Asian flavors: egg noodles stir-fry with chicken and bok choy

It has been a really really long time since the last time I posted a new recipe up here. But the good news is I’m back in Foodie Town. This one is dedicated to all those who love a nice asian noodle wok but hate that greasy, fatty chinese take away. With only a few ingredients, it’s simple, healthy and delicious. And by the way, it takes only 15 minutes in total to do this, what’s better than quick and tasty? Anyway, this is how to make it:

*Ingredients: (1 portion)

– Chicken breast – 100g
– Dried shiitake mushrooms – 30g + 2 tbsp minced shallots/garlic for stir-frying + Oil 1-2 tbsp
– Light/dark soy sauce + oyster sauce to taste
– 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine + 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp soy sauce to marinate the chicken
– 2 large Shanghai bok choy
– Dried egg noodles – 100g
– A little water for the sauce

*Method:

1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in water at least 1 hour before cooking

2. Slice the chicken breast into long thin strips and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

3. In a wok, turn up the heat and sweat the shallots and garlic until they are fragrant.

4. Now, turn the heat to max, add the chicken, mushroom and extra soy/oyster sauce. The fire should be burning like you’re in hell right now. That’s called “breath of the dragon”.

5. Slice the bok choy into long and thin strips as well, blanch in water for 1 min. Add them to the wok with the chicken.

6. Blanch the egg noodles in hot water for 3-4 minutes then drain, then add immediately to the wok.

7. Add some more seasoning and water to the noodle.

8. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes, then plate it up and serve!

DONE.

 

Le Degustationator.

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Treat from the sea: Vietnamese spicy stir-fried squid (Mực xào cay)

Just simple as that, a bowl of rice and a dish of this spicy stir-fried squid and I’m good for the night! If you’re living in the seaside then this dish would be perfect as fresh squid just caught from the sea will taste so much better than the frozen ones and it’s still one level above the “fresh” squid that you can buy at the market. You travel along the coast of Vietnam, you stop at the beach and get a sun bath and after that, you should find those small Vietnamese ladies who sell these beautiful little creatures and take them home and … cook them 😀 I used to hate seafood but well, when I prepare it myself and they are fresh, I can eat the whole thing alone! This dish is simple, it’s truly Vietnamese and it’s healthy too! But wait…the best part is that it takes about 10 minutes to cook 😀 perfect for my impatience. Here’s how you do it.

*Ingredients:

– 500 gr fresh squid, cleaned and sliced into medium-large pieces (keep the tentacles as a whole if the squids are small)

– 2 fresh tomatoes, slice into big wedges.

– 1 tbsp of minced ginger.

– 1 onion, sliced thinly.

– 1 red chili (huge, long chili which are not so spicy)

– a lot of spring onions (as much as you want) chopped into large pieces.

– 1-2 tbsp of sriracha chili sauce/ chinsu chili sauce.

– 2 tbsp canned tomatoes.

– 1 tsp sugar.

– 1 tbsp fish sauce.

– salt and pepper to taste.

*Method:

1. Prepare all the raw ingredients so that they are ready for some quick action!

2. Put the pan on the stove and set fire on high. Only add the oil when the pan is extremely hot, do not put the oil in before otherwise it will burn easily.

3. As soon as the oil is in, throw in the onion and the ginger and chili.

4. After 30 sec – 1 min, add the squid and stir them constantly.

5. Add the fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes along with the chili sauce.

6. Continue to stir fry the squid, season with salt, pepper, sugar and fish sauce.

7. After 5-6 minutes, turn off the stove and add the spring onions.

8. Give it a good stir and serve. DONE!

I know you’re gonna love it 😉

Le Degustationator.

Back to childhood: Vietnamese stuffed and grilled tomatoes (Cà chua nhồi thịt)

I loved  this dish as a child and still love it now. One embarrassing memory was when I was 4-5 years old, one day, Mom decided to invite some guests over for lunch, she made this and since I was so so so hungry and I loved this dish so much (okay, I’m trying to make it sound more justifiable 😀 ) I decided to ate several pieces on the dish mom put on the table for the guests BEFORE they arrived!!! Mom was really angry I remember, lucky I didn’t eat all of them otherwise… let’s say it would get really messy and I mean really messy… for me and for her (mostly me 😦 probably ). Anyway, the point is this dish is simply beautiful. Large vine-ripe juicy tomatoes, stuffed with a fragrant and flavourful traditional Vietnamese filling that would blow your guests away. Even better, it’s HEALTHY! YAY!

*Ingredients:

– 600 gr minced pork

– 10-12 medium/large tomatoes

– 100 gr vermicelli

– 100 gr wood ears

– 100 gr sun-dried shiitake mushrooms

– 1 large onion

– 3 medium/large eggs

– 2 tbsp pepper

– Salt to taste

– 2 tbsp tomato puree (to thicken the sauce)

– 2 tsp sugar

– Chicken/Pork rib stock

*Method:

1. Soak the wood ears and mushrooms in warm water for 20-30 minutes in total to hydrate and soften them. Squeeze out all the dirt inside them and change the water every 10 minutes. Finely chop them or put in a food processor to save time.

2. Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 15 minutes. Change water once and soak for 10 more minutes until it’s soft. Cut into short threads. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

4. Finely chop the onion, mix together with the minced pork, wood ears, mushroom, vermicelli in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper, a little bit of sugar if you will. Add 3 whole eggs and thoroughly mix them. Set aside.

5. Cut the tomatoes in halves. Use a spoon with sharp edges, spoon out all the meat of the tomatoes and set aside in another bowl. They will be used to make the sauce later on.

6. Stuff the tomato halves with the meat. Lay them on a baking tray with the tomato side on the tray.

7. Bake the tomatoes for 45 minutes.

8. Blend all the meat of the tomatoes in a food processor into a smooth paste.

9. In a pan, add finely chopped onion, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of tomato puree and the tomatoes. Stir and add the chicken/pork rib stock to the sauce. If you need to thicken, add more puree. If you think it’s too sour, add a little bit more salt and stock, add a little more sugar. The sauce should not be too runny in the end.

10. Spoon the sauce over the grilled tomatoes and SERVE!

Enjoy 🙂

Le Degustationator.

Street of Hanoi: warm and crunchy eel vermicelli (Miến Lươn Trộn)

Hi all!

Have you been to Vietnam? If you’ve been there and if you’re observant, you will probably see some small street vendors selling this dish called “Miến Lươn” in Vietnamese which basically means “Eel Vermicelli” if translated literally. The dish comes in three main versions: stir-fry (I love that one), soup (popular but doesn’t really suit my taste because the soup destroys the crunchiness of the eel) and finally, the third version, which is very modern and is loved by all Vietnamese teenager, is sort of in between, it has a very thin sauce but it’s not stir fried or a soup. That’s the one I’m gonna show you how to make today. So what to know about this beautiful dish? I guess vermicelli (some call it “glass noodle”) isn’t too common outside of some Asian countries (not so sure though). It’s a transparent sort of spaghetti, quite thin, and comes in two versions: brown and white. The brown one is normally made from “Arrowroot” but then it can be processed so it turns white (I hate that…), I think brown is sexier 😀 And there is the white one that is made from mung beans, they don’t taste so different from each other but the brown one is just better ^^ (because I said so!) I also admit that the “eel” sounds kinda gooey and disgusting but it’s not! (Well the fresh and alive ones are really slippery and annoying, looks ugly as well :D) The eel that is used for this dish is crunchy  (you can buy these fried/crunchy eels or make them yourselves, I didn’t make them myself). It’s just so amazing! Let’s see how we should proceed.

*Ingredients: serves 2

– 200 gr vermicelli

– (100 gr bean sprouts to add some crunch if you want, I didn’t have that day so…)

– 120 gr fried eel

– 3 tbsp light soy sauce (or Maggi)

– 2 tbsp oyster sauce

– 1 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tsp sesame oil

– spring onion (as much as you like)

– 1 tsp sugar

– Vietnamese fresh herbs (Vietnamese coriander or Persicaria odorata is a MUST!)

– 1 tsp fried onions/shallots for garnish

– 1-2 tbsp of pork/chicken/beef/eel stock

– 1 tsp chili oil*

*You can find the recipe for making this sauce in my Snail noodle soup post at:

https://foodloverguy94.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/a-taste-of-home-vietnamese-snail-noodle-soup/

*Methods:

1. Soak the dry vermicelli in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Blanch the vermicelli in hot water for few minutes until it’s cooked (you gotta taste). Make sure it’s not overcooked. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the stock in a sauce pan. Add all the sauce together. Add the fresh herbs. Add spring onions last.

3. Mix the vermicelli in the sauce, transfer to a plate.

4. Mix the fried eel in the vermicelli.

5. Garnish with some more fresh herbs and fried shallots. Dress with a little of chili oil.

!!!SERVE IMMEDIATELY!!!

Have fun!

Le Degustationator.

A little nostalgia with Southern-style beef noodle salad (Bún bò Nam Bộ)

Just 3 days ago, I and my girlfriend celebrated the anniversary of our first real date 😀 We’ve been together for a several years, there are ups and downs but we still love each other and … we both love food!!! This dish is so special because it brings me back to the day when I came to her house to prep some food for a party the next day, wearing a chef’s jacket. No doubt it was a beautiful moment. In fact, the photo you see is taken at her house about a year ago, made by me and my girlfriend with a lot of love. She did some prep and help out cooking as well (by the way she makes some awesome cakes and pies, gotta try them out some time 😉 ). So what to know about this dish? Southern-style beef noodle salad is a typical Vietnamese dish, it’s a street food but you can also find it in restaurants. The bottom line is that the dish is comfort food for us Vietnamese, and it’s so typical because of that delicate balance between sweet, sour, hot and salty in combination with the freshness and crunch of the beautiful fresh herbs you can find in Vietnam. Every mouthful has to be full of different textures and has to be unforgettable. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, it’s the dish to try. But why not try this at home and impress your family and friends? (maybe cook with your girlfriend like me? 😀 )

*Ingredients: (approx.) serves 2

– Rice noodle 220 gr (Bún tươi/khô)
– Beef (tender cuts would be great) 200 gr (Bò)
– 2 asian shallots finely chopped (hành ta)
– Minced garlic 3 tbsp (tỏi)
– Roasted peanuts (unsalted) 3 tbsp (lạc rang)
– Fried shallots 2 tbsp (hành phi)
– Fish sauce + Rice vinegar + Sugar = Sweet sour sauce (Nước mắm chua ngọt)
– Light soy + Oyster sauce = 3 tbsp (Magi + Dầu hào)

– Non-aromatic oil (do not use olive oil) 3 tbsp (Dầu ăn)
– Green/red chilies to taste (Ớt xanh/đỏ)
– Been sprouts (100 gr) (giá đỗ)

– Salt and pepper (Muối + Tiêu)
– Cucumbers (Dưa chuột)
– An array of fresh herbs: lettuce, coriander, mint, spearmint,… (xà lách, mùi, bạc hà, húng, kinh giới, etc.)

*Methods:

1. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions on package. Immediately shock in ice-cold water afterwards to stop it from cooking. Rinse and put aside.

TIP! In Vietnam, you can go straight to the market and get the rice noodle done for you 😀

2. Slice the beef into thin slices and marinate in some garlic, shallots, 1 tsp of sugar, the oyster and soy sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes.

TIP! In order to slice the beef thinly, you need to froze it beforehand until it is quite firm (but not hard), and please get an extremely sharp chef knife otherwise it would be 99,99% impossible to cut it thinly.

3. Add sugar and water in a bowl and mix well. This is the base for the sweet source sauce that will give the distinctive taste for the dish. After the sugar has dissolved, add fish sauce (nước mắm) and rice vinegar. The catch here is that I didn’t put any measure for the sauce since I’ve never made it according to any recipe but just taste and adjustment. You should try that out too! Just add everything (even more water and sugar) until you hit the right balance between sweet, sour and saltiness. Lastly, add minced garlic and some finely chopped chilies.

4. Wash the fresh herbs carefully, drain all the excess water out, slice into smaller pieces and set aside.

5. Put the flame on highest possible, make sure your pan is hot, add oil, garlic, shallots to the pan. Add the beef and bean sprouts, stir-fry until just done. Set aside.

6. Use a peeler and peel the cucumbers into thin, long pieces. Wrap it around your finger to make a ring for plating up later.

7. Assembling the dish: put a generous handful of herbs at the bottom. Put some sauce on top. Add the rice noodle and then the stir-fried beef. Spoon more sauce on top. Put the cucumber rings on the edges of the plate. Sprink some peanuts and fried shallots on top. DONE!

This is how it looks like when I made it

Image

*Pressure points:

– Don’t over cook the rice noodle. Mushy rice noodle is …

– Don’t over cook the beef. Chewy and stringy beef is …

– Always taste and adjust along the way, there’s no recipe that fits everyone’s taste.

Hope you enjoy it!

Le Degustationator.

Summer is coming!!! Soba noodle salad (Mì Soba trộn)

So it was midsummer yesterday, what could be a better dish to kick start a wonderful summer party than this bright, flavourful Soba noodle salad with fresh herb sauce and marinated tofu. It’s cool, it’s fresh, it’s summer, doesn’t get much better than that seriously. And the good news is that this beautiful side-dish is extremely simple to prepare, no jokes.

*Ingredients: serves 2 (not necessary to follow the exact amounts)

– Soba noodle 120 gr (Mì Soba)
– Tofu 100 gr (Đậu phụ)
– Dark soy sauce : 1tbsp (Xì dầu đặc)
– Light soy sauce : 2 tbsp (Xì dầu loãng/ Magi)
– Yakisoba sauce : 1 tbsp (Sốt Yakisoba)
– Red/green bird eyes chilli: 3-4 depends on taste (Ớt xanh/đỏ)
– Sugar 1 tsp (Đường)
– Oyster sauce 2 tbsp (Dầu hào)
– Rice wine vinegar 1 tsp (Giấm gạo)
– Sesame oil 1 tbsp (Dầu vừng)
– Coriander (cilantro): a small bunch (mostly leaves if you want, the stem has a stronger taste) (Mùi ta)
– Grated ginger : 1 tsp (Gừng)
– Green onion: as much as you like (Hành lá)

*Methods:

1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Immediately chill in ice water to shock the noodle -> stop it from being over-cooked.

2. Slice the tofu into bite-size pieces. Fry in hot oil until golden (hot or not, stick your chopstick in the oil and see if the oil starts to bubble). Drain excess oil off.

3. Mix the sauces, ginger, chili and coriander in a blender. Blend until unified, smooth dressing.

4. Mix all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

5. Serve cold with barbecued meat!

NOTE!

– No matter how accurate the recipe is, always taste when you’re cooking. Even Gordon Ramsay tastes.

– Feel free to adjust the recipe according to your taste, be creative!

Love to hear from you guys 😀

Le Degustationator.