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Vietnamese Food


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e a non-stick pan and I probably used low-med. Now that I think about it, I suspect the problem is with the lean ground pork that I bought. Unfortunately, it's the only kind available.

Sygyzy, I would try it again with a higher heat and, if possible, another pan. I will try it soon though, and let you know.

Now that I'm back in Canada, finding the right meat to cook Vietnamese dishes for my family has been a real headache for me. All I can find in the supermarket is loin, loin, loin. I want shoulder! I found a pork rib roast, but it was pre-brined, if you can believe that! I need to find a real butcher. Do you have one near you that can get you better meat? It makes a real difference, I can tell you.

Where in Canada, nakji?

Edited by OliverN (log)
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I'm visiting Halifax for the holidays. I'm going to try my luck at Pete's Frootique (I feel silly just typing that) as I hear they have a butcher's counter. Hopefully they'll be offering different cuts of meat.

I'm cooking a Vietnamese dinner for 14 on the weekend. Menu is:

Summer rolls as finger food when people come in, and Lemongrass tea as a beverage.

Caramel pork

Tofu and tomato

Spinach cooked in the style of Morning Glory

Eggplants with Honey and Garlic

Catfish with Dill

Nom Du Du (if I can find the green papaya)

Five Spice Chicken

Steamed Rice (for me), Pineapple Fried Rice (for everyone else)

Ice cream and fruit for dessert, Vietnamese coffees.

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nakji: I've never had lemongrass tea before -how does it taste?

Also, what is Nom Du Du? Caramel pork is really delicious -although I tend to have it with fish.

My grandma was a wonderful WONDERFUL cook and I was really hoping to ask her for some of her special Vietnamese recipes (to record in my family recipe book -it's a very personal thing for me) after she got better as she's been in hospital.

Sadly, she died on Wednesday. I miss my granny :sad:

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

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Sorry about the loss Ce. our local coffee house does lemongrass tea. It's got that nice citrusy smell. All that is in there is lemongrass and hot water. Nice with a little honey.

Nakji: do you have any asian stores with a butcher counter? I've noticed asian stores offer different cuts of meat just from american butchers.

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Sorry to hear about your granny, Ce'nedra. :sad: Nom Du Du is green papaya salad - at least in the north, it is. No idea what they call it down south.

I don't think there's an asian shop in town that has a butcher, I'm afraid. The ones we do have just carry frozen or shelf stable goods. I found a shoulder roast at a smaller supermarket and had them chop it up for me - yay labour saving. The meal came off great, and as soon as my camera and my laptap orbit back into the same location, I'll upload the pics. The lemongrass tea was a hit with the designated drivers and pregnant ladies. I added a bit of lime juice and chopped mint to it as well. It's very refreshing.

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nakji: I've never had lemongrass tea before -how does it taste?

Also, what is Nom Du Du? Caramel pork is really delicious -although I tend to have it with fish.

My grandma was a wonderful WONDERFUL cook and I was really hoping to ask her for some of her special Vietnamese recipes (to record in my family recipe book -it's a very personal thing for me) after she got better as she's been in hospital.

Sadly, she died on Wednesday. I miss my granny  :sad:

Ce'nedra, I'm so sorry for your loss. My grandmother has also fabricated some amazing recipes (her banh xeo is second to none!) and I keep wanting to get her to teach me so I can record it, but I've never gotten around to it.

I am resolved though, to the find time to do it in 2008. Food is a way we connect with our family, our ancestors, and our culture, and I don't want to deny my children and grandchildren that heritage.

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My electronic equipment has finally aligned in in the proper house, and images have been uploaded successfully!

I made a Vietnamese dinner for 14 of my closest friends the week following New Year's. As per the menu above, I made:

Caramel Pork

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Fried Fish with Dill - haddock in this case, but catfish usually in Vietnam.

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Eggplants with honey and garlic

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Trivia: One of the five words I know in Vietnamese is "eggplant" - it's my favourite vegetable, and it wasn't always visible in the pile at my vegetable lady, so I learned how to ask for it.

Spinach with garlic and soy sauce

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In Vietnam this dish would usually be made with morning glory leaves or pumpkin stems and leaves. I like both, but they're kind of hard to find in Nova Scotia in the winter, and spinach is a worthy substitute. It was a surprise hit with everyone, especially when dipped in the chili-lime-salt dip we had on the table.

Fried Rice with pineapple

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Normally fried rice is served by itself as a lunch dish; steamed rice is served with a meal, but I made this because I knew everyone would enjoy fried rice as a part of the meal. I would normally include Chinese sausage as a part of this, but vegetarians were present, so I left it out.

Chicken fried with five spice powder

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Not so photogenic, but also popular.

Tofu and Tomato

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Summer Rolls

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I set everything out for these and had volunteers roll them for everyone watching me cook. Kind of a standing appetizer for the meal, if you will. I wimped out and used a packet mix for the peanut sauce, which I regretted since it was too thick for dipping the summer rolls. We spooned it on, instead.

Green Papaya Salad

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I lacked a proper grater, so I had to cut the papaya by hand - has anyone got a papaya grater they could show me a photo of? You could buy it pre-shredded in the market in Hanoi.

Whew! I can't believe I cooked it all. It took a long time to prep all the veg, but it cooked up quickly. I forgot to take a picture of the lemongrass tea, but it was delicious. We had Vietnamese coffees and fresh fruit for dessert. I was happy with how it all came out - the only thing I think was missing was a soup to serve with the rice at the end of the meal, like a simple broth with chayote or similar, but didn't think it would be appreciated.

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The food all looks beautiful! I'm glad your dinner went well.

One question: do you have a recipe for that delicious looking fish with dill? I've been wanting to try that for a while now.

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Good lord nakji,

Don't keep us in suspense, give us some recipes! Those dishes look fantastic!

Esp Caramel Pork and the Eggplant...

My electronic equipment has finally aligned in in the proper house, and images have been uploaded successfully!

I made a Vietnamese dinner for 14 of my closest friends the week following New Year's.  As per the menu above, I made:

Edited by OliverN (log)
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Green Papaya Salad

gallery_41378_5550_281834.jpg

I lacked a proper grater, so I had to cut the papaya by hand - has anyone got a papaya grater they could show me a photo of? You could buy it pre-shredded in the market in Hanoi.

Sounds like you need one of these (scroll down on the topic to see it in action).

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Sounds like you need one of these (scroll down on the topic to see it in action).

Awesome! I'll pick one up the next time I'm on knife street in Hanoi, now that I know what to look for.

Most of these dishes are so simple, they don't even have real recipes.

The eggplant, for example, is just some sliced long eggplants, fried in a wok in a neutral oil until they get soft. Then I push them aside, add a little more oil and lots of chopped fresh garlic. I let that sizzle until the garlic gets aromatic, then I add soy and honey in about a 2:1 ratio, toss it all together, and it's done.

One question: do you have a recipe for that delicious looking fish with dill? I've been wanting to try that for a while now.

The fish I followed an actual published recipe, so I'm going to mosey on over and check out the eGullet posting rules for that - I think if I reword it, I can post it, but I want to make sure. I'll put it in Recipegullet.

My caramel pork recipe is so easy, it kills me every time I show it to someone - they're like, "That's it?", which is exactly what I said to my friend in Hanoi when she showed me. It's more of a method, really. It goes like this: Take about 500g of pork shoulder, and mix it in a dish with one chinese soup spoon of Knorr chicken powder (or fish sauce, if that's to your taste - my Vietnamese friend doesn't like it :blink: ), some chopped shallots, and a good grinding of pepper. Set aside. Take a deep pan (one with a lid) and put it on medium heat. When the pan is hot, sprinkle two spoons of white sugar in. Watch as it melts (don't stir), and when it becomes brown and bubbly, add two rice bowls full of water. Then dump in the pork, swish it around, cover it, and let it cook down for about 20 minutes - until the pork is cooked and the sauce is reduced. That's it! If you're interested, I could post a pictorial.

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Nakji: Bravo!!!

Everything looks great. I'm sure your guests were impressed (and full). I just bought a book on Vietnamese home cooking last weekend, and I'm going to make some similar dishes this weekend, subject to finding ingredients (not easy where I live in FL). Vietnamese food rocks. :wub:

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I'm glad you're going to try it out - I love turning people on to Vietnamese food, or showing them there's more than just pho and spring rolls. Everything above I made with ingredients I found at a regular supermarket, except for the long beans (which could be substituted with regular beans) and the green papaya. Of course, these are mostly northern dishes, so making southern-style dishes might be a different story.

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I made the minced pork recipe from "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" and I couldn't get it to brown/caramelize correctly. I even added another dosing of caramel water and it didn't really help. I wanted it to be shiny and brown but it was a dull color and started burning because I kept cooking, insisting time would help it along.

Any tips?

P.S. It doesn't say in the book but my mom has always served this with slices of cucumber (and rice, of course). Try it.

This one is on my 'to-do' list and I was just looking over it the other day.

'Medium High' is pretty darned hot, are you sure you weren't too cautious with the heat? I feel like she wants you to cook it at hot enough temperature where if you left it without stirring it would burn.

What kind of pan did you use? I feel like a non-stick skillet might not work as well here...

Either way, I promise I will try this one in the next week and report back on how it goes!

I did use a non-stick pan and I probably used low-med. Now that I think about it, I suspect the problem is with the lean ground pork that I bought. Unfortunately, it's the only kind available.

Here is my attempt at the caramelized minced pork from ItVK. Sygzy, I really think it's a question of heat. First the meat cooks, and then at one point after you throw it on medium-high, it just exudes all of these juices. All of those have to boil off before any browning happens.

I was pretty happy with it. I was expecting a stronger 'caramel' flavour, maybe I will try nakji's method next!

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Edited by OliverN (log)
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Oh boy, does that ever look good! That would be a great twist on the traditional ground chicken and egg topping for Japanese bentos! Did you mention that you got the recipe from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen? It's on my short List of Books to be Acquired when I Finally Have a Kitchen Again. (Cross referenced with the List of Reasons I'm not Moving Again for at Least Three Years). :raz:

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OliverN, your caramel pork looks great, nice and crispy.

It's on my short List of Books to be Acquired when I Finally Have a Kitchen Again. (Cross referenced with the List of Reasons I'm not Moving Again for at Least Three Years).  :raz:

Presumably all listed on your Master List of Things to Do and Not Do. :wink: By the way, your feast gave me a hankering for Vietnamese food, which let to tonight’s dinner:

Minced pork and shrimp with lemongrass and shrimp sauce (thit heo xao mam ruoc), crunchy pickled bean sprout salad (dua gia), and jasmine rice. Grandma C prepared a vegetable garnish plate (dia rau song). Everything was from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.

The vegetable garnish plate made the meal, releasing intoxicating aromas of basil, mint, and cilantro on contact with hot, caramel-crispy bits of pork and shrimp. We chopped pork shoulder with a cleaver, and prefer the texture of chopped meat to that of ground meat.

The bean sprout salad included scallions and slivered carrots, quickly pickled in a mixture of sugar, salt, rice vinegar, and water. It disappeared quickly, and was much less labor-intensive than other quick pickles. I can see it turning up regularly at mealtime.

gallery_42956_2536_4113.jpg

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The bean sprout salad included scallions and slivered carrots, quickly pickled in a mixture of sugar, salt, rice vinegar, and water. It disappeared quickly, and was much less labor-intensive than other quick pickles. I can see it turning up regularly at mealtime.

I love this salad, too! It's so crunchy and delicious! I like it even more with a squirt of fresh lime and some chopped cilantro mixed in at the end. I can never get enough cilantro.

Presumably all listed on your Master List of Things to Do and Not Do.

Yeah, it's a big list, getting longer every year!

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The bean sprout salad included scallions and slivered carrots, quickly pickled in a mixture of sugar, salt, rice vinegar, and water. It disappeared quickly, and was much less labor-intensive than other quick pickles. I can see it turning up regularly at mealtime.

I love this salad, too! It's so crunchy and delicious! I like it even more with a squirt of fresh lime and some chopped cilantro mixed in at the end. I can never get enough cilantro.

Lime and cilantro sound like wonderful additions - I have scribbled a note in the margins of the recipe.

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The picture of the Banh Mi sandwich in "Into the..." looked so yummy that for my second project with this book I decided to make sandwiches. I've never ordered one of these Vietnamese sandwiches, altho they are certainly available around where I live, so I had nothing to compare it to.

I got a very nice piece of pork and started by making Char Siu. It came out almost perfect; the only caveat being that it's important to make sure the cut chunks start out at least 1.5 inches thick when they go in the oven. I think some of mine might have been just a little thinner, so by the time the outside was nice and crisped along the edges the interior of a couple pieces was just a bit overcooked. Next time.

I made the simple daikon and carrot pickle using the medium shredder on the cuisinart which turned out just right.

For the chicken liver pate, which I was not about to tackle (the kind of cooking I don't like to do--whizzing meat), I found what I think is an excellent one from my local deli: it is very smooth and with a pleasant not too in-your-face chicken liver taste. Then I followed direx, using everything as suggested. Fabulous! One night we used the sliced pork in a tossed noodle salad (more Chinese, really) but for the next two days both my husband and I ate perfect Viet sandwiches for lunch and dinner! All I needed to do was buy one baguette per day and we were set. If the weather wasn't so cold I would have made iced Vietnamese coffee to go with at lunchtime.

I love this book. And I got a very sweet email from the author in response to a question and comment about one of the restaurants recommended on her website.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I recently purchased an intriguing ingredient from a Vietnamese supermarket in my area, and couldn't find reference to it anywhere on eGullet. (Or the Web at large, for that matter.) I hope this is the right place to ask: what is Ca Phao Tom Chua, pickled eggplant with shrimp in brine? It looks like a sweet, sour, and spicy pickle of unpeeled headless shrimp and slices/chunks of small Thai eggplant. I don't have a camera, but could probably find a way post a picture if my description is insufficient.

Pertinent questions: Is it a condiment or a dish? Must it be cooked? Is it stir-fried and used as a sauce? (It looks like it'd be great with some sticky rice.) Is there a specific dish that it goes with?

Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hmm sorry can't help you there...probably should get someone who can read Vietnamese/has more depth in Vietnamese cuisine...

We were really hungry one night and wanted a fairly quick and simple dinner and meatballs are just one of those foods that's easy on the stomach for everyone. This version would be called 'siu mai'.

Steaming...

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Sauce please!

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With crusty bread

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Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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I recently purchased an intriguing ingredient from a Vietnamese supermarket in my area, and couldn't find reference to it anywhere on eGullet. (Or the Web at large, for that matter.) I hope this is the right place to ask: what is Ca Phao Tom Chua, pickled eggplant with shrimp in brine? It looks like a sweet, sour, and spicy pickle of unpeeled headless shrimp and slices/chunks of small Thai eggplant. I don't have a camera, but could probably find a way post a picture if my description is insufficient.

Pertinent questions: Is it a condiment or a dish? Must it be cooked? Is it stir-fried and used as a sauce? (It looks like it'd be great with some sticky rice.) Is there a specific dish that it goes with?

Thanks!

Well, it's probably a bit late to answer this, but it's a condiment you can eat with plain steamed rice. You don't have to heat it up, as far as I know.

2334718742_505b02bd5e_o.jpg

Oooh, meatballs. What's in the sauce, Ce'nedra?

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  • 1 month later...

Howdy, I have a noodle question. Typically when I buy rice noodles for Viet stir-fry or soups I buy dried. But today, on a whim, I bought fresh rice noodles in Chinatown. They are packaged in a styrofoam tray as always, looking beautiful. The label says Bahn Tam. Does Tam denote a thickness? They are round noodles, about the thickness of cooked regular spaghetti--not vermicelli.

I want to make a stir-fry tomorrow night. I probably should use them asap--like tonight--but I can't do that. Do I need to drop these noodles in boiling water before I do anything else? Or can I add them to the wok toward the end (the way I would if I pre-cooked al dente fresh Chinese wheat noodles) just so they get heated thru and coated w/sauce for the finish?

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Howdy, I have a noodle question. Typically when I buy rice noodles for Viet stir-fry or soups I buy dried. But today, on a whim, I bought fresh rice noodles in Chinatown. They are packaged in a styrofoam tray as always, looking beautiful.  The label says Bahn Tam. Does Tam denote a thickness? They are round noodles, about the thickness of cooked regular spaghetti--not vermicelli.

I want to make a stir-fry tomorrow night. I probably should use them asap--like tonight--but I can't do that. Do I need to drop these noodles in boiling water before I do anything else? Or can I add them to the wok toward the end  (the way I would if I pre-cooked al dente fresh Chinese wheat noodles) just so they get heated thru and coated w/sauce for the finish?

They sound like the sort of noodles you usually see in Bun Bo Hue. I guess it's probably too late for me to answer this now, but I would briefly dip them into boiling water to loosen them up a bit before stir-frying. Whenever I saw anyone make fried pho (with the flat noodles) they were dipped, then fried - I don't know why. Please post pics if you're successful.

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