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(I haven't really used the LJ scrapbook thing before... this is a "thumbnail", clicking on it produces a slightly larger, slightly less compressed image. This was an informative picture, by the way - not a pretty one. Don't go judging my camera skills based on this)

This is Bo Nuong Xa (grilled lemongrass beef skewers with rice noodles) or at least my whitey version of it. This was a first attempt that was sort of ill prepared and rushed. Ideally I'd have liked to have more fresh basil on hand and some whole green leaf lettuce. But it was good as is and the Nuaoc Cham sauce is going to become a staple. I love lime/fish sauce anyway, but I think making a paste of the garlic and the chilis and the sugar really lends something to the flavor. The marinade for the beef was great too - basically a puree of lemongrass and ginger with small amounts of fish sauce, soy, and sesame oil.

Outside of summer rolls I haven't really done any Vietnamese cooking before but I like what little I've done. So that will probably be the new obsession.

MUST get a bigger mortar and pestle. Everything needs to be ground. And while I managed to make my own toasted rice powder, grinding chilis into a paste is a pain in the ass in a 3 inch mortar meant for small herbs.


Jun. 29th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)
If you are feeling kind of lazy I make this one for Dan a bunch. She likes it significantly. It's not even a recipe really.

Buy some rice paper wrappers, the ones about 12" in diameter.

Really finely slice carrots and cucumber (if you don't have a mandoline / japanese super magic happy super slicer give up now, too much work). Like tiny tiny match sticks that some kind of tiny dwarf would use to light his pipe.

Chop mint and coriander (cilantro leaf) up real small.

Chop up some Steamed / Fried / BBQ'ed / left over / whatever chicken. Not quite as small as the carrot but close enough to fool a non observant person. Do the same for some pork.

Peel some prawns, these are the australian prawns, as in one is a decent mouthful. Call 'em what you like, the big bastards, oh and fresh ones, not those stanky things from a tin.

Soak some good vermicelli in hot water.

Get a big old bowl of hot water, not boiling, just hot, say 70 odd C.

Assemble all bits and pieces in some kind of convenient array.

Put a big board in front of the array. Something bigger than your dry spring roll wrappers.

Drop one of your dry wrappers in the hot water. Wait for it to melt.

grab it out.

Drop in some of everything in front of you. I go about 1/3 vermicelli, lots of herbs, some chicken and or pork and one split sprawn.

Wrap it up like a spring roll.

(at this point admit failure and throw that one away or just eat it messily as research).

Try again with slightly better results.

Repeat getting better for the first 5 then getting worse as you try to cram more good stuff in and break the damn wrapper, stupid vietnamese making them too small...

Store each one under a wet tea towel. Chuck them in the fridge even. Some people (crazy female types) claim they are better a couple of hours in.

serve with a mildly non noticeable dipping sauce (I use a branded vietnamese dipping sauce, that's how much I care about the sauce, ain't making squat).

Big old plate, whack em down, This wins me friends.

Normally I serve it beside my nasty nasty cold roast beef in a thai style salad.
Jun. 29th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Vietnamese
Haha.. those are summer rolls and I make them a lot.

I usually though use whole sweet basil as like... a layer of greenery, then chicken, shredded carrot, and the vermicelli. You can make the Nuac Cham (I should post that recipe) for them or just use a bottled "sweet thai dipping sauce" or.. hell.. just soy - whatever you prefer.

They go really well with Larb (pork or chicken)

I found them years ago at a "japanese" place run by filipinos serving pan-asian stuff but giving it japanese and chinese names. It was a confused little place.

You're right - they're so easy that it feels like you might as well be making a grilled cheese sandwich. It doesn't really "count" as cooking almost.
Jun. 29th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Vietnamese
OH .. and your crazy female type is right - they're better after a few hours in the fridge. They firm up a little and the flavors mix a bit more.


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