Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Having had Vietnamese food from restaurants more than 5 times in a month, I decided to try and cook it myself. It can’t be that difficult, if restaurants are doing it, I can too. So I googled for some recipes for nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce, like that used in summer rolls) and also kinda pulled together a recipe for the grilled meat. Result, refer to the picture above. Impressive? Indeed.
How did I achieve this feat of excellence? Well, to begin with, get some fish sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, sugar, chilli and water and mix them up in a bowl. This is the sauce. I kept the sauce in the fridge for a day before consuming it because I had to let the garlic flavour incorporate with sauce. Measurements? Not required. Use your estimation techniques. It should taste sour, fishy, sweet and salty, the combination of flavours that typify Vietnamese cuisine.
For the grilled meat, I used both pork and turkey. Reason being, the supermarket only had two boxes of diced pork, and so, the next best thing was diced turkey. The marinade for the meat was fish sauce, oyster sauce, dark caramelised soy sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce. Also throw in some diced garlic and onions and leave this in the fridge for a few hours for the flavours to blend.
Grill the meat at whatever your grilling setting is (at a guess 180 degrees Celcius) until it’s cooked. Boil some hot water to blance the vermicelli in (thin rice-noodles) and put some of that in a bowl. Finely slice some cucumber, carrots and lettuce and put that on the noodles. Put the meat over the mixture, and drizzle the sauce over the noodles.
Now, how about some nice English food for the cold weather. When you wanna have some gammon, you go buy some gammon. And after you’ve bought this gammon, you sit it on a baking tray, liberally drizzle honey all over it (maple syrup if you’re not the cheapo kind), and bake at approximately 180 to 220 degrees Celcius. After about 50 minutes, it looked like this (oh I hope you’re not hungry now).
I restrained myself from lifting this up from the tray and just nibbling at it. I had to make an omelette to accompany this lovely little gammon.
Back in the student days, when daytime TV was not a luxury, I used to watch alot of cooking programmes. In fact, even now, when I’m given the choice of watching a highly educational documentary, or a re-run or Come Dine With Me, you know which one wins.
While watching one of these cooking programmes (Jamie Oliver?), I learned how chefs make omelettes. It wasn’t how I initially thought they made omelette, and I suppose that’s why I was so interested to know more.
Before that, I made omelette by beating some eggs together, pouring it onto the pan and just waiting for the egg to cook, or curl at the edges, much like how you’d make a pancake.
What I learned from this chef (Jamie?) was that an omelette for one should be made with 3 eggs. You beat the eggs and season with some salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pan (pre-heated and with some butter in the pan) and keep stirring the middle of the mixture gently. This is similar to how you’d make scrambled eggs. Keep stirring the whole mixture in the pan until it begins to set, at which point you stop stirring, and add whatever it is you’re adding (ham, cheese) and fold the omelette in from both sides.
The trick is to leave it slightly runny, that way it won’t be too dry or chewy.
Served with gammon and some chips.