I’ve had to cut back on the cooking due to tiring easily, so this is courtesy of the H, who is our official cook for anything like trout. It’s actually very easy and I’m ashamed to be posting a recipe for it, but hey, if it helps…
Wash the trouts thoroughly under water to remove the last traces of the guts.
On a wooden chopping board, sprinkle a handful of flour, and dip the trouts in them until they’re covered with a thin layer of flour.
Pre-heat oven to 175°C.
Put about half the almonds in an ovenproof dish, then the trouts, then the rest of the almonds. Cook until the trouts are done (about 20-30 minutes depending on how large your fish are. Your fishmonger will probably know).
I am not calling it ” bolognese”, mainly because actual Bolognans (and actual Italians) would have a fit… The key to the dish is having plenty of umami, and the tomatoes certainly provide that! I use capuliato di pomodoro, diced tomatoes in olive oil which my mom provided to me and that basically keep forever (mine are a bit old and probably only suitable for this, their taste is a bit less intense than it used to be. Again, I’m pretty sure actual Sicilians will be having a fit–I never was quite certain what the use was for capuliato, but I strongly suspect it’s not meant to be used to boost mediocre canned tomatoes). If you don’t have capuliato, can I suggest ketchup? And if you don’t have the soybean paste, which is probably not a staple of your kitchen, you can substitute it with a bit more carrot or a bit more capuliato.
The finished dish in my Vietnamese soup bowls (yes, we ran out of hollow plates!)
This is a classic of Vietnamese/Chinese takeaway in France: a slightly sweet mixture of chicken and lemongrass threaded on skewers and grilled for better flavour. I didn’t actually have a grill handy, so ended up doing this on my stove; and also didn’t have actual chicken thighs so replaced them with breasts (and how did you guess, I didn’t have skewers either. Still tastes good, believe me!). The minimum marinating time is 2h, but this benefits from a little more if you can afford it.
Cut the upper two things of the lemongrass stalks (if applicable, remove leaves). Remove outer layer of lower third. Mince the rest into very small pieces. Mince the shallot and garlic. Mix everything but the chicken together to obtain the marinade.
Cut the chicken into medium pieces (think skewers). Then put pieces in marinade and leave to marinate in fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight if possible).
Grill until cooked.
Or heat up a wok on a stove on medium heat; put a dash of oil, the chicken and marinade in the wok, and cook covered until the chicken is done. Then crank the heat up and wait for the marinade to caramelise, turning the chicken so that it is coated in caramelised marinade.
Serve with rice and with a tart/fresh vegetable (tomatoes, broccoli…).
Aka bún thịt nướng, grilled pork with vermicelli. A classic of salad dishes–there are many recipes for this as there are people. This version makes good use of lemongrass and soy sauce (you can add oyster sauce into the mix, but I’m not a big fan of using oyster sauce with lemongrass and fish sauce, I find it tends to be a bit overwhelming).
As with bò bún, this is a salad: you have to serve the noodles cool (and please please don’t heat up the salad or whatever arrant nonsense I’ve seen people do in Chinese/Vietnamese takeaways). Choice of herbs is up to you: mint is what I can most easily find and use in other dishes, coriander or red perilla (tía tô) or even rau răm would probably work as well (I don’t have easy access to Asian herbs, which is why I tend to stick to mint and coriander in my dishes).
Mince the shallot, garlic and lemongrass very fine. Mix the sugar, pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce and cooking oil to obtain the marinade.
Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, more if possible.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Get the pork out of the fridge and to room temperature.
Bake the pork in ovenproof dish for 20-30 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Then turn the oven to broil/grill setting and grill on both sides until the meat is nicely browned. (alternatively, grill the meat until cooked).
Boil enough water to cover the rice vermicelli, and pour over them. Leave to cook for 2 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.
Wash the salad and the soy. Dry the soy well. Crush the peanuts into little fragments with a mortar and pestle.
In each bowl, put: a quarter of the rice noodles, a quarter of the salad, and a quarter of the soy. Then add the pork, mint and roasted peanuts.
Serve with nuoc cham, and let each guest mix their salad!
(aka tôm kho tộ, braised shrimp in claypot–not quite sure what the difference is between “kho” and “kho tộ” is–there probably is a subtlety I’m not well versed in…)
This is a very simple dish to make; what’s daunting is the number of ingredients required, though a well-stocked Vietnamese/Chinese pantry should have most of what you need. I rarely have both spring onions and coriander in my fridge (since neither of them really keeps well), so I made the most of it this time. Plus, they make the picture all pretty
I don’t have a claypot (they’re not really easy to use on an electric stove), so I made this in our Le Chasseur Dutch oven–very handy for that kind of thing, as long as you remember to heat it up gradually and gently (bit like a claypot, really…)
A handy recipe to deal with all that spare coriander…
250g shrimp, unpeeled (weight is with the head off, around 12-15 large-ish shrimp)
50g glass noodles (bean-thread vermicelli)
¾ white onion
2 stalks celery, chopped on the diagonal in 1cm-pieces
4 tablespoons chopped coriander
2-inch piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
0.5 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar (or 2 sugar lumps)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 spring onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1.5 cup chicken stock
Put the glass noodles in hot water until soft (half an hour). Then chop the noodles into 10cm-strands.
In a mortar pound to a paste the garlic, ginger and half the coriander. Add the pepper and mix well.
Heat up the cast-iron Dutch oven to medium heat, put some oil in it. When the oil is hot, add the paste and fry until fragrant (20s or so). Then add the shrimp and ¼ onion, and fry for a bit, turning the shrimp around, until they’re barely cooked (a soft pink). Remove the shrimp from the Dutch oven and save for later.
In Dutch oven, mix together 1 cup of the chicken stock, the rice wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Bring to a boil, and add the glass noodles. Stir until they’re well coated with sauce, then add the celery and remaining onion. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes or so.
Add the shrimp, the remaining ½ cup chicken stock, and the spring onions, cook for a minute until everything is warm.
Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve in clay plot. Best eaten with rice.
(aka gà kho gừng, braised chicken with ginger. The scallions and coriander are well worth adding, as they put in a note of freshness the dish is sorely lacking otherwise. I cooked mine in a covered wok because I’m lazy, but if you have a spare claypot, it’s also nicer to let the flavours develop. One of the adjustments I made to the recipe was lengthening cooking time, as there’s hardly any point in braising something for 5 minutes…)
In a wok over high heat, put in oil, ginger, chilli-garlic sauce, garlic, onion and stir until fragrant.
Add the chicken, fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Stir for 2-3 minutes until barely cooked. If using a claypot, transfer the whole into it.
Add the chicken stock and the caramel sauce. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, maintaining a low simmer (you can cook for longer if you want to let the tastes develop. I usually have no time). Uncover, cook for 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add the scallions and cilantro, and remove the pot from the heat.
Serve hot with rice and a vegetable (green beans is a nice idea).
Aka bò bún. I figured it was high time I posted my own recipe for this It’s best to think of bò bún and many other dishes involving rice vermicelli as a giant salad. This will prevent you from requesting a warming of the dish, or, worse, microwaving it for better flavour (true story: I was once sitting in a Chinese deli having a wonton soup. Every single customer who walked in and asked for a bò bún would request for it to be warmed, at which point the owner would pop the bowl in the microwave and serve them a bò bún with limp salad and soybeans, making me feel very very sad angry that the dish had taken such a battering).
Anyway: bò bún! It’s a fairly flexible dish (I’ve added cucumber and/or carrots for the crunch, or even mange-tout; you can replace all or part of the beef with chả giò/fried rolls, put other herbs if you don’t have mint or coriander, etc.). Two things to remember is to serve the noodles cool and not straight from the boiling water, and to have a kickass dipping sauce because it’s half the flavour of the dish.
Aka tôm cari, a really lazy dish, courtesy of my grandma (I suspect it’s a cross between a Vietnamese cari and a lazy Thai green curry. Also works with potatoes, carrots, and pretty much every kind of nourishing vegetable you can think of).
Cut the eggplant, zucchni and tomatoes into slices.
Put the shrimps in cold water with a heaped tablespoon of salt, leave them for 1-2 minutes, rinse, repeat and rinse again (this is to tighten the shrimps’ flesh). Then mix the shrimps with a teaspoon salt, a teaspoon sugar and 2 of the chopped garlic cloves, and leave to marinate in the fridge for a bit.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, fry the remaining garlic, the curry paste and the shallot until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and mix well, then add the vegetables, bring to a low simmer, and cook everything until the vegetables are gooey. Add the shrimps and wait until they’re cooked. Add sugar and fish sauce to taste. Et voilà!
Serve with rice.
You can subsitute half the shrimps with around 200-230g of pork belly, sliced thin. In this case, either cook the pork first along with the spices (and wait until it’s done before adding the vegetables), or cook it separately and add it at the same time as the shrimps.