ELEMENTAL FOOD INGREDIENTS: VIETNAM
Vietnam formerly part of French Indochina had a distinctive and characteristic cuisine long before the French arrived and added the baguette as a must have element to its meals. From the rich fluvial plains extending north to the Chinese frontier from Hanoi to the tropical fruits of the central highlands, Vietnam has a rich source of ingredients that along with its relatively recent renaissance in tourism have contributed to it been the hidden gem of the orient. Unearth this hidden gem with the range of products from Katayama.
Featured Recipe: Vietnamese Stir Fried Vegetables
Stir-fried vegetables are a versatile component in any Southeast Asian meal. They are a great accompaniment to grilled or fried meat or seafood. There are so many ways to cook them and the combination of vegetables is quite limitless. The Vietnamese rau xao distinguishes itself from the rest with the absence of heavy sauces like oyster sauce or kecap manis.
Add some meat or seafood to the vegetables and the dish becomes a complete meal when served with rice – easy to prepare and perfect for days when work takes a toll. If you are a vegetarian, omit the fish sauce and add some tofu instead of meat.
Cut all the vegetables so they are bite size. Cut the carrots and baby corn so that they are about one-and-a-half inches long and half an inch wide. Do the same for the broccoli and cauliflower. Cut the red peppers into one-inch squares. Cut the green beans into two-inch lengths. Halve or quarter the mushrooms. If using shiitake, discard the stems and slice the caps. The trick is to try and ensure that the vegetables are proportionate to each other in size so that they will all get cooked at roughly the same time.
Properly cooked stir-fried vegetables mean that the vegetables retain some of their crunchy and crisp texture. If you like them a bit softer, keep cooking for another 10 to 20 seconds. The secret to a tasty stir-fried dish is cooking on high heat for an extremely short time. If you feel you would like to cook at a more leisurely pace, just cook on medium heat throughout the whole process for a minute.
1/2 cup broccoli
1/2 cup cauliflower
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup baby corn
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup red peppers/capsicums
Few slices of zucchini
4 to 6 mushrooms (button or shiitake are recommended)
2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoons rice wine
1/2 teaspoon white ground pepper
Recipe Tip: Why not use Katayama’s ready to use Vietnamese stir fry sauce.
Salt to taste.
In a pot or wok, bring 10 cups of water to a boil and add a teaspoon of salt.
Blanch the carrot, broccoli, and baby corn for 30 seconds.
Remove and soak these vegetables for ten seconds in cold water so that they do not get overcooked. Drain the vegetables.
Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over low heat. Fry the garlic until golden brown.
Turn up the heat to high and add the blanched vegetables with the red peppers. Fry for 20 seconds and mix the vegetables well.
Add the rice wine, fish sauce, white pepper, and salt.
Stir well and serve the stir-fried mixed vegetables with plain boiled rice and any other Southeast Asian meat or seafood dish.