It is usually one ingredient that gives me the inspiration for what I cook. Whenever I go to Chinatown which isn’t very often these days as I live and work 100 miles from London I use the opportunity to stock up on Asian ingredients. Green papaya and green mango are never available in my local Asian supermarket so they’re always on the list. The papaya lasts for a few weeks so the mango was to be the star ingredient or so I thought….
The plan was to turn it into a Vietnamese salad. As that is pretty light I decided to also make some spicy minced pork balls with nuoc cham dipping sauce and as a canape, Anna Hansen’s Krupuk Quails eggs with chilli lime dipping sauce.
For the main I made Thit Kho Chien; a take on a dish we ate at Le Colonial in San Francisco which despite emailing them for the recipe numerous times I still haven’t had a response, marinated and grilled salmon and pineapple rice.
Seemed like a great idea however it was too much for a couple of hours so what should have been the quickest and final dish, the green mango salad got the boot!
KRUPUK QUAIL EGGS WITH CHILLI LIME DIPPING SAUCE (from the Modern Pantry by Anna Hansen)
I’ve wanted to make these little beauties for ages. A take on a scotch egg however the coating is blitzed raw prawn crackers. I think they could have done with blitzing more as they look like they’ve been coated in rice crispies, however they tasted amazing. A runny yolk is key so stick to the cooking times and as you are putting the eggs straight into hot water there may be some casualties.
- 24 quail eggs
- 500g raw krupuk crackers, blitzed to coarse crumbs
- plain flour for dusting
- 3-4 eggs whisked
- rapeseed oil for deep frying
For the dipping sauce
- 2 limes juiced
- 300ml white wine
- 250ml water
- 150g palm sugar
- 1 red chilli split lengthways
- 3 star anise
- Cook the quail eggs for 2.5 minutes in boiling water. Refresh in cold water for 3-4 minutes. Peel and set aside.
- To make the dipping sauce put the juice and an empty lime half into a pan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer until syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Tip the krupuk crumbs into a bowl, the flour into another and the eggs a third. Lightly dust the quails eggs with the flour, dip into the whisked egg then roll in the crumbs. Once all coated chill for 30 minutes then repeat the process. Refrigerate until required.
- Heat some rapeseed oil in a large deep frying pan or deep fryer and deep fry the eggs for about a minute until puffed and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
NEM NUONG – Minced pork balls with garlic and pepper and nuoc cham dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp skinned raw peanuts
- 450g ground lean pork
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 red chillis, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
- small handful of fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 red chilli seeded and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- To make the dipping sauce, bring 60ml water to the boil with the rice vinegar and sugar, then allow to cool. Mix in the chilli, garlic, lime juice and fish sauce. Set aside.
- Dry roast the peanuts in a heavy pan over a medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. When the nuts are cool, coarsely chop them. Set aside.
- Mix all of the meatball ingredients together and roll into small balls. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the meatballs on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce and scatter with the peanuts.
MARINATED AND GRILLED SALMON (photo taken by “his wine” which is why the glass is the feature of the picture!)
- 2 sticks fresh lemon grass
- ½ small bottle low-salt dark soy sauce
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, stalks finely sliced, leaves reserved
- 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, finely grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 1 large salmon fillet, (about 1kg), scaled and pin-boned
- 4 tablespoons runny honey
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 limes
- Smash the lemon grass and finely chop and mix it with the soy sauce, coriander stalks, ginger and garlic then rub all over the salmon fillet. Leave it to marinate for an hour or so, either in a plastic bag or on a tray covered with cling film.
- Preheat your grill to its highest setting. When you’re ready to cook the salmon, remove it from the marinade, brush with honey and grill for 10 minutes.
- Serve sprinkled with the chillies, spring onions, reserved coriander leaves, then squeeze over the lime.
THIET KHO CHIEN – Vietnamese Caramel Pork & PINEAPPLE RICE
For the pork
- Vegetable oil
- 1 kg pork shoulder cut into 2 cm cubes
- 1 can coconut water
- 4 shallots chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 6 star anise
- 1 tbsp five spice
- 125ml light soy sauce
- 100g palm sugar
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- leaves from a bunch of coriander
- A couple of handfuls of beansprouts
- 2 spring onions julienned
- Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and brown the pork in batches. Place in a lidded casserole dish
- Deglaze the frying pan with a little water and tip into casserole
- Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer then put lid on and place in an oven pre heated to 140C for 2.5 hours until tender
- Remove the meat and star anise from the dish and liquidize the liquid then recombine. If the sauce seems thin, reduce until a gravy consistency is achieved.
- To serve, place the beansprouts into the bottom of a bowl followed by the meat and gravy, then finally the spring onions and coriander,
For the rice
- 1 cup of basmati rice, cooked and chilled
- Vegetable oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 red chilli thinly sliced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 100g raw tiger prawns cut into 1cm pieces
- 1/4 pineapple cut into small chunks
- Light soy sauce to taste
- 2 spring onions chopped
- Handful of coriander leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup of shrimp floss (I bought in Singapore but you can buy in Chinatown)
- Heat the oil in a wok and when hot fry the onion for 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and chilli and fry for another minute.
- Add the turmeric and fry for 30 seconds before adding the prawns.
- When the prawns start to turn pink add the pineapple and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
- Season with the soy sauce then stir through the coriander and spring onions and sprinkle the shrimp floss on top.
Despite my comments in an earlier post about my Viognier intolerance, a glass of the same was put in front of me whilst cooking the meal. When I protested I was assured that it wasn’t Viognier so I briefly had the fear that another grape variety had bitten the dust. When the bottle was finally produced it was as I thought – Condrieu, however we were chowing down on the quails eggs and the two were a match made in heaven, as were the pork balls and Thiet Kho Chien. The salmon needed something a bit more refined , despite the red chilli garnish, so we moved on to a Sancerre which the eagle eyed among you may have spotted in the back of the photo above.
Below are the tasting notes from “his wine”:
Fermented and aged in steel tank with malolactic fermentation blocked, this is therefore a very lively juicy style of Condrieu with all of the floral exuberance and fat that you would expect of this unique appellation. One of Rostaing’s best Condrieus for a long while. Floral, stone fruit, hints of crème de peche, there’s plenty of fat and richness here to balance the really lifting ruby grapefruit freshness, really intense stuff, excellent.
The “C.D.” cuvée is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes that come from four vineyard parcels that occupy an area once called “Clos Derveau”. The soil here ranges from fine, soft limestone subsoil to hard, very pebbly limestone on the surface. With varying proportions of clay, this is typical of “caillottes”.
Though these vines are planted close to those that produce grapes for the “Cuvée G.C”, the resulting wine stands out for its more assertive fruit and structured personality. Its distinctive fruitiness sets this cuvée apart from all of their other cuvées. It is fine, fresh, and fruity on the palate.
This wine may be enjoyed on its own, at any time of day, or as an aperitif. It is the perfect complement to the bounty of the sea, including crustaceans, shellfish, and raw or cooked fish. It is also a good match for white meats (poultry, veal) as well as for cheeses, goat’s cheeses and blue cheeses in particular.