Da Lat Spice

Main, Vegetarian

DA LAT Marinated Tofu

Perfect for the grill, or pan-fried. Curio’s DA LAT SPICE brings bold, Vietnamese flavors of coffee, star anise & ginger to tofu. Makes an easy weeknight supper.
            1 TB  canola oil
            3 TB rice vinegar
            1 tsp honey
            1/4 cup soy sauce
            2 heaping teaspoons Curio Spice Co’s DA LAT SPICE
            1 pound firm tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2” pieces
            canola oil or peanut oil for cooking

            Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels and layer in the bowl, covering well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min or overnight.

To pan-fry, heat a non-stick pan with a tablespoon of oil and when oil is hot, place the tofu in the pan, cooking 1-2 minutes per side or until golden. For the grill, brush the grill with canola oil then cook on medium heat or until grill marks show. Serve atop rice, salad or on a bun! 

Soup, Main


Da Lat is a romantic city in central Vietnam. Da Lat Spice is a bold blend with star anise, coffee & cocoa that’s perfect for grilled meat or veggies but also wonderful in soups (and don’t worry, the hint of coffee won’t keep you up!) Here’s an easy weeknight soup that’s comforting and super flavorful.
Serves 4.

2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 1/2 tsp Curio Spice Co.’s DA LAT spice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 tsp Sea salt
1 can coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups water

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and DA LAT spice and stir to coat. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic and sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes have begun to soften slightly. Then add 1 tsp salt, the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until potatoes are soft and will break against the back of a spoon, 5-7 min. Turn off the heat, let cool slightly then blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve hot, garnished with garlicky croutons or fresh cilantro.


Da Lat Spice Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Our Da Lat Spice blend is inspired by the romantic Vietnamese city of the same name.

The blend was created for savory dishes but it works well in sweet ones, too.

Here’s our Vietnamese “take” on the familiar Mexican wedding cakes or Russian tea cakes — the chocolate, coffee, ginger, and pepper of our Da Lat Spice blend adds an exotic touch to these buttery cookies.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 stick each salted and unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract, optional
1 tablespoon De Lat Spice blend
1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of Da Lat Spice blend, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment. Set aside.

Beat the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and Da Lat Spice together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and orange extracts, blend briefly. Add the nuts and flour, blend until a dough starts to come together. Use your hands or a spatula to “clump” the dough into a ball. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Pinch off a bit of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons) and roll it into a ball. Set it on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Chill the balls for at least 30 minutes, then bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies’ bottoms are lightly golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.

While the cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the powdered sugar and Da Lat Spice mixture. Roll them in the sugar-spice mixture again after they are completely cool.

Bread, Dessert

Da Lat Spice Banana Bread

Makes one 9”x 4” loaf.

Our Da Lat Spice blend is inspired by the romantic Vietnamese city of the same
name. The blend was created as a rub for roasted or grilled meats and vegetables, but
we’ve found that it can be equally enchanting in sweet settings. This banana bread is like a favorite, older cousin who has come home from a year away at college — familiar and friendly, but just a little more sophisticated. Our Da Lat Spice adds the warm richness of coffee and chocolate, plus the unexpected spark of ginger and black pepper, to this cozy tea bread. It’s even tastier after an overnight rest, which lets the flavors meld perfectly.

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar *
11/2 cup mashed, very ripe bananas
2 teaspoons Da Lat Spice blend
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a metal loaf pan, line its bottom with baking parchment, and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to combine and fluff. Set aside. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick, satiny-smooth, and a light buttery color, about 7 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the Da Lat Spice and, with the beaters running, slowly drizzle in the oil, incorporating it completely. 

Gently fold in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla followed by the flour-mixture and the nuts using quick, strong strokes. Don’t over-mix the batter — you don’t want to deflate it.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean when stuck into the top-center of the loaf. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15–20 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

* We like the slightly caramel-y flavor of organic cane sugar in this recipe, but any granulated sugar will work just fine.

Top it off! 

Serve the bread with honey-sweetened cream cheese that’s scented with orange-flower water. To make it, add 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons orange flower water, and the zest of half an orange to an 8-ounce tub of whipped cream cheese. Whisk or stir to blend well.

Adapted from Joanne Chang’s recipe for Flour Bakery’s banana bread.


Da Lat Roasted Delicata Squash

Serves 4 as a side.

This makes a lovely side dish for meat or poultry. Alternately, serve it at room temperature atop lightly dressed salad greens. For either preparation, a garnish of fresh herbs adds sparkle — try chopped cilantro and mint.

1 large or 2 small Delicata squash, washed
1 cup very thinly sliced onion (from half a medium onion)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Da Lat Spice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons brown or coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon Makrut lime leaf powder

Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly grease a large, rimmed baking tray.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then cut each half crosswise in 1/8” thick slices (about 6 cups total). Put the squash and onion slices into a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, Da Lat Spice, salt, and sugar, then pour the mixture over the squash and onion slices. Toss to evenly coat the vegetables.

Transfer the vegetables to the baking sheet and spread them in an even, mostly one-slice thick layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the vegetables once or twice during that time, until the squash is tender and the onions’ tips are well browned.

Dust the Makrut powder over the roasted vegetables and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Da Lat Spice has lively, bold notes that complement root vegetables and squash. Delicata squash has a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with the cassia, cocoa nibs, and pepper in this blend.


Da Lat Spiced Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Da Lat Spiced Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart.

The custard is cooked entirely in the Vitamix – no stove time, no straining.

For the custard:

1 ¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cup whole milk
½ cup Dutch processed cocoa (Valrhona is good)
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks (from large eggs)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (tapioca starch would probably work, too)
1 tablespoon Da Lat Spice
¼ teaspoon salt

Post-cooking additions:

3 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ tablespoons whiskey or other spirit

Put the chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl, set aside.

Put all the custard ingredients into the jar of the Vitamix (8-cup jar), cover with the long mixing stick inserted into the hole in the lid.

Start the Vitamix on low speed and quickly increase all the way to high-speed. Let the machine run until the custard heats up to about 170˚ F on an instant-read thermometer. This should take between 5 and 7 minutes. If you need to re-start the machine to continue heating custard, start on low- and re-ramp quickly to high-speed. The custard will not be as thick as pudding, it’s more like crème anglaise. It will thicken further as it chills.

Pour the hot custard over the chocolate in the mixing bowl. Stir to melt chocolate and blend. Stir in the whiskey.

Set the bowl into an ice bath and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Then cover and transfer the bowl the fridge. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours, or better, overnight. Cold custard works much better in your ice cream machine.

Transfer the chilled custard to the bowl of an ice cream maker. Follow the maker’s instructions to freeze the custard to thick soft-serve consistency. Transfer the ice cream to a quart container and then to the freezer to “harden off,” which takes at least a few hours.


• If you don’t have a Vitamix or Blentech, I’m sure that you can make the custard in a bain marie on the stove. I haven’t tested that, but imagine that you’d cook the custard, strain it into the bowl of chopped chocolate, then whisk in the alcohol before cooling it in an ice bath.