Pho Beef Noodle Soup – Instant Pot Homemade Recipe

pho bo

Pho beef noodle soup is one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes. It is also one of my family’s favorite noodle soups. Knowing our weakness, my parents bribed all the children including myself with an unlimited amount of Phở once arrived in America with a condition that we promise to behave and cooperate during the escape in 1978. It worked. As children, we did not know any better until much later. All we understood was unlimited “Phở”. YUM!!!

What is Phở Bò?

Phở is a rice noodle soup with seasoned and flavorful clear broth. It reminds me of chicken noodle soup but instead of chicken, it is beef. Even though they are both comfort food, the flavor is not the same.

When you think of beef broth, you would automatically think of stew, dark broth, heavy, and meaty. Quite the contrary, the broth is clear, light, and flavorful.

Most Vietnamese eat Phở for breakfast, however, it is also good for lunch, dinner, or midnight snacks. Phở is composed of rice noodles and thinly sliced beef soaked in beef broth. It is served with mint leaves, Thai basil, bean sprouts, Dragon or Monkey sauce, lemon, and optional hot chili peppers. Make sure to read this recipe at least once before you start.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission to support this website, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


  • 3 to 5 pounds oxtail, chopped into 1 to 2 inch long pieces and/or beef bones
  • 1-inch ginger root
  • 1 medium regular onion
  • 4 cubes Phở beef flavor bouillon or 2 to 3 tbsp Beef Flavored “Phở” Soup Base (adjust to taste)
  • 1 bag Gia Vị Nấu Phở ( Phở flavor spice)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) package, bánh phở, oriental style noodles, cooked (fresh or dry)
  • 1 pound beef sirloin, thin slices
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 pound beansprouts
  • 1 cup finely chopped Thai basil
  • 1 bunch of basil mint leaves
  • red pepper, chili, or pepper sauce (optional)
  • Phở Queen’s Monkey or Dragon sauce (optional)

Making the Broth

For the “Phở” broth you can also substitute beef with chicken or veggie. However, the traditional broth is beef broth. Making the broth is the longest process.

Clean and drain meats and vegetables. Oxtail is not often used in restaurants because it is pretty expensive per pound so it is not as cost-effective. They often use beef bones. That is ok too but oxtail yields additional flavors. Fill a gallon-sized saucepan with enough water to blanket the bones. Bring the water to a boil. Place the oxtail and/or beef bones in the saucepan. Allow simmering for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Drain. Boiling the oxtail and /or beef bones helps clean the meat thoroughly, clear the leftover blood and smell, and reduce the excess fat.

In the same saucepan, add 16 cups of water to the oxtail. Bring to a boil at high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the vegetables, and cut the ginger and onion into halves. Place the ginger and onion on a stove range. Roast to a crisp on the open flame or burner.  You can also pan-roasted ginger and onion or use the mode Sauté in the Instant Pot.

Wash and drain the ginger and onion halves. Slice the ginger into thin slices. Leave the onion in two halves. Drop the onion and ginger slices into the broth. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for at least 60  to 120 minutes.

If you are using an Instant Pot, you can add 4 to 6 cups of water to the pot. It depends on how many bones you are cooking. You can fill the water to the maximum mark. Close the lid and push the pressure cook for 30 minutes.

At this time and before I add any flavorings, I like to remove some of the large beef bones for my dog to chew on. Warning, do not give your dog the bones or meat with all the seasoning such as cinnamon, anise, and cloves. The flavor could be overpowering and the dogs may throw up.

After the first 30 minutes in the Instant Pot, you can allow the air to release. Then add the seasoning.

Add the Phở cubes or beef flavored “Phở” soup base, 1 bag Gia Vị Nấu Phở, sugar, and salt to the broth. Beef flavored “Phở” soup base has no msg. It also included the Phở flavored spice pouch in the container. Cook for an additional 40 minutes on a stovetop or another 20 minutes with an Instant Pot.

Taste the broth and adjust with additional salt if necessary. Remove the oxtail pieces/beef bones, Gia Vị Nấu Phở bag, and onion. Keep only the broth. Reduce the heat to low. Skim any fat layer on top of the broth.

Slicing the Beef

The traditional beef is brisket because it has mixed in fat, tendon, and skin. However, I use sirloin steak such as beef top round. I like less fat and tendon.beef top round

While the broth is simmering, slice the beef into thin slices. sliced beef

Making the Noodles

Boil the rice noodles. Follow the instructions on the noodle bag. I usually fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Pour in the noodles (as much as needed.) I usually make four bowls with one bag of 16 oz noodles.

If I use fresh rice noodles, I cook the noodles for 5 to 7 minutes. If I use the dry noodles, I cook for about 7 to 10 minutes. We do not want to overcook the noodles. The overcooked noodles lose their elasticity and also become mushy.

Setup Pho Bowl

Separate desired amounts of cooked Phở noodles into four medium to large bowls. I usually use from 8 oz to 10 oz of cooked noodles per bowl depending on how hungry we are. Spread 10 to 12 pieces of thinly sliced raw beef on top of the noodles in each bowl.

Pour the hot broth on top of the noodles and beef. Fill to the rim. The broth’s heat cooks the beef to medium-rare. If one prefers his/her beef to be well done, place the beef in a soup ladle into the simmering broth. Cook the beef to the desired texture.

pho bo

Add a few squirts from a lemon wedge to your bowl. Mix in the desired amount of green onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, mints, and basil leaves. Add the optional condiments such as red peppers, chili sauce, and Magic Monkey or Dragon sauce.

Vietnamese Egg Roll Recipe – A Vegetarian Delight


Makes 50 to 60 egg rolls
Preparing time: 60 to 90 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes

Egg rolls, known as chả giò, are popular Asian finger food. Everyone has a different way of preparing egg rolls. Bác Kít, my aunt, has her special way. Traditionally, they are composed of miến noodles, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, eggs, pork, chicken, and seasoning.

In this article, we will make our egg rolls with vegetable filling. This is a Vietnamese egg roll recipe and a vegetarian delight. The primary key to yummy egg rolls is crunchy outside yet soft with a balanced amount of tasty vegetables inside. You can also find a meat egg roll recipe online at Homemade Meat Egg Roll.

bun cha gio

There are three different ways to eat the egg rolls:

  1. Eat the egg rolls by themselves as finger food.
  2. Prepare them in vegetable wrap. The egg rolls are cut into 1-inch bite-size pieces. Each piece is wrapped in lettuce with several strands of rice noodles, and a few leaves of cilantro. It is then dipped in a sweet and sour dipping fish sauce.
  3. Serve with noodles. The egg rolls are cut into 1-inch bite-size pieces. The pieces are placed on top of rice noodles with lettuce, cilantro, bean sprouts, and Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce or Sweet and Sour Soy Sauce Mix. Mix all the ingredients and chow down.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission to support this website, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


You may have problems finding some ingredients below in your neighborhood American grocery store. You can visit the closest Asian / Vietnamese grocery near you or Asian Grocery in Central Florida for the special ingredients. I also included a direct link to Amazon by clicking on the picture or name of the hard-to-find ingredients for your convenience.

1 (1.8-ounce) package miến bean thread noodles

¼ cup pre-chopped black dried fungus mushrooms

OR (slice them into thin slivers) 4 ears medium dried black fungus mushroom

60 frozen egg roll skins (my favorite brand is TYJ Spring Roll Pastry. You can find this brand in your local Asian Vietnamese store. If you have extra packages, you can freeze the un-open packages for another time. Make sure to keep them seal well or they will dry up. The only location I found for the online purchase is Amazon (expensive shipping and 500 in quantity)

3 carrots

1 (½ to 1pound) small cabbage

½ medium onion

1 to 2 sweet potatoes (optional purple outside and yellow flesh)

1 small 12 oz jicama

1 or 2 taro

1 to 2 blocks of firm fried tofu (Click here –> How to fry Tofu)

2 eggs (optional)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vegetarian mushroom sauce

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp all-purpose flour

3 cups vegetable oil

Prepping instructions

Soak the dried noodles and mushrooms in separate bowls of hot water for approximately 10 minutes. soaked-mushroom-noodles

Allow the frozen egg roll skins to de-thaw for 30 minutes. Clean and drain the vegetables.

Peel the carrots, taro, sweet potato, onion, and jicama. Peel and discard the dead leaves on the cabbage.


Shred the carrots, cabbage, taro, sweet potato, and jicama. You can do it manually with a shredder or with a food processor to speed up time.

Dice the onion into small pieces. Dice the fried tofu into small pieces also. Cabbage and jicama produce lots of juice after being shredded. Squeeze as much juice from the shredded cabbage and jicama as possible with cleaned hands. It is ok if you cannot squeeze out all of the juice. A little vegetable juice is better than too much. Draining the juice prevents the egg rolls from being soggy. Mix the shredded vegetables in a large mixing bowl.


Remove the mushrooms & noodles from the water. Squeeze the water from the mushrooms and noodles with cleaned hands. Cut the noodles into 1 to 2 inch long strips. If the mushrooms are not pre-chopped, chop them into fine thin pieces. Mix the shredded vegetables, diced fried tofu and onion, mushrooms, noodles, salt, vegetarian sauce, pepper, and optional eggs.

Combine flour and 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl. Mix into a paste. Use the paste to stick the flap of the egg roll skin to the egg roll. Wrap The Egg rolls.

Wrapping procedures

(Some egg roll skin wrapper packages may contain illustrations and/or instructions for wrapping procedures):

Peel the egg roll skins apart. Place one egg roll skin on a large plate. Rotate so that a corner faces you.

Place the filling eggroll wrapping
Fold the Right Wingeggroll wrapping 2
Seal the Endeggroll wrapping 7
Fold the Left Wing eggroll wrapping 3
Shape and Rolleggroll wrapping 5
Completeeggroll wrapping 6

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the meat and vegetable mixture in the center of the paper. Spread the mixture 2½ to 3 inches perpendicularly to the corner facing you. Flip-up the corner facing you over the mixture, such that the fold is flush against the meat and vegetable mixture. Flip the left and right corners evenly over the first fold such that the new folds are flush against the meat and vegetable mixture.

Roll the folded shape tightly away from you. Make sure any loose ends of the egg roll skin are neatly tucked in. Tucking in loose ends reduces crumbs when frying. The roll should be tight enough to prevent the mixture from escaping during frying. Spread flour paste thinly on the last corner of the paper and continue rolling over the corner. The paste glues the end to the roll.

DeLonghi Deep Fryer


When frying, do not allow the oil to become too hot. The outside of the egg rolls will burn but the inside will be uncooked. The deep fryer maintains the oil at a constant temperature hence the cooking inconsistency will be eliminated. I have been using a brand DeLonghi deep fryer for over 10 years. It has been serving me very well. I allowed the oil to preheat for 9 to 10 minutes then I fry the egg rolls for 7 minutes or as golden as you like. It’s simple and splatter-free.

Frying Instructions

If frying in a frying pan, preheat the oil in a deep fryer or a deep non-stick frying pan for 1 to 2 minutes at medium heat. Dip the tip of an egg roll into the fryer to test for the temperature of the oil. Wait until the oil fizzes. Place the egg rolls into the fryer. Fry the egg rolls in batches of 10 or until you cannot fit anymore. Avoid stacking them.

Depending on how hot your heat is and at your judgment, fry each batch at medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to constantly rotate the egg rolls frequently (like every 1 to 2 minutes). Place two paper towels on top of a plate. Transfer the fried egg rolls to the plate. Use a paper towel to blot the excess oil from the egg rolls.

Baking Techniques

You can also bake the egg rolls as well as using an air fryer. With the baking in the oven or air fryer, make sure to brush a little vegetable oil on the outside of each egg roll before you bake them. Bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden. I have not tried the air fryer yet but my aunt has. She said it turned out very good for her.



Egg rolls are great appetizers and fun finger food. I often make a big batch to eat over a period of time. There are usually leftovers so I freeze them.

You can freeze the egg rolls in two ways:

  1. Freeze the wrapped and uncooked egg rolls until ready to be fried. When ready to fry, do not de-thaw the egg rolls. Place them immediately into the hot oil. This prevents the egg rolls from becoming soggy.
  2. Freeze the fried egg rolls until ready to eat. Heat them with a toaster oven, an oven, or an air fryer.

Place the egg rolls side by side in a large Ziploc freezer bag. Do not stack them. One gallon bag can hold from 16 to 18 egg rolls.


After frying many egg rolls for 30 to 40 minutes, many burnt flakes and crumbs blacken the oil in the frying pan. If you do not own a deep fryer, one way to avoid blackened egg rolls when frying is to fry them in two separate pans. Pour 2 cups of vegetable oil into a non-stick frying pan. Preheat the oil at medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Do the fizz test with an egg roll. Place the first batch (10 to 12 egg rolls) into the frying pan. Fry the egg rolls for 2 minutes on each side. Pour 6 cups of oil into a non-stick deep saucepan. Preheat the oil at medium heat. After 4 minutes of frying on each side of the egg rolls, transfer the egg rolls from the frying pan into the saucepan.

Place the second batch of uncooked egg rolls into the frying pan. This time, allow the second batch to fry for 16 minutes in the frying pan. Rotate every 2 minutes. Fry the transferred egg rolls for 11 minutes in the saucepan. Rotate occasionally. Fry the egg rolls for the last 5 minutes at medium-high heat.

Transfer the finished egg rolls to a dish. Transfer the second batch of egg rolls from the frying pan to the saucepan. Continue to fry for 4 more minutes at medium-high heat. Apply the same procedures to the remaining uncooked egg rolls. This process is rather lengthy, but it will produce nice golden egg rolls.

I love to hear about your experiences. Please leave your comments below.

Vietnamese Steamed Buns – Little Piggies

banh bao piggy

In this article, we will be showing you how to make Vietnamese steamed buns called “Bánh Bao”. We will shape it into a little piggy. The regular steamed buns are often available at Vietnamese grocery stores or bakeries.

I extracted the recipe from a video on called “Bánh Bao – New York/combo bun” by Tien Hoang. This video is in Vietnamese. I translated and converted the recipe content into English. I modified the recipe to make it work for the piggy shape. The procedure is straightforward. I think the most lengthy process is when we divide the meat and the dough into even proportions. The best part is shaping the piggies.

This recipe was created solely for my demonstration for Orange County Libary System. When following the instructions, the steamed bun turned out perfectly each time when I made them. I decided to make this recipe available online to share with others. Please read through first before you start. I hope you find it useful and tasty.


As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission to support this website, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.

Ingredients for the Filling

Meat filling (split into 16 even meat portion ~50g – 80g per)

Ingredients for the Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (Red Lotus All-Purpose)
  • 1 cup tapioca starch (bột năng)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp Cisco shortening
  • 2.5 tsp yeast (fast-acting)
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder (double acting)
  • ¾ cup fresh milk (room temperature)
  • 260 – 280 ml cup (1 to 1 ¼ cups) of room temperature water

Split into 16 portions (~80g per) + 1 portion (40 – 60g, leftover flour)

Prepare the Filling

Boil the eggs. Once cooked, allow them to cool immediately in cold water for easier peeling. You can use quail eggs or regular eggs. For the regular eggs, I used a piece of thread to cut an egg into quarters instead of the knife.

Either egg will work well. Quail eggs are cuter. Soak the clear noodles and the fungus in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.


For the Chinese sausages, the following instruction is optional. Fill a small saucepan with 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Add the sausages to the boiling water. Allow them to cook for 5 minutes or until the sausages float up. Remove them and empty the saucepan. With the same saucepan, pan-fried the sausages. You do not need to add any oil. There should be enough oil excreting from the sausages. Flip them back and forth to get them slightly golden. Remove the sausages. Slice them into thin slices.

sausages and eggs

The boiling process cleans out the dye in the Chinese sausages if any. The pan-fried process firms up the skin and make the sausages crispy and crunchy. If you are not doing the boiling and pan-frying, then slice the sausages into thin slices. Dice the onion.

Combine ground meat mushrooms, diced onion, sausages, salt, sugar, and pepper. Mix well. Knead the meat mixture and split it into 16 portions. Roll them into balls and add 1 egg into the center of each meat. (Make approximately 50g to 80g per ball depending on how much ground meat you use.)

Place the meatball fillings in a pie dish so you can steam them in a steamer. Steam for 20 minutes or until the meat is almost done. After the meatballs are done, remove the meatballs from the steamer and the juice. Allow them to cool completely.


Make the Dough

While the meat is steaming, we can prepare the dough. Mix the flour, tapioca starch, sugar, salt, shortening, yeast, baking powder, and milk. If you have an electric dough mixer that would definitely make things easier and faster. Mix at a low level to start. Do not add all the water to the ingredients all at once. Add a little at a time to make sure the dough will not be too wet.

Slowly increasing the level to 4. Continue to mix until the flour clump together smoothly and feel elasticity. It should not be sticking to your hand. Split the dough into 16 portions of 80g. You should have about 40 to 60 g of dough leftover. Roll the flour portions into smooth round balls. You can use the loose flour to help with the stickiness.

Divide the left-over flour into 16 small balls. We will use these extra balls to make the snout and the ears. We will use the peppercorn for the eyes. Cut wax paper into 16 (2×2 or 3×3 inch) squares. We will place the wax paper under each bun.

Forming the Piggies

Flatten out the ball of dough and place the meatball in the center. Gently wrap the dough over the meatball. Cover it completely and round it out in the palm of your hand. Place it on the wax paper. Split the small extra dough into 3 portions. Two portions will be similar and the third portion will be slightly bigger. The bigger portion is the snout. Find a good location on the stuffed dough for the nose. Use a toothpick to stick the small dough to the stuffed dough. dough portions

Flatten out the two small extra dough. They will be used as ears. Place them where you would like the ears to be. Add the peppercorn eyes. You now have something that looks like a face of a pig. Repeat the same process for 15 more buns.

piggy uncooked

Once completed, place the piggies in the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and then add the layers that contain the bánh bao. Place a cloth or towel that can cover the steamer. Close the lid. This will prevent the condensation of water from dripping on the buns. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove steamed buns and allow them to cool.

Keep them refrigerated once they cool down. The piggies will keep for one week. You can also wrap and freeze the buns to keep for a month or more. To reheat, you can steam them for 15 minutes or place them in a microwave for 30 to 40 seconds.


This batch should yield approximately 16 piggy buns. For the filling, you can make it meatier or less. I prefer not too much meat. I would lean toward 1 pound of meat instead of 2. The mushrooms and clear noodles can be optional as well. You can add other ingredients such as jicama or Shiitake mushrooms or substitute them. The filling is flexible.

Bread flour version

For the flour, there is “bánh bao” flour available. It is already mixed flour so it should be simpler. banh bao mixed flourWe can find this type of flour in Vietnamese grocery stores.

Do not use bread flour. I ran out of all-purpose and needed 3/4 cup more. The only flour I had available was bread flour. I found out the hard way. It did not work as well. The texture and flavor were different. It became more bready. All-purpose flour works best. The Red Lotus flour was recommended for a whiter color. Personally, I am OK with any all-purpose flour.

The buns are great for breakfast or a quick snack. If there are any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to hear how the recipe works out for you. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Egg Coffee Recipe – Simple Step-by-step Instructions

egg coffee

The holidays are coming fast and furious for 2020. Vietnamese egg coffee reminds me of the holiday eggnog drink. To celebrate the holiday with something familiar yet exotic, we will be showing how to make egg coffee or cà phê trứng with a Vietnamese Egg Coffee recipe I have learned and researched. There are different recipes available on the internet. I used the techniques from different recipes along with my own experiences to make this recipe as simple and straightforward as possible.

In addition, the egg coffee is creamy, sweet, and delicious. You can partake of this drink at any time. No need to wait until the holidays to enjoy the richness of coffee.

egg coffee

History of Egg Coffee

What is egg coffee? It is exactly what the name offers — the combination of egg and coffee. During the first Indochina war around 1946 in Hanoi, there was a shortage of milk in Vietnam. Nguyen Van Giang came up with a new creamy concocted coffee to help substitute for the lack of milk. At that time, he was bartending at a renowned hotel called Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel in Hanoi.

The drink became so popular that Giang decided to open his own coffee shop called Cafe Giang. He was known as the original Vietnamese egg coffee king. Cafe Giang is now being managed by his son, Nguyen Van Do in Hanoi’s Old quarter. The traditional recipe has been kept hidden since the 1940s. Over the years, there are different renditions of creating egg coffee such as egg yolk, butter, sugar, condensed milk, and sometimes cheese is added. However, the secret is to use the main ingredient egg yolks adding to the coffee without the egg flavor taste.

Please make sure to read through the recipe at least once to be familiarized with the procedure. It will definitely make your life easier and be prepared for what to expect.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.

making of egg coffee


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee:
    Trung Nguyen Coffee OR Cafe Du Monde
    (2 most common Vietnamese Coffees)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • (optional) 1 packet of vanilla sugar OR 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 drops of vanilla
  • (optional) sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg

The amount of coffee being used is totally up to the coffee drinker. The traditional amount is 1 tablespoon. If you prefer a stronger flavored coffee, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground coffee. The same goes with the sweetness of the coffee. I find 2 tablespoons of condensed milk is very sweet. However, my daughter loves it. For me, 1 tablespoon of condensed milk is perfectly enough.

Pasteurize the eggs

We will be using raw egg yolks. If you are concern with the risk of Salmonella infection, we can pasteurize the eggs. By pasteurizing the egg, we bring the water to 140 degrees F temperature. First of all, make sure to have the eggs at room temperature for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

Balance the water at 140 degrees temperature and submerge the 2 room temperature eggs completely in the water for 5 minutes. I have a gas stove so I used the lowest setting on my gas stove once my temperature hit 140 degrees. A cooking thermometer would be very helpful to monitor and maintain the heat. We don’t want the temperature much higher than 140 for a long time because we don’t want the eggs to be cooked.

Sous Vide
Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker (WiFi), 1000 Watts | Anova App Included, Black and Silver

Keeping the temperature at 140 degrees for 5 minutes can be challenging. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, check out a gizmo called Sous Vide.  It is a cooking rod that circulates and brings the water to a precise set temperature and stops at a set time. The rod is placed in a pot of water. Once the temperature is at the desired setting, put the food in a vacuum bag and place it in the pot. Set the desired time and it turns off automatically when the time is up. In our case, we just put the eggs in the water set the temperature to 140 degrees for 5 minutes.

Fill a small to medium bowl with cold water. Once the five minutes are up, transfer the eggs into the bowl of water. The eggs are now ready to be processed.

Process the egg

The next step is separating the yolk from the egg white. It is a little trickier when the egg is not cold. The yolk can be easily punctured and that would make it harder for you to separate the yolk from the white. Here is a fun article on how to separate the yolk in four different ways => how to separate eggs. You can choose one or try them all to see which one works best for you.

egg yolks

I like using the eggshells to separate the eggs. I enjoy the challenge of transferring the yolk from one eggshell to another without puncturing the yolk. It is even more challenging when the eggs are warm.

Once the yolks are successfully transferred, add the condensed milk, and/or vanilla sugar. The amount of condensed milk is totally up to you. If you like it sweet add 2 tablespoons and if you like it less sweet use 1 tablespoon. Personally, 1 tablespoon is enough sweetness for me.

egg blending for 2 minutes
Egg blending for 2 minutes
egg blending for 10 minutes
Egg blending for 10 minutes

Use an electric mixer and blend the mixture. Start your timer for this. It may take up to 10 minutes of mixing before your mixture becomes a smooth, thick, and frothy cream. The color slowly transforms from yellow to a light vanilla color after 6 or more minutes of mixing. It is a pretty neat chemistry reaction.

drip coffee

Make the Vietnamese drip coffee

If you do not know how to make the Vietnamese drip coffee, please click on Cafe Sua Da Recipe for the full instructions. In our case, you will make straight black coffee with no ice. We do not need to add the condensed milk to the cup of coffee unless we like it even sweeter. We are already mixing the sweet condensed milk with the egg yolks.

Fill a bowl with hot water. Once the drip coffee is completed, we can place your cup of coffee in the bowl of hot water. Be careful not to have the hot water higher than the cup. We wouldn’t want unwanted water to leak into our coffee. We can keep our coffee nice and warm while we are finishing up the blending of our egg yolk mixture.


The last step is combining everything together. Once the drip coffee is completely done, pour the whipped egg yolk mixture on top of the coffee. It should be thick, frothy, and airy that the cream floats on top.
With the final touch, sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on top.
egg coffee

You can drink coffee in two ways:

  1. Keep the frothy cream and the coffee separated. You can taste the contrast of the sweetness and bitterness combined with smooth and warm flavors sliding down your throat.
  2. Mix both the cream and the coffee together. Allow the two to intertwine and blend in a heavenly yummy texture and flavored coffee.

Either way is totally delicious and purely decadent. I enjoy the blending of the two flavors. Enjoy!!!

I love to hear how this recipe works out for you. Please leave your comments below.

Seafood Stir Fry Recipe – Fresh, Colorful, Delicious and Simple

fresh veggie

This recipe was inspired by a Vietnamese recipe in Vietnamese on YouTube called Sweet and Sour Seafood Stir fry. I translated the recipe, altered it and made my Seafood Stir Fry Recipe. It is very simple and colorful yet fresh and delicious with natural flavors of sweetness and sour integrated from the vegetables.

fresh veggies

This recipe originally included primarily squid tube and no shrimp. I added the shrimp. The squid tube was not easily available at grocery store in general so I substituted squid rings. Hence, this is a simple and flexible seafood stir-fry. You can modify it to your liking.

I had a LIVE demonstration on how to create this dish on July 8, 2020. Here is the recorded LIVE broadcast:

Serve approximately 6 people.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


    • 1 pound squid rings
    • 1 pound shrimp
    • 1 green bell pepper (approx 6oz)
    • 1 yellow bell pepper
    • 1 orange or red bell pepper
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 medium tomato
    • 6 oz pineapple
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • A small bunch cilantro
    • 1 tbsp lemon
    • 2 tsp oyster sauce
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp sugar
    • ¼ tsp pepper
    • 1 tbsp oil

Process and Marinate the Seafood

Peel the shrimp. Clean the shrimp and squid in slightly salted water. This helps decrease the fishy smell. Drain the seafood. Place them in a bowl. Flatten the garlic with the edge of a knife. Cut and dice it. Add ½ amount of the following ingredients: garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper to the seafood bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice (1 tablespoon) into the mixture. Allow the seafood to marinate for 10 minutes.

marinate seafood

Prepare the Vegetables

While the seafood is marinating, washing and clean all the vegetables. Slice all the bell peppers into wedges. Slice the onion and tomato into wedges as well. Slice the pineapple into diagonal slices. Chop the cilantro into small segments. bell pepperssliced veggies

Make the Stir Fry

In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Turn your stove to medium-high. Add the remaining garlic. Mix it into the oil and allow it to turn slightly golden and crunchy. Add the marinated squid and shrimp.


Cook for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. It is hard to judge with the squid rings because the color remains the same. Continue with the medium-high heat. Transfer the seafood into a bowl.

colorful veggies

Add the onion, the bell peppers, the pineapple, and lastly the tomato wedges to the empty pan. Mix well. Cook for another 3 minutes. We do not want to overcook the vegetables and take away the crunchiness texture.

seafood stir fry

Add the seafood to the vegetable mixture. Pour in the other ½ amount of the salt, sugar, and pepper. Add the oyster sauce. Mix everything well. Sample a little of the mixture. Add more salt as needed. Finally, sprinkle in the cilantro. Mix well. Turn off the stove. Transfer the mixture to a plate. This colorful rainbow of seafood mixture is completed. Serve with rice. Enjoy!


This batch should yield approximately 74 ounces which serve approximately 6 people with 12 ounces per person. Here is an estimated calories count:

Calories per ounce: 22Kcal, Protein: 2.94g, carbohydrates: 1.36g, Fat: 0.52g

Serves approximately 74 ounces for 6 people = 12 oz per person,

Calories per person – 264 Kcal, protein – 35g, carbs – 16.32 g, fat – 6.24g.

seafood served on rice

Is squid healthy for you? Here is an interesting article that talks more about squid and cholesterol => Squid and Cholesterol: the Calamari Conundrum by It mentioned that most of the time calamari is being served fried which is not so healthy for you. However, this recipe is served with very minimum oil and plenty of colorful vegetables. Like anything in life, eat everything in moderation. Even if it is good for you.

Love to hear from you and your trial and error. Please leave your thoughts below.

Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge – Chao Ga with Instant Pot

Chao Ga - rice porridge

In this article, we will be showing you how to make a Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge also known as Cháo Gà using an Instant Pot. The Chicken Porridge is a rice gruel for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is light yet filling. Not to worry if you do not know what Instant Pot is. Please click ==> Review on Instant Pot to know more.

Like chicken soup in the United States, it is used as a Vietnamese cold remedy. Many people believe that the warmth of the broth and the wholesomeness of the chicken help regain one’s strength. It kinda likes chicken noodle soup instead of noodles we use rice.Chao Ga - rice porridge This recipe can be used with minimally 4 ingredients: chicken, rice, water, and salt. However, the extra ingredients enhance the flavor. If we have the extra ingredients, why not use them. There are many ways to make Cháo Gà. My way is one of many. I like to start with simple successes and then add on.

We had a live video of making Chao Ga online — Here is the video:

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


This recipe serves 4 people. It takes about 60 to 70 minutes to complete the whole process.

  • 2 chicken breasts, approximately 1 to 2 pounds
  • 1 cup of Jasmine rice or your favorite rice
  • 6 cups of water (or optional chicken broth)
  • ½ an onion or ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 to 2 slices of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ lemon, quartered
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • ½ pound bean sprouts (optional)
  • Sprinkle of ground roasted peanuts (optional)

Prep the Rice

First, put a cup of rice in a bowl and rinse the starch from the rice. When the water becomes clear, drain the water. It’ll take approximately 2 to 3 minutes. The main reason I clean the rice because sometimes we find unwanted items such as little pebbles, dirt, or even bugs. The bugs are not uncommon especially when you are keeping the bag of rice in the moist area and/or on the ground.

Roast the rice in a frying pan or an IP (Instant Pot) using sauté mode. Make sure the saute heat is medium or low. Constantly, stir the rice every 30 seconds or the rice will burn and stick to the pan. Roast the rice until all the water has evaporated and the rice is dried. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. You don’t have to roast the rice. This method adds a subtle nutty roasting flavor to the porridge.

Prep the Chicken

Pour about 4 to 6 cups of water in the IP and push sauté high mode. Wait for 6 minutes or until the water boils, add the chicken breast for one quick minute. At this point, we are only cleaning the chicken to reduce excess fat and the foul odor. Press cancel or turn the pot off. Drain the water.

Leave the chicken in the pot and add 6 fresh cups of water or chicken broth. The chicken broth will help enhance the flavor of your porridge. However, if you don’t have chicken broth, water will do. Also remember, if you use mostly chicken broth, reduce the fish sauce or salt seasoning. The chicken broth may have seasoning of its own. You can add less seasoning and slowly add as needed to taste.

ip pressure cooker time chartPress pressure-cook. If you are using 1 to 2 pounds of chicken, adjust the cooking time to 7 minutes.

The time depends on the weight of the chicken. Check the IP pressure cooker time chart. In my case, I have 1 lb. 2 oz. chicken so I put the timer for 7 minutes. It will take around 2½ minutes for the IP to pressurize and then cook for 7 minutes. When you are cooking on a regular stove, it will take about 30 to 40 minutes to make the porridge broth.


Prep the other Ingredients

While the IP is going, clean the cilantro, onion, and ginger. Dice the onion or leave it whole. I usually leave it whole so I can scoop it out when the porridge is done. I mostly want the onion flavor. You can leave it in if you like the onion texture. By the time the porridge is completed, the onion will be very mushy. Cut the cilantro into small pieces. Sliced one to two slices of ginger. Remember to remove the skin. You can add more ginger if you like. I prefer just a scent of ginger flavor. Quarter the lemon.ginger

Once the IP pressure-cooking is done, open the valve to depressurize. It takes about 2 minutes. I usually cover the valve with a towel that you do not mind getting wet or dirty. The steam and water may spatter everywhere. Once the IP is depressurized, you can now open the lid.

Add rice, onion, ginger, and pepper to the chicken. Close the lid. Now press the porridge button. Adjust the timer to cook for 15 minutes. When using a cooking stove, it will take at least 60 minutes before the porridge is the right consistency.

Adding Flavors

Once the time is up, I leave the IP to depressurize naturally for 15 to 17 minutes or manually depressurize the IP. Press cancel when the lid can be opened. Check for the porridge consistency. It should not be too thick where the spoon gets stuck moving around. It will be like soup. Press sauté and have it at low mode. herbs-lemon

At this point, you should be able to use a spoon and a fork or chopsticks to shred the cooked chicken breasts inside the pot. It should fall apart pretty easily. Add fish sauce or soy sauce and salt. If you do not have either fish sauce or soy sauce, you can try salt only. Add 1 teaspoon first. If it is not salty enough add another teaspoon and so on. I would not add all 2 tablespoons of salt at the same time. It may end up too salty and you will have a hard time fixing it.

Add sugar and pepper. Instead of MSG, we use sugar. It is a great flavor enhancer to compliment the salt. Mix well for another minute or two. This will help thicken the broth. The longer you cook the thicker the porridge. Make it to the consistency that you prefer. Turn off the IP and get ready to serve.

When served, you can add cilantro and bean sprouts. Squirt in the lemon juice and sprinkle over the porridge with ground roasted peanuts. Soothe your throbbing and scratchy throat or warm yourself with a pleasant bowl of porridge on a cool drizzly morning!!!


With Vietnamese chicken rice porridge, you can make it simple with the four basic ingredients or you can go all out with pork including organs such as intestines, liver, blood cubes, stomach lining, etc. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it. That is a special authentic treat for Vietnamese. Here is a YouTube video of how to make Vietnamese Chao Long:

I have not tried this recipe yet. I found it to share so that you can see the differences. I personally prefer simple chicken porridge.

You can also download this recipe –> Vietnamese Chicken Porridge chao ga

I love to hear your experiences with chicken rice porridge, whether you have never made them before or you are a pro at it, please leave me your thoughts below.

How To Make Rice With Instant Pot


Generally, rice is a Vietnamese stable. Therefore, most Vietnamese households have a rice cooker. My own dependable rice cooker has been working for me at least twenty (20) years. However, it has been acting up a little lately so I thought I should research and find myself another one just in case.

I found rave reviews on Instant Pot DUO with 7 in 1 appliance which includes making rice. Another point that won me over was the stainless steel inner pot. Initially, my first intuition was if an appliance is multi-purpose it may not be excellent solely with making rice. However, I was curious and I wanted to try something else other than Teflon coated inner pot so I decided to invest in one.

Now that I have an Instant Pot, I find my intuition is correct. The Instant Pot makes mediocre rice. It is not as easy and straightforward as the standalone rice cooker. It does not yield the same results. The rice appears to be denser and stickier. Whereas, the rice from a standalone rice cooker is light and fluffy. It also took me a few tries with trial and error before I have the correct amount of water so the rice is not too wet or gooey.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals
for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


Here is my recipe on how to make rice with an Instant Pot so that you don’t have to go through a bunch of trials and errors before you have a good consistency with your rice.


The ingredients are simple: rice and water. The rice that I prefer to use is jasmine rice. However, it is your choice of brand and the type of rice that you are familiar with. The amount of water will vary with the type of brand as well as the type of rice you choose.

The common rice sizes are 5 lbs, 25 lbs, or 50 lbs. I usually buy myself a 25 lb of rice from an Asian grocery store.  It is much cheaper. I store it in a container. You want to keep it dry and covered. Humidity will bring bugs.

I included coconut water as optional. It is a little bit more exotic and tastier. I have not tried coconut water in the Instant Pot before. I am sure it will be similar to the standalone rice cooker.  You can give it a try if looking for something different.

For Jasmine rice that I have been using so far, it is a one-to-one ratio of water and rice. If you cook one cup of rice then use one cup of water. I also notice that if you are using a 6-quart Instant Pot two (2) cups of rice or more works best. Otherwise, there will be a chance that your rice will burn or stick to the pan with too little amount of rice. You can get away with less rice in the smaller size 3-quart Instant Pot.

For my family of four, I use two cups of rice and two cups of water. You can use that amount to gauge for you and your family.


Clean the Rice

First and foremost make sure to rinse the rice. Sometimes, I found pebbles, rice bugs, and other possible dirt in the rice. You never know how long the bags of Jasmine rice sit in an Asian grocery store before it is sold to you. I do sometimes find bugs in them and they do multiply pretty quickly. Even though the bugs are harmless, it is good to know.


I do not want to alarm you. It is rare to find bugs but it is something you might want to be aware of.

I usually clean the rice until the water is clear instead of opaque. We are also cleaning the starch from the rice. Once the rice is rinsed, I drain as much water as possible from the rice. I add new water. If you use two cups of rice, add two cups of water. It does not matter if it is hot or cold. clean-rice

Cook the Rice

Once the rice is rinsed and clean, I wipe the bottom of my pot and place it in the Instant Pot cooker. Remember to plug in the cord. Make sure the lid is properly closed and secure. Also, check to make sure to have the steam valve at the close. If the valve is open, the rice will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. I cooked it with the valve open before just to see. Also, you can start cooking with the lid open for other cooking functions such as sauté so always make sure your lid is closed before you press the rice button.


It will take about 15 minutes to cook the rice. It takes several minutes for the pot to calculate after you press the rice button. The word AUTO will appear. After the calculation is completed, the timer “00:12” minutes will pop-up and count down.

Once the cooking is complete, the cooker will beep several times. At this time, you will have a hard time opening the lid because of the pressure. You can do one of the two things:

  1. Allow the pressure to depressurize naturally and do nothing. OR
  2. Open the release value to allow the steam to dissipate. Turn the release valve to Venting. Be careful, do not put your hand on top of the vent. The steam is coming straight out and it is very hot. You can get burn. Use your fingers pushing on the side or use a kitchen mitten.

There is the silver round metal looking thing. If it is up then that means there is pressure, you will not be able to open the lid. If the silver round metal is down, the pressure is gone. You can open the lid safely.

It will take about 15 minutes for the lid to depressurize naturally. After the rice is done cooking, the pot will automatically change to keep warm and a new timer will appear starting at L00:00. This is a nice feature because you can tell how long your food is being kept warm in the pot. However, I would not recommend leaving your rice in the cooker longer than an hour. The rice will burn and stick to the pot. It will be a challenge to clean.




cooked riceYes, the Instant Pot does make rice. The rice turns out mediocre in comparison to the standalone rice cooker. I noticed that there was a lot of water condense under the lid causing the rice to be wet and dense. However, Instant Pot is great at pressure cooking. If you are not familiar with Instant Pot and would like to learn more, click on my Instant Pot Review => Instant Pot Review – Can It Make Good Rice.

In my opinion, if you are picky like me and use it every day, look into a standalone rice cooker. Otherwise, if you do not make rice every day and not picky, you do not need to invest in another appliance to clutter your kitchen counter. An Instant Pot would be perfect for your occasional rice consumption.

Thank you for visiting me. I love to hear your thoughts and experiences with making rice using the Instant Pot and/or other rice cookers. Please leave your comments below.

Instant Pot Duo 60 Review – Can It Make Good Rice?


Instant Pot Duo 60 Review

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


Name: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Cooker


Price: $79

Inventor: Robert Wang

Manufacturer: Instant Brands

Overall Rank: amazon star reviews

Initially, I was looking for a rice cooker to replace at least a 20-year-old Zojirushi rice cooker. My rice cooker still works but it is getting old and the Teflon is peeling. I did some research and found the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 to be the best choice since it has 7 different functions in addition to making rice. There were over 66k reviews and many of them were positives. Why not give it a try. Looks pretty interesting.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, Product Overview

Instant Pot is becoming America’s popular go-to cooking appliance because it is convenient, safe, fast, and easy to care for. Instant Pot Duo 60 is one of the best-selling models. It is a smart electric multi-purpose cooker with the latest 3rd generation technology designed by Canadians and made in China.

The Instant Pot Duo is equipped with 7 appliance functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. It speeds up cooking by 2 to 6 times using also cooks up to 70% faster overall. There are 14 one-touch Smart Programs in memory making beans, ribs, soups, rice, poultry, yogurt, and others with one touch of a button.

The pot and the lid with components and accessories are removable and easy to clean or hand wash. I love this feature, especially for the steam parts. They can get dirty quickly when you use them every day. The inner pot is dishwasher safe which is a great feature. With 10+ built-in safety features such as Overheat Protection, Safety Lock, and more for safe pressure-cooking. It passed rigorous safety tests for both the UL and ULC certification.

Safety is a big concern when comes to pressure-cooking on a stovetop. We do not want anything to blow up by our own missed calculation. With the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, the built-in microprocessor monitors pressure and temperature. It also keeps time and adjusts heating intensity and length to yield the desired outcomes removing any possible user error.

What really sold me to the product was that the inner pot was food grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel with 3-ply bottom for even heating and so is the lid which is fingerprint resistant stainless steel. Most rice cooker inner pots are coated with Teflon considering the nature of the rice is very sticky. Because of the Teflon material and the possible exposure to PFOA, I wanted to shift to stainless steel. I found a nice article by Healthline that explained a little more about Teflon and the PFOA exposure if curious to learn more ==> Is Nonstick Cookware Like Teflon Safe to Use?

Instant Pot Duo comes in 3 different sizes:

  • 3-quart pot which is great for one to two people
  • 6-quart pot is great for a family of four
  • 8-quart pot is for a large family of five or more

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

PRO #1 – Convenient and fast cooking time with 70% energy savings and speed up by 2 to 6 times

PRO #2 – It has the capability to cook 7 different ways using one pot and does not take up space on the counter.

PRO #3 – Once you understand how to use the Instant Pot and the pressure-cooking method, the sky is the limit. There are so many things you can make such as main dishes, appetizers, dessert, fermenting, delay cooking, even baking, and many more.

PRO #4 – There are so many recipes now available for Instant Pot to give you ideas and instructions making your cooking experience more enjoyable and simpler. However, most of the recipes are for the 6-quart pot. The 3-quart pot is not as popular. Because of the difference in size, the proportion for the recipe is not as similar so it may not yield similar successes.

PRO #5 – Instant Pot App is available for your mobile device with over 1000 recipes making it easier for you to learn how to use your Instant Pot.

The Bad:

CON #1 – One common complaint in the reviews was bad customer service.

CON #2 – If you are new to Instant Pot, never put your hand directly over the steam valve release to release the steam. You will burn your hand or fingers. When releasing the steam, the food steam will release and can make a mess. Put a towel over it to prevent splatter.

CON #3 – It requires a little of a learning curve if you are new to the pressure-cooking. There are lots of recipes for Instant Pot online.

CON #4 – This one is my opinion — Not as easy to make rice the way that I like comparing to other instant rice makers. The rice comes out stickier and wetter because of the condensation. If you are not careful, the rice will burn or stick to the pan when you leave it longer than an hour under the warm button. I would have to soak the pot in water for a while before I can clean it.

Who is Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 For?

The Instant Pot Duo is great for someone who loves to speed up the cooking process. The pressure-cooking mode decreases the cooking time dramatically. Instead of 6 to 8 hours of cooking or stewing the soup bones or baking the pot roast, you can finish within an hour or less depending on the weight of the meat.

In addition, it has 7 functions of different appliances built into one (pressure-cook, bake, saute, stew, etc) saving lots of counters and cabinet space in the kitchen. It is also simplified your cooking with one push of a button. The longest process is prepping.

Also, I think it is a great cooking gizmo or techie. For people who love gizmo and cooking, I think they will fall in love with just the aspect that it is a simple and practical gizmo that produces consistent cooking results.

I also like the fact that the inner pot is stainless steel. The lid has different removable components that help for an easy cleaning process.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
Tools & Training

The Instant Pot came with safety, maintenance, and warranty booklet, a getting start guide, and a cooking time tables. If you are new to pressure-cooking and Instant Pot, make sure to review those booklets. They do come in handy to understand how the Instant Pot works. Also, the cooking time table will help with the estimation of how long certain food will take to cook.

Instant Pot also has an app with a thousand plus recipes to assist you with making your meals perfect every time. The number of Instant Pot enthusiastic increased over the years. You will also find different recipes available online especially for Instant Pot Duo 6-quart pot.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

Personally, I have not used Instant Pot support yet. Knock on wood. There is a website available for Q&A and also a contact page using “Open a ticket” online submission. They also included phone numbers: 1800-828-7280 with operating hours of 9 am – 5 pm EST from Monday through Friday.

There is also an instant Pot Facebook community support –>

My Final Opinion of Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

I bought the Instant Pot Duo primarily to replace my rice cooker. After a full month of making rice every day, I find it not as effective and as intuitive as my old simple rice cooker. In my opinion, the rice comes out dense, gooey and sticky. I need to use less water than the old rice cooker. One positive aspect, the rice fragrance fills out the house much more than my old rice cooker.

One day I left my rice in the Instant Pot keep-warm function for longer than two hours, the rice burned and stuck to the pot. In my old rice cooker, I often left the rice in the pot with a keep-warm function. The rice kept warm for an entire day without being burned or stuck to the pot. Perhaps, the heat of the keep-warm function in the IP is probably much warmer than the traditional rice cooker? Either way, I do not like that.

Even though I love the fact that the inner pot is stainless steel, I find it is cumbersome to make rice with. The rice is naturally sticky. It seems even stickier with the IP which makes washing the pot a little more challenging. If you have an IP and would like to make rice with it, visit “How To Make Rice With Instant Pot” to learn how.

Nonetheless, I love the fact that I can make pot roasts, pork tenderloin, and stew quick and easy. The meat melts in your mouth at every bite. While I am using the IP to make my main course, I still need another pot to make my rice.

I may have to bite the bullet and buy myself a standalone rice cooker. Finding an appliance that is dedicated to one thing well is probably the way to go. Nonetheless, I will keep the IP around for making my main-dish.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
at a Glance…

Instant Pot Duo 60 Review

Name: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Cooker


Price: $79

Inventor: Robert Wang

Manufacturer: Instant Brands

Overall Rank: amazon star reviews


VERDICT: WORKS GREAT for pressure cooking but mediocre for making rice.

Happy Lunar New Year 2020 – Celebrate the Year of the Rat

Springroll rat

Happy Lunar New Year 2020! I distinctly remember writing an article wishing a happy New Year 2019 not too long ago. Wow, 2019 came and went. We are now on to the even decade of 2020, vision into the future.

Everything is coming quickly in a blink of an eye. There are so many opportunities out there. The tricky part is to be open and aware of them. Otherwise, it’ll pass you by. I am constantly learning to seize the opportunity when I am aware of one. I’ll keep you posted when I catch one successfully. There is so much to learn and never-ending. =)

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission to support this website, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.

Year of the Rat

Zodiac Chart

Today, February 2, 2020, is the 9th day of the Lunar New Year. ‘Tis the year of the metal RAT. According to the Chinese astrology, the rat symbolizes wealth, intelligence, success, wisdom, and the beginning of a new day. The New Year starts on January 25, 2020, and ends February 11, 2021.

Which animal are you? Are you born in the year of the rat? My mom often reminds me to be careful during the year that you are born. It is 50/50 chance that you’ll be lucky all year round or unlucky all year round. She would say more often or not you’ll be unlucky all year round. I am not sure what to believe. I usually play it safe and not do anything risky during my year which is the year of the monkey.

Here are a few fun links to Chinese Zodiac fortune-telling. Remember this is for fun and “take it as it goes, with a grain of salt”. I know it’s a cliche… Just enjoy and have fun with it. =)

Did you miss an opportunity to create a goal for 2020 at the beginning of the year? Well, now is your opportunity to create a goal for the Lunar New Year. What are your goals for the year 2020?


The Lunar New Year in Vietnam is called Tết. It is celebrated heartily in Vietnam. We celebrate Tết for a whole week. Stores would be closed during the week of Tết. Everyone returns home to visit their family.

lixi tet

It is when everyone becomes one year older. It is almost like we are celebrating our birthdate. People pay off debts in advance to be debt-free by the new year. Everyone is bustling and hustling to clean and decorate their house before the New Year.  The markets are usually colorful especially decorated in red and yellow.

Traditionally, there would be a family altar. We pay respect to our ancestors and our deceased loved ones with money, food, and drinks for the afterlife.

Here is a nice link to more detailed information on a Vietnamese New Year celebration ==> Tết Tradition. I also wrote an article regarding Vietnamese Culture and Traditions under my Journey to America.

Creating Goals

I didn’t really want to create a goal or thought of one at first but now I am stacking them up quickly as each day passed. I will share my first three goals:

  1. Pass my Oral Court Interpreting Exam and become a certified Vietnamese court Interpreter.
  2. Continue to listen to my intuition and learn more about myself.
  3. Sell at least 300 bottles of my yummy Peanut Sauces by the end of the year.

How am I going to achieve these goals? For my first goal, study, study and study for a few hours every day until the day of the exam. Practice and hone into my interpreting through my interpreting jobs, listen to audios/videos and write down words that I am not familiar with.

I practice listening to my intuition by meditating 15 minutes every day. Allow my mind to become clear of clutter and allow myself to be in the moment with minimal thoughts.

peanut sauces

Last but not least, for this year I am introducing a new size (10 ounces) of my sauces and a new item, roasted peanuts to complement the sauces. Currently, I have a promotion until the end of February 2020 for my sauce. Please visit My Facebook page or for the promotion.

Now that I shared with you a few of my goals. How would you plan to bring your goals to life? How would you set yourself up for success?


Fun Demonstrations

I have been creating hands-on fun demonstrations for 11 years now. I didn’t realize this until my recent notification from Linked-In in celebrating my 11th year anniversary.

Springroll rat
Spring roll rat

We had a fun demonstration this past Sunday on January 26, 2020, at the Maitland Public Library. It was a full house. We celebrated and welcomed the Lunar New Year 2020. Our topic was Seven-Course Beef or also known as “Thịt Bò Bảy Món” and we learned how to make spring rolls. We also tasted a variety of Vietnamese Tết treats and learned a little about the culture. I had a lot of fun sharing Vietnamese culture and food.

My next demonstration will be in May. We shall celebrate South Pacific Asian Month with learning how to make Boba Tea. Please visit my website for future demonstration dates:

Please visit my Facebook page for the latest update of what I am up to. Remember to push on the button to “LIKE” me.

Fun Activities for Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year has started last week and the fun has just begun. “You are the creator of your own reality,” a quote by Abraham Hicks. I really believe that. She also wrote a book called “Ask and It is Given“. Sorry, I digressed.

There are different Lunar New Year celebrations such as the Dragon parade or Chinese New Year Festival in Orlando, Tampa, Miami and other cities that are not widely advertised. If you live in Orlando, you can check out a magazine called Asia Trend or online website for different Asian fun activities throughout the year. I posted a few events on my Facebook. You may need to scroll around to find them.


For me, 2020 is a special year. It is a new beginning or a symbol of rebirth. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it is the first animal of the Zodiac sign. It is not only a beginning but also lands on a number 2020 which is itself a special number. I am choosing this year to be my special year. Remember, I am the creator of my own reality.

What would you like to do, if you are the creator of your own reality? I love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments, questions, or feedback below.

How To Make Tofu From Soybeans – Three simple ingredients

home made tofu block

Tofu is a bean curd that is made from three main ingredients: soybeans, water, and a coagulant. A coagulant is an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar. The coagulating soy milk creates a curdling effect and lumps together into curds. The curd then is pressed and drained in a mold to produce the final product which is tofu. block

Tofu is often used in vegetarian cuisines to substitute meat. By itself, the taste blends in flavor. When use with other fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, etc, it adopts and absorbs their neighbors’ flavors. It is light and become flavorful by its surrounding environment leaving you light and sated feeling in your tummy. You can also add meat to enhances the flavor.

In this article, we will learn how to make tofu from soybeans with three simple ingredients. This recipe is borrowed from I found this recipe to be simple and straight forward. I will be adding my comments along with the existing recipe based on my experience.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.


3 cups (1lb) dry soybeans, Hunza Organic Soybeans (2 lbs)


Choose ONE from the list of coagulants below:


Food processor or blender

2 large pots

1 strainer

a mesh bag or cheesecloth

1 colander or a tofu mold

Soak and Blend

soaked soybeans

Soak the soybeans overnight. Make sure it is a big bowl because the tofu will expand. Rinse the soaked beans and discard any discolored ones and drain the water.

Pour the soybean into a blender or a food processor. You may not be able to pour all the soybeans into the blender at once. It is best to divide them into several batches. Some blenders may not handle too many soybeans at one time.


Fill the blender with enough water to cover the beans. Process the beans for a few minutes in the blender or until the beans are thoroughly ground.


Making Soy Milk

Add the processed beans to your largest pot with 12 cups of water. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching the bottom and simmer for about 20 minutes under medium to low heat. This may foam up a bit so be careful not to let it boil over. If the foam boils over, lower your heat.

After 20 minutes, strain the cooked processed beans into your second pot. Use a spoon to press out as much of the milk as you can. You can use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the excess liquid as well for a quicker result. The liquid is soy milk. The solids are okara.

okara and soymilkIf enjoy soy milk, pour out one to two cups of soy milk for your consumption at this point and continue with the rest to make tofu. Add sugar, honey, or any of your sugar substitute if desire to your soy milk. Drink it fresh and warm or refrigerate and have it cold.


The okara is full of nutritional value containing soluble and non-soluble fiber, protein, calcium, and other minerals. It seems like a waste to throw away. Here is a great article that talks more about okara along with recipes using okara –> You can dehydrate okara and freeze it for later use. When I have too much okara, I use it as compost for my garden.

Making Tofu

Heat the soy milk back up to around 180 F degrees (depending on your stove it may take from 5 to 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, dissolve your choice of coagulant (Epsom Salt, lemon juice, vinegar, gypsum or nigari) in 1½ cups of warm water.

straining tofu

Remove the soy milk from heat and gently stir in the coagulant. Start with a small amount and then increase as needed at 180 F degrees. In about 5 to 10 minutes the curds will separate. If it takes a little longer, you can add a little more coagulant until the liquid becomes clear and less milky. Be careful not to add too much because the tofu maybe come bitter. I used vinegar as my coagulant so the flavor is slightly sour.


Line your colander or mold with a mesh bag or cloth. Skim out curds and pour into mold. Wrap the remaining cloth on top of the tofu and even it out with a hard flat object such as a flat plate.

The mold I used look like above. Make sure to wet the cloth so it will help with smoother surface and less creases in your tofu. The picture of my homemade tofu has a lot of creases because I didn’t wet my cloth to make it straight.

Place a heavy object on top of the plate. This help squeezes and drains as much water as possible from the tofu. Less water and more setting time create firmer tofu. Leave for about 20 to 30 minutes or longer for a firmer result.



Making tofu is a simple process. However, if it is your first time, the process may take a little longer since you do not know what to expect. It gets easier through experience. The coagulant Nagari and gypsum are not as easy to come by. You will need to order them online like or visit an Asian grocery store.

The texture and taste may vary depending on the coagulant that you use. I have not tested all the different coagulant yet. I have tried gypsum before and does not require a lot of gypsum powder before the curds coagulate. Gypsum is calcium sulfate. Make sure it is food grade. It yields mild-tasting and slight sweetness to the tofu in comparison to nigari. It also adds calcium to the tofu. You can find it at home brewing supplies, online, or Chinese stores.

From my research of nigari, it consists mostly of magnesium chloride also called bittern. Nigari creates smoother texture tofu. Nigari is a mineral salt residue when the table salt is extracted from seawater and comes in liquid or powder form. It is a traditional Japanese ingredient used to make tofu.

Epsom salt is another good alternative. It produces a little grainier texture than gypsum. You can find Epsom salts easily at your nearest local drugstore or Walmart.

The easiest of all coagulants to find are vinegar and lemon juice. However, they produce grainier texture and a little sour flavor to the tofu.

Click here for an article with more FAQs on coagulants –> Tofu coagulant guide: what to buy and where to find it.

If you enjoy cooking, it is a pretty fun experiment like chemistry on food reactions. From this recipe, we produce three products: soy milk, tofu, and okara.

The soy milk itself is refreshing. However, the version I made tastes leafy green and organic to me. Perhaps, I did not add enough sugar or honey. To be honest, I do not like it too much. The tofu is a little sour because I used vinegar as my coagulant. I am saving my okara to test the recipes I found online to see if it enhances the flavor of the food I make.

I am dehydrating the okara using the oven and then freeze it for longer self-life. It is a lengthy and smelly process. My kids complain about the smell. It smells like dirty laundry. Worst-case scenario, I can use it as compost for my garden.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. I love to hear about your experiences, successes, failures, and/or questions. Please leave your comments below.