Category Archives: Vietnamese

Slanted Door’s Shaking Beef My Way

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I have loved this recipe since I took my first bite at Charles Pham’s iconic Ferry Building restaurant 14 years ago. It is outstanding and I have stuck to his pungently flavored tender morseled dish, adding just a few touches of my own. One being crunch flash fried spinach instead of the traditional fresh watercress. I add a tad more fish sauce and a bit of cooking win, Oyster Sauce, a few chiles and more garlic than Mr. Pham. It is just the way my taste buds roll. It is however essential to buy the very best filet you can find to make this dish. I wait till I find a piece on sale and grab it. That is when I make this dish.

Gather your wok and and get your ingredients mise en place, it goes together quickly. Have your deep fryer or a pot of clean oil at the ready for your spinach, you will want to fry it just before serving. I cook my rice well in advance in my Zojirushi Rice cooker which keeps the rice warm forever.

This recipe serves 2, it can easily be doubled by just increasing the meat

Ingredients:

1 Pound Filet Mingnon
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil
1-4 whole small dried red arbol chiles
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 stalks of green onions trimmed and cut to one inch lengths
2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Stir Fry Sauce

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup Red Boat (or other high quality) fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1/8 cup oyster sauce

Salt and Pepper Dipping Sauce

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

3 cups fresh baby spinach cleaned and very dry
3 cups peanut oil in large pan @325 degrees

Method:

1: Marinade beef in the pepper, chiles and canola oil for about 2 hours.

2.Meanwhile make the stir-fry sauce by combining the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved. set aside.

3. Divide the meat into two portions, straining oil and do the same with the onions.

4. Put oil in wok and heat over medium heat till it shimmers. Cook each batch of meat with onions till browned. removing to a plate.

5. Put in the ingredients for the stir fry sauce and bring to a simmer, add butter and continue to shake or stir. Add the meat and stir. Make the dipping sauce by stirring the ingredients together, it is that simple. And serve the beef, either over watercress or next to flash fried spinach.

6. To make flash fried spinach, either use a deep fryer or a pot with 2″of peanut oil. Take 1/2 of a clam shell of clean dry organic baby spinach. Fry at 350 for about 1-2 minutes, until the spinach starts to turn dark green. Remove and drain. This is DELICIOUS!

Banh Mi the Ultimate Sandwich

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Banh Mi the Ultimate Sandwich

Banh Mi prep

There is nothing like a Banh Mi Sandwich! There are so many flavors and textures going on between the baguette. There are many ways to make this sandwich, in fact, my friend Andrea Nguyen has written an entire book on the subject! 

For each sandwich:

  • 1 petite baguette roll or part of a longer baguette
  • Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
  • Maggi Sauce (available at Hispanic and Asian groceries)
  • Char Su (this is Asian style pork belly) or BBQ chicken, pate’ or slices of rare steak
  • 3 or 4 thin seeded cucumber strips, pickling or English variety preferred
  • 2 or 3 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 3 or 4 thin jalapeño pepper slices
  • Bean sprouts
  • Daikon and Carrot Pickle (Do Chua)

Banh Mi 1

  1. Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use a fork to pull out some of the bread, making a trough in both halves. Place the bread halves under the broiler on LOW, but watch carefully!
  2. Generously spread the inside with mayonnaise. Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. layer the remaining ingredients. I like to start and end with some herbs.

DSC_0220Daikon and Carrot Pickle (Do Cha)

Makes about 3 cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 pound daikons, peeled
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons and 1/2 cup sugar in the raw or grated jaggery
  • 1  1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

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Method:

Either cut the carrot and daikon into julienne or use a spiral cutter to cut them. Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl.

Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently. Return the carrot and daikon to the bowl.

To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the carrot and daikon. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. It is not traditional, but I like to add some dried red chile flakes too.

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Big Daddy Does Pho

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Pho 3

Big Daddy makes a few cooking attempts to ease my busy schedule. Last night he hit a homerun. Pho (pronounced FA), the simple (yet complex) Vietnamese Street food charmed him when we lived in Hawaii. He is not one for exotic flavors, so this surprised me a bit. Since then we have been to several restaurants here in Charleston that serve Pho. He decided to make it and it was an astounding winner. We paired it with a Belgian Ale and that was a fantastic match too. We had some leftover rare beef (tri-tip) so he froze it and sliced it thinly. I usually ask for my meat on the side when ordering Pho in restaurants, I don’t like it over cooked. We have enough broth for at least two more meals.

ready for soup

Pho 

INGREDIENTS:

Soup
4 quarts beef stock (homemade is best)
1 large onion, sliced into rings
6 slices fresh ginger root or galangal if you can get it
2 small stalks of fresh lemon grass tied in a knot
1 pound sirloin tip, cut into thin slices
1 (8 ounce) packages dried rice noodles
 
Garnishes and Sauces
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced into thin rings
2 limes, cut into wedges
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha (Rooster) sauce
Fish sauce
METHOD :
1. In a large soup pot, combine broth, onion, ginger, lemon grass, star anise, cinnamon, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
2. Arrange bean sprouts, mint, basil, and cilantro on a platter with chilies and lime.
3. Soak the noodles in hot water to cover for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Place equal portions of noodles into large soup bowls, and place raw beef on top. Ladle hot broth over noodles and top with beef. Pass garnishes and sauces.

Pho 2