May 04, 2013

Vietnamese Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trung)

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Vietnamese Egg Coffee

As long as I remember myself I've never liked lotteries. I've always tried to avoid bets and even competitions were never something I would eagerly dive into. I would hesitate for a longer while before making a move, and then once again after doing it. It would be a long and unbearable hour of uncertainty that would more often than not end up without anything put on a stake. I would freeze, step back and just take the safe road. The sidewalk. At some point, I'm not that reckless, I guess. But even more than that I hate hanging on to the rope of luck, faith or any other kind of happy misunderstanding. I just don't trust luck. Never relied on it and probably will never do. ...or maybe until life sends me a present and proves me I'm wrong...

Vietnamese Coffee

That's why I am probably last one to roll into the culinary travel contest announced by one Lithuanian travel agency Travel Planet. A few weeks ago it challenged food bloggers and offered them to go to Asia or Latin America on the wings of magical scents and flavors.

The challenge is finally (eventually!) excepted, and the place I'm heading to today is... Vietnam!

Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Why not? Vietnam is gorgeous! In general as well as in a more narrow food sense. Due to its colorful history marked with several occupations, colonization period and long-going foreign influence, Vietnam is a real melting pot of various culinary traditions. From a complicated Chinese to a delicate Japanese, a bit over-spiced Thai, highly distinctive Cambodian, beautiful Indian and super gastronomic French - all this colorful combination of cultures nowadays makes a  promise of one unforgettably delicious journey full of magical tastes.

However, this time I'm not ready to offer you anything extravagant or super exotic. No uncountable number of colors or an exciting multitude of spices. No. This time there will be only three ingredients and just a simple coffee break.

Vietnamese coffee that, to be honest, is not the one I would go crazy about, but there is something about it that once in a while makes me turn around and starve for another cup of that deep dark muddy pungent drink. Vietnamese coffee  is truly unique and this uniqueness comes from the exceptional country's typography. The location of mountainous regions embraces the area in roughly the same direction as the prevailing winds which creates complex micro-climates perfectly suitable for different coffee species. Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, Liberica, Catimor even Kopi Luwak - they all might be found here, in Vietnam.

However, at least for me, the most interesting part of Vietnamese coffee is its roasting process, since differently from a regular roasting method, in Vietnam coffee beans are being roasted in a butter oil which refers to a mix of vegetable oil, sugar and a touch of vanilla or cocoa. Using this technique, beans get covered in a very sticky and caramel-like coating which in turn enhances the overall flavor and makes even Robusta way more appealing.

But, despite that, it is the brewing tradition Vietnam is more widely known for. Vietnamese coffee is usually made by mixing the sweet and thick blanket of condensed milk together with locally-grown dark roast coffee which was individually brewed from a small metal drip filter (phin) into the cup. This whole process only at first sight looks like an over-complicated procedure, but what it truly means is that Vietnamese coffee is not meant to be consumed fast or on the run, but rather it is a peaceful moment of a leisure day-break. And that's what I love about it!

As well as its egg-y variation which magically transforms this authentic Vietnamese drink into a heavenly delicious dessert. However unusual this novel refreshment might seem, the egg here really does wonders (and this comes from a person who doesnt like eggs). It evokes the memories of that wonderful coffee-egg-cream friendship you might encounter in the Italian tiramisu, so if you love the latter, you will definitely love the Cà Phê Trung. At least I do.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee
2-3 tsp ground Vietnamese coffee
boiling water

If you want to make it original, you will need a phin coffee filter and a real Vietnamese coffee. For a guide how to make it, check this website.

Those two components - the filter and Vietnam-produced coffee beans - are pretty crucial if you want to obtain the real authenticity of the coffee,  however, like many other things in this world, they are quite replaceable. If you don't have the coffee, the closest thing would be to use any rich, full-bodied dark roasted coffee beans (French or Vienna Roast) and add some roasted chicory. There are also special blends (like this one or this one) containing arabica beans and chicory (dried, ground, and roasted caffeine-free ground rood of Belgian endive), so all you need to do here is to find the one you like best. Just when purchasing pre-ground coffee, make sure it  has a coarse or medium-coarse grind, whereas when grinding by yourself, use any grind between the one for French press and drip.

When it comes to the filter, you can easily replace it with French press. Here you can find a pretty explicit video on how to make Vietnamese coffee with French press (which is actually not that different from a regular coffee making process).

Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Vietnamese Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trung)

Brewed Vietnamese coffee
1 egg yolk*
2 tsp sweetened condensed milk

When you have your Vietnamese coffee brewed, move on to its egg-y variation.
The first thing you need to do, is to put the egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk in a small deep bowl and whisk them vigorously until you get a frothy, fluffy mixture. Add a tablespoon of the brewed coffee and whisk it in.
Then, pour your leftover brewed coffee into a cup or a glass subsequently adding the fluffy egg mixture on top.
Here it is - your drink is ready!


* those who are worried about raw eggs, make sure you are using the pasteurized ones. 

  Vietnamese Egg Coffee

18 comments:

  1. Well you can count yourself very lucky to have the chance to try Egg coffee in Vietnam. I'm a Vietnamese (still living there) and have never come across this type of drinks before. It's (sadly) limited to a selected few coffee shops in Hanoi and for people living far in the South like me, egg coffee is more often than not just a geographically unreachable delicacy :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh! I really didn't know that (haven't been to Vietnam yet :)), but since this drink is really easy to make and tastes so amazingly delicious, I thought, that it might be found everywhere. After all, you can easily make it at home ;)

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    2. In the south you have banh xeo, north you have Cà Phê Trung. Now if we can merge them, I would be in heaven.

      Delete
  2. Oh wow yum, this sounds amazing! I love coffee in any form, but this seriously sounds like the best way to drink it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kaip gražu! Nežinau, ar pati bandyčiau gamint, bet grožis akims nerealus :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dėkui, Indre! Žinok, ir skonio receptoriams tikrai gražu būtų ;)

      Delete
  4. This seems that it will be very delicious coffee. I love coffee and this sounds the best way to drink it.

    Regards
    Glan Deas
    Kopi Luwak

    ReplyDelete
  5. spėjai, yuppy! :)
    skamba nuodėmingai gerai.
    beje, aš tokį plakiklį irgi turiu, velnias, reik susirast, fainas koks :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tas spėjimas jau labai salyginis :) Galvojau pagaminti kažką įdomesnio, tačiau teko išsitekti tik su kava. Kuri, tiesą pasakius, mane labai nustebino. Jeigu mėgsti tiramisu, būtinai išvbandyk! Daug laiko neatims, o skoniu, manau nenusivilsi ;)
      ...o plakiklis tai labai senas! Bet su juo kiaušinius geriausiai sekasi plakti :)

      Delete
  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it has now become my favorite way to drink coffee.

    ReplyDelete
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