Ethnic Cuisine: No Need to be Intimidated

By Cristina Guccione

Ever had a craving for Pho noodle soup or curry chicken with rice but didn’t want to drive to your favorite restaurant?  The thought of making these foreign creations at home can sound daunting but in actuality (and a couple semi-homemade shortcuts), you’ll be a pro in no time.  Below are two simple and easy recipes that will wow your friends and family. Or, if you just want an easy night on the town or a quick lunch, check out these two Sacramento favorites that will not leave you disappointed.


Kim’s Vietnamese (try the bánh mì sandwich)

Bombay Bar and Grill (honestly everything is amazing – you can’t go wrong with your order)

Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup








Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Serves: 2


For the broth:

  • 1 4-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into fours
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 star anise pods or 1 tsp of liquid flavoring
  • 6 whole cloves or ½ tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 containers of 26 oz. low-sodium beef broth
  • Freshly ground pepper, to tasteFor the bowls (divided in half):
  • ¾ pound thinly sliced sirloin, sliced across the grain
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package of fresh noodles, can be found in the produce department
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ shredded carrots
  • 1 lime, quartered Instructions for broth:
  1. Roast the ginger, onion and garlic in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  2. If using whole spices, toast them in an ungreased frying pan for 5/10 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Combine all the broth ingredients into large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  4. While the broth is cooking, season the beef with salt and pepper and sear on a hot grill (or frying pan) about 25 seconds per side. Set aside.
  5. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
  6. After the broth is done cooking, remove the onions and spices (or strain through cheese cloth)


To assemble the soup:

  1. Add noodles to the bowl.
  2. Add broth until noodles are almost covered.
  3. Place the seared meat in a circular pattern on top of the noodles.
  4. Add the rest of the “bowl” ingredients.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Chicken Vindaloo with Raita


















Prep time: 35 minutes

Total time: 1 hour (not including marinade time)

Serves: 2


Ingredients for Chicken Vindaloo:

  • 1 pound of boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. Vindaloo seasoning (includes: coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, dried mustard, cayenne red pepper, jalapeño pepper, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper and cloves)
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • ½ tbsp crushed fresh garlic
  • 2 cans (16 oz.) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (16 oz.) of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish Ingredients for Raita:
  • 1 (16 oz.) Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • White pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste Instructions for Chicken Vindaloo:
  1. Cut the chicken into 1 ½ inch cubes, coat with olive oil and season with 1 tbsp. of the Vindaloo seasoning. Marinade in refrigerate for 1-4 hours. Sear chicken in large sauce pan/pot with olive oil until chicken is half way cooked (about 5 minutes). Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add olive oil and onions, cook until translucent (about 5 minutes), then add garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the cans of tomatoes, remaining 2 tbsp. of Vindaloo seasoning and ½ cup of chicken broth or water.
  4. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add chicken and cook for an additional 10 minutes to ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste Instructions for Raita (prep while sauce is simmering):
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Let sit for 30-45 minutes.


Serve chicken over a bed of basmati rice (Trader Joe’s has a great frozen version) and top with cilantro.  Accompany with naan bread (again, TJ’s has a great frozen version) and a side of raita.



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