Archive for the ‘Asian’ category

Vietnamese Bun – Rice Vermicelli Salad Bowl

January 23, 2010

In preparation for my friend and co-teacher Karen to come over for dinner after work one evening, I asked her about her taste preferences, banned foods, etc.  She mentioned that she likes the spice of Asian food.  I hadn’t cooked Asian food for awhile, so I decided on my favorite Vietnamese dish:  rice vermicelli salad bowl, or Bun.

Rice Vermicelli Salad Bowl – Bun with Lemongrass Chicken (or Tofu)

For 4 bowls:

1 package bun – rice sticks/rice vermicelli, cook according to directions.  (I find that boiling works better than soaking for most dried rice products.)
2 carrots, julienne cut (okay, now I want a mandoline)
2 cucumbers, julienne cut
2 cups lettuce, gently sliced to make ribbons
Lemongrass Chicken (below)
Nuoc Cham vinaigrette dressing (below)
to garnish:  lime wedges, basil, mint, and Sriracha/Rooster Sauce

My recipes came from a great and highly recommended book:  Vietnamese Home Cooking for Everyone.  Lots of photos and ingredient information.

Lemongrass Chicken (Could easily be adapted for tofu)
10 oz. chicken meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. vegetable oil
2 t. salt
Cooking Sauce:
2 T. chopped lemongrass
1 T. vietnamese soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (I did half reg. soy/ half teriyaki)
1/2 T. each fish sauce and sugar
1 t. chili flakes (I used 1/2 t. with the idea of spicing it up later w/Rooster Sauce to taste)
1 t. chopped garlic
2 dried chili peppers (I left these out to allow custom spicing)

1/2 red onion, diced
16-20 Thai Basil leaves
1/4 c. coconut juice (I flat out forgot to add this)

Sprinkle chicken with salt and cornstarch.  Combine cooking sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat oil in wok or other pan and saute chicken over medium high heat until lightly browned.
Add cooking sauce.  Cook and stir for a minute.
Add onion, basil and (if you remember unlike me) coconut juice.  Cook about 1 minute.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. fish sauce
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. lime juice (juice of 1 lime – microwave for 10-15 sec. first for max. juiciness – my Aunt Jane’s trick)
1/2 T. peeled leek in vinegar (I skipped this)
1 t. chili paste
1 carrot, shredded

Nuoc Cham Vinaigrette Dressing
1 c. Nuoc Cham dipping sauce
1/4 c. Japanese rice vinegar
1 T. lime juice
1 T. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced

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Sour Fruit & Sweet Fish Sauce: The Curious Flavor of Nam Pla Wan

January 17, 2010

I had a lovely morning at the Asian grocery the other day.  I was buying a green mango and the guy at the counter asked if I had eaten one before.  I said I hadn’t and was buying it out of curiosity.  He said that when it’s hard, it’s really sour.  Then he asked if I like spicy stuff and I said “YES!”  So, he went to an aisle and got me a jar of some Thai dipping sauce. Here’s a fuzzy photo of the jar.

I tried it with a granny smith apple.  It was different, and a bit disconcerting, to taste something salty and somewhat fishy with my apple.  So, I gave myself permission to just eat the rest of the apple, but I found myself continuing to dip it into this interesting sweet/salty/sour/spicy stuff.  I look forward to trying it with the green mango when I have the patience to cut it up!