Pork · Salads · Seafood · Vietnamese

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

When our clan gathers, you can be sure that there will be a massive array of delicious food. One can always count on the usual favorites such as Bánh Ít (sticky rice dumplings), Bún Bò Huế (spicy beef noodle soup),and Cua Rang Mui (salt roasted crab). And intermixed with all the Vietnamese goodies would often be a sprinkling of “American” dishes such as mom’s Turkey.

Growing up, each dish became linked to one of the aunties or Mom as they each refined the recipes to make it their own. But as my generation grew older, the proverbial baton was passed and we in turn began to make these iconic family favorites.

And I find comfort in knowing that these dishes that my siblings, cousins, and I create will pass on my family’s traditions through food.  It’s kind of remarkable to think that the Phở Gà I’ll make for my kids will be exactly the same recipe my mom would have made for them.

Incredible, really.

One dish that I hope to continue is Gỏi Mít Trộn. At the heart of the salad is Mít Non—young, unripe jackfruit. The flesh of the young jackfruit is tender and mild in flavor. In the states, Mít Non is sold both canned and frozen. However, if you use the frozen type, you’ll need to boil it for a bit.

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

After being washed and well drained, the Mít is stir fried for a few moments before it’s tossed with shrimp, pork and several herbs like Rau Răm (Vietnamese Cilantro).

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

The Gỏi Mít Trộn is then topped with fried shallots, crushed peanuts and accompanied with nước chm (dipping sauce).

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

It’s best served with Bánh Đa (also sold as Bánh Tráng Mè) – crispy rice crackers flecked with black sesame seeds. Want to know something funny? When I was little, I used to think that the black sesame seeds in these were ants and stayed clear of these crackers for many years 🙂

 Bánh Đa

 

I like to eat Gỏi Mít Trộn by drizzling nước chm with lots of chili on top of the salad with a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. Then I take a piece of the Bánh Đa and use it to scoop up the goodness. YUM!

 

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)

The layers of flavor and textures in this Gỏi really rock it out. Extremely savory from the proteins and fish sauce with bright herbaceous notes from the Rau Răm, mint, and cilantro. With each bite you get a lovely crunch from the rice crackers and peanuts that balances so well with the tender Mít.

If done correctly, everything is in perfect harmony.

I doubt my Gỏi Mít Trộn will ever be as good as my mom’s or aunties’. But one thing is for certain— in due time, our kids will be trying their hand at it, too 🙂

 

______________________________________________

Gỏi Mít Trộn (Vietnamese Young Jackfruit Salad)
Serves 8

Ingredients:

3 Cans (20 ounces each) Young Jackfruit
1 Pound Shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 Pound Pork Loin, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Shallots, finely diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
½ Cup Scallions, chopped
1½ Cups Rau Răm Leaves (Vietnamese Cilantro), roughly chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Mint, roughly chopped
N
ước Mm (Fish Sauce)
Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil

Accouterments:
Bánh Đa (rice crackers)
N
ước chm (dipping sauce)
Fried Shallots
Crushed Roasted Peanuts
Lime Wedges
Thai Chilies

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, pork, ½ tablespoon garlic, 1 tablespoon shallots, and a few dashes of fish sauce. Mix and season with black pepper. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

Drain the cans of jackfruit. Remove any seeds (including the shell layer surrounding the seeds) and cut off and discard any hard sections. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the jackfruit and transfer to a large bowl that has been filled with cold water. Repeat until all the jackfruit has been cut and rinsed. Using clean dishcloths, gently squeeze out the excess liquid. If too much moisture is left, your salad will be really wet and mushy. Set the jackfruit aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium flame. Add pork and shrimp and sauté until cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the same skillet, add another 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium flame. Add the remaining shallots, half the scallions and sauté until softened before adding the rest of the garlic. Stir and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the jackfruit and remaining scallions and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes before seasoning with a few dashes of fish sauce and black pepper. Remove from heat and mix in the shrimp and pork. Toss in the Rau Răm, mint, and cilantro. Taste and adjust accordingly, keeping in mind that additional Nước chm will be used. Plate the contents to a large dish. Sprinkle the tops with fried shallots and crushed peanuts.

Serve the Gỏi Mít Trộn with Bánh Đa, Nước chm, limes, and chilies. Enjoy!

 

 

 

**This is my submission to Delicious Vietnam #15, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine which was started by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of  Ravenous Couple. For more information, please visit Delicious Vietnam Thanks to Angry Asian Creations for hosting this month!**

Poultry · Salads · Vietnamese

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm (Huế Style Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Cilantro)

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm (Huế Style Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Cilantro)

 

Growing up, our mom never measured her ingredients out. It was a toss of this, a pinch of that…..taste, adjust, and a few more shakes of whatever just for kicks. And even when she was coerced into documenting her dishes, they were vague amounts such as a “1/2 rice bowl of sugar” and a “handful of garlic”. Everything was “to taste”.

It made it difficult as heck to learn her “recipes” but I soon realized all of our aunties were like that too. And that’s what I’ve come to believe Vietnamese cooking to be. It’s pretty tricky as it’s all “to taste” and highly subjective.

You’ll find this quandary even more prominent in “simple” dishes as one slight off-balanced proportion will throw your taste buds for a spin. Things like nước chấm, soups, and even salads will have you repeatedly tasting and adjusting for the perfect balance.

 

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm (Huế Style Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Cilantro)

 

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm, is a perfect example of this challenge and was a staple in our household growing up. Popularized from the Huế region of Viet Nam, shredded poached chicken is tossed in a light vinaigrette and packed FULL of fresh herbs and thinly sliced onions. And although I’ve given some measurements in the recipe below, it really depends on your flavor palette to add as much or as little lemon juice and sugar or salt and pepper. Just keep in mind that it’s also served with the nước chm dipping sauce so you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

With all that said, the rau răm (known as Vietnamese Cilantro or Vietnamese Coriander) is my favorite part of the dish. The uniquely bright and slightly peppery flavor this herb adds is something that is difficult to describe but must be experienced. In fact, I’d say that it’s my favorite herb, closely followed by fresh cilantro and Thai basil. The addition of the shredded red cabbage is my nod to the restaurant, Hue Rendezvous in Westminster, California. They serve their Gà Bóp on top of shredded green cabbage, which I think is such a great addition for the added crunch and texture. This time around, I chose to use red cabbage because it’s a little milder in flavor and because its beautiful color provided such a striking contrast.

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm is best served at room temperature and would be a great addition to any summer picnic or luncheon. I’d even venture to say a light Rau Răm Mojito would be a great cocktail pairing for this dish. And that, my friends, is how I also come up with random cocktails 🙂

________________________________________________________________

Thịt Gà Bóp Rau Răm (Huế Style Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Cilantro)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken, preferably Free-Range
2 Tablespoons Nước Mắm, fish sauce
2 Inches Fresh Ginger
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, lightly crushed
½ Tablespoon Black Pepper Corns
1 Small Sized Red Cabbage, shredded
1 Medium Sized White Onion, sliced paper thin
½ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Bunch (about 1½ cups) Rau Răm leaves, roughly chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Optional: Nước chấm, fried shallots, crushed peanuts, and chilies

Thoroughly wash and clean the chicken. I usually lightly scrub several tablespoons of table salt all over the exterior body/interior cavity of the chicken and rub cut lemon wedges over the skin. This acts as a type of “exfoliant” and helps to reduce impurities and grit as the chicken is poaching. Trim any excess fat and skin as well as be sure to remove the bag of giblets and neck. Rinse the chicken well with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Prick the skin of the chicken all over with the tines of a fork.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the nước mắm, ginger, garlic cloves, and pepper corns. Gently ease the chicken into the pot and lower the heat to an even simmer. Poach until cooked—about 25-30 minutes. (Skim off any impurities that may form and discard.) Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and cool to room temperature. *At this point, the poaching liquids can be strained and stored to be used as a light chicken broth at another time.

While the chicken is cooling, combine the sliced onions and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Toss to cover thoroughly and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. In another small bowl, dissolve the sugar into the lime juice.

When the chicken is cooled enough to handle, shred all the meat into bite sized pieces discarding the skin, bones, and fatty portions. Toss the shredded chicken with the pickled onions and add in the rau răm and cilantro.  Add the lime juice mixture a little bit at a time to your taste preference. Season with salt and pepper.

To plate, spread the shredded cabbage on a large plate and top with a pile of the  shredded chicken salad. Sprinkle the tops with fried shallots, chilies, crushed peanuts and serve with nước chấm on the side.

*It should be noted that Gà Đi B (free range chicken) is preferred in this dish for its texture and flavor.


**This is my submission to Delicious Vietnam #14, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine which was started by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of  Ravenous Couple. For more information, please visit Delicious Vietnam Thanks to Rau Om for hosting this month!**


Condiments/Sauces · Salads · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

 

My siblings and I live all over the country so when we come home for Christmas, we try and squeeze in as much time with each other as possible. And of course when we’re together, there is always some type of cooking, eating, laughing….and sometimes even a little bickering. Hey—just because we’re older, we’re still siblings after all 🙂

Before joining our extending family for dinner and presents on Christmas Eve, the siblings (sibs-in-laws, kids, and 4-legged furry kids) gathered for lunch. The menu included Peach Bellini Cocktails, Cosmopolitan Martinis, Lemon Bars, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Rosemary Bread, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad, and a decadent Seafood Cioppino in honor of our Mom.

I thought this Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad would be a nice compliment to our lunch spread—-plus the green and red colors added a lovely festive touch. When I initially thought of making it, I had intended to use Bosc or Bartlett Pears. But when we had some juicy Asian Pears on hand, my sister suggested that they would be a nice alternative. You’ll also find that most pear salads will have walnuts in them. But since walnuts are my least favorite nuts, I swapped them out for one of my favorites—pistachios. Yum.

I think the end results was a bright dish that had great texture balance from the crunch of the pomegranates and pistachios to the creamy and slightly piquant flavor from the gorgonzola to the verdant essence from the greens.  As for the Pomegranate Vinaigrette, it brought together all of the components without overpowering them.

Would our Mom have enjoyed the meal? I have no doubt she would have loved it.

And I think she would be extra proud of us for eating our veggies. 🙂

______________________________________________________________

Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

8 Cups Mixed Greens (ie. Arugula, Baby Spinach, Mâche, etc.)
2 Small Asian Pears, sliced paper thin
1/3 Cup Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
½ Cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/3 Cup Pistachio Nuts, roughly chopped

Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
½ Teaspoon Sugar
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Prepare Vinaigrette. In a small sauce pan or skillet, heat olive oil on low. Add shallots and cook until softened—about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Place pomegranate seeds in a small bowl. Using a fork, crush the seeds to allow the juices to come out. Add shallots, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil from the shallots until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the greens onto a large platter. Place the pears over the greens and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and gorgonzola on top. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

Appetizers/Small Plates · Salads · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad

Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad

 

I’m always trying to incorporate a new side dish when making old favorite entrees—especially if that new side dish can offer a lighter alternative to the usual. So when the bf decided to fire up the BBQ to make his delicious Grilled Skirt Steak with a Chimichurri Sauce, I wanted to find a pairing that wasn’t heavy to accompany this delish entrée.

 

Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad

Sweet White Corn was in abundance at our local grocery store, so I picked up a couple ears and a few Haas Avocados in hopes of pulling together a bright salad to accent the Chimichurri. By grilling the corn, it gave a wonderful smoky flavor that paired so nicely with the smooth texture of the avocados and the bright vinaigrette. I also do a short cut when cooking the corn—by wrapping it in damp paper towels and throwing it in the microwave for a few minutes, you can cut down cook time on the grill. And let’s be honest, short cuts are blessings in the kitchen sometimes.

And how did it turn out? Instant, easy hit.

 

Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad

 

Next time you’re looking for a simple side dish to pair with some grilled goodness, give this Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad a try—it may just make you forget about coleslaw and potato salad.

________________________________________

Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad
Serves approximately 3

Ingredients:

vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon lime juice
zest of ½ a lime
½ tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon honey or agave
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

kosher salt
ground pepper
3 ears sweet corn, grilled and removed from the cob
1 cup ripe avocado, diced
fresh cilantro leaves
lime wedges

In a small bowl, combine vinaigrette ingredients and whisk together until  emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, carefully fold the corn and avocados together.  Add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the salad. Check seasonings, add additional salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges. Serve at room temperature.

**Photos updated May 2014

Salads · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Easy Summer Salad

Despite what this blog may illustrate, we do eat veggies– I promise! And with Summer well on its way, light salads are the perfect accompaniment to the warm weather.

My approach to salads are similar to how I make pastas—-rummage through the fridge to see what you can throw in. From veggies to fruit to cheese–anything goes. And although there are a ton of great dressings available in any grocery store, I prefer to make a quick vinaigrette to highlight the produce.

This Easy Summer Salad was made to accompany some leftover pizza we had. Hey–I never said we were 100% healthy 🙂 The recipe is really just a starting point for you to tweak to your liking. Had we had some on hand, I would have loved to add some avocado and fresh mango slices. They would have been a great compliment to the crisp apples and slightly bitter grapefruit.  But at the end of the day, almost anything can go in a salad.

Moral of the Story: EAT YOUR VEGGIES! 🙂

_____________________________________

Easy Summer Salad
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

Salad:
3 Cups Mixed Greens (such as baby lettuces, spinach, arugula, frisée, raddichio, etc.)
1/3 Cup Chopped Fuji Apples
1/3 Cup Pink Grapefruit, segmented
1/3 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Pinch of Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a small bowl, combine Vinaigrette and whisk together until slightly emulsified. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients for salad, except for Feta Cheese, lightly toss with vinaigrette. Use barely enough to lightly coat the greens. Sprinkle in Feta and toss lightly. Serve and Enjoy!

Appetizers/Small Plates · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Beets and Chevre

I love cooking with my sister. Times with her in the kitchen are always so fun and innovative—daring and challenging. Therefore, when she invited us over one day to experiment with new dishes, I was ALL IN!

As a San Francisco resident, my sister has access to a wealth of beautiful products at her disposal and she definitely takes advantage of it. SF is a Foodie Paradise filled with delicious produce, sumptuous bakeries, savory proteins, and of course, amazing wines. So it was no surprise that one of the dishes she wanted to give a spin at was a French Lentil and Beet salad.

Beets. I know– I had made the same face at first. To that day, I hadn’t had good experiences with them as I mostly sampled them from a can or a salad bar. BLEH! But the sister assured me that by roasting the gorgeous golden and red beets it would bring out a decadent sugary component.

As for the French Lentils—wow. Picked up at a local grocery cooperation (Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco), they were absolutely beautiful. Nutty in flavor and deeply earthy. Sorry, I know my description didn’t do it nearly the justice it deserves.

My sister decided to take a spin on Martha Stewart’s Lentil Salad and Beets with many variations to the recipe. I don’t know how she did it, but every alteration she did boosted the flavor immensely. I guess big sisters do know some things 🙂

The end product was absolutely amazing—a perfect dish for the upcoming summer months. The sugary beets complimented the rich textures of the lentils while the goat cheese (Chevre from Cowgirl Creamery) added phenomenal creaminess. The vinaigrette was light but had a great amount of acidity while the baby arugula rounded out the dish with a peppery punch.

Would I suggest it? DEFINITELY! Use Martha’s version as a starting point and add or take away any items you’d like.

ENJOY!

Lovely beets prior to roasting

 

Leftovers are just as yummy, too!