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Papaya Salad

When you can’t buy papaya salad at the Hmong market and you have to learn how to make it yourself! Seriously. lol Who else can relate? πŸ˜€ I’ve never craved for papaya salad so bad in my life until my friend Jeanny and I talked about it a few months back. I missed the combination of the sweet, spicy, and sour flavors of papaya salad, followed by a tangy, tamarind sauce. It’s such a fresh and satisfying dish, and even better when you’re in the company of family and good friends.

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Kua Taub Tsuag (Boiled Pumpkin)

It’s pumpkin season! With the cold season approaching us, all I want to do nowadays is stay home and curl up in a cozy blanket in front of the TV. Better yet, a nice warm pumpkin drink to go with it. I haven’t had boiled pumpkin in ages! It’s funny how being away from home makes you miss Hmong food so much, especially dishes you’ve had growing up that reminds you so much of the people you love. To me, boiled pumpkin makes me think of my grandma, Bee.

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Vermicelli Noodle Salad

Mmm… Vermicelli noodle salad! This is love in a bowl. If you’ve had one of these before, you know what I’m talking about. It’s one of the main things I look forward to when I enter a Vietnamese restaurant. I’m crazy about it and as silly as this may sound, I’d pick this noodle salad over pho any day (and I’m not kidding)! Before Sam and I decide on a Vietnamese restaurant, I always ask two things: (1) “Are there vermicelli noodle salads?” and (2) “Do they have bahn mi sandwiches?” If I get a no for both of these questions, then I would very much rather go somewhere else. I know, I know. You pho lovers might be thinking, “But there’s still pho and pho is love and that’s all you need!” I also love pho but I happen to love the vermicelli noodle salad dish a lot more. πŸ™‚ Anyways, this special recipe request was made by Nouta Vue. Thanks for requesting, Nouta!

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Kab Yaub (Hmong Egg Rolls)

One of my favorite childhood foods that have a special place in my heart – “Kab Yaub” or Hmong egg rolls. We made them occasionally and especially looked forward to family gatherings because chances were, we knew we would be having some. πŸ˜‰ Aside from getting to eat them, I look forward to rolling the egg rolls the most because it takes so much skill to roll them beautifully. Can anyone else relate? It’s always so much fun to roll them with a group of family members and/or friends, especially when you’re making A LOT. It’s such a great opportunity to catch up and spend quality time. πŸ™‚ At home before I married Sam, my mom, sisters and I would roll the egg rolls and my brothers would fry them outside in the garage. Very much like the times my family and I wrapped spring rolls, we also liked to compare our egg rolls. Egg rolls are well known as a delicious appetizer, but in my family, along with many other Hmong families, they’re much more than just appetizers. It’s more like a main dish for us. We would eat kab yaub with white rice, and then maybe some sauce or pepper on the side.

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Broken Glass Jello

I was first introduced to this tasty dessert quite a few years ago. My sister, Wennicha, invited us to a potluck dinner at the Science Museum where she used to volunteer at. Her friend’s mom was the person who brought in the broken glass jello and I remembered how amazingly cool it looked. I asked myself, “How did they get the colored jello to look like that inside the white gelatin?” It was something I couldn’t wrap my mind around until I learned how to make it myself. Thanks to my cousin, Laichia, for also sharing with me her recipe that I was able to learn how to make this colorful dessert. As I experimented, I also learned how to make this into something I can call my own. This choice of dessert is great for weddings, parties, or even work potlucks. It’s something that – I promise you – kids love and even the grown ups do, too.

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