Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onion in Yogurt Sauce / Burani Banjan

An Afghan Approach to Eggplant

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

A very Central Asian approach to Eggplant.  A bit of work to prepare, but everyone seems to enjoy the final result.

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Beef and Shrimp Balls in Lettuce Cups / Cha Gio

A Vietnamese Fusion Dish
Memories of Old Saigon

Cooking with Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

Beef and Shrimp Balls, or Cha Cio, are a classic of Vietnamese cuisine, with a variety of recipes and versions.

The Beef may be a part of the Northern heritage in Vietnamese cuisine, as Beef appears rather frequently as an ingredient in the country’s cooking.

Beef and Shrimp Balls in Lettuce Cups
Cha Gio

Vietnamese Fusion

Ingredients:

Shaoxing Wine2 ounces Mung Bean Noodles (Cellophane Noodles)
½ pound Ground Beef
¼ pound raw Shrimp, ground
2 teaspoons Ginger, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Chinese Shao Xing Wine or Dry Sherry
2 teaspoons minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
½ teaspoon Sugar

For the Sauce:

3 tablespoons Nam Pla, Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons Water
Juice  of half a Lime
1 tablespoons Sugar
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried hot Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

For the Garnish:

12 Boston Lettuce leaves
12 Coriander leaves
12 fresh Mint leaves
12 Green Onion pieces, each 2 inches long

Method:

Garlic

Garlic

First, soak the Mung Bean Noodles in warm Water for 30 seconds and then drain them thoroughly.  Chop them into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.  Add the Pork, Shrimp, Ginger, Wine, Garlic, Vegetable Oil, Salt and Pepper.  Mix well to combine.

Divide this mixture into 12 portions and shape them into oval sausage-like pieces about an inch thick and set aside.

To make the Sauce, mix all the ingredients.  Ladle into four small serving dishes to ber used for dipping.

To prepare the dish, cook the Beef/Shrimp Balls in a hot broiler or over white-hot charcoal grill.  If you use charcoal, they should be 6 inches from the charcoal, and turn them until they are thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes.

To serve, use one Lettuce leaf for each ball.  Top with Coriander leaf, a Mint leaf and Green Onion piece in the center of the Lettuce Leaf. Add one meat ball, wrap the Lettuce leaf to enclose the fillings.  Dip the end of the fitted leaf into the dipping sauce and enjoy them.  You may dip as often as you like in the sauce.

The recipe makes appetizers for four to six persons. Soaking time is about half an hour, and preparation would take about 20 minutes. The dish cooks rather quickly, say another 10 minutes once everything is ready.

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Viet Nam - Saigon 1966 - Cyclopousses

Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Style, for a Larger Group

Recipe for a Party or Larger Group

Cooking Thai dishes with Tiparos fish saue

Fish Sauce

This recipe for Vietnamese style Spring Rolls is a good one for a party, as it makes 50 rolls. Recipe adapted from Bach-Yen Boum.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese

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Beef Brochettes

A Vietnamese Classic
Ideal for a Buffet Party

Cooking with Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce

Nuoc Mam/Fish Sauce

Reflecting the Vietnamese fondness for Beef, this Beef Brochette dish is a classic of Vietnamese cuisine.  It would be ideal for a larger buffet event, along with several other major dishes. It is intended to serve six to eight people, along with Continue reading

Beef Fondue

A Vietnamese Classic with
Fusion Touches

Using olive oil to cook Asian foods

Olive Oil

This is a classic Vietnamese dish which would work well for a special dinner.  While there are a number of ingredients and steps in the preparation, it is not actually as formidable to make as it might seem.  Total time involved is Continue reading

Cold Cucumber Soup

Fresh Greens, Cayenne and Rice Vinegar
No Cooking Required

Cold Cucumber Soup, a Fusion Dish

Cold Cucumber Soup

This simple and refreshing soup is ideal for hot weather: as long as you use ready-made Chicken Stock and don’t have to make from scratch, it can be assembled totally without any use of heat in the kitchen.

This recipe will make about 4 servings, and total preparation and chilling time is about half an hour.

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Laotian Cuisine

Galangal, Lemongrass and Fish Sauce
Duck and Sticky Rice

Cooking with lemongrass

Lemongrass

Land of a Million Elephants: Laos has been called the Land of a Million Elephants. Elephants are still there, but modern Laos may now be the the .Land of a Million Motorbikes.

Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia and is home to a Continue reading

Andy Ricker, Thai Chef

The Master of Pok Pok
4 Monks in a Bar

“Satay isn’t satay unless it’s cooked over charcoal.” — Andy Ricker

Andy Ricker is another highly visible Andy in Thai cuisine, along with Andy Arunasameruang of Chicago. Ricker, from Portland, Oregon, has done the unusual — he has become a leading Thai chef in North America. And Ricker’s not even Thai! Continue reading

Thai Cuisine

Hot, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter
Variety in Flavor, Ingredients, Color

“Food is eaten not just for nourishment. For a Thai, it is an art, a topic of conversation, a source of pleasure.” — Kreesnee Ruangkritya [1]

Deva sculpture, Thailand 15th century

Deva, Thailand, 15th cent.

The core concepts of Thai cooking are hot, sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  A well-designed meal offers a variety in flavors, preparation methods, ingredients, and color.

So if a Red Curry is the main dish, the cook woul Continue reading