Showing posts with label Vietnamese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnamese. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sea Tangle Noodle Slaw with Vietnamese Dressing



crunchy, tart, crisp, slippery, sweet, savory, tangy and spicy

this is my new favorite salad.  i've had it every day for a week.   by it's self, a great light snack or lunch, but topped with shrimp, shredded chicken, BBQ'd salmon?..a delicious, filling, low fat, low calorie meal.  fresh and easy when you have some made up in the fridge.   it saves well and gets even better as it sits.  

 i came across these strange Sea Tangle noodles at one of my Asian markets.  i always have to try the weird thing that i've never seen before.  

what a find!...these things are good!
the texture is soooo unexpected.  they are crunchy right out of the bag...i mean CRUNCHY!  they do soften a bit when the dressing is applied or after it sits.
the flavor?...there is none, so the noodles make for a great blank canvas.
great for filling up...they only have 6 calories per large handful.  perfect for watching the swimsuit waistline.


they DO come in a big "tangle"...easy to separate and the wad in the bag grows into a HUGE pile o'glassy noodles.

if the crunch is too weird for you, put them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes with a few squeezes of lemon juice.  them strain them and dry as well as you can before putting them in salad. 
they are also good warm.  i haven't come up with any recipes yet, but i did try this dressing on the warm soft noodles and i think it would make a great side for something...anything.

hey...they're only 6 calories !
eat them with everything.


ASIAN SLAW SALAD

about 2 cups Sea Tangle Noodles, rinsed and dried as well as poss.
1 1/2-2 cups savoy cabbage, sliced very thin
10 snap peas, sliced diagonal
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, slice thin on the diagonal
 4 large basil...chiffonade
quite a few mint leaves depending on size...(i used about 10.  mine were very small)  torn or chiffonade
scallion or chives..i like just the green of the scallion.
toasted sesame seeds optional, but delicious add.



VIETNAMESE STYLE DRESSING

2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
 1 to 2 tsp fresh ginger put through garlic press to extract juice and a little minced ginger.
pinch of red pepper flakes.

mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.  TASTE TEST...i might have added a little squeeze more lime.  put it in a glass jar.  i usually double the recipe so it's ready in the fridge..  give the jar a good shake before using.
NOTE...use sparingly so as not to over dress your salad.  the salad will save better and sesame oil flavor goes a loooonnnng way.   this was very good the next day for a packed lunch.

this is a bag to look for.  look carefully among the konjac and shirataki noodles.  it took me 5 or 10 minutes to locate another bag in the market.  i found this large bag at H Mart in irvine.  i have recently seen a few bags at Mother's Market, so i bet your local health food store might carry them.
by the way...this is "THE" fish sauce commonly used in Vietnamese cooking.  my friend Cathy gave me this big bottle of fish sauce that her Mom uses at her PHO restaurant in Little Saigon.  she says this is "the" one to use.  it is far better than the commercial one i bought at my local market.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee Jelly Dessert...easy


super easy, clean and tasty cool dessert for a summer party.

OR...just kick start your day,
maybe brighten a June gloom afternoon...

coffee jelly, or JELLO as we call it, is a popular dessert in Asia.  in Japan they serve it black, slightly sweetened in a cup...or sometimes offer it with ice cream or in milkshakes.  it's even served with student lunches in public schools.  this cute little easy dessert is Vietnamese inspired simply because it is a strong brewed coffee paired with a healthy spoonful of sweetened condensed milk.  my friend Cathy gave me some delicious coffee from her Mother's Pho restaurant (best Pho in Little Saigon)...so i thought i'd use that for this treat.  her preferred brand is Cafe La LLave.


Vietnamese coffee is usually very strong, brewed in a Phin Filter or can be made in a French press for larger quantity.  use a bold flavor...Cafe du Monde is popular with it's chicory flavor, but a nice French or Italian roast will do.  see my post on Vietnamese coffee HERE.

sweetened condensed milk...the most preferred Vietnamese brand would be the Longevity Gold Brand, but good old American Eagle Brand will be just fine.

NOTE about "jelly"...  quite often you will see jellys made with "agar agar", but i prefer the texture of good ol' jello.


VIETNAMESE COFFEE JELLY DESSERT

COFFEE JELLY...jello

1/2 cup cold strong coffee
1 1/4 cup very hot STRONG coffee
2 packet plain gelatin
sweeten or flavor coffee to your liking
put the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold coffee, wait 5 minutes for gelatin to "bloom".  heat 1 1/4 cups strong coffee to almost boil and pour into cold mixture.  stir to completely dissolve/combine.  lightly, i say lightly spray a square or rectangle vessel of choice.  choose a vessel that will make it easy to cube.  refrigerate until firm and set....a few hours.
NOTE...these measurements (1 3/4 cups liquid) make a wiggly jello texture, but DOES cut into cubes.  i thought this ratio was a perfect texture for this particular dessert, but if you want it just a bit more firm, cut the liquid to 1 1/2 cups total.

TO ASSEMBLE...
cut the jello into 1/2 inch cubes, set aside 
1-2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of cup
put cubes in cup with the condensed milk
whipped cream of choice for topping
cocoa powder for sprinkle
chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish

NOTE...in the morning i like my "jelly treat" a little less sugary.  try a thick vanilla or chocolate protein shake with the coffee jelly cubes.  it's definitely not "Vietnamese" style...BUT it IS a quick fun protein  pick-me-up.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Banh Gan...Vietnamese Flan with Espresso


and so continues my fascination into the Vietnamese culinary world.
 
there are so many sweets and savories that i find interesting, odd, delicious and dare i say...just a bit SCARY?

scary is what keeps me coming back for more.

this Vietnamese treat is strangely addicting.  i've made it 4 times now with different recipes each time.  one better than the next.  i posted Banh Gan #1 here, but didn't find it necessary to post about the others until this one.  the espresso, chocolate and star anise pair so well with the rich caramelized brown sugar.  the texture was spot on....like a very dense flan or egg custard.

a thin slice or a few simple cubes with a nice little Vietnamese coffee or espresso will settle your afternoon or polish off a lovely dinner party.


lately i find my self roaming the streets of Little Saigon here in Westminster about twice a month.   my first experience was rather unpleasant, but that might be due to the "unknown" and my American ways.  i have since gained a little rapport in a few of the tiny shops.  occasionally i can make the vendors crack a smile or two and let me on a few of their secrets...with translation from a helpful customer.

i still stick out like a sore thumb,  have no idea what anyone is saying to or about me, but it has now become a little more familiar and i feel somewhat comfortable in the chaos of a Saturday afternoon.


VIETNAMESE MOCHA FLAN...BANH GAN
ORIGINAL found at Playing With My Food

12 eggs (apprx. 600g)
1/3 cup (35g) tapioca starch (best to weigh this)
4 tsp single acting baking soda, Alsa brand
pinch of baking soda
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 can coconut milk
8 star anise
375g dark brown sugar

preheat oven to 350F
vegetable oil an 8x8 or 9x9 pan
in a sauce pan add coconut milk, sugar and star anise.  bring to a soft boil for a moment, then turn off heat and let steep and cool completely.  remove star anise.  whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl.   lightly beat egg in a separate bowl then sift dry ingredients in. sifting it in helps create less lumps.  tapioca powder is a hard one to mix in, but combine as well as possible.
NOTE...single acting baking soda works ONCE, when the dry meets the wet.  so it is best not to let that sit.  try to work as quickly as possible (not super speedy) after this point to ensure nice air pocket tunnel  effect.
...at this time put your greased pan into the hot oven for about 5 minutes (empty greased pan).
add cooled syrup/milk mixture to the egg mixture.  combine well.
strain the batter mixture straight into the HOT greased baking pan.  lightly push through left-overs and get this into the oven.
bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
remove and cool in pan on wire rack to room temp.
refrigerate and serve chilled.

above is an example of the Banh Gan i found in Little Saigon.  this began the fascination and i have to buy it everytime i'm there.
PS...not to toot my horn or anything...but my trusty taste testers said they preferred mine over the store bought.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee...bold and sweet


it begins with a hefty dollop of sweetened (guilty pleasure) condensed milk..
then a 2T. pour...
and a 20 second wait...


followed by 190F degree pour
and a 4 minute drip...


a slight sweet stir...
  

and you have a delectable"Phin-filter" brewed, strong,  bold, yet smooth Vietnamese coffee with a sweet creamy finish from the thick sweetened milk.
some like to stir it in all the way and some like to leave a little at the bottom for a creamy sweet ending to a strong smooth brew.  anyway you prefer, it is a unique way to enjoy your everyday coffee in a whole different way...


served hot or cold this is my new favorite coffee.  maybe it's the ritual of the brewing...maybe it's the hunt for the best "Phin", the best grounds or the perfect brew...maybe it's just because...

this isn't your average joe.

i don't know if i will ever make it to Vietnam in this lifetime, but i can surely try to transport myself...
ONE CUP AT A TIME.



the Phin filters come in a few sizes and two styles with screw or gravity inserts.  i find the gravity insert to work better for the beginner.
of course you know i had to American-size it and get the biggest one i could find.  we (I) tend to SUPER-SIZE everything.
in this case, i find, the super-size just isn't as good.  it's not as bold or maybe i haven't mastered the large (screw insert) filter yet...but this funny little stainless steel contraption certainly makes a fine cuppa joe.

imagine a French press married an Italian "Moka" stove top espresso maker...had a baby and created a fabulous brew.
did i mention the clean up is 10x's easier?

i found mine (i own 4 ) at 99 Ranch Market in Tustin and Little Saigon, in Westminster, CA.  your best bet is a large Asian market or they are readily available on the internet...i couldn't wait.  i hunted this little treasure down with a vengeance.  the typical coffee would be a french press grind and i've read that a Chicory blend is most common, for instance the Cafe du Monde".  my favorite, so far is the Cafe Ong Tho French Roast.  you can use any dark roast, but it should be between a french press grind and a drip.

if you are interested in Phin brewed Vietnamese coffee please check ... step by step instructions.  I Need Coffee.com is a great "COFFEE WEBSITE" with loads of information and interesting stuff/gizmos.

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