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Vietnamese Food


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563 replies to this topic

#541 loki

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 10:24 AM

Oh and laughing Cow cheese is not popular in Vietnam because it won't melt - actually it melts easily, though not at normal air temperature even in the tropics. It is used in warm areas because it does not need to be refrigerated = Shelf stable. Like Velveeta in the US, it actually melts quite easily and remains very smooth when melted. I really don't like either on their own, but in a cheese sauce it can be pretty good!

#542 nakji

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:36 PM

Actually, you're right, Vache Qui Rit does melt. Shelf-stable is a better way to put it. I always marvelled how banh mi makers could leave it out in their sandwich cases without it losing structural integrity. I know someone who used it as a base for her her own cheese and mushroom pasta sauce, I don't know why I forgot about that.

I don't know why, but I love the plastic taste of VQR, but can't stand Velveeta.

#543 heidih

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 07:17 PM

VQR is soft in its stable state and has a bit of a "tang" while Velveeta, in my opinion, is solely useful for its gooey melted state.

#544 C. sapidus

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 08:48 PM

Another fine recipe adapted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table:

Chicken curry with sweet potatoes (ca ri ga): Brown curry-rubbed chicken thighs with garlic, shallot, and Sriracha. Deglaze and simmer with coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, sliced carrots, onions, ginger, lemon zest and lime leaves (sub for lemongrass). Garnish with scallions, basil, and cilantro.

The family and a visiting friend of younger son's inhaled the curry, sopping up the gravy with hunks of sunflower baguette. We will definitely make this again.

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#545 nakji

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:27 AM

Oh, that looks incredible. I can't get lemongrass at all, so I've given up making a lot of Vietnamese dishes entirely - but you've subbed lemon zest and kaffir lime leaves, you say? Oddly enough, I can get those. Is it a reasonable substitute?

#546 v. gautam

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:48 AM

Erin,

In your part of China, a sprig of lemon grass should root & grow vigorously almost 8-9 months of the year. Surely a stalk can be found somewhere, and rooted? Or purchased from a gardener? Ask likely folk for a source? From the market people to the university types? I hear the country is overrun with Vietnamese brides; where are they when you need them?!!

Edited by v. gautam, 02 January 2011 - 02:52 AM.


#547 C. sapidus

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:16 AM

I can't get lemongrass at all, so I've given up making a lot of Vietnamese dishes entirely - but you've subbed lemon zest and kaffir lime leaves, you say? Oddly enough, I can get those. Is it a reasonable substitute?


I was very happy with the flavor and fragrance of the dish, but I do play to try this curry again with proper ingredients and compare. In this case lemon zest and lime leaves were a reasonable substitute, but I don't know whether that would be true in a less-complicated dish where the flavor of lemongrass featured more prominently.

Odd that you are so close to lemongrass country and can't find it, whereas we are so far away and lemongrass is reasonably available (although often looking a little tired).

And, as always, thanks for the kind words.

Edited by C. sapidus, 02 January 2011 - 07:17 AM.


#548 nakji

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

I've always assumed lemongrass is available in the Southern provinces, but not around here, sadly. It sometimes appears in shops in Shanghai; if I see any, I'll try to root some.

In curry, lemongrass is more of a supporting player, so substituting it here seems logical.

#549 nakji

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 04:53 AM

Okay, here's my attempt at this curry: Vietnamese dinner (with Chinese characteristics)
Curry, with fried greens and garlic, and smashed cucumbers; jasmine rice.

Posted Image

I found a packet of curry powder from my last trip to Malaysia tucked into the back of my cupboard, so I used that. My husband is going to Vietnam in a couple of weeks, so I going to get him to pick me up a pack of a local mix then. I'm always picking up spice mixes when I travel, but the mostly just orbit around the inside of my cupboard, avoiding me like cockroaches. It was satisfying to use this one.

#550 heidih

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:25 AM

Nakji-can you elaborate on the smashed cucumbers?

#551 nakji

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 03:50 PM

A Fuchsia Dunlop recipe, actually, and now how I mostly always deal with the cucumbers that come my way. I get the small pickling kind, rinse them and scrub the skins with salt; rinse them again, and lay them on the cutting board. Then I smack them with the broad side of a cleaver until they splinter into irregular chunks. I dress these with some salt, sesame oil, and Chingkiang vinegar. You can add chili or garlic to them, if you like. The texture is much nicer than sliced cucumber, I think.

#552 rarerollingobject

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 04:18 PM

Nakji, I'm beginning to think you're my food-twin! :biggrin: I made these this morning too and it's also become my default cucumber method, getting smacky. I vary it with shredded ginger, Lao Gan Ma chilli oil, and that Sichuan pepper oil I talked about in the New Ingredients thread.

Back to the topic of Vietnamese, on the weekend I'm going to attempt one of my favourite snacks from Hanoi, banh cuon..that's thin, thin rice crepes wrapped around a filling of minced pork and woodear fungus. I'm worried about getting the crepe batter thin enough to be pliable, without ripping them in the steaming..wish me luck. Will report back!

#553 nakji

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:43 AM

Back to the topic of Vietnamese, on the weekend I'm going to attempt one of my favourite snacks from Hanoi, banh cuon..that's thin, thin rice crepes wrapped around a filling of minced pork and woodear fungus. I'm worried about getting the crepe batter thin enough to be pliable, without ripping them in the steaming..wish me luck. Will report back!


Oh yeah, I used to get those all the time for breakfast in Hanoi. There was a stand just down the road from my house. If you can get the pancakes thin enough, please post pictures here! On my street, they had a dedicated pan-type thingy that they could smooth the crepe batter out over - are you going to use a pan?

#554 rarerollingobject

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:41 AM

On my street, they had a dedicated pan-type thingy that they could smooth the crepe batter out over - are you going to use a pan?


Yes - I'm going to jimmy up a rig involving a big wide pan of water, an old cotton tea towel stretched across it, and an extra large rubber band I have fiendishly been saving expressly for this purpose. Plan is to smooth the batter across the tea towl, swirl it into a perfect circle, let it steam through the cloth and then lift it off in a seamless motion like I'd been a Hanoi foodhawker all my life. What could possibly go wrong?? :cool:

#555 nakji

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:51 AM

What could possibly go wrong?? :cool:


Nothing, now that you've said that. Please take pictures.

#556 rarerollingobject

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:58 AM

What could possibly go wrong?? :cool:


Nothing, now that you've said that. Please take pictures.


Oh, I'm fairly confident it will end in disaster!

#557 Shalmanese

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 01:13 AM

Is it better for Nuoc Mau to be made with refined white sugar or an unrefined sugar (like palm sugar)? What do they typically use in Vietnam?

Edited by Shalmanese, 05 July 2011 - 01:14 AM.

PS: I am a guy.

#558 Ufimizm

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 03:35 PM

All the recipes I have ever seen for Vietnamese dishes like this use just white sugar for the Nuoc Mau. I asked some Hmong friends at work and they make dish similar to Thit Heo Kho Trung (Braised pork with caramel and egg) that uses caramel and they will use white sugar for this. One girl though advised me she will use brown sugar and just melt it to get similar color but a sweeter dish. Using just white sugar adds more of a bitter element along with the color.

Palm Sugar may work and give an interesting taste but I would be careful with it because it is unrefined. This may cause it to darken much quicker. I know from experience using Chinese Rock Sugar for Red Cooked Pork you only cook it until it is yellowish before you start adding stuff otherwise it will burn.

Hopefully this will help a little.

#559 heidih

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 03:46 PM

As to the question about the sugar in nuoc mam cham - I have always seen white sugar used by Vietnamese friends, but I personally prefer it with a strong honey and more recently with Rancho Gordo's piloncillo (cane sugar LINK). I find the taste both deeper and rounder.

#560 Shalmanese

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:57 PM

I ended up making a version with both and I couldn't really taste the difference between the two so I'm sticking with white sugar from now on. Used the batch to braise some chicken wings with fish sauce, ginger, garlic, spring onions and chillis, grilled the braised chicken wings and then used the leftover, strained braising liquor to make "Kho Baked Beans" which are surprisingly addictive. The nuoc mau replicated the molassesey notes and it's an interesting fusion twist on a classic.
PS: I am a guy.

#561 Ufimizm

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:53 AM

That bean idea sounds awesome. I may need to try it next time I make something with Nuoc Mau.

#562 EvillyChic

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:23 AM

Hi everyone,


I have something to show you today, a rather quick and easy recipe, suitable for serving as an Asian fusion salad or with cooked rice: Vietnamese Roasted Eggplant.

Ingredients (serving 4, with white rice)

  • 1 large eggplant, washed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • Chopped green part from 2 scallions (only green part needed for this recipe, but keep the white for other use, because they are the most aromatic part of the scallions)
  • Fish sauce mix
2 tbsp. Fish sauce + ½ tbsp. water
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sweet sour chili sauce (optional, can be replaced by 1 tsp. of lime juice and ¼ finely chopped chili. But beware, its hotness and spiciness depends on different kinds of chili you use, so use with caution.)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare a hot, fill half with water baking pan on the bottom of your oven. Place your rack on the next lowest level. Put the eggplant with skin on the rack, like mine. Turn the oven to 300 degree Celsius (or yours’ highest temperature). Leave the eggplant in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes; check at 30 minutes and then at 5-minute-regular level.

Posted Image

Don’t worry; it won’t get burn because of the water pan at the bottom of the oven. It creates enough steam to keep the temperature stable and even everywhere the whole oven, rather than focusing on burning the top of our precious eggplant.


In Vietnam, we usually make this eggplant dish in BBQ style, meaning roasting eggplant on rack heated by burning coals underneath (open fire). This style will bring out the most flavor of the eggplant, in addition to giving them a smoky edge to bring them to the next level of wonderfulness. If you have the chance, try it.


Step 2: while your eggplant are being roasted in the oven. Let’s make soft boiled eggs. I used to have lots of problems with boiling eggs; can you believe it? But now, I have learned to boil eggs to exactly how I want them to be, by using a timer.


To use my method, first put medium-size eggs in cool-water-filled pot, heat them up until they start to boil. Then start counting. (Remember; only count when the water starts to boil) The fun starts now! If you want soft-boiled eggs (the white cooked, but the york is just heated to warm, not cooked), count for 5 minutes. Then take them out of the heat immediately, submerge them into ice-cold water for 2 more minutes to prevent any further cooking. If you want medium-boiled eggs (the white cooked, outer part of the york is cooked, but the center remained runny), count 7 minutes. Then use the ice water to quickly cool them down. If you want firm-boiled (both white and york are fully cooked through) eggs count 12 minutes. Then again, the ice water rapid cooling method is used.


My method is for standard for medium size commercial eggs, regularly sold in supermarket. If using different sizes of eggs, kindly adjust accordingly.


Step 3: is the making of the fish sauce mix. It is super duper easy. Just mix all of the ingredients listed above into a bowl, stir well until all dissolved. Pour it into the halved boiled eggs. Like this. Leave them there to help the egg absorb the savor of the fish sauce mix. Also, the runny york will enrich the fish sauce. Uhhm, nom nom.

Posted Image

Step 4: Put the chopped scallion into a heatproof glass bowl or a baking ramekin. Prepare the scallion infused oil by heating 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a pan until very hot, pour it into the chopped scallion bowl. Leave until further use.

Posted Image

Step 5: By now, your eggplant should be ready. Check the readiness of your eggplant by its softness. The eggplant is ready when it is very soft, the size of the eggplant also decreases by very visible amount, and the skin is wrinkled up. Like in this picture. Take it out of the oven. Leave it on a plate and let cool down a bit until able to touch.

Posted Image

Step 6: Now your eggplant is still warm but easy to the touch. Rip the skin all out and discard. Like Lovely demonstrated in this picture. If your eggplant skin do not come out very easily, put it back in the heated oven and roast for another 5 minutes.

Step 7: Tear up the eggplant into thin strips. Then cut the strips vertically into bite size. Like this.

Posted Image

Step 8: Spoon oil-scallion mix onto the prepared eggplant. Pour the egg – fish sauces mix all over.

Posted Image

Serve warm. Enjoy!


Rose,
Life is short, Food is good. Why not worry less, and enjoy more?

My new food blog at: http://simplyafoodblog.wordpress.com

#563 jmolinari

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:21 AM

Looks pretty delicious! I thikn i'll try it. Question, are you supposed to break up and chop the eggs?

#564 EvillyChic

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:53 PM

Hi Jmolinari,

Thank you for your kind words. I hope to hear more from your kitchen about this recipe. :)

And yes, you should break the boiled eggs and remove all the hard shell before consuming it. I totally forgot to include that to the recipe.I don't know if this answer your question?

Rose,
Life is short, Food is good. Why not worry less, and enjoy more?

My new food blog at: http://simplyafoodblog.wordpress.com