Archive for the ‘Rau Ram’ 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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* Thai-Style Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Aioli and Cucumber Pineapple Achar

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Cuisine, Kaffir lime leaves, Rau Ram, Salmon, Snack, Thai.

This salmon cake is made the way one makes a succulent crabcake, but uses Thai flavors.  Poaching the salmon in wine eliminates the fishiness, and the cream adds moisture to the otherwise leaner, but more flavorful sockeye salmon.

Chef’s tip: To remove the skin off the salmon, lay a half fillet of salmon on a cutting board.  From the tail end, about 2 inches from the end, cut halfway into the fish, making sure not to cut all the way to the skin.  Next grab the small end with your left hand, and holding the knife with your right, position knife at a 45 degree angle to the skin and start pulling the fish with your left hand while the knife slices through the fish between the flesh and skin.  To remove any bones, turn a stainless steel bowl upside down and place the fish fillet over the top of the inverted bowl skin down.  Run your finger along the middle of the fish to feel any bones and remove with a fish pin.

Salmon cakes:6 cups water

3 inches galangal, sliced into rounds
6 pieces kaffir leaves, torn
1 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 lbs boneless skinless sockeye salmon filet, bones removed

2 Tablespoons canola / grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
1 red chili, deseeded, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai red curry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

3 cups panko breadcrumbs (more if needed)
1 Tablespoon rau ram leaves, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juice
Zest from 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten

2 cups bread crumb for breading
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Canola oil for frying

1.     Combine water and galangal and torn kaffir, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove galangal and kaffir.  Add wine and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add salmon, cover and remove from heat. Let salmon poach in the hot liquid for 10 minutes. Using a metal perforated spatula, transfer salmon to baking sheet and let cool.
2.     Break salmon into small pieces, ensure any removing bones are removed, and transfer pieces in a large bowl.  Chill.
3.     In a small saute pan, heat olive oil and sweat the onions till translucent, about 10 minutes.  Stir in chili, curry paste and salt and pepper. Add cream and cook till mixture is thick. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
4.     Stir together onion mixture with salmon.  Add breadcrumbs,, rauram, cilantro, green onions, fish sauce, lime juice, zest and eggs.  You may need additional breadcrumbs in order to create a mix that isn’t too wet and will hold together in a cake form. Stir ingredients until just combined and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.  Test for seasoning.
5.     Place additional bread crumbs and salt on a breading pan. Using a large ice cream scoop to scoop, gently pack salmon into golf size balls.  Roll each ball gently in the bread crumbs.  Transfer into a round 2.5 inch pastry cutter and gently flatten to make a thick patty.  Remove from cuter.  Transfer patty to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
6.     Coat a non stick frying pan with oil over medium heat.   Gently add the salmon cakes, fry until golden, flipping once with a spatula, until golden brown. Transfer cakes to a cookie sheet.  When ready to serve, bake 5 minutes at 350F until hot throughout.
7.     Serve with kaffir aioli and cucumber pineapple achar.

Makes 40 pieces

Kaffir Aoili

2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
2 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 Tablespoon kaffir leaves, veins removed, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
2 Tablespoons coriander leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons warm water

To make the Kaffir Aioli

8.     In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, mustard and 1 Tablespoon olive oil together until an emulsion is formed.
9.     Combine the olive oil and the canola oil in a measuring cup with a pouring spout.  While whisking the egg emulsion, add the oil mixture in a steady, THIN stream, almost to the point of droplets.  Make sure not to add the oil too quickly – add enough to the emulsion and make sure it is blended smoothly before adding more oil.  Continue to add the oil in a steady stream, whisking, until all of the oil has been added.
10.  Add finely mashed garlic and lime juice and salt.  Stir in the chopped kaffir, and coriander,.
11.  Add enough warm water to the aioli until a smooth, ketchup-like consistency is formed.

Makes 1 cup


Cucumber Pineapple Achar:

3 Japanese / Persian cucumbers, halved then thinly slice
1 cup pineapple cubes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 red chili, seeded very thinly sliced, to taste (use Thai birds eye chili, if preferred)
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled, thinly julienned
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped


To make the Cucumber Pineapple Archar

12.  Toss together the cucumber, pineapples, shallot, chile and ginger in a non reactive glass bowl
13.  In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and fish sauce and heat till the sugar is dissolved.
14.  Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber pineapple mixture and toss to coat.  Let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to come together.
15.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.

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* Assam Laksa

Posted on March 13th, 2009 by Linda. Filed under Cucumber, Cuisine, Entree, Fish, Hei ko Prawn Paste, Lemongrass, Lime, Mint, Noodles, Pineapple, Rau Ram, Soup, Street Foods.

I read in this month’s Saveur that Penang is having its international food festival this week where the celebration is Penang’s foodways.  First of all, in food-obssessed Penang, every day is a celebration of food.  In the same blurb, it described the local specialty, Assam Laksa, as aromatic, tamarind-based fish noodle soup.  Hard to imagine with such a description what the dish really is – except for those in the know.  My mouth starts to water at the thought of the tang, sour, saltiness and spicyness of the beloved noodle dish.

Chef’s tip: You can find fresh tamarind in the pods at Asian, Indian, Latin markets and Whole Foods.  To prepare tamarind, peel off the tough outer skin of the tamarind pod.  Place the flesh, seeds and veins in a bowl and add some warm water.  Using your hands, gently massage the tamarind to dissolve it.  Sieve.  You can also find tamarind in the block at Asian markets, which is essentially the peeled version.  Tamraind concentrate in the bottle is a lot more sour than fresh tamarind, so start with half the amount.


1 lb bluefish (Traditionally mackerel, otherwise, any oily flaky fish)

Spice Paste:
6 dried Japanese chilies or 3 fresh red jalapeno
2 pieces of lemongrass
5 shallots
1 tablespoon roasted belachan
¼ cup of canola oil for frying

1/2 cup tamarind pulp (including seeds) + 1 cup warm water
6 cups water or fish stock (use fish bouillon if necessary)
5 pieces of dried tamarind slices
4 stalks laksa leaves
Salt to taste (at least a few pinchfuls of salt)
2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup of shredded English cucumber
1 red jalapeno
½ red onion
1 cup of fresh pineapples
1 cup of mint leaves, whole
2 tablespoons laksa leaves, finely minced

12 oz thick fresh rice noodles (lai fun) or 6 oz dried rice vermicelli

1 lime, preferably calamansi
2 Tablespoon haeko

Preparing the fish
1.    Steam the fish until opaque and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Reserve fish stock.
2.    When cooled, remove bones and skin, coarsely flake the fish with a fork.
Preparing the spice paste
3.    Grind together spice paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Set aside.
Preparing the laksa soup base
4.    Peel tamarind.  Mash tamarind flesh in 1 cup of warm water.  Remove solids, reserve juice.
5.    Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until just hot.  Stir in spice paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the red oil separates from the spice paste about 8 to 10 minutes.
6.    Lower the heat, slowly add tamarind paste, water, fish stock, tamarind slices and laksa leaves and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly.  Simmer for at 20-30 minutes.  Add salt and sugar to taste.  Remove tamarind slices and laksa leaves. Just before serving, add the flaked fish.
Preparing the vegetables
7.    Finely julienne cucumber, jalapeno, slice the red onion and cut pineapples into small wedges.
8.    Mince the laksa leaves.
Preparing the noodles
9.    Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add salt and oil.  Blanch rice vermicelli quickly – a few seconds.
10.    In a small bowl, mix hae-ko shrimp paste with 2 tablespoon warm water
11.    Place a serving of noodles and vegetables in bowls and ladle laksa broth over.
12.    Serve with halved limes and a dollop of hae-ko.

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