Tag Archives: vietnamese

Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly

Ingredients

  • Trimmed Pork Belly – cut into 2 inch cubes.
  • Coconut Juice
  • Whole Thai Chillies
  • Ginger
  • Scallion
  • Shallots
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sesame Oil
  • Juice of one clementine
  • Soy Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Method

1. In a medium heated pot, slowly fry off the shallots in sesame oil.

2. Move the shallots to one side of the pot and make a light caramel with brown sugar.

Pork

3. Brown the pork belly in the brown sugar and deglaze with clementine juice.

Pork

4. Add coconut juice, ginger, thai chilli, fish sauce, and soy sauce.

Pork

5. Simmer on low for about two hours (or until falling apart to a firm touch). Make sure to stir occasionally.

6. After turning off the heat, sprinkle on scallions to let them soften from the residual heat.

Pork

7. Serve over steamed rice.

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BBQ Pork Meatballs on Vermicelli

I grew up with friends that would go out for Pho once a week.To this day I’ve yet to order Pho at a restaurant because I’ve always been able to get my hands on some homemade stuff. Now I’m finding a lot of my friends falling in love with Vietnamese Vermicelli. The three classic proteins are BBQ pork shoulder, pork spring rolls, or BBQ pork meatballs. Any combination of the three is delicious, although I prefer all three as its a great way of serving pork three ways.

Vermicelli

Marinated Pork Shoulder Slices fresh off the fire.

Like most Vietnamese dishes, pork vermicelli relies on how fresh the ingredients are. Luckily for me, my herb garden grows both mint and purple perilla. You’ll find that most Vietnamese restaurants will add pickled carrots to the mix as it is a great way to add texture and acidity. It is also much like a salad in the sense that you just toss the ingredients in fish sauce and it is ready to enjoy. My all time favourite protein with vermicelli is the BBQ pork meatball. The sweet and spiciness is unique and it also just so happens to be the most visually appealing.

Vermicelli

You’ll want to see this full size.

This has always been my favourite Vietnamese dish. I always found it to be underrated growing up although judging from my what my friends now order I believe that to be changing. In my opinion, this dish sums up everything that is great about Vietnamese cuisine. You have a lot of raw components which taste horrible if they aren’t fresh. You also have a very light tasting noodle in order to keep the overall fresh mouth feel. Next, you have a complexly sweet, savoury, and smokey protein (and in the case of the spring roll you also get a more obvious texture contrast). Last, you get a wonderfully balanced fish sauce which tastes incredibly light considering it has one of the highest glutamic acid concentrations that you’ll be able to find (what makes things taste savoury). Usually in other cuisines you’d smother the protein in some tomato product. It is not by total chance that Indian tomato based curries have become popular worldwide, along with tomato based pasta sauces and our favourite, Ketchup! Just a light glazing of this fermented fish product however, gives you a deep meaty sensation. It does this without compromising the light and fresh feel of the dish which to me is incredible.

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Bò Kho | Vietnamese Stewed Beef

Every Saturday growing up I would wake up to a big pot of food that would last the weekend. The two most popular pots of food that I would wake up to were Pho and Mi, but every once in a while I’d wake up to Bò Kho (Vietnamese Stewed Beef). Usually it would be a big pot filled with tons of stewing beef with large chunks of potatoes and carrots enjoyed with freshly baked bread. Admittedly, stewed beef was always my least favourite of the three. I decided that I would try giving the classic a bit of a facelift while trying to keep as much of what made the dish a classic intact.

Stewed Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1kg – Beef Brisket (cut into chunks).
  • 1.5 L – Coconut Water.
  • 1 large onion (diced).
  • 5 cloves garlic (diced).
  • 2 stalks lemongrass.
  • 1 stick cinnamon.
  • 2 roma tomatoes (peeled and diced).
  • juice of 1 lemon.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce.
  • 2 potatoes (julienned).
  • 4 carrots (julienned).
  • Chives for garnish.

Method:

  1. Brown the chunks of brisket and reserve.
  2. In the same pot add the onions, garlic, lemongrass and cinnamon.
  3. Cook the onions until translucent and then add the tomatoes.
  4. Add the brisket back to the pot and cover with all the liquid ingredients (fish sauce, coconut water, lemon juice).
  5. Simmer for 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile:

  1. Cut carrots and potatoes into little matchsticks.
  2. Fry the potatoes until crispy and golden.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and toss together and reserve.

I like to sit the salad of potatoes and carrots on top of the beef stew. The crunchiness of the potatoes and carrots adds some textural contrast to the rich and succulent brisket. I finish the dish with chives here but you can toss any herb you want over this. My favourites include thai basil, thyme, and cilantro.

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Gỏi cuốn | Fresh Rolls

To me, fresh rolls sum up what Vietnamese food is all about. It is a dish that relies on the quality of the ingredients as there is very little cooking involved. Vietnamese food is all about being in touch with the ingredients and how they work together and it is extremely apparent in this dish. Below is a pretty non traditional presentation of fresh rolls as usually one dips their fresh roll into some thai chilli steeped fish sauce. Below is some traditional fresh rolls in a coconut hoisin reduction which happens to be my preference. I find that the pickled carrots provide enough sourness to the dish and what I really yearn for in a sauce is something sweet. Whatever the sauce, I’ve never met a single person who didn’t appreciate the brilliance of this simple dish. There are really no secrets when it comes to this classic (even the rice paper is transparent to allow viewing of the ingredients!).

Fresh Rolls

 

Below is all the prepared ingredients ready to be devoured. It is typical for people to gather around these wonderful ingredients and roll their very own version of a “perfect” fresh roll. My brother goes heavy on the tiger shrimp but I like a bit of everything with a healthy amount of various herbs.

Fresh Rolls

 

The most common fillings growing up for me were rice noodles, lettuce, cucumbers, bean sprouts, shrimp, pork belly, pork sausage, and various asian herbs that were grown in our back yard.

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