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November 24


Saint of the day:
Saint Andrew Dung Lac & Companions

Patron Saint of Vietnamese Martyrs

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions’ Story

Andrew Dung-Lac, a Catholic convert ordained to the priesthood, was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of the companions group gave their lives for Christ in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and received beatification during four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized during the papacy of Saint John Paul II.

Christianity came to Vietnam through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

Severe persecutions were launched at least three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries.

In 1832, Emperor Minh-Mang banned all foreign missionaries, and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful.

Persecution broke out again in 1847, when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons.

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.

By 1954, there were over a million Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now reunited, the entire country is under Communist rule.







Vietnamese Spring Rolls (GOI CUON) With Peanut Sauce


  • 1/2 lb pork (as lean or fatty as you like)

  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 lb shrimp

  • 6 oz. thin round rice noodles (also called vermicelli noodles)

  • 4-6 lettuce leaves, whole (choose lettuce with soft leaves such as green, red, or butter lettuce)

  • 2 cups Vietnamese herbs, such as mint, cilantro, fish mint, perilla, and Vietnamese coriander

  • 1 cup bean sprouts

  • 1/2 cucumber, cut like matchsticks 

  • 1/2 carrot, cut like matchsticks  

  • 2 scrambled eggs, cut like matchsticks (cooked like an omelet)

  • 12 sheets rice paper, plus a few extra in case any tear

  • a few sprigs of Chinese chives (optional)

Peanut Sauce 
• 2/3 cup hoisin sauce 
• 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 
• 1/3 cup water 
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
• 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 


  1. In boiling water cook the rice vermicelli noodles for about 5 mins, drain and set a side. 

  2. Submerge the rice paper wrappers in warm water one at a time and lay flat on the work surface. 

  3. Add shrimp, meat, some thinly sliced veggies & egg, leaving a gap around the sides. Fold the bottom edge of the paper so it is covering the filling and then roll as tight as you can. 

  4. Dip in peanut sauce

Panfried Chinese Pork Pies 
Xian Bing

Yields: 12 to serve 4 to 6


  • 1 1/2 batches dough for made with half the quantity of salt 

  • 4-5 ounces (120­­-150g) Savoy cabbage leaves, blanched whole or halved, drained, and finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger

  • 1 medium green onion, green and white parts, finely chopped

  • 2 rounded tablespoons chopped dill 

  • 7-8 ounces (210g-240g) ground pork or dark meat chicken

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • Neutral oil, such as canola, for panfrying

  • Chile oil

  • Chinkiang vinegar or rice vinegar


  1. Make the dough as instructed in the pancake recipe. Set aside to rest while you make the filling.

  2. For the filling, prep the cabbage, then put in a bowl. Add the ginger, green onion, dill, and pork (or chicken). Stir to break up and combine. In a separate bowl, combine the white pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, and water. Stir into the vegetable and meat mixture well; you should have about 1 ½ cups. Cover and set aside (or chill for hours) until the dough is ready. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and liberally sprinkle flour on it; set aside.

  3. To shape dumplings, roll the dough into a rope then cut crosswise into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then roll out into wrappers, each about 4 inches (10 cm) wide

  4. Fill each wrapper with a portion of the meat mixture and shape into a closed satchel. Place on the prepared baking sheet, either side down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, if needed, to prevent drying. Once done, you can refrigerate the dumplings for up to several hours.

  5. To cook, use a non-stick skillet and add oil to film the bottom. Heat over medium and add the dumplings, pleated side down; let them crowd and it’s okay for them to touch one another. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to brown the bottom. Have a lid handy, then add about 1/3 cup of water – enough for the visual boiling to come up about halfway on the side of the dumplings. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

  6. When you hear frying happening in the skillet, slide the lid ajar to release steam. After 1 to 2 minutes, uncover completely and panfry the bottom to a crisp. Turn each over (use 2 spatulas or be gentle with tongs) and lightly brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, let the sizzling subside before transferring to a plate and serving with chile oil and vinegar as a dip. If you want saltiness, add soy sauce to the dip. Eat with chopsticks or out of hand.


Dough Recipe


  • 1 cup (5 oz / 142 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup (90 ml) lukewarm water

  • 3 ounces (90 g) sliced bacon (2 or 3 slices)

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) minced green onion, white and green parts

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil


  1. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Remove the feed tube pusher. With the machine running slowly pour the water through the feed tube. Stop the machine when a ball of dough forms around the metal blade with a few scraggly pieces lingering in the bowl.

  2. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured work surface and knead into a satiny smooth ball. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes, or even up to 2 hours.

Thai Grilled Chicken
Gai Yang

Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

3 1/2 pounds chicken leg-and-thigh quarters


  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2 teaspoons light palm sugar or light brown sugar

  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Thai Sweet Chile Sauce


  1. Trim excess fat and skin from the chicken. Put into a baking dish or bowl. Set aside.

  2. Use a mini food processor to grind the cilantro stems, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar to a coarse texture. Add the fish sauce and pulse to emulsify. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or sugar to create a marinade with a slightly intense savory-sweet bite.

  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Use your hands to massage it into the chicken, making sure you get some between the skin and flesh too. Cover and set aside for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate for several hours, letting the chicken sit out for 45 minutes before grilling.

  4. Preheat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 25 to 35 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through. Transfer to a platter. Brush on the sweet chile sauce or serve it on the side for guests to help themselves.


Thai Sweet Chile Sauce

You can tinker with the flavors afterwards by adding sugar or vinegar and re-cooking.

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems and roots

  • 2 cups water

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic

  • 4 ounces Fresno chiles, mostly seeded and coarsely chopped

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • About 2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar


  1. Put the cilantro stems and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover. Let steep for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, use an electric mini chopper to grind the garlic, chiles, and salt to a coarse texture. Set aside.

  3. Strain the cilantro liquid through a mesh strainer. Measure the liquid. You should have about 1 3/4 cups. Transfer to a saucepan. Add the same quantity of vinegar as you had of the cilantro liquid. Add the sugar and chiles and garlic mixture. Stir.

  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to simmer. Let simmer until the volume has reduced by half. (How much time this takes depends on the size of your saucepan. Use a shallow, wide pan to hasten the process.) The resulting sauce should be slightly thick.

  5. Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered, to cool completely. Expect the sauce to thicken further and concentrate in flavor.

  6. Use immediately or transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

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