Friday, December 25, 2015

Canh Ga Chien Nuoc Mam Kieu Pok Pok (Vietnamese Pok Pok-Style Fried Fish Sauce Wings)

Canh Ga Chien Nuoc Mam Kieu Pok Pok (Vietnamese Pok Pok-Style Fried Fish Sauce Wings) 2

After trying the much-hyped Vietnamese fried fish sauce wings at Pok Pok - Portland - Oregon, I knew I could re-create a similar version at home, but tone down the amount of fish sauce used. The first few wings I ate at Pok Pok were pretty good, but then the saltiness of the fish sauce became really apparent as I kept eating. The Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Stuff ie. Carrots and Daikon) that were served with the wings were supposed to balance out the saltiness and spiciness, but I didn't find the wings very spicy, just very, very salty. Anyway, the good thing about making this at home is that you can adjust the fish sauce and chile peppers to your liking.

Pok Pok's wings are addictive because of the double marination, before and after frying. I marinated the wings in fish sauce, salt, sugar, and garlic. I used mostly the same ingredients, but added vinegar and chile peppers, like I would with Nuoc Mam Cham Ngot (Vietnamese Sweetened Fish Dipping Sauce) and simmered it on the stove top to thicken. The wings were only lightly battered, so I used a combination of rice and tapioca flours, and only one coating before frying. If you want to eat low-carb, you can skip the coating and just fry the wings after marination if you wish. Then the wings were tossed in the sweetened fish dipping sauce afterward.

I served up my version at Christmas dinner with my siblings, and again later with friends, and they found them pretty addicting. But then, who can resist fried chicken wings that are crispy, salty, sweet, and spicy?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Pho-mplings (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup-Spiced Dumplings)

Pho-mplings (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Dumplings) 1

You guys! Why did this not occur to me sooner? A couple of years ago, I had the bright idea of making Pho Burgers, by grinding the spices I used for making Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) and adding them to ground beef. You'd figure that after making Pho Burgers with Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Spices and Banh Mi Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup-Spiced Sandwiches), it would have dawned on me that I could use the spiced meat to make dumplings too...

But it wasn't until last fall when I stumbled upon this Gothamist article about Phumplings in Brooklyn that the pho-spiced dumplings started to take shape. Phumplings are larger and filled with soup, closer to xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings). A bit too much work for lazy old me. Not that I probably won't try that at some point.

Instead, I decided to make regular dumplings with pho spices. I had a rather lean cut of beef, but if you use fattier ground beef, you can get juicier dumplings. I used the same proportion of spices and aromatics as my Pho Burgers -- pureed onion, garlic, and ginger with ground cinnamon, cloves, and star anise spices. Then topped the dumplings with green onions (actually, chives from the garden) and basil, small squirts of Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha, and squeezed a bit of lime. With all the components in place, it was like eating pho in one bite.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Italian Shrimp Scampi Low Carb Zucchini "Noodles"

Shrimp Scampi Low Carb Zucchini Noodles 1

I'm not sure what sparked my craving for shrimp scampi, but I couldn't get the buttery, lemony shrimp pasta dish out of my mind. I've been trying to eat healthier though, so figured I could experiment with some zucchini noodles. Now, if you have a Zoodle Slicer or a Veggetti or whatever, this would go a lot faster, but I found julienning the zucchini worked just fine. It was actually quite therapeutic to slice and slice the zucchini until I had a colander full of thin strips.

Of course, you can use regular spaghetti noodles with this recipe if you wish, but I thought the buttery, lemony zucchini noodles and shrimp totally hit the spot.