Saturday, 11 July 2009

Shrimp On Crab Legs (Càng Cua Bọc Tôm)

* 10 Crab legs or several hard -shell crabs Shrimp paste, prepared as -for Shrimp on Sugar Cane
* 1/4 c Vegetable oil
-----NUOC CHAM-----
* 1 Clove garlic
* 1/2 Fresh hot red chili pepper -or 2 dried
* 2 ts Heaping, granulated sugar
* 1/8 Fresh lime
* 2 tb Fish sauce (nuoc mam)
* 2 1/2 tb Water, more if necessary

Crab claws, alone, are sometimes available in fish stores. If they aren't, boil several hard shell crabs and use the claws; you can use the bodies in many other dishes.
The crab claws in fish stores are already partially peeled and serve not only as a handle but are edible as well. If you prepare your own claws, peel the upper section around which you mold the shrimp paste.
Boil the crab legs or crabs for about 10 minutes, then drain and cool; remove the claws from the crabs, if using, and reserve the bodies for another purpose.
Have the shrimp paste ready; preheat the oven to 350F.
Pour the oil into a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil and pick up 2 tablespoons of the shrimp paste. Mold it into an oval around and halfway down the crab claw, covering the part of the claw where it was attached to the body; this will leave a claw tip extended to serve as a handle. Place the claws on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with Nuoc Cham and watercress.
NOTE: In Vietnam, this dish is always barbecued over charcoal. If you wish to prepare it this way, cook for 10 minutes on each side.

NUOC CHAM Directions:
This exciting sauce is almost always served at Vietnamese meals, just a Westerners serve salt and pepper. It's base is nuoc mam (bottled fish sauce). Freshly prepared, it is a constant delight, and so addictive to Western palettes that it will appear with meals other than Vietnamese. To best appreciate the results of its superb blending qualities at the table, use it sparingly at first, gradually adding more until the result is just right for your palate.
Peel the garlic. Split the chili pepper down the center and remove the seeds and membrane. Cut into pieces and put into a mortar, together with the garlic and sugar. Pound into a paste. Squeeze the lime juice into the paste, then with a small knife remove the pulp from the lime section and add it as well. Mash this mixture and add the fish sauce and water.
If you find this a trifle strong at first, dilute it with an additional 1/2 tablespoon of water.

Beef noodle soup

1 kg Beef shin bones
350 g Gravy beef
5 cm Fresh ginger, thinly sliced into 2 in length
1 teaspoon Salt
2.5 liters Water
6 Black peppercorns
1 Cinnamon sticks
4 Cloves
6 Coriander seeds
2 tablespoons Nuoc cham sauce
400 g Thick fresh rice noodles
150 g Rump Steak, thiny sliced
3 Spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 Medium onion, very thinly sliced

Place the bones, gravy beef, ginger, salt and water in a large pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 3 1/2 hours.Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds and nuoc cham sauce. Cook for another 40 minutes. Remove the gravy beef and set it aside to cool. Drain the stock, reserving all the liquid and discarding the bones and spices. Return the liquid to the pan. When the gravy beef is cool enough to handle, cut it against the grain into very fine slices. Set aside. Close to serving time, plunge the noodles into a pan of boiling water and cook them for about 10 seconds only, otherwise they will soften and fall apart. Drain the noodles well and divide them among large individual soup bowls. Arrange the toppings on a platter in the centre of the table. Bring the beef stock to a rapid boil. Place some slices of the cooked meat as well as a few slices of the raw steak into each bowl of noodles. Ladle the boiling stock over the top, sprinkle over the spring onion (scallion) and onion slides and serve. Each diner chooses their own toppings and can also add sauces such as sweet chili sauce and hoisin sauce to their dish.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Sour Fish Head Soup (Canh Chua Dau Ca)

2 Scallions, white part only, -crushed with the side of a knife
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ts Salt
2 tb Plus 4 teaspoons fish sauce -(nuoc mam)
1 lg Fish head or fish carcass, -split down the center
1 qt Water
1/2 c Canned sliced sour bamboo
1/4 Fresh pineapple, cut in a -lengthwise section and -sliced
1 ds MSG (optional)
2 tb Mixed chopped fresh -coriander (Chinese parsley)
Scallion green


An excellent way to get twice the pleasure out of your fish purchase. You can use either the fish head of the fish carcass if you wish. To the people of the South, this is as much their traditional dish as Southern Fried Chicken is to our southerners++and it will meet with instant praise
Sprinkle the scallions, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons fish sauce over the fish head. Allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and drop in the sour bamboo and pineapple slices. Cook at a lively boil for 5 minutes. Drop fish head into the actively boiling water and, keeping at a boil, add the 2 tablespoons fish sauce, remaining teaspoon salt, and a dash of MSG. Boil the fish head for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer to a soup tureen, sprinkle on the coriander and scallion green, and serve.
NOTE: If the fish head is dropped into water that is not boiling, it will fall apart.
Makes 4 servings.
From "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam", Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerma