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Fresh Chicken with Hmong Herbs (Nqaij Qaib Hau Xyaw Tshuaj)
Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Pork (Zaub Ntsuag Dawb kib xyaw Nqaij Npuas)
Stuffed Bitter Melon (Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua)
Chicken and Bean Sprout Salad (Hauv SiabQaib thiab Kaus Taum Xav-Lav)
Rice Porridge (Mov Kua Dis Tsuag)


Ingredients for Fresh Chicken with Hmong Herbs

Ingredients for Fresh Chicken with Hmong Herbs

Fresh Chicken with Hmong Herbs
Nqaij Qaib Hau Xyaw Tshuaj


Makes 1 pot of soup

If there is a signature dish for Hmong people - this is it. This very simple soup incorporates a fresh, whole farm-raised chicken cooked gently in a lemongrass-flavored broth that is seasoned with only salt and pepper. The addition of Hmong herbs makes it unique. Most of the herbs used have no common English names, but they help new mothers stay warm and gain strength after giving birth.

Exactly which herbs are used in the soup depends upon a family's customs and what is available. Most of the herbs used in this soup are not available for sale in the any store in America. They are lovingly grown in small backyard plots and on the patios and windowsills of most Hmong homes

This soup will not be the same if mass-produced and processed chicken pieces are used. However, for cooks that do not have Hmong herbs, but want to taste a reasonably facsimile of this soup, add celery, bitter lettuce and basil leaves to the broth for the last few minutes of cooking.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole fresh chicken (the kind purchased from a Hmong market or home farm)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 stock lemongrass
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Hmong herbs can include:
  • 1 cup tshuaj rog leaves
  • 1 or 2 stalks pawj qaib
  • 1 cup hmab ntsa leaves
  • 1 cup ntiv leaves
  • 4 or 5 slices of qhaus root
  • 1 cup koj ntsuab
Preperation

Clean and chop up the chicken into about sixteen pieces. Pick the herbs just before using and clean them carefully. In a medium-sized pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, salt and pepper. Bring the water back to a boil and add the chicken pieces. Boil 15 minutes (do not over-cook the chicken). Add the herbs and cook a few more minutes. Remove the lemongrass and serve with rice.

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Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Pork

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Pork

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Pork
Zaub Ntsuag Dawb kib xyaw Nqaij Npuas


Makes 6 servings

Hmong people are especially fond of pork belly because it has wonderful textures and flavors. When cooked, the skin is chewy, the fat is soft and the lean meat is very tasty. Pork belly is usually sold in a slab. It is available at some mainstream supermarkets and most Asian grocery stores. This dish tastes best when it is made with an Asian-style bouillon cube. However, beware - it includes MSG as well as salt. If you prefer to avoid MSG, use a regular bouillon cube.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound pork belly
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy (about 10 small heads)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (Asian-style, or regular)
Preparation

Cut the pork belly slab into 1 by 1/8-inch pieces and set aside. Carefully wash the bok choy, pulling each leaf off of the head. Cut each leaf in two, from tip to stem. Drain on paper towels. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the pork, salt and the bouillon cube. Stir-fry about 10 minutes. Add the bok choy and stir fry about 5 more minutes. The dish is done when the meat is cooked, the bok choy leaves are limp, the stems are still a little crispy and a glossy glaze covers it all. Serve hot accompanied by fluffy jasmine rice.

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Stuffed Bitter Melon

Stuffed Bitter Melon

Stuffed Bitter Melon
Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua


Makes 8-10 servings

Many western people are unfamiliar with bitter melon. Indeed, the flavor is quite bitter! However, bitter melon is good for you and low in fat. It is considered a good vegetable for diabetics to eat.

Ingredients
  • 6 medium sized ripe bitter melons (the seeds will be red)
  • 1 lb lean pork or chicken (ground)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • Dash black pepper
  • 2 quarts water (or enough to cover the bitter melon as it cooks)
  • 1 bulb/stock lemon grass, cleaned, chopped into 3-inch pieces
Preperation

Prepare the bitter melon

Clean and then cut each bitter melon into two pieces, widthwise. With a small spoon (I use a long-handled iced tea spoon) scoop out the seeds and surrounding pith, leaving the melon's thick shell in-tact.

Prepare the filling

Chop the meat very fine with a cleaver, or buy ground pork or chicken. Chop cilantro leaves and green onions fine. Mix the meat, cilantro, green onion and seasonings together with your hands.

Cook

Put a quart of water in a pot on the stove to boil. Add the chopped lemon grass to the water. Fill the hollowed-out bitter melons with the meat mixture, put them into the boiling water and reduce the heat. Cook for 20 minutes in gently simmering water, until the filling is cooked and the biter melon is soft. If there is extra pork mixture, form it into small meat balls and cook in the water with the stuffed melon. After it is finished cooking, snip each melon half into 2 inch slices with kitchen shears or a knife. Serve with the broth in a large, shallow bowl. Diners dish the stuffed bitter melon pieces onto their plates and sip the broth from a spoon directly from the serving bowl.

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Chicken and Bean Sprout Salad

Chicken and Bean Sprout Salad

Chicken and Bean Sprout Salad
Hauv SiabQaib thiab Kaus Taum Xav-Lav


Makes 6 servings

The lemon grass and basil impart a delicate flavor to the chicken. The bean sprouts add crunch, and of course, the cilantro gives this salad a good Hmong flavor!

Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken breast, remove skin and fat
  • 1 stock of lemon grass
  • Several Thai basil leaves
  • 4 cups bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt
  • MSG (optional)
  • 2 quarts boiling water
Preperation

Prepare the chicken

Pull off the hard outer leaves of the lemon grass and cut away the root and the top 2 inches of the leaves. Put the lemon grass in the boiling water. You may have to tie it in a knot to get it to fit in the pot. Add the basil leaves and season to taste with salt. Add the chicken meat to the pot and allow the chicken to cook gently until cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes.

Prepare and mix the salad

Remove the chicken from the water and place it in a large mixing bowl. Strain the broth to remove particles and save some of it to moisten the salad. When the chicken is completely cool shred the meat with your hands. Wash the bean sprouts. Wash and chop the green onion. Chop the cilantro. Mix all together, adding salt and MSG to taste. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the mixture and a little of the reserved broth over the salad and mix again.

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Rice Porridge

Rice Porridge

Plain Rice Porridge
Mov Kua Dis Tsuag


Makes 8 servings

A warm bowl of rice porridge is good for babies and the elderly, or when someone suffers from the flu. Not just a breakfast food, it is served whenever a person feels like it, morning, noon, or evening.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup hard-grained rice, like jasmine rice
  • 1 quart water
Preperation

Fill a pot with 1 quart water, and add the rice to the water. Turn the heat to high. Stir often so that the rice will not stick underneath. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook the rice until it is very soft, even mushy. Add more liquid if you like the porridge to be thin and soupy.

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Minnesota Press

Cooking From The Heart: The Hmong Kitchen In America is published by
University of Minnesota Press


web site © 2009 :: Carl Scripter :: http://scripter.com :: updated August 20th, 2009