
  • 4tspn butter
  • 1.5inch ginger, grated
  • 2tspn fresh ginger garlic paste (1:4 ginger to garlic)
  • 1/2tspn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tspn red chilli power
  • 1.5 tspn coriander powder
  • .5tspn cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup pre-fried onions, blended
  • 2 medium tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3tspn Kitchen King masala
  • 4tbpsn sunflower oil
  • 1tspn kasuri methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 small piece coal, 1 tspn oil
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves


  1. Heat 1 tspn butter. Shallow fry paneer cubes till they turn golden. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil and remaining butter in a wok. Add cumin seeds.
  3. When seeds start spluttering, add grated ginger and fry for 1 minute.
  4. Add onion and fry till pinkish.
  5. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for further 2mins.
  6. Turn heat to low. Add all dry masalas and cook for 5mins or till raw smell of masala is gone.
  7. Add pre-fried onion paste and fry for 2mins.
  8. Add blended tomatoes and fry for another 2mins
  9. Add peas and cook till almost soft. Now add the paneer. Add hot water if needed to adjust thickness of the sauce.
  10. Below steps are optional but they give this curry a delicious smoked flavor.
    1. Heat coal directly on a flame till it turns red (Do this right at the start as the coal will take a while to heat up)
    2. Place a small bowl in the center of the wok (make sure the sauce doesn’t enter this bowl).
    3. Put the hot coal into this bowl, add 1tspn oil on the coal (it will start smoking). Immediately cover the wok and leave for 3mins.
    4. Uncover the wok, remove the bowl and discard the coal.
  11. Add kasuri methi and stir through.
  12. Adjust salt and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  13. Serve with fresh roti or rice!

Saag Chicken

Delicious chicken cooked in a mild spinach based sauce. I fell in love with this the first time my mom cooked it for me.

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1.25kgs chicken on bone (drumsticks or thighs)
  • 1/2kg spinach, rinsed
  • 125gms coriander
  • 4 green chillies
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pre-fried onions, blended to a paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1/4th star anise
  • 3tspn Kitchen King masala (or any other chicken masala)
  • 4tspn fresh ginger garlic paste (ratio 1:4 ginger to garlic)
  • 1.5tspn coriander powder
  • .5tspn cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8tbspns sunflower oil


  1. Marinate chicken with 1tspn ginger garlic paste and 1/2tspn salt for 1hr.
  2. Boil chicken on low flame till half cooked, around 30mins.
  3. In another pot, boil spinach. Blend this with fresh coriander and green chillies.
  4. Heat oil in a wok. Add the bay leaf, cardamoms and star anise.
  5. After 30secs, add onion and fry on high heat till it turns pinkish.
  6. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3mins.
  7. Turn heat to low. Add kitchen king masala. Fry for 2mins.
  8. Add tomatoes, coriander powder, cumin powder, pre-friend onion paste. Fry for 5miins or till raw taste of masalas is gone.
  9. Add spinach puree, fry for 5mins.
  10. Add chicken, cover and cook till chicken is cooked through.
  11. Serve with fresh rotis!

Mutton Pulao

One of my all-time-favourite dishes! Basmati rice cooked in a delicate but delicious lamb stock is an absolute treat! Thanks mum for this recipe 🙂

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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  • 1kg shoulder or neck cut lamb (with bone), cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 500gms basmati rice
  • 250gms yoghurt, whisked
  • 1tbspn red chilli powder
  • 6tbspn fresh ginger garlic paste (1:4 ginger to garlic)
  • 1/2cup pre-fried onions
  • 2tspns Salt
  • 3 medium potatoes, quartered and soaked in salted water for 30mins
  • 12tbspn sunflower oil + extra to fry potatoes

For Tadka

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 black cardamom
  • 10 black peppercorns

Spice bag (secured in muslin cloth)

  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 5 black cardamom
  • 1tbspn coriander seeds
  • 1tspn cumin seeds
  • 1tspn khus khus (poppy seeds)
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 inch long cinnamon stick
  • 1tbspn fennel seeds


  1. In a pot, boil lamb with 2.5cups water, 1tspn salt, all of ginger garlic paste and spice bag till lamb is cooked, around 1.5 – 2hrs. Retain the water/stock.
  2. In another pot, heat some oil and fry the soaked potatoes till they turn crispy on the outside (the potatoes won’t be cooked through at this stage). Set aside.
  3. When meat is cooked through, heat 12tbspns oil in another pot and add Tadka ingredients. Remove spice bag from the meat and squeeze the juice from the bag in the pot with tadka.
  4. Mix red chilli powder with whisked yoghurt and add to tadka. Cook for 5mins and add cooked lamb to this mix (without water)
  5. Add potatoes and rice to lamb. Cook till you can see oil coming out.
  6. Add remaining salt. Add 4 cups of lamb stock (add additional hot water if needed) and bring to a boil.
  7. Simmer rice for 10-15mins till stock has almost evaporated. Scatter pre-fried onions and mix very gently.
  8. Cover pot with foil and then put the lid on. Cook for another 10-15mins or till the rice is cooked.
  9. Turn off heat, remove foil, keep the pot partly covered with the lid and let stand for 10mins.
  10. Serve with a mixed salad or raita.

Dill and Lentil curry

This is one of my favourite bhajis (greens). Although in most parts of the world, dill is used as a garnish, in India it is prepared as a dry curry. (Any greens prepared as curry is called bhaji). This is my mum’s recipe; It’s very simple and healthy and tastes splendid with sorghum rotis smeared with ghee.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1/2kg dill (called shepu in marathi), chopped
  • 1/4cup yellow split moong dal, rinsed and soaked for atleast 30mins
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 big cloves garlic and 3 green chillies, ground to paste
  • 1 onion medium, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3tbspn sunflower oil


  1. Heat oil in a wok, saute garlic till golden.
  2. Add onions and fry till they turn reddish. Add garlic and chilly paste and fry for couple of mins.
  3. Add dal and fry for another 2-3mins.
  4. Add dill, 1/2 cup water and stir. Cover and cook on low flame until lentils and cooked and most of the water is absorbed.
  5. Adjust salt and serve with fresh rotis!