Rice Vermicelli Salad with prawns / Glass Noodle Salad with prawns

Rice Vermicelli Salad is very refreshing and light dish for the warm, summery weather we are still enjoying. It is a very quick and easy recipe to prepare and the ingredients can be varied according to what is found in the fridge. The base of the salad is Rice Vermicelli or glass noodles. They are very thin noodles either made of rice flour or mung bean flour. Both varieties can be used in this recipe.

Rice Noodle Salad with prawns and wood ear mushroomsIn my version I am using the Chinese wood ear mushrooms for texture and the crunchiness of fresh soy beans. They are also known as Edamame and are found frozen in most Asian shops. They are very versatile and can be used in stir-fries and as snacks and salads. If you are Vegetarian you can omit the prawns and add other vegetables or some tofu strips. If you are a meat lover, than you can use thin strips of beef or mince meat instead of the prawns.Rice Vermicelli and wood ear mushrooms

Prawn and Rice Vermicelli Salad / Glass Noodle Salad with prawns

Preparation time: 25 mins.                                 Serves: 4

Ingredients:

150 g                        rice vermicelli / glass noodles

20 g                          Chinese Wood Ear mushrooms, dried

                                  boiling water for soaking

1 clove                     garlic, crushed

1 dl                           coconut milk

1                               lime, (juice)

salt                           according to taste

2 tablespoons         sugar

6 tablespoons         fish sauce

1                               red chilli, fresh, de-seeded

2                               carrots, raw

3 tablespoons         soy beans, frozen (Edamame), optional

200 g                        prawns, cooked

                                  fresh herbs like coriander and mint, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Soak the rice vermicelli in hot (boiling) water for about 10-15 minutes until they are soft. Rinse in cold water and then drain. Set aside.

In the meantime soak the Chinese wood ear mushrooms in hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and chop into some thin strips. Put aside.

Make the dressing by mixing crushed garlic, coconut milk, lime juice, salt, fish sauce and some chopped chilli.

Cut the carrot into really fine long strips of about 3cm.

Coarsely chop some coriander and mint according to taste.

Mix the rice vermicelli, prawns, mushrooms, carrots, chilli and soy beans and dressing until everything is well coated. Add the herbs.

Rice Vermicelli Salad with Meat

Bahn Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich recipe

I have been waiting for warmer weather to finally share one of my favourite sandwich recipe– the one and only Bahn Mi!!!

cp2013_401485I love sandwiches. The combinations are endless…You can experiment with spices, sauces and filling – and of course you can choose some great breads to hold it all together. One of my earliest sandwich food memory must be a slice of wholemeal bread, butter and fresh, thinly sliced Salami Milanese. (I grew up in a household where Northern Italian food dominated the scene) Only three ingredients, no fancy condiments nor pickles nor vegetables, but each ingredient was simple and full of flavour. Since then my taste in sandwiches has evolved (but has not travelled very far from my roots) and I have become a fan of the many great Italian panini and Tramezzini. The Italians have truly mastered the art of the sandwich in my opinion.

With my sandwich heaven so far firmly established in Italy, I did not expect to encounter a new favourite sandwich when I went on holiday to Vietnam. But travelling by bus from Nha Trang to Mui Ne, we stopped at the bus stop to stock up on food and beverages. There was a woman with a trolley full of french sticks, herbs and other foods. As we were intrigued and hungry we ordered some sandwiches. She rapidly assembled some gorgeous looking sandwiches. One with Tofu for my vegetarian friend, and two classic ones with the special vietnamese pate. It was a truly uplifting moment in the otherwise crowded, uncomfortable bus (which later broke down).

What makes it such a special sandwich, is first of all the bread. It is a kind of french stick, but much lighter (as they use rice flour in the dough) Then follow the condiments like mayo, an abundance of fresh herbs (mostly cilantro), and and a great pickle made of daikon and carrots. All off this makes a sandwich which burst with salty, sugary, sour and spicy flavour. What kind of protein you put in between the bread and the condiments is really up to you. The vietnamese have a filling which is a kind of meatloaf spiced with 5-spice which is then sliced when cold. You can buy this “pate” everywhere wrapped in pretty banana leaf parcels. Sometime they also put some soft pate as we know it in the West. Other options can be grilled chicken breast, spicy meatballs, pork, prawns or marinated tofu. It is up to you, as long as you mix it with the cilantro, mayo, and the pickle!!!

Bocadillo_Vietnamita

For the pickle you can either use Daikon and Carrots or if you cannot find Daikon you can use Cucumber and Carrots. If you choose to do it with Daikon, make sure you chose a young, firm and unblemished Daikon, as they can turn bitter with old age!! (I wonder whether there are any similarities to real life…) The pickle can keep in the fridge covered with brine at least for a week. Make sure the jar is closed, as the smell becomes a bit pungent after a while!!

I have not added here a recipe for the bread, as I wanted this to be a simple recipe anyone can easily make at home. So try to find a kind of french baguette/stick at the shops. Better to stick with the white flour variety, as that is closer to the original.

Carrot_Daikon_PickleCarrot and Daikon Pickle – Do Chua

preparation time: 20 min         marination time: 1 hour                makes medium size jar

50 g white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons hot water

100 ml rice vinegar

250 g daikon, young and firm, peeled

180 g carrots, peeled

Instructions

mix the sugar and salt with the 3 tablespoons of hot water and stir.

Add the rice vinegar and stir untill the sugar and salt is dissolved

Peel the carrots, cut off the tops and cut into very fine matchstick strips of about 3cm length.

Do the same with the Daikon. Put the vegetables into a big enough glass jar.

Pour the sugar/vinegar mixture over the vegetables until they are completely covered.

Close the jar. Marinate the vegetables in the jar for at least 1 hour before eating.

The vegetables should keep refrigerated in the jar for at least 1week.

Lemongrass and Turmeric spicepaste for Chickenbreast

For one chickenbreast

½ teaspoon turmeric, freshly grated or dried

1 stalk lemongrass, using only tender inner core

1 tablespoon fishsauce

1 clove garlic, pressed

chilli optional

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

salt


Mix all the ingredients in a blender until you have a rough paste.

Completely cover the chicken with this paste.

Barbecue on griddle or pan until done.

Sandwich Assembly

preparation time: 10 minutes             serves 1 person

1 white light french stick, excessive crums removed

1-3 tablespoons Mayo

1 teaspoon Japaleno peppers, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon Fishsauce

1 Chicken breast, barbecued or grilled and sliced

4 slices of cucumbers

fresh chopped coriander, and fresh lettuce leaves

2 tablespoons Daikon and Carrot pickle

½ chilli de-seeded and chopped (optional)

Instructions

Cut a french stick in half and remove the white soft crumbs if there is too much

chop the pickled Japaleno pepers and add to the mayo together with lime juice and fishsauce.

Spread the baguette generously on both sides with this mayo.

Add the lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, cooked chicken breast, Daikon and Carrot pickle and the fresh chopped coriander leaves. If you want more heat, add some chopped chilli.

Close the bread and get ready for an explosion of flavours!!

Bahn_Mi_sandwich

Asian vegetarian Tofu Ribbon Salad

Tofu_Skin_SaladThe first time I had this dish was in London. I was wandering around China Town looking for a quick fix of Asian food. I ended up in Baozi Inn, which is a simple café on the edges of China Town offering Northern Chinese food. I ordered some Baozi. These soft white buns are filled with meat and then steamed. As a side dish I ordered Tofu sliver salad. I was extremely curious to try the salad, as I never had it before and I love trying new things. It turned out to be strips of tofu “skin” mixed with strips of carrots and cucumbers in a deliciously, garlicky sesame oil dressing. I was hooked!!! Unfortunately I could not find this dish here in Barcelona, so I decided that I needed to recreate this food experience.

vegetables_dressing_doubleI was searching the Asian food shops here on the look out for tofu products. I came across all sorts of soy bean products. The usual soft, firm, smoked tofus, fried tofu sponges, marinated flat tofu… But then I found the real thing sheets of of tofu skin.When soy milk is being boiled, a skin forms on the surface. These skins are then collected and dried. It can be used fresh, dried or fermented.

Tofu_sheet It seems there are many varieties around. The Japanese call these sheets Yuba.Other terms are: QianZhang Tofu, Dou Pi or Fuzhu Tofu. Some are transparent, crinkled sheets, some are more like sticks. What I found in Barcelona are some kind of dried sheets, but not totally dried. They come in the refrigerator section and are soft sheets which look like filo sheets but are thicker and not so dry. They need some some soaking in water and boiling before further usage, to soften them first.

tofu_sheets_rolledAfterward you can cut the sheets in to ribbons like Pasta. You can use these soja ribbons like Pasta in stir-fries or any other way you like. The sky is the limit! For more information check out this link. http://food.chinahelps.com/590

soy_sauce_dressingginger_cucumber_double

Tofu Skin Salad with a Sesame and Soy Sauce dressing

Preparation time: 30 minutes serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

200 g tofu Skin Sheets

200 g carrots, cut into fine strips

200 g cucumber

dressing

5 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp rice vinegar (white or dark)

2 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp sesame paste

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tbsp ginger, grated

garnish

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 pieces spring onions cut into fine circles

Instructions:

If the Tofu Skin sheets are very large (27x 36 cm) then cut them into 4 squares. Put 2 squares on top of each other and roll them up. Cut the rolls with a knife into very fine ribbons (like pasta).

Put the tofu skin ribbons into boiling, salted water and “cook” for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

In the meantime cut the carrots into very fine strips of ca. 4-5cm length. Cut the cucumber in half and take out the seeds in the middle. Then cut the cucumber also into very fine strips.

Blanch the carrot strips for max. 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.

For the dressing mix the vinegar with the sugar untill dissolved. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix all well untill you have a smooth dressing.

Mix the tofu skin ribbons with the vegetable strips and the dressing. Marinate For about ½ hour before serving. (marinated longer, tastes even better) Sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions.

Tofu_skin_salad (2)

Mee Goreng – Vegetarian

Mee Goreng means “fried noodles” in Malay and that is what I am going to talk about today. It has already been a while since I am back from Malaysia, but some of the food is still in my memory. Especially the incredible variety of dishes they had in Georgetown on the island of Penang. If ever you go to Malaysia you should make it to Georgetown (not just for the food) but also for the pretty colourful colonial mansions and the interesting mix of cultures living side by side resulting in areas like Little India where you can buy colourful Saris and bangles or eat Indian food, the Chinese area with the hawker stalls and lively food market where locals will give you tips on haggling. And of course being in Malaysia, you can also have tasty Malay food in the street whilst sipping fresh coconut juice. During your explorations, be prepared though for some tropical bursts of rain, even in dry season!!! (best to buy one of the huge umbrellas on sale in the shops)

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Unfortunately I was only there for 3 days and it was impossible for me (even though I have a very healthy appetite) to sample all the hawker food available. I even had the official street map which had all the hawker stalls with their “signature dish” marked. I am just listing here a few names like Char Koay Teow, Nasi Kandar, Hokkien Mee, Penang Laksa, Wan Tan Mee, Roti Canai, Mee Rebus and many, many more dishes. The people of Georgetown have every right to be proud of their food heritage. I had some very tasty and varied food from different cultures here. It definitely felt like I was in a little food heaven. Hopefully one day I can return to chew my way through everything on offer!! Until then I have to be satisfied with my own recreations of the real thing!

cp2013_409870Mee Goreng is a dish associated with the Indian-Muslim population in Penang. Most versions include the basic yellow egg noodles, cubes of potato, fried tofu cubes and egg in a spicy tomato sauce which then is served with wedges of lime and some shredded lettuce. Some Mee Goreng included stewed squid, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, tamarind, soy sauce, green vegetables, lemon grass etc. Each region in Malaysia makes it different and also Indonesia has a version. If you want to know more about the origins of the dish, have a look at an article by Bonny Tan http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_1740_2010-12-13.html

cp2013_409864

I have decided on a vegetarian version with tofu, potatoes, bean sprouts, and egg (if you are Vegan than just leave the egg out) I have taken my inspiration from this recipe by Shannon on this blog http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/penang/..but adapted it to make my Mee Goreng with more tomato sauce with less chilli and garlic and no squid. The final result is totally addictive!!!

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Mee Goreng – Vegetarian

Ingredients:

Spicepaste

1 piece lemongrass (bottom, interior part only)

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

1-3 pieces small,fresh red or green chillies, de-seeded

250g firm tofu

2 Tablespoon sunflower oil

200g potatoes diced in small cubes

250g yellow, dry egg or wheat noodles

1 carrot diced

2 eggs

3 spring onions

50 g beansprouts

Sauce

1 Tablespoon sugar

4 Tablespoon soy sauce

2 Tablespoon sweet Chilli sauce

2 Tablespoon Ketchup

1 Tablespoon tomatopure

1 Tablespoon tamarind Sauce

1 dl tinned tomato

1 dl water

salt according to taste

Serving with

lime wedges

crushed, toasted peanuts

shredded iceberg lettuce

Instructions

In a food processor make the spice paste with the onion, garlic, lemongrass and chilli.

Cut the beancurd in 1cm thick slices and then fry them until they are golden and crispy on both sides in sunflower oil. Remove and dry on kitchen towel. Cut into 1cm wide cubes.

Cut the potatoes in cubes of ca 1cm and boil them in salted water till they are cooked, but still have a bite.

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and put into cold water. Put aside.

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 2 Tablespoon sunflower oil in wok and add the spice paste. Sweat ca. 2 minutes on low heat. Add the sauce and the diced carrots to the spice paste and cook on low heat ca. 5 minutes. Add the cubed tofu, potatoes and sliced spring onions. Cook another 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a different pan heat 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil. Put two beaten eggs inside. Let them set a little and then break them up with a spatula. Add the cooked, drained noodles and mix all well together.

Remove the noodle/egg mixture and add it to the sauce in the wok. Heat the wok again and stir-fry the mixture untill all hot and well mixed.

Serve the noodles with a slice of lime, crushed and toasted peanuts and shredded lettuce.

Enjoy!!!

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Sesame Prawn Toast

Today I am in the mood for a quick and easy snack. It is one of those dishes you can find in many Chinese restaurants and Take-Aways in England. Its origins are not very clear. Some sources state, that Prawn Toast is from the Guangdong Province in China and is more than 100 years old. It is called Hatosi in Cantonese .Ha meaning shrimp, Tosi a word adapted from English, meaning toast. Rita, (who you all know is from Hong Kong) – has never heard of such a dish. Whatever its true origins, you can find Sesame Prawn toast in some form or another also in Thailand and Vietnam.

Tostadas_de_gambas

Some recipes include mince pork in the recipe.Our version just includes prawns. Raw and cooked prawns are mixed with ginger, garlic and Soy Sauce to prepare a paste. I mince the raw prawns with the spices in a blender until you get a smooth paste. The roughly chopped prawns are then added to give some texture.

gambas

You can serve it as a starter with a fresh salad on the side and with a dipping Sauce. But more ideal they are the perfect finger food at a party with friends. But the toasts need to be eaten immediately after frying, when they are still crispy and piping hot! No need to be shy and restrained!

prawns and ginger

For a healthier version (and if you dont want your flat to smell of fried oil), you could bake the toasts in the oven instead of frying them.

Sesame Prawn Toast

Preparation time: 20 mins        Cooking time: 10 mins       

serves 4 as a starter / makes 16 triangles for fingerfood

Ingredients:

100 g                prawns raw, de-veined, shells removed

1 piece              ginger (2cm) grated

1 tablespoon     cornflour

1 teaspoon        sesame oil

1 teaspoon        soy sauce

1 teaspoon        fish sauce

1                        egg white beaten

1 clove               garlic crushed

200 g                 cooked prawns chopped

1                        spring onion chopped

8 slices              white stale toast bread, crusts removed

5 tablespoons   white sesame seeds

500 ml               sunflower oil for frying

Instructions:

Dry the toast bread first in the heated oven by 170 degrees for about 5 minutes until bread is a bit more dry and hard. (or use stale bread)

Cut each slice in 2 triangles

Place raw prawns, grated ginger, cornflour, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, egg white, crushed garlic in food processor. Make a smooth paste.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and add chopped prawns and spring onions to the mixture.

Spread roughly 2 teaspoons of the mixture over the bread triangles.

Pour sesame seeds onto a plate. Dip the bread (prawn side down) into the seeds.

Pour the oil into a pan. Heat, until a small piece of bread dropped into the oil sizzles. Cook the toasts prawn side down for ca 1 minute. Turn and fry till golden. Remove and dry on kitchen towel.

Eat immediately with a Vietnamese dipping Sauce, Soy Sauce or Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Sesame_Shrimp_Toast