Friday, 14 May 2010
I have about a zillion recipes for awesome food. Really REALLY awesome food. Food so good it will make you weep and hear heavenly choirs. There's just one unfortunate thing about some of these recipes.
They pretty much look like a cat has vomited on a plate.
Which, given that no one has invented Smell-O-Vision for Blogger yet, means that providing you with a picture will pretty much have the opposite effect I am looking for. Dry retching over your keyboard is NOT the effect I was hoping for.
So you'll need to use your imagination on this one.
When I was married to the Wasband, we had a dear friend known as Mr Yum-Yum. He would come over regularly and cook these awesome Vietnamese dishes. It was Mr Yum-Yum that first introduced me to rice noodle soup, wet cake and hair vegetable, now more than 20 years ago. He was Chinese-Viet, and learned watching his Grandma cook, back in Saigon.
This is my very favourite Mr Yum Yum recipe, and was a staple dish during my pregnancy with the Lima Bean. Think a sort of Vietnamese laksa or Tom Gai.
I have no idea what this is called in Viet, and a quick Google of "Vietnamese Sweet Soup" yielded nothing, so if the recipe is familiar to anyone, do drop me a line in the comments section and tell me about it.
Mr Yum-Yum's Vietnamese Sweet Soup. (feeds 4)
1kg chicken legs/drumsticks with skin on. Each drumstick chopped into 3-4 pieces with a freakin' big Asian cleaver.
1tablespoon curry powder (I use Hoyt's for this, but Clive of India is good too) and a goodly slosh of Vietnamese light soy. Grate a knob of fresh ginger and 2 cloves on garlic. Add chopped-up chicken and marinate for 2 hours.
In a large, heavy based pot, bring 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to a gentle heat, add 1 stick of lemon grass bashed and smashed. Sloooooooowly simmer the lemon grass stalk, trying to render the essential lemon grass oil into the cooking oil. This usually takes about 10 mins on a gentle heat, stirring constantly.
Remove lemon grass stalks from oil
THIS NEXT STEP CAN BE OMITTED IF YOU CAN'T FIND ANNATTO SEEDS,
Gently infuse a teaspoon of annatto seeds in the lemon grass oil until the oil is a deep orange/red. Be very careful, as overheating the seeds means they will burn and the oil will be bitter and unusable. ALSO, overheated seeds tend to "pop" and leave scorchingly hot, bright red stains all over your kitchen and you clothing. This is a "do-not-want" situation. Once the oil is the right colour, let it cool and remove the seeds.
Bring the now-seedless oil back to a nice high temp and add the now-marinated chicken. Fry off until brown and add 1 whole diced sweet potato or 4 diced waxy white potatoes. Stir until coated with oil.
Add 1 can coconut milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and a litre of chicken stock. Drop heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 mins or until potato is tender.
Add 250g of fresh okra, peas or beans, and cook a further 5 mins.
Slop into huge big Asian-soup bowls, and serve with a crusty Vietnamese roll.
Ok, it will LOOK like cat's vom, but it will taste like majik.