Archive for the ‘Vietnamese’ Category

Rice fields in Indonesia

Probably like you, many of the meals I cook, involve serving them with rice. If you own a thermal cooker there are two way to deal with this.
If your thermal cooker has only one inner pot (some thermal cooker have two) I can either put a trivet in the bottom (its legs in the food) and put something like my cake tin containing part boiled rice on the trivet or cook your rice about 30 minutes before I want to eat in a separate saucepan. If you on the other hand have a Mr D’s top pot you can follow the recipe and then put the top pot in the inner pot before placing the inner pot into the outer container.
In the past I have tried many methods of cooking rice. These include Jamie Oliver’s rice cooking method from his book “Ministry of Food” and Madhur Jaffrey’s methods from her book “Illustrated Indian Cookery”. All of these work but take far more time than my method and do not seem to be any better.


  • 1/2 cup of rice per person. I always use Basmati rice except for when I am cooking Thai food. With Thai I prefer Jasmine rice.
  • 1 cup of water for each 1/2 cup of rice.
  • Salt to taste.


  1. Add the water to a saucepan.
  2. Add salt tasting the water until you can taste the salt. Vary the amount to your taste but remember if you can’t taste the salt in the water your rice will tend to be bland.
  3. Bring the water to the boil.
  4. Pour the rice into the boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
  5. Boil it gently (a rolling boil) for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan.
  7. Leave for about 30 minutes and you then will have perfectly cooked rice.
  8. Before serving fluff up with a fork.

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This recipe appeared in the Waitrose Christmas Cookbook 2009 and they have kindly allowed me to add it to my blog.
I am a great fan of both Thai and Vietnamese food and this one certainly ticked all the boxes.
This is a typical curry from that region of the world and you can find in the streets of Saigon many similar curries. This can be served with fragrant rice or maybe a crusty baguette to mop up the lovely sauce.

I have done some small changes to adapt it for a thermal cooker.


  • 1tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and cut into fine shreds
  • 1tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • 400ml can Coconut Milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
  • 600g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 8 Chicken Thigh Fillets, about 700g
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn


  1. Heat the oil in the inner pot and cook the onions over a medium heat until coloured, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the chilli and ground spices then cook for another minute, stirring a little.
  3. Add the coconut milk, sugar and sweet potato. Bring to just under the boil.
  4. Cut the chicken into chunks and add to the stew. Bring to boil.
  5. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover and put the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  7. Put on the lid and cook for 1 to 2 hours. Longer will not matter.
  8. When ready to serve check the seasoning and stir in the basil leaves.
  9. Serve with boiled rice or crusty bread.

I hope you enjoy this recipe
Mr D

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We had all the family arriving with us on Christmas Eve so I needed something that was easy to make and would be ready when we wanted to eat.  I decided to make one of Rick Steins recipe from his last series “Far Eastern Odyssey”. I have made this a few times in my thermal cooker and it really does work well. The Vietnamese recipe was given to Rick Stein by a restaurant owner in London and I served it with boiled rice.

Serves 6

  •  1 x 2.5kg duck, jointed into 6 pieces
  • 50g garlic, crushed
  • 50g peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 litre freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 star anise
  •  4 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 fat lemon grass stalks, core finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 spring onions, white part only, plus 1 whole spring onion for garnish
  • ½ tsp cornflour
  1. Put the inner pot over a medium-high heat. Add the duck pieces skin-side down, and leave to cook for 5–6 minutes until crisp and golden. Turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes until lightly browned. Lift on to a plate and set aside.
  2. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the inner pot into a bowl (I saved this for my roast potatoes on Christmas Day).
  3. Return the inner pot to a low heat, add the garlic and ginger. Cook gently for a couple of minutes until lightly golden. Be careful and don’t let the garlic burn. 
  4. Add the orange juice, fish sauce, sugar, star anise, chillies and lemon grass and season with black pepper.
  5. Return the duck to the inner pot and bring back to the boil.
  6. Turn the heat down slightly and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking to the base.
  7. After 5 minutes turn off the heat put the lid on and transfer the inner pot to the insulated outer pot.
  8. Close the lid of the outer container and leave to cook for a minimum of 3 hours.
  9. Just before serving lift the duck pieces out of the the inner pot and put the on a warmed dish and keep them warm. 
  10. Skim the excess fat off the top of the liquid left in the inner pot.
  11. Cut the white parts of the spring onions in half, add to the inner pot.
  12. Bring the inner pot to the boil and leave it to simmer vigorously for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavour.
  13. Mix the cornflour with 1 teaspoon water,
  14. Take the inner pot of the heat while you stir in the cornflour mixture.
  15. Put the inner pot back on the heat and simmer for 1 minute more.  
  16. Pour the contents of the inner pot over the duck, scatter over the shredded spring onion and serve with rice.

I usually put the duck back into the inner pot and serve from the pot.

Happy thermal cooking

Mr D

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