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Yampi Root/Yam Soup (Canh Khoai Mo)

Yampi Root/Yam Soup with Shrimp (Canh Khoai Mo) -- a hearty soup that is full of flavor and texture.I’ve always been fascinated by the creamy, silkiness of this soup.  The fact that this unique slippery texture comes from a root vegetable is equally intriguing.  What exactly is this mysterious vegetable?  My research tells me this vegetable, called the Yampi Root, is a tuber in the yam family.  It’s called by many different names and often confused with similar root vegetables.  Because of the frequent mix-ups, it’s often just generically called a yam.  As with many root vegetables there are endless varieties.  With this particular vegetable, it’s best to know what you’re looking for when shopping for it rather than asking for it by name.  (In the video, I show you how to identify it amongst the mountains of other root vegetables.)

In Vietnamese, this vegetable is called “khoai mo” , “khoai” means root vegetable and “mo” means fat so it would be roughly translated as “fatty root vegetable”.  At my house, we call this dish “Slippery Potato” soup.  Fortunately for us, we are not eating fat or anything close to it.  Yampi root is deliciously hearty and when made into a soup the starchiness serves as an instant thickener so we don’t need to add heavy creams or sauces.  I’ve only ever had yampi root prepared as a soup and because the combination is so good I’ve never deviated from it but I imagine it would taste great cooked and then mashed,  added to a stew or even pan-fried or deep-fried.  I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Watch the video below for instructions.

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Ingredients

2 green onions
1 small bunch rice paddy herb or cilantro
6 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb yampi root
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2-14 oz cans chicken broth
1 tsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Finely dice green onion tops (green stems).  Set aside in a small bowl.  Dice remaining green onion bottoms (white portion) and set aside in a separate bowl.  Coarsely chop rice paddy herb and add to green onion tops.  Toss together and then set aside for now.

Coarsely chop shrimp and add to bowl with green onion bottoms.  Add the sugar, several dashes of ground black pepper and salt.  Combine everything together and set aside for now.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the yampi root.  Use a paring knife to remove any deep spots or remaining skin.  Rinse with cool water and pat dry.  Grate the vegetable using a coarse blade.  Leave about a 1-inch section of the root remaining.  Cut this section into small pieces.

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the yampi root pieces, cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the grated yampi root and stir together.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Every few minutes stir the soup so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the shrimp and combine with the soup.  Turn off the heat.  Stir the soup for 1 minute until the shrimp is cooked.  If the soup is too thick, add some water.  Add fish sauce and combine.  Add 2 Tbsp of the green onions and herb mixture.  Stir together.

Just before serving, sprinkle more fresh greens and ground black pepper on top.

Yields: 4-6 servings

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Shrimp and Yam Toast (Banh Mi Chien Tom)

I love deep-fried foods just as much as everyone else but I resist making most dishes at home mainly for health reasons.  And so, I am always altering recipes that require deep frying for healthier cooking options.  I’ve found that pan-cooking works in most cases and this dish is a great recipe redo.  The traditional Vietnamese fritters recipe does not have French bread but my Mom made it this way and I really loved it.  To minimize oil absorption when pan-cooking, she would dry out the bread by toasting it lightly in the oven.   This made it even crispier, so give this a try if you have a bit more time and desire a toast with extra crunch.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2/3 cup water

3 green onion tops
1/2 loaf French bread
1 small yam (approx. 4 oz)
24  – size 31/40 shrimp, peeled and deveined
vegetable oil for pan cooking

Directions

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, baking powder, turmeric powder and water.  Whisk until batter is smooth.  Let batter rest for at least 30 minutes.

Thinly dice green onion tops.  Cut 12 slices of French bread, approximately 1/2-inch thick.  Peel yam and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Cut into thin strips.

Add green onions, yam strips and shrimp to batter and mix well making sure everything is coated with batter.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  Use a brush to evenly distribute the oil in the pan.  Take a slice of French bread and place 2 shrimp on top of the bread.  Place a generous amount of yam sticks on top of the shrimp.   Place the toast face-side down in the skillet.  (Tip:  It may be easiser to prep all pieces of toast first and then cook them all at once.)   Turn the heat down to medium low and cook on the first side for approximtely 5 minutes.  Brush the side facing up with a bit of vegetable oil.  Flip the toast over and cook in the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Serve toast with green leaf lettuce, fresh herbs and Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Yields: 12 pieces

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Yummy Yam Hash

Yams and sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin B6 & C and other health benefits and so I try to incorporate them in my cooking whenever possible.  I had some leftover yams and combined it with my go-to stir fry recipe to make this delicious dish.  Simple and quick to make, this is a wonderful side dish to any meal.

Ingredients

1/2 lb yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 small red onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Fill a bowl with water.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve.  Peel yams and slice into small 1/2-inch thick chunks.  Add yams into water bowl and soak for 5 minutes.  (This prevents the yams from turning brown as they oxidize very quickly.)  Drain.  Layer yams on a large plate and microwave on High for 4 minutes.  Yams should be about half-way cooked at this point.  Peel and dice the onions.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Add oil, onions and garlic.  Stir fry for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add yams and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and black pepper.  Stir fry for another  2-3 minutes.

Serve hot.

Yields:  2-3 servings

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