19th August 2008

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho

    Pho rilz? No.

    Sometimes you know a recipe’s just not going to be anywhere near authentic, not going to be nearly as good as you could get in a restaurant, but could still suffice for a quick weeknight meal. This is one of those recipes, from the cookbook How to Eat Supper. Should you really expect a full-flavored broth — the essence of pho! — in a 20 minute cooking-time recipe? No. If you haven’t yet experienced pho, this might stand on its own as an interesting soup recipe, but if you try to compare it to the real thing, it falls short. But hey — it was good enough to warm our bellies on this chilly evening.

    Chris says:

    What the pho? This just makes me want real pho, not faux pho.

    Lisa says:

    What if you just think of it as a noodle soup with slices of beef in it?

    Chris says:

    Okay — in that case, it’s not bad. But the broth could still be more flavorful. You can definitely taste the broiled veggies, and they’re good, but I really need to try to disconnect the pho association.

    Lisa says:

    You certainly look like you’re enjoying your sauces.

    Chris says:

    Pho Shizzle. I’m a meat dipper.

    Lisa says:

    Oh, pho cryin’ out loud… enough with the puns!

    Chris says:

    Okay, fine. In fact, there’s my review of this recipe. Okay/fine. Not spectacular, but I certainly didn’t dislike it.

    Lisa says:

    I agree. Good, not great.

    Chris says:

    Not pho.

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho
    For the broth:
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    6 whole cloves
    1 whole star anise, bruised (or 1/2 tsp anise seed)
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 14-oz cans chicken broth
    2 tbsp sugar
    2 tsp fish sauce

    For the soup:
    6 oz rice noodles
    6 oz top round steak, sliced paper-thin (place in freezer for 30 minutes before slicing to make this easier)

    To Garnish:
    cilantro
    thai basil
    jalapenos, sliced
    bean sprouts
    lime, quartered
    hoisin sauce
    sriracha, or other hot sauce

    Place an oven rack 4-6 inches under the broiler and preheat. On a large piece of doubled-over foil, scatter the vegetables and spices from the broth ingredients (onion through black pepper) and broil for five minutes, flipping once, until the onion begins to char and the spices are fragrant. Remove from the oven and place everything in a large pot.
    Add the broth, sugar, and fish sauce and bring to a low boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, prepare the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. (They’ll lose a little more firmness when the soup gets added.) Drain and divide the noodles between two very large soup bowls. Place the garnish ingredients on a plate and set at the table.
    When ready to serve, divide the (raw) beef between the two soup bowls. Ladle the low-boil broth into the bowls (this will cook the meat pretty much instantly). Top each bowl with your preferred garnishes.

    2 Servings

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Vietnamese | 1 Comment

    7th July 2008

    Vietnamese Lime & Mint Chicken

    Vietnamese Lime & Mint Chicken
    Lisa and I just got back from Atlanta, where we stuffed ourselves with cheese dip, Waffle House, BBQ, and various other gut-busting fare, so we’re looking to keep things light this week as we ease back into our routine. This chicken and noodle salad definitely fit the bill. The chicken has a wonderful citrusy glaze, and the mint and veggies add texture and crunch to the bean thread noodles. This recipe comes from Asian Flavors.

    Chris says:

    Hooray; our first recipe using our mint from the planter out front!

    Lisa says:

    Hooray; our first plant we haven’t managed to kill! Yet.

    Chris says:

    I think you’ll really like that chicken. The sugar in the marinade caramelizes a bit and makes a nice thick glaze.

    Lisa says:

    I do like the chicken — but the noodles need more sauce.

    Chris says:

    There isn’t any sauce.

    Lisa says:

    That would be why then.

    Chris says:

    Actually, if you mix it all up, the noodles soak up the glaze from the chicken and get a little saucy.

    Lisa says:

    Ooh, you’re right; good tip. Well, this definitely passes our “light” test.

    Chris says:

    I know — what’s for dessert?

    Vietnamese Lime & Mint Chicken
    1 lime
    2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    1 tbsp sugar
    1/4 tsp ground pepper
    1 large or two small chicken boneless chicken breasts
    1 tbsp peanut oil
    3.5 oz bean thread noodles
    1/4 cucumber, cut into sticks
    1/2 carrot, cut into sticks
    small handful of mint sprigs
    1/2 red jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

    Peel 1/2 the zest from the lime and cut into fine shreds. Set aside, then squeeze all the juice from the lime and add to a bowl. Mix with the fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and ground pepper. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the chicken to the bowl, making sure it’s coated well, and marinate for 30 minutes.
    Heat the peanut oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook for five minutes until the skin is browned. Set the heat at medium-low, turn the chicken over, and pour the rest of the marinade in. Cover the skillet and cook for 10 minutes, then uncover and cook until chicken is cooked through, another 5 minutes or so.
    Meanwhile, soak the noodles in hot water for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Drain, and mix with the carrot, cucumber, and mint leaves. Slice the chicken and arrange over the noodles. Garnish with the chopped jalapeño and lime zest.

    2 Servings


    Andrea from Andrea’s Recipes has a regular blogging event called Grow Your Own, and since we grew that mint, I’m going to go ahead and submit it for the round ending on the 15th!

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    posted in Asian Flavors, Blogging Event, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Vietnamese | 12 Comments

    8th June 2008

    Chicken & Shrimp Laksa

    Chicken & Shrimp Laksa

    Tonight Lisa made this Chicken & Shrimp Laksa, a curry laksa, adapted from a recipe in Asian Flavors. This Malaysian dish consists of wide rice noodles, chicken, and shrimp in a nicely seasoned coconut broth; stir-fried bean sprouts and snow peas add crunch, color, and texture to the soup.

    Lisa says:

    I think it needs just a little salt and a little bit of Sriracha.

    Chris says:

    Those noodles really soak up that broth; seems like it thickens as it sits. I like it.

    Lisa says:

    It would be really good with mushrooms and carrots… next time I’ll add those in.

    Chris says:

    Yum! And we’ll have to find shrimp paste; our anchovy-paste-and-fish-sauce substitute probably wasn’t quite as intense.

    Lisa says:

    Well there you go, now we have an excuse to make it again.

    Chicken and Shrimp Laksa
    2-3 tbsp peanut oil
    4 red shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    1 tsp minced fresh lemon grass
    1/2 tsp shrimp paste
    1 red chili, seeded an finely chopped
    1 tbsp ground coriander
    2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 3/4 cups light coconut milk
    1 tbsp brown sugar
    1 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
    16 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
    9 oz flat rice noodles
    6 oz snow peas, sliced lengthwise
    4 oz bean sprouts
    scallions

    Soak the rice noodles until they are tender. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallots over low heat until softened. Add the garlic, lemon grass, shrimp paste, red chili, and coriander and continue to cook over low heat for two to three minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, coconut milk, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, shrimp, and noodles and leave over a low heat until the chicken is cooked through.
    Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a wok and stir-fry the snow peas and bean sprouts for two minutes or until they start to soften.
    Spoon the laksa into serving dishes and stir in the snow peas and bean sprouts. Garnish with scallions, and extra chili peppers.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Asian, Asian Flavors, Main Dishes | 1 Comment

    26th January 2008

    Vietnamese Summer Rolls


    Jeremy and Autumn came over for dinner one night this week — Lisa made these fresh rolls, which filled us up much more than the tiny seafood salad I made. The peanut sauce was also really, really good.

    Chris says:

    Yay, I love these; we haven’t made them in a while…

    Lisa says:

    I’m glad I made as many as I did. That dinner you made was barely enough for one, let alone four!

    Autumn says:

    How’d you get the tofu to not get all mushy?

    Lisa says:

    Apparently the trick is to roll it in a bit of flour first. It works really well!

    Jeremy says:

    These are tasty, thanks!

    Chris says:

    Um, did the four of us just eat 17 of these things?

    Vietnamese Summer Rolls
    ———————–
    12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    3 ounces rice noodles/sticks
    4 Ounces firm tofu
    1/4 cup flour
    1 tbsp oil
    16 round rice paper sheets
    1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
    1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
    1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add shrimp; cook until pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Slice cooked shrimp in half lengthwise. Set aside. In a medium bowl, cover rice noodles with hot water by 2 inches; let soak for 15 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside. Cut tofu into sticks, roll in flour and lightly fry in oil. Place on paper towel to drain.
    Fill a shallow dish with warm water. Working with 1 rice-paper wrapper at a time, soak in water for 30 seconds; immediately lay flat on a work surface. Place 3 reserved shrimp halves, cut sides up, on bottom third, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place 1 piece of tofu over shrimp. Top with 1/4 cup assortment of rice noodles, carrots, cucumbers, mint, basil, and cilantro. Fold bottom of wrapper over fillings; roll over once, tuck in sides, and finish rolling.
    Place finished roll on a plate; cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. Serve with peanut dipping sauce.

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    posted in Appetizers, Asian | 2 Comments

    31st October 2007

    Javanese Chicken Soup


    I’ve been waiting for a co-worker (this means you, Walt) to set me up with some delicious Indonesian recipes but got impatient, so we adapted the following from a recipe in the old standby, Great Bowls of Fire. I’m not sure how close it is to traditional recipes, but we both really enjoyed this soup flavored with lime, coconut milk, peanut butter, and ginger.

    Chris says:

    Oooh, I love this. Not at all similar to the other soups and stews we’ve made from GBOF.

    Lisa says:

    It’s definitely different — I can really taste all the different flavors: the salty, the sweet, the spicy… you don’t need to add anything! It’s deceptively rich, too. So good!

    Chris says:

    If this is anywhere close to “real” Indonesian, sign me up!

    Javanese Chicken Soup
    ———————
    2 tbsp peanut oil
    1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, diced
    1 yellow onion, diced
    2 large cloves garlic, minced
    1 tbsp ginger root, minced
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 cup snow peas
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1/4 cup canned light coconut milk
    1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
    1/4 cup kecap manis
    Juice of 2 limes
    2 tsp sambal
    2 whole scallions, chopped
    1.75 oz cellophane noodles

    In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until slightly browned and fully cooked, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
    In a medium saucepan, heat the other tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, snow peas, cumin, coriander, and cooked chicken and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, kecap manis, lime juice, sambal, and scallions and bring to a simmer.
    Stir the noodles into the soup and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
    Ladle into bowls and serve with additional scallions and sambal.

    6 Servings

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    posted in Great Bowls of Fire, Indonesian, Main Dishes | 7 Comments


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