Thank you very much for visiting our Food and Culture Recipes Blog!

This blog was created and edited by Mark Gibbon and Mohammed Raza for our 2010 World Views course at Vanier College; located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and instructed by Maro Adjemian. All of the recipes and stories included in this blog are products of the students from that class. The recipes are listed alphabetically by country of origin. Please feel free to borrow, broil, brown, bake and share these recipes with your friends and family. And don’t forget to come back and leave a comment telling us how it worked out for you!


-The Editors

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vietnam: Egg rolls

Jason Hai Dang

Egg rolls: Vietnam

Starting when I was a young teenager I’ve questioned myself multiple times about what my favourite food or meal was. Everything tasted the same; nothing tasted special, and mainly because everything I ate was from my culture. I had an epiphany one day. I was eating at an Asian restaurant and I had an egg roll. While munching on this egg roll I started to question how they had made it. It was plain, as if they bought it from the frozen section of a super market. While eating this plain egg roll I came to the conclusion that I have never ate any other egg roll that’s either the same or even better than the ones my mom makes at home. My mother grew up in Vietnam and she adopted the Vietnamese cuisine while she was young, learning from my grandmother and those around her. So to me her food was the only real example of a Vietnamese meal. Because she bought recipes straight from Vietnam and for other unknown reasons, it can’t be compared to other recipes from my culture. It’s just how my mom makes it. I don’t usually eat egg rolls every day but only once in awhile, which is what makes them taste really good. Either they are for a special occasion or for when guests are over. So therefore in the end I have decided to choose egg rolls, only the ones that my mom makes, as my favourite meal of all time.


·         Ingredients (for egg rolls (100pieces)
  • -ground pork (2Lb)
    • 6 extra large eggs
    • Jumbo shrimps (2Lb)
  • -Carrot (1Lb)
  • -Dried Mushroom Strips (100g)
  • -2 red onions
  • -1/3 of whole garlic (3-4 pieces)
  • -1 table spoon of fish sauce
  • -1/3 table spoon of monosodium glutamate
  • -1/3 table spoon of table salt
  • -1/3 table spoon of ground black pepper
  • -2 packs of spring roll pastry (preferably TYJ Spring Roll Pastry from Spring Home. This could be found mainly in Asian super markets)
  • -2 packs of rice vermicelli

·         Ingredients for sauce
  • -1L of hot water
  • -10 table spoon of granulated sugar
  • -8 table spoon of fish sauce
  • -1/3 of garlic (3-4 pieces)
  • -3 red jalapeno peppers
  • -carrot

·         Procedure
The sauce
  1. -Take a large bowl; pour a litre of boiling hot water into it. Then add 10 table spoons of granulated sugar and 8 table spoons of fish sauce into the bowl.
  2. -Take 1/3 of a garlic (3-4 pieces) and cut it up into tiny pieces just a big as the tip of a pen.  You will also add this into the bowl.
  3. -cut your carrot by its circular surface area, no bigger than 3 millilitres. Add this to the bowl.
  4. -finally, cut your 3 red jalapeno peppers into pieces like the size of your pinkie. Add this to the bowl.
  5. -mix your sauce and taste it, if it’s too salty then add more sugar and hot water and vice versa.
  6. The egg rolls
  7. -start off by taking the dried fungus strips and putting them into and bowl of hot water. This will let the fungus strips expand and not be dry anymore. Leave it sitting in there for 30minutes. When done take it out, rinse it, and clean it thoroughly with your hands.  
  8. -take your jumbo shrimps and peel of the skin and cut of the head. Then cut them into pieces no bigger than your pinkie.
  9. -cut up 2 red onions into pieces no bigger than your pinkie. Also at the same time cut up 3-4 pieces of garlic to the size of the tip of a pen. The same thing will be done with your 2Lb of carrot.
  10. -take a large bowl and add 2Lb of ground pork, your fungus strips, jumbo shrimps, carrots, red onion, garlic, 1 table spoon of fish sauce, 1/3 table spoon of monosodium glutamate, 1/3 table spoon of table salt, 1/3 table spoon of grounded black pepper, and 5 large eggs. Mix all of these ingredients together uniformly.
  11. -crack open an egg and extract the yoke and place it in a small bowl.
  12. -the hard part is where you have to roll it and this should be done on a large plate. Start of by taking a spring roll sheet and put it on the plate with one of the diagonals facing you. Take roughly two to three table spoons of the mixed portion and place it, not in the middle but closer to you, on the sheet. Take the diagonal that’s facing you and roll it over the mixed portion. Take the two adjacent diagonals and fold them  to where the first diagonal was folded to. Then, with your finger, dip it into the red yoke and wipe it across the last diagonal that has not been rolled yet. Then simply roll your egg roll. Then red yoke acts like glue which will keep your spring roll sheet intact. This should be done till your entire mixed portion is finish. Hopefully you’ll end up with 100 pieces.
  13. -now take your 2 packs of rice vermicelli and boil them in hot water till the noodles become soft, roughly 10 minutes once done rinse out the water.
  14. -the last part will be the deep fry. Either you’re using a pot or an automatic deep fry kettle; let it sit with maximum temperature till it starts to boil. Then add the egg rolls that you have rolled. Immediately turn the heat down to medium once you’ve add them. They will sit in the deep fry process for roughly 5-6 minutes.
  15. -to serve you will first add a portion of a hand full of the rice vermicelli onto a plate or bowl. Then add the egg rolls on top and pour sauce over it till you’re satisfied.
  16. And Enjoy!

As I mentioned before, my mom only serve egg rolls during special occasion. So therefore I couldn’t get her to make any for me to take a picture of. That is why I used one from Wikipedia.

Vietnam: Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crêpe)

 Thi Hong Hoa Vuong

Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crêpe): Vietnam

Vietnam is a small country in Asia, and so not many people know about it as well as Vietnamese food culture. Because in the past, Vietnam was ruled by China for at least one thousand years and controlled by France later for about one hundred years, China and France influenced Vietnamese culture including food culture strongly. However, Vietnamese food still has its traditional taste.“Bánh xèo” is one of the dishes combining Vietnamese food culture with French and Chinese food culture because this cake has  a thin batter similar to a French crêpe, and it is dipped in a sweet sauce like many Chinese foods, but that sauce is made from fish sauce, the Vietnamese traditional sauce.  “Bánh xèo” literally means “sizzling cake”. It has that name because of the sizzling sound when the batter hits the hot oil. This dish is a traditional and famous dish in Southern regions of Vietnam. The specialty of “bánh xèo” is that the batter is crispy; people eat this cake by wrapping small pieces in vegetables and served dipped in sweet fish sauce. I had never eaten “bánh xèo” until I came to Montreal and knew a lot of Vietnamese friends from Southern regions. They just cooked for me and the taste was so great. Then I learned how to cook it. It was not as hard as I thought.


·         Ingredients (The batter)
  • 1 cup rice flour (not glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small tin coconut milk (165 ml)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 100g pork belly, sliced into small thin pieces
  • 100g small shrimps
  • bean sprouts
  • oil

·         Procedure

  1. Mix the rice flour, salt and turmeric together in a bowl
  2. Pour water and coconut milk in the mixture, stir it slowly until the rice flour dissolves, then put the spring onion in and stir through it again.
  3. Stir fry pork, shrimps and bean sprouts separately
  4. Heat a non-sticky pan (about 10 inch to make a good shape for the cake) and wait for about 1 minute.
  5. Put 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan and heat it about 30 seconds.
  6. Stir the batter mixture and add a ladle of batter mixture to the pan and at the same time, turn the pan quickly to make the mixture cover the entire pan.
  7. Put some shrimps, pork and bean sprouts on the batter, then cover the pan and wait for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Fold the crêpe in half when the batter’s edge pulls away the sides of pan.
  9. Put the crêpe in a plate and redo from step 5.

·         Ingredients (The dipping sauce)

  • 3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water (125 ml)
  • 2.5 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic minced finely
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste

·         Procedure

  1. Mix the lime juice, sugar and water until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the fish sauce to the mixture
  3. Add garlic and chili paste and stir it.

Serve with the dipping sauce and salad plate including lettuce, coriander, fresh mint and basil.

Bánh xèo” posted by Su-lin on March 27th, 2009

Taiwan (China): Mooncake

Richard Fuku

Mooncake: China & Taiwan

Mooncakes are one of my favourite Chinese desserts made of sweet bean-paste filling with a golden-brown skin. They are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. Traditional mooncakes contain one or more salted egg yolks that symbolize the shape of moon, and they have an imprint on the top that signifies the Chinese character for “harmony.” As a child living in Taiwan, I can still remember watching the full moon and eating a lot of mooncakes with my family during the festival; it was always full of fun and laughter. Moreover, barbecue parties are famous among Taiwanese people during the festival. All family members get together for a dinner, watching the full moon, and eating the delicious mooncakes. This joyful atmosphere is the reason why the festival is still so popular. Modern mooncakes are very similar to the traditional mooncakes but differ largely in the type of fillings. They do not require baking and have a wide variety including low fat and ice cream versions. I really like the flavor of modern mooncakes that include green tea, chocolate and coffee. It tastes so good that you definitely have to try it!


· Ingredients:

§ 1 can red bean paste (You can get this in Metro Supermarket)
§ 1 cup flour (all-purpose)
§ 3 eggs
§ 1/2 cup sugar
§ 1 teaspoon baking powder
§ 1/2 teaspoons milk powder
§ 1/2 teaspoons salt
· Procedure:    
1. Mix red bean paste with sugar into a bowl and set aside.
2. Shift flour, baking powder, milk power, eggs, sugar, salt, and water into another bowl, and use the electric mixer to stir for 15 minutes until the mixture forms the dough.
3. Knead the dough for about 1 minute until it becomes smooth and satiny.
4. Cut the dough into 8 cm pieces and roll them into a ball.
5. Make a hole with your thumb in the center of each dough circle and fill it with 1 teaspoon red bean paste.
6. Place the dough in any mold you want to make the shape of mooncakes.
7. Bake the mooncakes in a pre-heated oven about 375 degree F for 30 minutes until they become golden brown.
8. Transfer to a rack and let cool.


Sri Lanka: Biryani

Adams Sutharsan

Biryani: Sri Lanka

Biryani: just the sound of it makes me hungry. Here’s a meal I love to eat with my family and friends. My mother cooks biryani and it is one of the delicious meals of the South Asian dishes. In addition, we generally eat biryani when there is a special occasion. I enjoy this recipe because it is not cooked on a daily basis and when cooked, there are many things associated with it such as parties, celebrations, ceremonies and religious and cultural times. It is a very common dish among Tamil individuals, however also among southern Indians and in some parts of Pakistan. In Sri Lanka or India, this food is served hot and freshly made. In Montreal there are some Sri Lankan and Indian restaurants who sell biryani and also other meals. Biryani is a one-of-a-kind meal; it is very unique and is nowadays done in different ways in order to come across new flavours. It consists mainly of- rice, vegetables and chicken. However, you can also use other meat such as beef or mutton. At times, shrimp is also included in biryani to add a spicy flavour. This meal is prepared separately; meaning the rice is cooked alone while the chicken and vegetables are mixed and cooked one by one.
·         Ingredients
  • Rice; preferably Basmati Rice.
  • Chopped onion (1)
  • Chopped tomatoes (2)
  • Oil (200 grams)
  • Vegetables; Carrots, Beans, Peas, Corns, Green chillies.
  • Masala powder; the paste. (2 teaspoons)
  • Coriander leaves
  • Lemon juice (1/2 of a lemon)
  • Garlic paste
·         Procedure
1.      Cook the rice for about 30 mins.
2.      While rice is being made, mix the vegetables and all of the spices and pastes together. Fry them until you get their smell in the air.
3.      Once the vegetables and everything are mixed well add the chicken to it and fry it some more.
4.      Rice should be done by now and so add the rice to the mixed vegetables and chicken. Mix some more so that the rice absorbs the juice of the mixed ingredients.
5.      Once it is all mixed, take out your plate and serve your friends and family.

Seychelles: Pau-Pau Chutney

Ishi Zachariah

Pau-Pau Chutney: Seychelles

Although Indian, having grown up in the Seychelles -a tiny island off the coast of Africa- puts a certain attachment to the simple yet rich Seychellois culture in me. Pau-pau is the word for papaya in Creole, the national language of the Seychelles. Being a tropical island, there is never a lack of papayas; their tangy orange color is visible in every lush corner and a mandatory part in every garden, along with coconut trees. Chutneys of every kind are the core of tradition in the Seychelles, which originates from the slaves that were brought in from Africa years ago. They would eat whatever nature had to offer them. Chutneys are basically grated vegetable, stir-fried with spices. Thus, a stir-fry of any tropical vegetable or raw fruit such as golden apple, long gourd, eggplant and papaya which happens to be my personal favourite. A typical Seychellois meal is authentic marinated grilled fish, rice, piment (crushed peppers) and pau-pau chutney. And of course, fresh passion-fruit juice to compliment it. Without doubt, pau-pau chutney will be present in any Creole buffet, arrayed in garments of brilliant red tomato peels and frangipani flowers. It is indeed an easy and extremely healthy recipe, rich in taste, and it just can’t be missed!

·         Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1 small green papaya (raw)Do you know where people could find green papayas in Montreal?
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • Lemon concentrate to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

·         Procedure
  1. Wash, de-seed the papaya and grate papaya finely.
  2. Mix salt in grated papaya and leave for 15mins.
  3. Squeeze the water out of the grated papaya until well dried.
  4. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the oil and add sliced onions.
  5. When onions are transparent in color, add green chillies and fry for two minutes.
  6. Add the grated papaya to the above. Cook the papaya for 5-7 minutes, until soft.
  7. Stir in the black pepper and lemon juice to taste, and salt as required.
  8.  Garnish with tomato and or fresh coriander leaves.
  9. Enjoy with steamed rice and grilled fish/ fish curry!


Philippines: Filipino BBQ Pork Skewers

Karstein Florendo

Filipino BBQ Pork Skewers: Philippines
 It is very common in Western civilization that the public often labels Filipino food to be somewhat odd and obscure due to various mixes of Western and Eastern cuisine, which in all makes it unique in the way they prepare it. With many years of Chinese, Spanish and Malay influence, the blend of all these cultures are important because it creates a source of culture, art and existence between communities in the Philippines. There are many wonderful foods in my culture. As child, I would always go to Filipino parties and eat some amazing foods from my culture. In these parties there would always be one of my favourite dishes, Filipino Barbecue Pork. I remember that when I was young the first thing I would go for at a party was the barbecue. If you don’t get any barbecue at the beginning of the party, you might not end up having any for whole party because everyone would go for it. One of the main reasons why I find this recipe important is because of the fact that when my family has a special event, like a birthday, we normally always make this dish. So basically, I grew up eating this dish and I can’t get enough of it. Every Filipino loves to barbecue and all Filipinos have their own recipes to making their dishes. There is not one Filipino that I know that doesn’t enjoy a nice dish of Filipino style barbecue. My family has different ways of making barbecue but there is one in particular that is my favourite which I am about to show you. I learned how to make this dish when I was pretty young. It’s very easy, simple and it’s delicious. I also decided to share this recipe with the class because my family and I really enjoy this dish and hopefully you will too.


·         Ingredients
§ 1 kg of Pork
§ 1 Chopped Garlic

§ 1 Cup of Soy Sauce

§ 1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar

§ 1-2 tsp of Black Pepper

§ 1-2 tsp of Salt

  • 1 Lemon

  • 1/3 Cup of Ketchup

·         Procedure
1. Cut the pork meat into 3cm cubes.
2. In a mixing bowl, properly mix the pork meat with the chopped garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, lemon and ketchup.
3. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours.
4. Once the marinating is done, we can start putting the marinated pork meat in bamboo skewers. (7-8 pieces per skewer)
5. Don’t throw away the left over marinate. We can use it while we cook the meat with a barbecue brush.
6. After that’s done, we can start barbecuing the meat.
7. On a charcoal barbecue, barbecue the pork until each skewer is properly cooked. Make sure that while you turn the barbecue, you use the leftover marinate to add even more flavour to your barbecue and to make sure that the meat doesn’t dry out.
8. Once done cooking, place on a plate and enjoy.


Philippines: Cassava Cake

Ashley Marie Arbis

Cassava Cake: Philippines

The Filipino cassava cake is a must-have at any Filipino party. It is eaten during special occasions. Whether we are celebrating our birthdays or New Year's Eve, the cassava cake is as present as my family relatives. I've never had a sweet-tooth for desserts but since I've tasted this dessert, I indulge myself every time I get the chance. The cassava cake's recipe varies from family to family but I'm convinced that my mother's recipe is the best one I've ever tasted. The dessert itself is heavenly sweet and high in calories which is probably why it is only eaten occasionally. The heaviness of this dessert comes from the cassava, a few cans of milk and half a cup of brown sugar. I love every ingredient from this dessert and whenever I get the chance, I enjoy watching my mom make this from her own hands, just as her mother concocted delicious and simple meals with a few ingredients. Although the majority of the ingredients of this recipe aren't necessarily Filipino, the cassava is used a lot in the Philippines. From the tapioca balls on the bottom of your bubble tea drink to other Filipino desserts such as bibingka cassava, the cassava is a known all throughout the Philippines. However famous it is in the Philippines, the cassava isn't only used in in the Philippines. It is a widely produced food around the globe. The cassava is an an shrubby tropical plant. The root of the cassava is edible when cooked. The cassava root is rough in texture and dark brown on the outside. Almost all of the ingredients used in this recipe can be found in Filipino or Chinese markets. The first time I tasted this dessert was when I moved back to Canada when I was five years old. Growing up in the Philippines has taught me to be grateful for every meal I get to eat. My grandmother and my aunt have a huge impact on the way I see Filipino food. I'm always proud to share my culture with people because they get the see the importance of family in the Filipino community. Our traditions and culture will always live on to remind us of where we came from.


·         Ingredients
  • 3 pack of frozen grated cassava (454 g)
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

·         Procedure
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Defrost the grated cassava.
  3. In a big bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly, then save 1/3 of the can of condensed milk. Pour the mixture in a foil-lined 8" layer pan.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the mixture is almost firm.
  5. Pour the rest of condensed milk on the firm cassava.
  6. Set the oven to broil. Brown top for 8 to 10 minutes, about 4" from the heat. Watch it carefully.

Source: Ashley Arbis