I came home rather late on New Year's and so missed all the food preparations. So there are no recipes per se, rather descriptions. If someone is interested, I am sure I could get the details from my mom...
Whole stuffed duck.
Vịt tiềm thuốc bắc includes so many ingredients and I am having a hard time translating many of them. This dish consists of a duck with a stuffing, including rice vermicelli, wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, sticky rice, mung beans, ground pork, chestnuts and a mixture of Chinese medicinal ingredients. The duck is then cooked in a broth that also contains Chinese medicinal ingredients and some dried clementine skins. Chinese medicinal ingredients can be purchased as a dry mixture and includes lotus seeds, Chinese dates, barley, goji berry, etc. Sorry, I should taken a look at the bag.
There are three main components when eating vịt tiềm thuốc bắc: the duck itself, the stuffing and finally the soup in which the duck was cooked in. If you have never had Chinese medicinal ingredients, there is a strong and unique odour to it. However, we all enjoyed the broth and it is supposed to be good for your health!
Cơm gà (Hainanese chicken rice) has much less ingredients. A whole chicken is cooked in water to make a broth. Since the chicken is the star ingredient, it is important to get a good chicken. My mom's husband's cousin lives on a farm and raises a few chicken for personal use. She was lucky to get one, so this is definitely an organic, free range chicken! The chicken is then chopped up and served with rice.
Whole chicken cooked to make a broth.
My favourite part is the rice. Rice is stir fried in oil and garlic to flavour the rice. Then my mom cooked in a rice cooker with the chicken broth. This rice smells and tastes SO good. Nothing like plain rice. I find it even has a different texture.
The rice is then eaten with chicken, dipped in ginger nước mắm (fish sauce). I always knew this dish as cơm gà, literally translated to rice chicken. However, it was only when I started reading food blogs that I learned that this dish is popular in Singapore. I knew it came from Hainan because my mom told me that when she left Vietnam, she and my father were stranded on the island of Hainan when their boat broke down. There, she did notice their chickens were different than others she had seen. The Gastronomer also tried this dish in Vietnam and Wandering Chopsticks' family also makes this dish.
I wish I could have some now!