Yield: 4 servings
Rub the cold rice with wet hands to separate the grains. Set aside. Soak the dried shrimp in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain. Remove outer leaves from lemon grass, trim, and mince. Grind together the shrimp, lemon grass, shallots, garlic, sugar and chilies.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or skillet. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the lemon grass and dried shrimp mixture and stir-fry for 5 minutes over high heat. Remove to a dish. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the wok. Add the onion and stir-fry until translucent. Add the rice and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, fish sauce and black pepper to taste. Add the lemon grass and shrimp mixture and the toasted sesame seeds. Stir to combine well. Transfer to heated platter.
Sprinkle with additional black pepper and garnish with the corinader springs. Serve with Nuoc Cham (Lime sauce).
Yield: 2 servings
Blanch the greens in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and place on a serving dish.
Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the lamb until nearly cooked. This should not take more than 2 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, sugar, Nuoc Mam sauce, and oyster sauce and stir-fry until the lamb is completely cooked and tender.
Pour the lamb and sauce over the greens. Garnish with mint and/or cilantro.
Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the lamb for several minutes until almost cooked. Add the garlic, oyster sauce, Nuoc Mam sauce, sugar, and chili and stir-fry for another 2 minutes or so. Taste to see if extra seasoning is necessary and adjust.
When the meat is cooked and tender, stir the mint leaves through and serve on a dish.
Rinse chicken and dry well. Cut into small pieces . Peel garlic and slice finely . Cut onion into halves lengthwise and then cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips.
Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, garlic and onion. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add lemon grass and chili.
Fry 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce, mixing well . Add 1 cup water and cook 45 minutes or until chicken is tender . Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Serve hot with caramel sauce . To prepare caramel sauce: Mix 1/2 c sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil until mixture changes colour.
Turn heat down to low and heat until brown. Add 1/2 cup water to mixture.
Remove from heat and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Yield: 6 servings
FOR MEAT: Combine all ingredients in large bowl and use hands to mix gently but thoroughly. Shape into 12 cylinders approximately 3 inches long and no more than 1-inch thick. Insert bamboo skewer through each cylinder and set aside. Arrange garnishes in individual bowls; refrigerate.
FOR SAUCE: Combine all ingredients in small pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Let cool. Divide among 4 small bowls and set aside. Heat coals on barbecue until gray ash forms. Spread into overlapping layer, knocking off ash so coals are hot and glowing. Place grill 2 to 3 inches above coals or, preheat oven to broil. Arrange pork sticks on grill or broiling pan so they do not touch. Cook until meat is crisped, browned and firm, turning often with tongs, about 10 to 15 minutes. Have each diner sprinkle lettuce leaf with other garnishes. Slip pork off skewer onto lettuce. Wrap around pork and use sauce for dipping. Meat mixture can be prepared and skewered up to 24 hours before barbecuing. Sauce will keep 2 weeks in refrigerator.
Yield: 10 servings
Here we have a party dish that will bring out “oohs” and “ahs” from your guests on sight – and a repeat performance on taste.
Crab claws, alone, are sometimes available in fish stores. If they aren’t, boil several hard shell crabs and use the claws; you can use the bodies in many other dishes.
The crab claws in fish stores are already partially peeled and serve not only as a handle but are edible as well. If you prepare your own claws, peel the upper section around which you mold the shrimp paste.
Boil the crab legs or crabs for about 10 minutes, then drain and cool; remove the claws from the crabs, if using, and reserve the bodies for another purpose.
Have the shrimp paste ready; preheat the oven to 350F.
Pour the oil into a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil and pick up 2 tablespoons of the shrimp paste. Mold it into an oval around and halfway down the crab claw, covering the part of the claw where it was attached to the body; this will leave a claw tip extended to serve as a handle. Place the claws on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with Nuoc Cham and watercress.
NOTE: In Vietnam, this dish is always barbecued over charcoal. If you wish to prepare it this way, cook for 10 minutes on each side.
This exciting sauce is almost always served at Vietnamese meals, just a Westerners serve salt and pepper. It’s base is nuoc mam (bottled fish sauce). Freshly prepared, it is a constant delight, and so addictive to Western palettes that it will appear with meals other than Vietnamese. To best appreciate the results of its superb blending qualities at the table, use it sparingly at first, gradually adding more until the result is just right for your palate.
Peel the garlic. Split the chili pepper down the center and remove the seeds and membrane. Cut into pieces and put into a mortar, together with the garlic and sugar. Pound into a paste. Squeeze the lime juice into the paste, then with a small knife remove the pulp from the lime section and add it as well. Mash this mixture and add the fish sauce and water.
NOTE: If you find this a trifle strong at first, dilute it with an additional 1/2 tablespoon of water.
Makes 10 servings
From “The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam“, Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmer
Bone the chicken wings by cutting around the bone with a sharp knife. Holding the wingtip, gently ease the bone away to leave the skin and a thin layer of chicken.
Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 10 minutes then drain thoroughly and cut into short strands. Soak the wood ear fungus in warm water for 10 minutes then squeeze dry and chop into thin slices.
Mix all the stuffing ingredients together. The mixture should be firm. Mold the stuffing into a ball and insert it into the bag of flesh and skin of the chicken wing.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Steam the stuffed wings for 10-15 minutes. (If you want to make a large quantity, multiply the measures accordingly and freeze after the steaming stage.
After steaming, place in a lightly oiled roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of lettuce as a starter or with rice and a beef stir-fried dish.
Prepare crepe batter the night before serving. Thinly slice green onions. Place one cup water in small pan on high heat. Thoroughly blend the 12 ounce package of bot Banh Xeo mix with the two remaining cups water until completely moistened. Bissolve sugar in boiling cup of water and add to batter. Add coconut milk and green onions and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, peel and devein shrimp. Cut in half lenghtwise. Cut pork in 2″ slivers. Cut yellow onion into quarters, then in thin slices. Heat a few drops of oil on medium-high heat in a 10″ heavy frying pan. Add 3 slices yellow onion and two slices pork. Cook for a few seconds until onion is slightly translucent and pork is white. Add 5 shrimp halves and cook for 10 seconds.
Pour in 1/2 cup batter and quickly tilt pan to form a 10″ circle. Cover one half crepe with one cup bean sprouts. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until batter looks solid. Cover partially (if you cover completely, water will condense on crepe) and cook one minute. Uncover and flip crepe using a spatula. Cook until slightly crisp (approximately 1 minute). Serve immediately to keep warm.
Serve with fresh cilantro, mint or basil leaves (optional) and large leaves of red lettuce. To eat, tear off a piece of crepe, fill with cilantro and wrap in lettuce leaf. Dip in sauce and eat.
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