When my husband and I were first dating and I started cooking Vietnamese dishes for him, I would preface every meal with, “this dish is kinda ethnic so you may not like it.” No matter how mainstream the dish was, it got the “it’s kinda ethnic” introduction. I no longer introduce every Vietnamese recipe this way but every once in awhile I re-discover a childhood favorite that I feel might need it. This Vietnamese egg quiche was one of those dishes. It’s homey Vietnamese comfort food that you don’t see on many restaurant menus. It’s a cross between meatloaf and a frittata and is also sometimes called Vietnamese egg cake or egg meatloaf. If you do see it on a menu, it’s usually part of a pork chop and rice combination plate.
Even though it’s not a common menu item, you can bet that just about every Vietnamese home cook has their spin on this recipe which is basically a mix of beaten eggs and ground meat flavored with fish sauce. Some variations include crab meat, mushrooms and noodles. My mother’s recipe uses bean thread or cellophane noodles so I find the dish incomplete without the noodles.
Traditionally, this dish is steamed but not many people own a steamer large enough to fit a cake pan or, even if you do own one, it’s at the very back of the cabinet and hard to get to (like mine). So, as much I enjoyed this dish growing up, I had’t made it in years. However, I recently saw a variation on the recipe that cooked the egg quiche more like a frittata. It seemed like a great compromise – all the authentic flavors of the traditional dish but with a more convenient cooking technique.
You can go all out and make the pork chops to go with the egg quiche or keep things simple yet completely satisfying with the quiche alone. Some quick pickled vegetables and some hot jasmine rice round out the meal nicely.
- 8 ounces ground pork or turkey
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce, divided
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ounce bean thread noodles
- 8 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 8 scallions, chopped
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- Hot steamed rice, for serving
- Pickled vegetable salad, for serving
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ground meat, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, sugar, ginger, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Place the bean thread noodles in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles and let soak for 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Shake as much water off the noodles as possible. Cut the noodles into short pieces. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs with chili-garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon fish sauce. Set aside.
- In a 10-inch non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the meat mixture and cook until turkey is cooked through, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat as it cooks. Stir in the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Stir the noodles into the egg mixture then pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook the eggs, pushing and stirring from the edges to the center, until the eggs just begin to set, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggs are just cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run a rubber spatula around the edge of the omelet and shake the pan to loosen. Slide the omelet onto a cutting board and cut into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve with hot steamed rice and pickled vegetable salad.
- ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 3 medium carrots, peeled
- ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
- In a medium bowl, stir rice vinegar, sugar and fish sauce together until the sugar is dissolved.
- Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrots into long ribbons. Add the carrots and cucumbers to the vinegar mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 5-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.