The chilling temperature and me coming down with a cold had me thinking of one thing and one thing only. A nice hot bowl of Vietnamese thick rice porridge soup (Chao), also known as congee or gruel. The soft texture makes it a favorite among elders, babies and those who are sick. With less than a cup of rice, you can make a pot of chao to feed the whole family.
Fried rice (Com Chien) is the most beloved food of many Asian kids and a favorite comfort food of many adults. My very first attempt at making fried rice many moons ago was ... interesting to say the least. My teenage- self thought the word "fried" in fried rice meant that it had to be crispy. So being the bright-minded and good-looking girl that I was, I deep-fried the rice in a large pool of oil. I even squished the rice down with a spatula so that it could get even more crispy.
It wasn't until much later (sadly) that I realized I had it all wrong. With a bit of practice, I can now say I make a mean wok of deliciously fluffy fried rice.
My favorite breakfast item during my stay in Vietnam was Xoi La Cam, a sweet version of glutinous rice. Xoi La Cam is made from naturally dying the rice grains purple/magenta from boiling Magenta leaves. It is then steamed with coconut milk and sugar, then topped with a mixture of freshly grated coconuts, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, sugar and salt.
My homemade kimchi recipe didn’t turn too great on the first try. However, instead of tossing it, I decided to make kimchi fried rice. Like most fried rice recipes, it is best to use day old cold rice and leftover ingredients. In the case of kimchi fried rice, it's best to use really old and fermented kimchi that has gone too sour, or really bad homemade kimchi made by yours truly.