Archive for the ‘Mint’ Category

* Banh Xeo

Posted on July 12th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Chives, Cilantro, Coconut Milk, Cuisine, Green onions, Mint, Mung beans, Rau Ram, Shiso, Shrimp, Sides, Snack, Stir Fry, Street Foods, Vietnamese.

When you sink your teeth into the Banh Xeo – you taste sweet sour, you hear the crunch of the crepe, the crisp of the lettuce, induced by the aroma from the herbs and then savor the lingering chew of the shrimp and mushrooms. A simple crepe with lots of umph.

Use lots of oil to achieve the sizzling “xeo” sounds and to get the max crisp.

Chef Tip: The batter makes an almost perfect vegan omelette. Just tweak the filling and you get a wonderful vegan dish. GF too.

1/2 cup dried, peeled, mung beans, soaked, drained, steamed
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups sparkling water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 scallions, thinly sliced, about ¼ cup

1/2 pound ground pork
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 pound medium shrimp—shelled, deveined and halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Vegetable oil
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, divide into 8 servings

Red leaf lettuce
Young mustard leaves
Medley of herbs: Mint, Thai Basil, Perilla, Cilantro, Scallions, Rau Ram

Preparing the batter
1. Pick over mung beans, rinse and soak for 2 hours. Bring a pot of water with a steamer and steam mung beans for 10 minutes until tender. Let cool.
2. Place mung beans and coconut milk in a blender. Blend till smooth. Add remaining batter ingredients (except green onions and tumeric), and pulse till combine. Your batter should be the consistency of heavy cream.Transfer to a bowl and mix in tumeric and green onions. Set aside.
Preparing the filling
3. Marinate the ground pork with the fish sauce. Marinate the shrimp with sugar, salt and pepper. Divide pork, shrimp into 8 separate servings.
4. Heat a sauté pan with a teaspoon of canola oil. Add beansprouts and stir fry briefly until sprouts are just wilted. Remove and set aside. Divide into 8 servings.
5. Heat a nonstick 8 inch frying, add a tablespoon of oil, and a serving each of onions, and pork and shrimp. Saute until fragrant. Scatter out mixture but leave a 1 inch gap across the diameter of the pan. Next, pour 1/3 cup batter and swirl to coat the pan. If there is too much batter, pour back excess batter into the batter bowl. Drizzle oil around the edge of the crepe for a crispy finish. Let it cook until the edges start to curl up, the bottom is golden and the center part of the crepe is cooked. Add a serving of sprouts on one side of the pan. Slide the the sprouts-side half of the crepe onto a serving plate, and tilt to fold the crepe over.
6. Serve with salad and nuoc cham dressing.

Nuoc Cham – Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip
1 red chile / 1 tablespoon Sri Racha sauce
5 Tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons fish sauce (substitute with tamari for GF-vegetarian option)
2 cloves garlic, minced

To make the dipping sauce:
1. Whisk ingredients except garlic together in a small saucepot and heat till sugar dissolves.
2. Cool, then add in minced garlic.

Makes 1 cup

Serves: 8

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* Mango and Shrimp Salad

Posted on March 12th, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Basil, Cilantro, Mango, Mint, Salads, Sides, Vietnamese.

This simple, Vietnamese-influenced shrimp salad encompasses the full flavors of hot, sweet, sour and salty.   The dressing is really versatile and you can vary the choice of fruit, too – for example, use pomelo, green papaya, even Granny Smith apples, peaches or cantaloupe.

Chef’s tip:  To peel soft, ripe fruits like mangoes or peaches, use a serrated peeler.  Kent mangoes work well for this salad.  To seed it, peel the mango.  Then cut off about 1/2 inch off the bottom and it will reveal part of the oval, flat shaped seed.  Noting the flat side of the seed from the cut tip,  stand the mango on the cut tip, then cut along the flat side of the seed from the top down, applying a slight pressure towards the seed.  Repeat with the opposite side.  Then carefully slice off both vertical side edges along the seed.  To chiffonade herbs, stack several leaves, then roll them tightly into a little cigar.  Next, slice through the roll to create thin slices.  Fluff the sliced herbs to break up the strands.

3 small Thai red chilies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar/ brown sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon finely chopped kaffir lime leaves, optional

1 lb medium sized shrimp, shelled, deveined
2 ripe, firm mangoes, peeled, cut into thick juliennes
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup mint, chiffonade

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preparing the Dressing and topping:
1.  Place the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined.
Preparing the shrimp
2.  In a pot of salted boiling water, drop in the cleaned shrimp.  when shrimp turns pink, remove and immediately plunge into an ice bath.   Drain and pat dry.
Preparing the salad
3. Peel mangoes, and remove pit and slice flesh into thick juliennes.  Toss mangoes herbs and half the dressing.  Set aside.
4. Toss the shrimp with remaining dressing.  And place on top of the mangoes.
5. Garnish with pine nuts and cilantro leaves.

Serves: 6

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* Vietnamese Imperial Spring Rolls

Posted on September 5th, 2010 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Cuisine, Fish sauce, Mint, Pork, Shrimp, Street Foods, Vietnamese.

During the first dotcom days, when I was working in a super cool start-up South of Market, I ventured out to Tu Lan on 6th and Market with my fabulously-dressed colleague, Pam, to check out their spring rolls.  The experience was savory, and I don’t mean the food.   We just had to try the spring rolls!  After all, Zagats gave them a 22 or was it 24 then on their food rating.  I don’t think that place even knows Zagat has them rated!  Their food was too greasy for my liking.  The local residents thought we were too out of place for their liking.

So, here is a clean tasting recipe for you to make in the peace and safety of your home.

Chef’s tip: As with any deep frying, controlling the temperature is key to making your deep fried morsel crispy and not greasy.  To get the olden hue on the rice wrapper, dipping in a sugary water gives it a coat of sugar to caramelized in when deep fried.

6 oz shrimp
6 oz ground pork
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 small eggs or 1 large

1 small carrot, grated coarsely
2 cups fresh shiitake, thinly sliced
2 cups wood ear mushroom (from about 3/4 cup dried, reconstituted in water), thinly sliced
2 large shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced, soaked in water, and spun dry
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced
2 oz cellophane mung bean noodles, reconstituted in water, cut into 2 inch length

1 lb package 8 inch round Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
3 Tablespoons sugar
8 cups canola oil

1 bunch green leaf or butter lettuce, ribs removed

Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce ingredients:
1 red Thai chile, finely minced or 1 teaspoon sambal olek
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons sugar
1 lime, juiced to make ¼ cup
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
½ cup water

1. Preparing the sauce: Mix all dipping sauce ingredients together (chile, garlic, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar and water).  Set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse shrimp till coarsely chop, add pork and give it a pulse or two.  Add fish sauce and black pepper, and egg and pulse to combine.
3. Add the rest of the vegetables ingredients and bean noodle and toss to combine.
4. Line a baking sheet with a damp tea towel and have another damp towel ready to cover the rolls. Line a cutting board with a third damp towel.
5. Fill a large sauté pan with 2 inches of water. Add sugar, bring water to a boil, then turn heat to very low. Working with one sheet of rice paper at a time, dip half the disc into the hot water, holding one corner with your fingers or a pair of chopsticks. Let it sit for about 5 seconds. Quickly dip the other half and remove and spread out flat on lined cutting board.
6. Place about 2 Tablespoons of the filling on the bottom third of the rice paper.  Shape the filling into a cylinder, about 3-inches long.
7. Fold the left and right side over the filling. Holding the sides in place, fold the bottom flap up and roll the roll up into a tight cylinder.  Lay the rolls flap side down on the moistened towel and cover with another moist towel. Patch any broken areas with small pieces of soaked, rice paper.  Repeat folding the remaining rolls.
8. Frying the spring rolls:  Heat canola oil till 375F.  Drop several spring rolls into the oil and fry till golden brown, about 5 minutes each.  Immediately drain on a wire rack over a baking sheet.  Bring the oil back up to temperature and continue until all the spring rolls have been fried.
9.  Wrap each spring roll with lettuce and serve with Nuoc Mam Cham dipping sauce.

Serves: 8

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