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Stew/Simmer

Ca kho (simmered fish)
As we know, healthy diets almost always contain fish, a protein food with fewer calories than other meat sources. It's also one of nature's most versatile food. We can process fish in different ways such as bake, fry , steam or poach but for simmering fish , it will reduce stinking taste and increase flavour of fish. “Cá kho“ in Vietnam can be divided into two types:” kho khô” ( dry simmering) va “kho nước”. “Cá kho nước” is usually made with sea fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, garrupa…,its taste is quite light and it often cooked with a lot of water that can be used to souse on steamed rice,“bún” or noodle. On the other hand,” Cá kho khô” is  saltier and cooked until nearly all water in the pot evaporates, it usually made with fresh water fish like long-jawed anchovy, carp, goby, mullet and so on. To make a” Cá kho”  in both two kinds, we need prepare ingredients carefully. First of all, seasoning includes: salt, pepper, “ nước mắm”, sugar and a little” kẹo đắng” , a liquid made from well-cooked sugar like a caramel syrup, has a bitten taste and dark reddish-brown colour- it is often used to create a sweet, bitten taste and nice colour for dishes. Secondly, we can use some vegetables called” phụ gia” such as small slices of ripe pipe-apple, tomatoes, carambola , jack- fruit and  several chunks of  sugar-cane. One more and most important ingredient is fish, we should choose fresh fish that will make our dish more delicious. Fish is scrapped off the scales ,then washed carefully by water and vinegar. After  careful preparation,   fish is chopped up into small chunks and mixed  with spices, vegetables for  about 30 minutes before cooking . Then they are put into pot, often clay pot because it increases taste of fish and filled with water and small cup of tea. We simmer the pot for several hours depending on different kinds and sizes of fish. During cooking, we need to care about level of  fire and  always keep level of water higher than face of fish up to 1-2 centimetres. We stew the pot until fish is well-done and gain a desirable level of water, for “ Cá kho nước” we keep quite a lot of water left in the pot but for “ Cá kho khô” there is a little of water left.
Tom kho (Vietnamese simmered prawn)
As the case with many other seafood, “ tôm”( prawn) is nutritional food and very good for our health. “Tôm kho” also has a various kinds  of process and each kind has its own special flavour,  but one of the most delicious dishes is “ Tôm kho tộ”. Similar to  “ Cá kho”, to make “ tôm kho” we also have two stages: preparation and cooking. In preparation stage, we prepare spices including “ nước mắm”, sugar, gourmet powder, pepper, red chilli, onion, garlic , ginger and sometimes a little lemon juice. We also need cooking oil. We choose big Japanese shrimps to make this dish, shrimps should be fresh . We wash shrimp carefully and then remove its shell, use knife to cut a shallow line along its body to clear all dirty things , put its head into its body until the head reaches its tail to create circle shape and get “ gạch tôm” out of its body. We mash spring onion and chilli together using a mortar and pestle. After that, we heat oil and stir fry mashed spring onion and chilli mixture until fragrant. Then, we add Japanese shrimps to fry until their colours turn light yellow. We pick shrimps up and boil “ nước mắm” mixed with a spoonful sugar, pepper and a little of gourmet powder. Then we add shrimps to this liquid and boil several minutes for shrimps to absorb spices. After finishing this step, we mix “ gạch tôm” with some s of lemon juice, a little  pepper, sugar , “ nước mắm” and oil, then we simmer this liquid until it becomes solid. Next , shrimps are dipped into the solid liquid. So, the dish is finished. It is very tasty to eat with steamed rice. Besides “ Tôm kho tộ”, there are many types of “ tôm kho” like “ tôm kho lá chanh” “ tôm kho nấm” , with these dishes we only need some extra ingredients but the method of cooking are based on the same rule like “ tôm kho tộ” and all of them are so scrumptious.
Thit kho (Vietnamese simmered meat)
We also know that meat contains a number of important nutrients that are needed by our bodies for carrying out vital metabolic functions and provide us with energy and keep us healthy. Therefore, meat is one of the most popular food in our diets. Meat has various kinds and for “ thịt kho”( simmered meat) we also have a wide range of choices like pork, beef, chicken, duck. We can make a numerously delicious dishes from them, such as” thịt kho tàu”(meat simmered in a clay pot), “ thịt kho dừa”( meat simmered with coconuts), “ thịt bò kho hạt dưa” ( beef stewed with seeds of water-melon), “ giò lợn kho dừa”( pork-pie braised with coconuts) or “ gà kho chao”. Although there are a large number of dishes related to ‘ thịt kho” , the method of cooking are similar.  To be specified, the process of making “ thịt kho tàu” will be introduced on the following. First of all, we need to prepare ingredients: sugar, pepper, red chilli, a coconut, salt, garlic, onion , “ kẹo đắng” and lean pork.  Pork is washed carefully and then cut into small square pieces, marinated with pepper, sugar and salt for two hours. While we boil a pot filled with coconut juice . After that, we put pork into boiled coconut juice, maintain  low level of fire and ensure the level of coconut juice , if it dries, we pour a little water into the pot. When the meat change colour, we add “ kẹo đắng” to the pot. And we simmer the pot until sauce is thick and coats meat. “ Thịt kho tàu”is really gorgeous and can be served with various kinds  of food but especially suitable for using with steamed rice. In general, making “kho” dish is not difficult but requires our patience. Because no oil needs to be added with this cooking technique, food cooked in this method  may be lower in fat compared with food prepared by other methods such as sautéing or frying. And unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out into the water. The food is not only  delicious but also good for our health.