Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hue Chicken Salad (Ga Bop)


I first tasted this elegant dish on my first visit to Hue in Vietnam. Hue is renowned for its fine royal cuisine and this is a testament of that . As you can notice very few ingredients are used here but every single one of them has to be the absolute best.  The handling of the ingredients too are not to be taken lightly as any flaws can greatly affect the final dish. This is certainly a dish that will test one's knife skill, cooking skill and patience all at once but the reward is more than words could describe. Vietnamese salad is consumed like Thai salad as part of a meal with plenty of steamed rice.
P.S Recipe by one of my reader Pham, thank you!

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Vietnamese meal
you'll need;
1/2 a chicken or a small chicken, poached* and shredded.
5 cm knob of ginger, sliced
2 spring onions (white part only)
1 star anise
1 brown onion, very thinly sliced, rinsed and drained well
juice of 1 lime
3 bird chilies (or 1 large red chili for a milder version)
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of salt
1 tbs of peanut oil
1 bunch (about 1 cup) of Vietnamese mint
lettuce
* chicken is poached the Chinese way which produces the most tender meat every time.
method 1 - Place chicken, ginger, star anise, spring onion in a pot. Cover chicken with water and bring it to a boil, cover on heat off and leave chicken til the water cools down.
method 2 - Place chicken, ginger, star anise, spring onion in a pot. Cover chicken with water and bring it
to a boil, cover on and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.


Poach the chicken using any of the above method. Reserve cooking stock for other uses.

Shred half the chicken (keep the other half as topping for noodles or congee)

Slice the onion very finely and the chilies.

Vietnamese mint - can't do without this, pick an set aside.

Massage chicken with sugar, black pepper, oil, salt and lime juice, yes massage very well then add in the onions and chilies. Mix well.

Finally mix in the Vietnamese mint and mix well, check for seasonings. Well it is really not that hard is it?

Serve as part of a Vietnamese meal with plenty of steamed rice.

This has been submitted to Delicious Vietnam,  an event co-hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey and Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple. Hong and Kim are hosting the June event.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barramundi With Ginger And Lime Dipping Sauce (Ca Chien Nuoc Mam Gung)


If you are not paying attention you might mistake this for a Thai dish. In fact this is another simple but wonderful recipe from "Pleasure of a Vietnamese kitchen" that I would like to share with you. The beautiful dipping sauce in my last post acts as a sauce for the sweet tender fish. It is healthy, simple to make and very delicious! You may use whole fish or other firm white fish fillets with this. I think it will work very well with a whole grilled snapper.
P.S If you are a seafood lover and care about where your fish comes from, "The End Of The Line" might be a good watch at the cinema this weekend. I think the title says it all...

serves 4 as part of a Vietnamese meal
you'll need;
700 g of barramundi fillets, cut into large chunks
1/2 a telegraph cucumber
1 red chili, julienne
1 spring onion, sliced
1/4 cup of coriander leaves
corn flour for coating
1 cup of ginger and lime dipping sauce , recipe click HERE 

Cut cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds then using a vegetable peeler to cut out thin long ribbons.

Add cucumber ribbons to the ginger and lime dipping sauce.

Season fish with salt and pepper then lightly dust fish with corn flour.

Shallow fry fish with peanut oil.

Place fish in a shallow bowl and arrange the cucumber ribbons over. Pour over the sauce.

Serve immediately with plenty of steamed rice.

This has been submitted to Delicious Vietnam,  an event co-hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey and Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple. Hong and Kim are hosting the June event.

Ginger And Lime Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Gung)


Anyone that had been to a Vietnamese restaurant before would be somehow familiar with nouc cham  (Vietnamese dipping sauce) as it is served alongside almost everything. This is a wonderful alternative to that, it goes really well with poached or grilled chicken, meat and seafood. 

makes 1 cup
you'll need;
3 bird chilies
1 green chili
5 cm knob of ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs of sugar
1/3 cup of fish sauce
3 tbs of lime juice
4 tbs of water

Mince the aromatics.

Place chopped ingredients in a bowl then add sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and water. Mix well and check for seasonings.

This will keep well for up to a week in the fridge.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)


Almost every country in Asia has it's own version of chicken curry (or curries) and Vietnam is no exception. Vietnamese curry is relatively mild (and unknown) compared to it's Indian, Thai or Malaysian counterparts but extremely fragrant and full of flavours no less. I first cooked this curry a decade ago using a recipe from 'Pleasures Of The Vietnamese Table' and fell in love with it right away. Now I am able to cook this dish with my eyes shut, well....... almost. I recently tried goat curry served with baguette at a Vietnamese eating place and I think that too might be appearing on our table soon. 
P.S Try using a selection of different sweet potatoes in the dish to add even more colour and texture to this beautiful dish.

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Vietnamese meal
you'll need;
1 x 1.25 kg free range chicken*
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, cut into wedges
5 tbs of Vietnamese curry powder
3 tbs of roasted chili flakes
3 shallots, chopped 
4 garlic cloves, chopped 
1 lemongrass, cut into 3" lengths and bruised with a hard object
2" piece of ginger, sliced thickly
3 kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves
1.5 cups of chicken stock
800 ml of coconut milk
3 tbs of sugar
4 tbs of fish sauce
salt to taste
spring onion, coriander leaves and Thai basil to serve
* Use chicken thighs if you are not comfortable chopping up a whole chicken.

Mix chicken pieces with 3 tbs of the curry powder and a pinch of salt. Leave it for 20 minutes.

Have all the ingredients ready.

Saute chopped garlic, shallot, curry powder and chili flakes for 30 seconds then add in the chicken pieces. Continue to stir and cook for a few minutes on high heat.

Add lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, sugar, seasonings and stock. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.

Next in go the coconut milk and bring it back to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add sweet potato and onion wedges and simmer uncovered til sweet potato pieces are tender. Check for seasonings.


Serve immediately with plenty of steamed rice or some French baguette.

Remember to check my equally delicious Vietnamese goat curry.

This has been submitted to Delicious Vietnam,  an event co-hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey and Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple. Hong and Kim are hosting the June event.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fish With Fresh Tomato Sauce (Ca Chien Sot Chua Ngot)



There have been unofficial requests for Vietnamese food lately and since there was still quite a lot of ingredients left from our recently concluded "Thai food week at the tummies'" I decided Vietnamese might be the way to go. Although not a cuisine I was familiar with til about 10 years ago, I am quite confident cooking it now thanks to all the practice I had with the help of Mai Pham's "Pleasure Of The Vietnamese Table"*. This is a very simple but delicious dish but you have to make sure you are using the best tomatoes you can lay your hands on.
P.S *This is a wonderful book on Vietnamese food. It is very informative with easy to follow recipes, from street food to precious family recipes. You might need to use your imaginations a little as there are only a few black and white photos in the book.

recipe adapted from "Pleasures Of The Vietnamese Table"
serves 4 as part of a Vietnamese meal
you'll need;
600 g of rockling fillet*
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 tbs of dried chili flakes
2 tbs of sugar
3 tbs of fish sauce
3 vine ripen tomatoes*, cut into 1 cm cubes
3/4 cup of chicken stock
corn flour solution
1 red chili, julienne
1/2 cup of coriander leaves
2 spring onions, julienne
juice of one lime (optional)
* I think it will make the dish even more attractive if different colour tomatoes are used.

Prepare the ingredients.

Saute garlic and shallot then add in the chili flakes.

Add 2/3 of the tomotoes, stock and seasonings and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Thicken with corn flour solution and add in the rest of the tomatoes and warm through just before serving.

Fry fish in batches til lightly brown.

Pour the sweet and tangy sauce over the fried fish and garnish with spring onion, chili and coriander leaves. Squeeze the lime all over.

One word - DELICIOUS!

This has been submitted to Delicious Vietnam,  an event co-hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey and Hong and Kim of Ravenous Couple. Hong and Kim are hosting the June event.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Steamed Rockling With Hot And Spicy Bean Sauce 香辣豆醬蒸魚


Missing home and craving for something from my childhood, the solution - to cook one of my favourite childhood dishes. Despite being up in the hills (Cameron Highlands) away from the sea, we actually had fish on the table almost daily. Be it fresh water fish caught locally in the lakes or fresh seafood transported daily from the lowlands. I remember this being one of the favourite dishes of all the children in the household, I think it has got to do with the delicious and very addictive sauce! Do use a whole fish (bream, seabass, barramundi, snapper) or even try it with scallops. 
P.S This is for my dear friend Makcikmanggis at jom masak, jom makan makan who is constantly looking for new recipes to cook for her family. I think this will be very popular with her family especially Pakcik. Selamat mencuba makcik!

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
600 g of rockling or other white fish
2 spring onions, julienne
1 red chili, sliced
1/2 cup of coriander leaves

for the sauce;
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 bird chilies, chopped*
1 long green chili, chopped
5 cm knob of ginger, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 tbs of soya bean paste (豆辨醬)
2 tbs of oyster sauce
2 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of sugar
1/3 cup of stock
dash of white pepper
dash of Chinese cooking wine (optional)
* adjust to your taste accordingly

Chop the aromatics for the sauce.

Fry chopped ingredients with some peanut oil for a minute then all in the bean paste and continue to cook for another minute.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook til a little syrupy. Don't worry if the sauce taste a little to salty as it will be watered down during the steaming process.

Prepare the toppings and allow the sauce to cool a little.

Place fish in a shallow bowl that would fit in your wok or steamer. Pour the sauce over with half the julienne spring onions and steam on high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Check after 8 minutes to check for doneness.

Add the rest of the toppings and serve it immediately as part of a Chinese meal, make sure you cook plenty of steamed rice for this dish.

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