Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Banh Trang Tron - Rice Paper Salad


Banh trang tron 'rice paper mix' is a street food that has won the hearts of children and teenager all over Vietnam.  I was first introduced to this popular street snack several years ago while I was in Saigon.  My cousin picked up a bag on his way home from class.  He walked in with a clear plastic bag dangling from his fingers with two skewers (used as chopstick) poking out from the bag.  I opened up the bag to examine what was inside; strips up rice paper, julienned green mango, shredded beef jerky, quail egg, roasted peanuts, and chopped Vietnamese coriander (rau ram).  It was such an unusual concoction but had all of my favorite components.  I'm always excited to try new food so I had no problem digging in.  While I very much enjoy the explosion of flavors, my mom thought it was 'nonsense' food.

Upon my first tasting of banh trang tron, I thought it tasted similar to padd Thai.  After a few more bites the flavor became more coherent; it was tangy and spicy similar to other Vietnamese goi but more salty and dry.  I can see why adults would be against this type of snack, it's not very nutritious.  But it's FUN food, something I like to make every now and then.  I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this popular street food!

Ingredients:
8-10 sheets of rice paper cut into 3 inch strips
1 cup of julienned green mango (adding more green mango will add more moisture to this salad)
1 cup of chopped rau ram
1/4 cup of dried proteins (shredded beef jerky, shredded squid, dehydrated field shrimp, or none)
quail egg (or 1 hard boil egg cut into 8 pieces)
2 tablespoon of cooking oil
3 tablespoon of minced green onion
shrimp salt 'muoi tom' ( or sea salt)
sugar
1 lime
maggi seasoning
chili oil
fried shallot
crushed peanuts
large bowl
plastic gloves

1.  Sauteed the green onions in the oil until fragrance.  If you are using tep kho (dehydrated field shrimp) add it to the oil and sauteed until fragrance.
2.  Add the rice paper strips to a large bowl and the add the hot oil with green onions and tep kho.  Use your gloves to mix as much of rice paper and oil together to help soften the rice paper.
3.  Season the rice paper with 1 lime, some shrimp salt (sea salt is a lot saltier so use it sparingly), a sprinkle of sugar, juice of 1 lime, hot chili oil, and a couple dash of maggi seasoning.  Mix well or it will get clumpy.  Make sure every portion of the rice paper is season thoroughly.
4.  Once you are satisfied with the seasoning add the green mango, shredded protein, quail egg, chopped rau rau, crush peanuts, and fried shallot.  Toss and mix so that all the components are evenly distributed.
5.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pho/Mi Ga Kho -Dry Chicken Pho

In my family, chicken pho isn't as popular as beef pho.  I definitely would choose beef over chicken any day.  However, chicken pho is so much easier to make than beef pho and only take 1/3 of the time.  For those reasons, I still make chicken pho pretty often.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine mention having pho ga kho and how much she enjoyed it.  I thought it was a great idea because this way we can switch things up a bit with pho ga.  I love hu tieu kho more than the soup version, maybe I will like the dry version of pho ga more than the soup version as well.  Plus I love eating dry noodle because we can add a lot of veggies and herbs to your bowl.  

It's really simple, you pretty much just make a pot of pho ga like usually.  The only thing you will need to do extra is come up with a sauce.  This was the part where I had a little trouble with in beginning because at the time I've never had pho ga kho before.  I had to rely solely on my friend's description.  I played around with the sauce several time and a lot of time it came out pretty similar to the my hu tieu kho sauce.  During my recent trip to Vietnam, I had the opportunity to try this dry chicken noodle dish from Da Nang.  Instead of pho noodles, they used an egg noodle similar to lo mein.  It was so delicious that we kept going back to eat it several times a week!  I fell in love with the sauce, it was sweet and more soy base.  

Please refer back to my Pho Ga recipe.

Ingredient:

Shredded chicken from Pho Ga
Pho noodle/egg noodle
Bean sprout
Lettuce
Cilantro
Green onions
Lime
Fried shallots
Chili
Sauce
Pho ga broth (as a side)

1.  I like putting my veggies(bean sprout/lettuce) at the bottom of the bowl.
2.  Add noodle of choice on top of veggies.
3.  Add shredded chicken on top veggies.
4.  Spoon enough sauce(sauce recipe below) into your bowl.
5. Top everything with herbs of choice, fresh minced chili, and fried shallots.
6.  Squeeze some fresh lime juice and stir everything together.
7.  Enjoy with some broth on the side!

Sauce:

4 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of soy sauce
2 cup of pho ga broth
1/4-1/3 cup of brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sauce)

1.  Combine all ingredients in a pot.  
2.  Heat up all the ingredient until they marry together and the sauce has reduce a bit.  

Garlic Noodles

It's all started when my oldest friend told me how much she loves eating garlic.  The first thing that came to mind was garlic noodles!  Luscious noodles covered in a savory butter sauce with lots of minced garlic.  I was told the noodles were so good the jumbo shrimps were not even necessary!

Ingredients:

1-16 0z bag of lo mien noodles
1/2 stick of butter
2 tablespoon of finely minced garlic
3 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of chopped green onions
Parmesan cheese

1.  Boil the lo mein noodles in water until it's about 80% done.  I like my noodles with a firm bite, so it's important to NOT overcook the noodles
2.  Drain and set aside.
3.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter on medium heat and add the minced garlic.  Let the garlic infused in the butter and become fragrance.
4.  Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar to the garlic butter.
5.  Toss in the lo mein noodles and coat the noodles with the sauce. Add the garlic powder to the noodles.
6.  Just when the noodles are about done add the chopped green onions.
7.  Serve with your choice of protein and top with rated Parmesan cheese.
8.  Enjoy!