Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese

I'm not sure how traditional these dishes were (and definitely won't attest to any incorrect spelling in dish names), but they were all pretty tasty! I continue to be amazed at how different food can taste even though it's all looked similar from week to week. This week's bonus came when we got to finally use the giant tilt skillet, which Chef favors over flat-tops (griddles); they're easier to clean and are multi-purpose, since you can do everything from griddle potato cakes to boil up huge amounts of stock. There are a lot of photos here that show various types of "tilt-skilleting."

My plate, from cold noodle salad at 3 o'clock: cha khoai tay (Vietnamese potato patties), cha bo (grilled beef patties Vietnamese style with veggies and nuac cham), ga chien (Vietnamese fried chicken)
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food



Cha Bo (grilled beef patties, Vietnamese style, with veggies)
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Com Chien Thap Cam (fried rice with pork, chicken, and sausage)
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Coconut curry chicken noodle soup
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese grilled steak with cold noodle salad
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Ga Chien (Vietnamese fried chicken)
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese rolls
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Cha Khoai Tay (Vietnamese potato patties
Pacific Rim, Week 9: Vietnamese Food

Notes:

While fried food will of course go soggy after time, it will sog out faster if you pile it vertially. Condensation/Steam from food at the bottom will rise up, sogging out the food above it, and oil from food at the top will sog down into the food below it. It's why I spread our potato patties out across the plate instead of trying to pile them up decoratively.

Also when deep frying, don't overcrowd your oil, especially with the first batch of fried items. With each item you drop into the oil, its temperature will drop, and soon you'll go from a lively fry to a snoozy sizzle. You can crank the fry-o-lator's temp up and avoid overcrowding to make sure your food fries up well (meaning it will yield crisp and clean results) and quickly.

I do wish we'd chopped the noodles up a bit for the cold noodle salad we paired with the flank steak; it would've been easier to both serve and eat. While long noodles are fun for some Italian twirling action, I found little joy in them here, although the taste and texture were both fine. So--chop those noodles!

Nuoc cham can take a lot of work, especially if you're working from scratch and are trying to finely grind down your garlic and chili into a paste. You could use a pestle and mortar or, if you're making a large enough amount, a food processor. And if all else fails, get the flat end of your meat cleaver going against your cutting board for a makeshift pestle and mortar. Or, just chop the stuff up finely and call it done!

2 comments:

Marvin said...

Geez, you could boil a whole person in one of those tilt skillets, uh, not that I would want to.

Also, great tips again at the end. I will here on out stop piling my fried foods on top of one another.

Julie said...

I love those tilt skillets. If I ever had a high-volume restaurant, I'd get one. =D

I'm glad you're enjoying the tips! You have to admit, though, that lumpia look gorgeous stacked up in pyramids! *sigh*