Friday, January 27, 2012

Cha Lua Vietnamese Ham

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In my research of food commonly eaten for the Vietnamese New Year, I found that cha lua (Vietnamese ham) is one of the main items.  I found the recipe for cha lua at the web site of The Ravenous Couple , and I may try it some day.  But for now, this busy working/basketball/cheerleader mom is going to share a store - bought recipe for using the cha lua.  I usually avoid MSG, which is in the store bought Vietnamese ham that I found, but I decided that the tiny bit this week wouldn't kill me.  Other than the MSG, the ingredients of the packaged ham were fine - to my standards.
I'm combining the cha lua with some shirataki noodles.  These shirataki noodles that I found in the refrigerated section at Sam's Oriental are different from the shirataki noodles that I found at The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.  Those other shirataki noodles were made from tofu.  These are made from yam flour.  Let me also clarify that yams are not the same as sweet potatoes.  They look nothing alike!!  Read the article here about why so many Americans for so many years have been mistaken.
Zero calories??  Less than 1 carb gram?!  Uh, I think I can live off these yam noodles.  In kindergarten, one of Sasha's first sentences required the use of the word yam.  She wrote, "Yam is yuck."  Well, she never even has eaten yam!  Gianna also in kindergarten wrote one of her first memorable sentences using the word dam.  She wrote, "I love dam good pies."  (It's the name of a pizza place where Jereme takes the kids to eat.)  We had a good laugh, made her erase the sentence, and told her to write somthing about a beaver or some water.  Mrs. Cunningham had a good laugh about it later when we told her in a parent teacher conference, too!
So now that you know a little about the ham.....and you know a little about the yam.....here's a way to combine them for an easy and delicious dish!  These yam noodles have a chewy texture similar to bean thread noodles, or clear glass noodles that I also love!  I used those in my post about seafood noodles.  From here on out, though, it's just shirataki noodles for me!

Ingredients:
  • 1 package yam shirataki noodles, drained and rinsed
  • cooking oil
  • 1/2 package cha lua Vietnamese ham - found in Asian markets
  • fresh oyster mushrooms - found in Asian markets
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • sliced snow peas
  • optional: red chilies and fried garlic, found in Asian markets
  • nuoc mam cham  (garlic lime chili sauce)
Directions:
  1. Heat a little oil - about 1 tablespoon - over medium high heat.  If you have stir fry oil, it's seasoned with garlic, ginger, and oil and fantastic for this!
  2. Add the onions and stir fry till soft.
  3. Add all other ingredients and stir fry till warm.  Then enjoy!

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