fish sauce

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Last night on my way home I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant where I used to eat pho. I stopped eating there because of the tiny portions (see my post about it by clicking this link:  ….Pho….
Knowing that I would be disappointed by the skimpy pho, I placed my hope into an order of summer rolls…….
Well, the same crappy principle as with the pho (a ton of stock, a tiny amount of anything else); only this time, there was a ton of wrapper (2 per roll !) and just a tiny bit of filling. I could have kicked myself for not following my own previous advise to avoid this place.
So, what’s an old cook to do? Well of course, make my own version of rice paper rolls 🙂
Mind you, these are NOT Vietnamese summer rolls! And, because of their plumpness, rather than eating them by hand, I suggest you use a fork in order to have a less messy encounter with these babies. 🙂
However, these rolls consist of the exact amount and ratio of ingredients I craved when I ordered the rolls in the restaurant and was so badly disappointed:
A small amount of wrapper, LOT’S of noodles and shrimp, and NOT drowned in fish sauce and basil. Ahhhh, the good life ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you prefer the more traditional skinny shape, just arrange the filling accordingly.
P.P.S.
I am still hoping to find a decent Vietnamese restaurant around here 🙂
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Hans’ Peanut Sauce

This recipe may not be the most authentic, but it’s really, really good.
Serve it as a dipping sauce, over hot or cold noodles or as a salad dressing.

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons chili paste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Whisk again before serving.
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Bulalo (Kansi) Beef Marrow Bone Soup

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Beef Marrow Bone

Beef Marrow Bone

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The  first time I had the pleasure to eat this soup I fell in love with it. It was at “Pistang Filipino”, an open air arts and craft center in Manila. (Little did I know then (1974), that a few years later I would be living next door for nearly five years). However, during my first visit, a couple of friends and I went there to have a proper, traditional “Pinoy” dinner. It turned out to be one of the best meals in my entire life. Pancit sotanghon and pancit bihon, huge grilled prawns for $1 a piece, kare kare, adobo, lechon, sisig, sinigang, bulalo and a whole lot of other wonderful dishes, all spread out on a huge buffet. There were woven bamboo plates with palm leaves to put your food on and coconut shell spoons for the soups. Most of the food was eaten using one’s fingers as utensils. Lined up along one wall were water containers with spouts to facilitate hand washing before and after the meal. The food and entertainment (tinikling , traditional Philippine folk dancing) was superb and to this day I remember almost every minute of that evening. Years later when I lived next door, I went there once or twice a month, mainly for the bulalo . However, I quickly became less enthusiastic about the tinikling. While beautiful to watch, its accompanying music, which was always played at maximum levels, kept me awake many a night until the wee hours 😦
Such is my love for bulalo that until this day I prepare it at least once a month. I mostly use thick sliced shank (osso buco), but when available, I buy a whole leg bone and have the butcher cut it into 4 pieces, 2 of which I use at once and 2 which I freeze for the next going of bulalo or any other beef soup.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to watch a video of  Tinikling
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Bulalo

Bulalo

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Bulalo

Bulalo

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Bulalo

Bulalo

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Bulalo

Bulalo

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Pho

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While  Pho comes in many variations and can be served with a plethora of sides, such as finely sliced onions, chili peppers, culantro, lime, bean sprouts, Thai basil, etc, I kept today’s lunch relatively simple but nevertheless very rich and delicious. Preparation was lightning quick, since I had a strong beef stock leftover from yesterday’s “beef and vegetable stew”.
If you prefer your beef paper-thin, you might want to put it in the freezer for a few hours before slicing, but I prefer the texture of the beef the way I sliced it, slightly thicker than usual and thus with a bit more bite to it. Certainly not “original”, but, in my kitchen, cooking for myself and Bella – anything goes. (Well, almost anything 🙂 )
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Bon Appetit !    Life is Good !
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All about  Pho
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More Pho on ChefsOpinion
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Pho

Pho

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Pho

Pho

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Steak Salad “Saigon”

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The  foundation of this steak salad is a refreshing rice stick salad, which I usually make at least twice a month. I normally make about four to six portions and eat it as part of a meal, as breakfast or as a late night snack. The noodles keep their texture for a few days without getting mushy, so this is ideal to prep in advance and then serve it when a quick bite is needed, especially on a workday as breakfast or as a snack late at night when I get home and just want to rest and more cooking is as far from my mind as possible. If I have it as part of a meal, I usually combine it with seafood, such as teriyaki- glazed salmon or sautéed shrimp. For breakfast, I usually add a couple of hard-boiled eggs and for a midnight snack some canned seafood. When Maria was still with me, she liked to serve it at bbq -parties, when it was a welcome alternative to the usual suspects of coleslaw and potato salad.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pasta Salad
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Click here for more  Steak Salad
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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

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I have  taken to the habit of having Pho at “Pho 79” in Davie, while I wait for the nice Ladies at “Davie Coin Laundry” to take care of one of my lesser liked weekly chores. Both establishments are by far the best of their kind in this area (Ft Lauderdale to the Keys and across to Ft Meyers), so I am really lucky to have found both.
Now to the point :
While the Pho at Pho 79 far outshines any other Pho around here,  if you eat like I do, you will pay the price. Mind you, this is in a strip mall, no decor, no service to speak of, very run down environment and I really only go there to enjoy the Pho, but if I want a decent portion my bill comes to a whopping $24.00 without tip . This includes a diet coke, a large Pho and one portion each of extra noodles, tendon and tripe. While this might sound like a lot, it really isn’t. Yes, there is a huge amount of broth, but inside is a VERY small amount of noodles, a minuscule quantity of paper thin (as it supposed to be sliced) brisket and a tiny (I guess maybe 0.5 oz of each tendon and tripe. The additional side orders are only slightly bigger. So, while all this leaves you full for about one hour, it is mostly broth you consume, excellent prepared food but at a hefty price.
Onward to the solution – making my own tripe and noodle soup, TWO large bowls of soup with LOT”S of noodles, tripe and greens for a total of about $ 8.00 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

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Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

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Pho at PHO 79 :
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pho at PHO   (great taste but as you can see, mostly broth and herbs)

pho at PHO (great taste but as you can see, mostly broth and herbs)

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Preparation of Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup :
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blanch tripe in saltwater 3 times

blanche tripe in saltwater 3 times

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beautiful :-)

beautiful 🙂

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cut into stripes, not too fine so when cooked soft they retain some texture

cut into stripes, not too fine so when cooked soft they retain some texture, cook until almost tender, strain

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finish cooking with chilies, kosher salt, grated ginger and garlic paste, strain, keep hot

finish cooking with chilies, kosher salt, grated ginger and garlic paste, strain, keep hot

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chinese egg noodles

chinese egg noodles

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cook in saltwater for about two minutes, strain, toss with sesame oil

cook in saltwater for about two minutes, strain, toss with sesame oil

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place in serving bowl

place noodles in serving bowl

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top with blanched bok choy

top with blanched bok choy

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beef stock, (for recipe, click here) fortified with star anis, garlic paste, grated ginger and seasoned with salt, pepper and fish sauce

beef stock, (for recipe, click here)
fortified with star anis, garlic paste, grated ginger and seasoned with salt, pepper and fish sauce

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to serve, top noodles with broth, tripe and scallions

to serve, top noodles with broth, tripe and scallions, drizzle with chili oil

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Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

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Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

Chinese Beef Tripe And Egg Noodle Soup With Bok Choy And Chili (Mondongo Chino) (Kuttelsuppe Mit Nudeln)

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FO FO (Faux Pho)

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I figure,  as long as my soup is made of rich beef or chicken stock, has rice noodles,
fish sauce, herbs and other vegetables in it, I can call it a Faux Pho (fake pho) 🙂
Yesterday evening I felt a craving for noodle soup but had no beef or chicken at hand, so I decided to use finely sliced chorizo instead. The chorizo has a great flavor and it fit in great with the other ingredient’s. I also had some leftover clear oxtail soup in the freezer that came in handy. The soup was very light, flavorful and satisfying. Another great, light, flavorful and satisfying meal that does not break the bank, prepared in less then 15 minutes !

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

FO FO   (Faux Pho)

FO FO (Faux Pho)



Preparation:

add to beef stock star anis, cinnamon bark, chilies , grated ginger and lots of garlic paste, simmer for 10 minutes, check/adjust taste with salt and pepper

add to beef stock star anis, cinnamon bark, chilies , sesame oil, fish sauce, grated ginger and lots of garlic paste, simmer for 10 minutes, check/adjust taste with salt and pepper

meanwhile, cook rice noodles, drain, rinse with hot water

meanwhile, cook rice noodles, drain, rinse with hot water


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add beef broth to noodles, remove and discard solids

add beef broth to noodles, remove and discard cinnamon, chilies and star anis

add thinly sliced chorizo or other protein of your choice

add thinly sliced chorizo or other protein of your choice

add bean sprouts

add bean sprouts

add snow peas sprouts

add snow peas sprouts

add finely diced onion

add finely sliced onion

add finely sliced chilies

add finely sliced chilies

add scallions

add scallions and finely sliced chives

 

FO FO   (Faux Pho)

FO FO  (Faux Pho)

FO FO   (Faux Pho)

FO FO   (Faux Pho)





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Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry / Coconut Soup

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Last night I wanted to have a spicy snack at around midnight. Had to be quick and easy. Here is what I prepared. It took about 3 minutes of actual prep time and less than 15 minutes from start to finish. (I had some blanched rapini and cooked lai fen in the fridge from yesterday’s lunch and green lips on the half shell in the freezer). What a convenient product fresh frozen seafood is. If you make sure you buy quality merchandise and handle it with care, frozen seafood will make for a great snack or quick meal in no time. This soup was just awesome  🙂
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Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry/Coconut Soup

Green Lip Mussels, Lai Fen Rice Sticks And Chopped Broccoli Rabe In Red Curry / Coconut Soup


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Ingredient’s :
Green lip mussels,   frozen, on the half shell
Lai fen rice sticks,   cooked, tossed with sesame oil
Rapini,   blanched, coarsely chopped
Clam juice,
Coconut milk,
Tomato,   chopped
Onion,   julienned
Chilis,   julienned
Scallions,   sliced
Almonds,   slivered
Limes,   juiced
Curry powder,
Turmeric,
Garlic,    paste
Ginger,   grated
Fish sauce,
Red curry paste,   canned
Maggi seasoning,
Scotch bonnet sauce,
Kosher salt,
Peanut oil,   to saute

Method :

Saute onions in peanut oil until translucent, add tomatoes and chilis, saute for one minute. Add curry paste, garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric and almonds and saute until fragrant. Add all other ingredients except mussels, noodles and cilantro and simmer for 7 minutes. Strain. Add mussels and noodles. Return to heat until heated through. Remove from heat.  Add fish sauce and scotch bonnet sauce to taste  (be careful with the fermented fish sauce, check  HERE   first).  To serve, top with cilantro.
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Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

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At  first I was going to do a “authentic”  Malay, or Burmese ,or Thai, or Indonesian, or Indian, or whatever “authentic” coconut / curry / noodle / chicken dish. But then, for what ? There is a million and one recipes  (more or less “authentic”)  out there in the internet and book world available to anyone. But by now I believe  (hopefully)  that most of my readers subscribe to   “ChefsOpinion”  because of my interpretations of dishes and the ease  of which they can be duplicated more ore less closely  (adjust to whatever tickles your fancy).  So here we go,  Hans’ authentic  🙂  version of :  Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup.  Enjoy. Don’t break a leg running for authentic ingredients. Use what you’ve got available, what you like and what you can afford. The single most important authentic ingredient required for most dishes is love and passion. If you cook it and folk’s and you yourself love it –  Voilà ! Success !
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Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

Mee Noodles, Straw Mushroom & Chicken In Curry/Coconut Soup

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Ingredient’s :

Chicken legs,  deboned, cubed
Mee noodles,   cooked, tossed with sesame oil
Chicken stock,
Coconut milk,
Straw mushroom,
Tomato,   seeded, julienned
Avocado,   diced
Onion,   julienned
Chilis,   julienned
Scallions,   sliced
Almonds,   slivered or crashed
Limes,   wedges
Curry powder,
Turmeric,
Garlic paste,
Ginger,   grated
Fish sauce,
Maggi seasoning,
Scotch bonnet sauce,
Kosher salt,
Peanut oil,   to saute

Method :

Saute chicken, add vegetables and garlic, saute for one minute. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric and almonds and saute until fragrant. Add coconut milk, chicken stock and salt and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat. Add fish sauce and scotch bonnet sauce to taste (careful with the fermented fish sauce, check  HERE   first).  To serve, sprinkle with scallions and/or cilantro.


Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !

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Gizzard Adobo

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Although I tremendously enjoy  Philippine style adobo served the traditional way with steamed rice, I enjoy my adobo even more with pasta and creamed spinach. Served seperate, then all mixed together on the plate, what a great, simple, tasty meal  🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Kainan na!

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Chicken Gizzard Adobo

Chicken Gizzard Adobo

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Ingredients :

Chicken Gizzards,
Onions,   large dice
Garlic,   paste
Bay leaves,
Chicken stock,
Fish sauce,  substitute with oystersauce if preferred
Soy sauce,
Sugar,
Beer,
Kosher salt,
Black Pepper,   freshly ground
Peanut oil,   to saute

Method :

Saute gizzards until nicely browned, add onions and garlic and  saute until onions start to brown. Add all other ingredients and simmer until gizzards are tender. At this point, the sauce should be reduced so it covers the back of a spoon (nappe). Traditionally, adobo is served with steamed rice. However, in this version I served it with creamed spinach  and pasta.
 
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Mabuhay !   Life is Good !
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Vietnamese Ginger / Caramel Chicken ( Ga Kho )

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I  remember when, many years ago, I got my first whiff of fermented  fish sauce. It was one of the most disgusting smells I had ever encountered in a kitchen and there was no way I would ever put something this vile into my food !
Forward a few years. Fish sauce  (and it’s cousin,  shrimp paste)  has become a permanent staple in my cup board. I use it for many of my favorite asian dishes, although I still don’t use it as a dipping sauce. In this dish, it is one of the three seasoning pillars . Fish sauce, caramel sauce and ginger play the major part, while garlic, salt and pepper play second fiddle. If you are not used to using fish sauce or shrimp paste, just don’t smell it before you cook it. Once you add it to your food and cook it for a while, it transforms itself into pure magic, giving the final product great flavor and debt.  ( Umami, if you must  🙂
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Ingredient’s :

Chicken,  thigh’s  slashed to the bone
Caramel sauce,  see below *
Pearl onion,  blanched
Chiles,  mixed colors, whole
Onions,  sliced
Cilandro,  coarsely chopped
Black pepper,  fresh ground
Chili flakes,
Fish sauce,
Rice vinegar,
Garlic,  paste
Ginger,  sliced
Kosher salt,
Peanut oil,  to saute

Method :

Season chicken with salt and black pepper and saute until golden brown on both sides. Remove onto absorbent paper. Saute  pearl onions and chilies. Remove to absorbent paper. Saute sliced onions, garlic and ginger until translucent. Add vinegar, caramel, and all seasoning. Add chicken and slowly simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce has reduced enough to cover the chicken. If the sauce becomes too thick before he chicken is cooked all the way, add a bit of water. If the sauce is too thin when the chicken is done, remove chicken and reduce until desired texture is achieved. At this point, strain the sauce if you like it smooth, otherwise, serve it more rustic with all the bits and pieces still in the sauce. Now, return the chicken, whole chiles and pearl onions. Simmer for another minute while basting the chicken to make sure it is well covered in sauce. To serve, add chicken to plate, cover with remaining sauce, top with chilis, onions, cilantro and lime wedges.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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*  Saute sugar until lightly browned. Add water. If you have not done this before – BE VERY CAREFUL ! This splashes easily and burns right throuhg your skin if you are not careful. I suggest to put the pot into the sink and open the waterspout just a bit while keeping your head as far away as possible  🙂 Stir until smooth and all sugar is desolved. You should now have a light brown liquid. If the sugar solidified, don’t worry. Just put it back on low heat, stir frequently and simmer until all solids are liquified.
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