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5-Spice Beef and Broccoli

Better than take-out and easy to make: 5-Spice Beef and BroccoliThis stir-fry with crunchy broccoli and tender marinated beef is a scrumptious dish that beats any restaurant version. The recipe is simple, healthy and you can make this dish in less time than it takes to order take-out. Just some fresh ingredients and pantry staples are all that’s needed to whip up this amazing dish. Give it a try!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

For recipe shortcuts, buy the broccoli florets already washed and trimmed and beef sliced for stir-frying.

The Vodka 5-Spice Marinade is a pantry essential so make it beforehand and have it ready for using in stir-fry dishes.

Substitute the broccoli with bok choy, squash or other sturdy greens and vegetables for more tasty options.

The broccoli should be crunchy and the beef tender so avoid overcooking. Timing is key with stir-fry dishes.

If you prefer a bit more sauce for the stir-fry, use 1/2 cup water instead of 1/4 cup when making the stir-fry sauce.

For more savory flavor, substitute the water with beef or chicken stock.


Beef and Marinade
3/4 lb beef, flank, sirloin or bottom round
1 tsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade or 1/2 tsp 5-Spice powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2-inch nub fresh ginger, minced
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Stir-Fry Sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade or 1/4 tsp 5-Spice powder
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb broccoli florets
1 medium yellow onion
2 green onions
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Cut the beef into thin strips. Combine the beef with all marinade ingredients and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Make the stir-fry sauce by combining all ingredients in a measuring cup. Set aside for now.

Cut the onion into thin strips.

Chop the green onions and set aside for now.

Heat a wok over High heat and when hot add 1 tsp vegetable oil. Add the marinated beef and quickly stir-fry for 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside for now.

Heat a wok over Medium High heat. Add 1 tsp vegetable oil and the chopped garlic. Stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the onions, broccoli and water. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender. Add the stir-fry sauce, combine well and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the beef and combine well. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Sprinkle the stir-fry with the sesame oil and freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, top the with chopped green onions.

Serve over hot rice.

Yields: 4 servings

5-Spice Beef and Broccoli: Cutting the Beef5-Spice Beef and Broccoli: Prepping the Vegetables5-Spice Beef and Broccoli: Preparing the Sauce5-Spice Beef and Broccoli: Stir-Frying the VeggiesDelicious and easy Stir-Fried 5-Spice Beef and Broccoli

5-Spice Beef and Broccoli-Simply amazing and healthy!If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Sizzling Shaken Beef (Bo Luc Lac), Stir-Fried Beef and Potatoes (Bo Xao Khoai Tay), Stir-fried Water Spinach and Beef (Rau Muong Xao Bo), or Stir Fried Chayote and Beef (Su Su Xao Thit Bo)

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew (Bo Kho)

There's nothing better than a hearty bowl of Viet-style Beef Stew with some crusty French bread!

I love the simplicity of slow cooker meals and I am always looking to revamp some traditional Vietnamese dishes using an appliance most of us have.  Using a slower cooker is so effortless and if you’re busy like me, every bit of time-savings is a blessing.  With this easy recipe, you can prep everything (including searing the meat) the night before and then store in the fridge.  In the morning, add everything into the slow cooker, set the temperature to Low and let it cook throughout the day.  Upon coming home, slice some bread or cook some noodles, make the onion/cilantro garnish and you have a hot and delicious dinner ready to enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The beef tendon is an optional ingredient.  If you enjoy beef tendon, it’s wonderful in this stew and adds delicious texture and crunch.  If you’re not familiar with how to prepare and cook beef tendon, please watch the video for some helpful tips.

Searing the meat is an important step when preparing beef for stews.  The process enhances the flavor and color of the meat.  (If you’ve ever made a stew without searing the meat, you may have noticed the meat is gray and dingy looking.)  Be sure to use a large wok or skillet so the beef has lots of contact with the hot surface.

This Vietnamese stew does not have potatoes but if you like potatoes, reduce the carrots to 1/2 lb and add 1/2 lb potatoes.

Adjust the water levels depending on how you want to eat this stew.  If serving as a noodle soup, you’ll want more liquid, so add an extra cup of water.  For a thicker stew, cut the water back by 1 cup or thicken using cornstarch.  Combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp cold water.  Stir to dissolve.  Add to the stew and mix well.  Turn-up the temperature to High and cook for 10-15 minutes.

One of the best things about using a slow cooker is the timing does not have to be exact.  If cooking on Low, cook the stew for 7-8 hours, on High temperature 3-4 hours.

Don’t forget to remove the lemongrass, star anise, bay leaves before eating.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook this over the stove.  Add the seared meat, lemongrass, star anise, coconut water and water into a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender.  Add the carrots and continue cooking until soft, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Slow Cooker Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)and Simple Crock Pot Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai).


1/2 lb beef tendon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar

2 lbs beef chuck roast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade  or 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced onions
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb carrots
10 oz coconut water
3 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
2 star anise
4 bay leaves
1 small bunch fresh cilantro


Sprinkle salt and vinegar on the beef tendon and rub it into the tendon for about a minute.  Rinse with cool water to wash off the salt and vinegar.  Add the tendon into a large pot of water.  Cover and bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Rinse the cooked tendon with cool water.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Cut the tendon into 1-inch cubes.

Cut the beef chuck roast into 1 1/2-inch cubes.  Combine the chuck roast and beef tendon with salt, curry powder, soy sauce, Vodka 5-Spice Marinade, and Hoisin sauce.  Cover and allow to marinate while continuing with the next steps.

Finely dice the onions and divide in half, 1/4 cup each.  (Half is used for cooking.  The other half can be refrigerated for now.)

Cut-off a 6-inch section of lemongrass.  Peel off the tough outer skin and discard.  Cut the lemongrass in half.  Using a wooden pestle or meat hammer, smash the ends of the lemongrass to release the aroma.

Peel and clean the carrots and then cut into 1-inch sections.

Heat a large wok over Medium High heat and when hot add the vegetable oil.  Add 1/4 cup of the finely diced onions and the minced garlic.  Stir-fry for 15-20 seconds.  Add the tomato paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Increase the heat to High and add the marinated beef.  Stir-fry for 5 minutes searing the meat on all sides.

Add the carrots to the slow cooker and arrange in a single layer.  Add 1 piece of lemongrass, 1 star anise and 2 bay leaves on top of the carrots.  Add the seared beef.  Place the remaining spices on top of the meat.  Add the coconut water and water.  Cover and set the temperature to Low.  Allow to cook for 7-8 hours.

Chop the fresh cilantro and combine with the remaining diced onions.  Garnish the stew with this medley just before serving.

Serve this delicious Beef Stew with crusty French bread or over tapioca noodles (hu tieu) for an amazing and hearty meal!

Yields: 4-6 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Serve over Beef Stew over tapioca noodles for a hearty noodle soup!

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Roast Duck (Vit Quay)

This unique roasting method that I am about to share will be the only way you’ll roast duck forever more.  The traditional recipes for roasting a duck are time-consuming and laborious.  It requires constant babysitting, flipping and rotating to get the bird to brown evenly.  Then after all that work, you have a duck that looks great on the outside but is dry and leathery on the inside.  You end up drowning it in pools of sauce to mask the dryness.  Who wants that?

Baking a duck in an oiled paper bag is a technique I’ve used to roast my Thanksgiving turkeys for years now.  It was just recently that I adapted this recipe for a duck.  The results–an easy recipe that guarantees a golden, juicy and delicious duck.  Seeing is believing but you really have to try this recipe and taste the difference!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use only peanut oil and do not substitute with another vegetable oil.  Peanut oil has a high tolerance for heat.

Make sure to use enough peanut oil to saturate the paper bag.  There should not be any dry paper visible.  Do not use so much oil that the bag becomes soppy.

Remove the duck from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking to allow it to come to room temperature.

Use a large orange to stuff the duck.  You have to use a firm hand to push the wedges inside the body cavity instead of just placing them inside.  This approach helps to build up the body and make it fuller.

Tie the legs together.  This also helps to puff up the duck.  It will come out looking round and full as ducks have a tendency to flatten when roasted.

Be sure to seal the bag well by folding the ends of the bag and stapling it securely.  You don’t want any of the heat to escape from the bag while cooking.  This is technique allows the duck to cook quickly while still remaining moist.

The rule for cooking a duck using this paper bag method is 75% of the typical cooking time, approximately 15 minutes/pound.  A 5-lb duck roasts for 75 minutes and then we broil for 15 minutes.

When removing the paper bag, there will be lots of duck drippings on the bottom of the bag.  Be careful with this as it’s extremely hot.  If you’d like to keep it, dump it into a bowl and use it to make gravy, etc.

Duck fat sizzles and splatters like crazy.  During the final broiling stage (last 15 minutes) the duck fat will splatter everywhere and even smoke.  This is why we don’t place the duck to close to the heating elements.  Be extra careful when handling the roasting tray after this step.  I typically turn-off the oven, let the duck and pan cool for about 5-7 minutes before removing from the oven.

Lastly, it’s always important to let a duck rest for at least 15 minutes to seal in the juices before carving.

Watch the video below for instructions.


5 lb duck
2 Tbsp salt for washing duck

for the Marinade
2 inch section of ginger, grated (approximately 1 Tbsp)
4 garlic gloves, crushed (approximately 1 Tbsp)
zest of 1 large orange (approximately 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp Vodka 5-Spice Marinade
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

for Inside the Duck
1 large orange, cut into wedges
2 1-inch sections of ginger, smashed
4 garlic cloves smashed
3 green scallions

for the Glaze
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
1 Tbsp frozen orange juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Other Items
1 large paper grocery bag
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 bamboo skewer
2 12-inch lengths of twine
clear tape
large roasting tray


Grate ginger, zest orange and crush garlic.  Place in a small bowl.  Add remaining marinade ingredients and combine together forming a soft paste.

Remove neck, giblets, etc. from inside the duck and discard.  Sprinkle salt on outside and inside of duck and rub into the skin.  Rinse with duck with cool water and shake off excess.  Pat duck thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Trim off excess skin, fat and tail.  Using the tip of a sharp paring skin, cut small slits in the skin without piercing the meat.  (Do this all over the duck.)

Place the duck in a baking dish.  Drizzle Vodka 5-Spice Marinade on both sides of the duck and rub into the skin.  Smear 1 tsp of marinade inside the duck.  Spread remaining marinade on the duck coating it evenly.  Allow to marinate in refrigerator overnight uncovered.

The next day, remove duck from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while continuing with next steps.

Lower oven rack to lowest position.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat paper grocery bag completely with peanut oil and allow to rest while continuing with next steps.

To make a trussing needle, break off a 6-inch section of the bamboo skewer starting at the pointed tip.  Place twine along the skewer starting about 2 inches from the tip.  Wrap clear tape around the twine and skewer in a downward spiral.  Twist the tape to make sure it’s securely fastened onto the skewer.

Cut the remainder of the zested orange into small wedges.  Cut the green onions into 3-inch lengths and smash the garlic and ginger.  Stuff the body cavity with these ingredients.  (Use a firm hand to push everything inside the duck.)

Use the trussing needle to sew the opening closed.  Pull twine taut and then cut off the bamboo needle. Tuck the remaining twine inside the duck  Tie the legs together.

Place oiled paper bag on the roasting tray.  Place duck inside the bag positioning it toward the back of the bag but not touching the paper in the back or on the sides.  Fold edges of the bag up and staple shut.

Bake in oven per the following guidelines:  15 minutes per pound of duck.  (A 5-pound duck bakes for approximately 75 minutes.)

While the duck is roasting prepare the glaze by combining all listed ingredients.

Remove roasting pan from oven.  Carefully cut paper bag, releasing the steam inside.  Remove paper bag and discard.  Place duck directly on the roasting rack.

Adjust oven rack to one level higher and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Brush duck with generous amounts of glaze.  Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Yields: 4 servings

Roast Duck Slices (Vit Quay) | recipe fron

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5-Spice Beer Can Chicken (Ga Nuong Ngu Vi Huong)

Cooking a chicken on a beer can may seem gimmicky but you will be amazed at how tender and juicy the chicken comes out using this cooking method.  Every time I cook a chicken this way I am amazed with how simple the recipe is and how it never fails to wow my guests.  The rub with its abundant and varied spices adds such robust flavor to an otherwise plain chicken.  It may seem like there are too many spices in the rub but they all work together very nicely.  The brown sugar helps the chicken to get that nice golden color whether cooking on the grill or in the oven.  It really is a no fuss recipe and I hope you’ll give it a try!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

I use a disposable foil tray to catch the drippings.  You’ll be surprised at how much fat drips out of the chicken.  The tray catches everything and makes the clean-up super easy.

The below rub recipes makes approximately 1/4 cup of rub and it should be more than enough for a 5 pound chicken.

I am not a fan of chicken skin and will peel it off and discard it.  So that I don’t lose any of the wonderful flavors, I put the rub underneath the chicken skin.  Just gently work the rub underneath the skin with your finger.  The chicken skin is really stretchy and you can get to most areas of the chicken simply by lifting the skin and then running your index finger between the skin and meat to create pockets where you can then place the rub.

 Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Asian-Style Stuffed Cornish Game Hens.


for the Rub
1/2 Tbsp 5-spice powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp ginger powder
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne powder

5 lb whole chicken
1-12 oz can beer
1/4 small onion


To make the rub, add all spices into a measuring cup or bowl and mix well making sure to break-up any chunks of spice.  Alternatively, put all ingredients into a jar, seal tightly and shake the jar for 1 minute to combine the spices.

Open beer can and pour out 1/2 cup of beer into a glass.   Drink just the beer in the glass before proceeding to next step.  🙂  Use a can opener to make some additional holes on the top of the can.  Add 2 tsp of the rub into the can.  Coat the can with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  (This will make the chicken easier to remove after it’s done cooking.)

Remove giblets from inside the chicken.  Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with cool water.  Shake off any excess water and then pat dry with paper towels.  Using kitchen shears cut off the flaps of fat at the opening of the chicken and discard.

Sprinkle spice mixture and rub it onto the chicken, coating it evenly.  Put some rub inside the chicken too.  Optionally, work the rub underneath the skin.

Hold chicken with one hand and beer can with the other.  Tilt beer can slightly and insert into the opening of the chicken.  Lower the chicken onto the beer can until it can stand on its own.  About 1 inch of the can should be visible.  Arrange the legs to help support the weight.

Place an onion wedge into the neck cavity and pull the skin around the onion to hold it in place.

Cooking in the Oven

Transfer chicken to a baking dish or sturdy disposable foil pan.

Arrange oven rack so it is at the lowest position.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature of the breast meat is 165 degrees.  After 1 hour, check the temperature with a meat thermometer and then keep checking every 5-6 minutes until the it reaches 165 degrees.  (A 5 lb chicken takes approximately 1 1/2 hours.)

Cooking on the Grill

Transfer chicken to a sturdy disposable foil pan.  Set the grill temperature to Medium and place the tray over indirect heat.  (If your grill has 2 heat sources, turn on the one heat source and place the chicken on the opposite side so the chicken is not directly over the flame).  Close the lid and grill until the internal temperature of the breast meat is 165 degrees.  After 1 hour, check the temperature with a meat thermometer and then keep checking every 5-6 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees.

After Chicken is Done 

Remove from the oven or grill and allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Use 2 pairs of tongs to remove the chicken from the beer can.  Clamp the chicken with one pair of tongs and use the other pair of tongs to extract the beer can.  Be careful with this step as the chicken, can and the beer inside is really hot.

Serve the chicken as a rice plate with broken rice, egg meatloaf, carrot and radish pickles, scallion oil and fish sauce dipping sauce.

Yields: 4-6 servings

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Vodka 5-Spice Marinade (Ruou Thom)

Vodka 5-Spices Marinade | recipe from runawayrice.comThis 5-spice marinade is an easy to make, must-have seasoning.  It works wonderfully with all types of meats and seafood.  Add a splash to noodles and veggie stir-frys to perk up the flavors.  I love the fragrant yet subtle taste.  Go ahead and make a few extra bottles and give them to your family and friends.  They will love it!

Check out these yummy recipes using the Vodka 5-Spice Marinade:

Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs (Suon Nuong)

Roast Duck (Vit Quay)
Grilled Pork Patties and Skewers (Thit Nuong)
Grilled Pork Sandwich (Banh Mi Thit Nuong)
Sizzling Shaken Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
Savory and Sweet Sautéed Chicken

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Traditional Recipe) (Nuoc Mam Cham) and Caramel Sauce (Nuoc Mau).


2 cups vodka
1 tangerine
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
10 cloves
20 peppercorns


Peel the skin from the tangerine and place by a sunny window.  Allow the skin to dry for a day.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add all spices and toast in pan for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Take a 3×3 inch section of the tangerine skin and cut into thin strips. Pour vodka into a glass bottle filling it almost to the top.  Drop in the tangerine strips and toasted spices. Fill the bottle to the top with vodka and securely seal with a cap.

Allow the spices to infuse in the vodka for at least 30 days.

Store the marinade in your cupboard for no longer than 1 year.

Yields:  2 cups

The Essential Asian Five Spices | recipe from






Vodka 5-Spices Marinade | recipe from
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