This beautiful cookbook was a gift from my mother-in-law. I've looked through it many times, but have been slightly intimidated. How silly of me, the recipes are easy and the flavors wonderful.
On Saturday morning, I poured over the recipes and chose five dishes to try. We only ended up having three of them Saturday night. But not to worry, we had the other two Sunday night.
The first course was Egg, Shrimp, and Scallion Pancakes (Trú'ng Chiên Tôm). These were very tasty. We dipped them in soy sauce. The kids loved them!
Next, we enjoyed Salmon with Tomato, Dill, and Garlic Soup (Canh Riêu Cá). My husband and I loved this. My older son seemed to enjoy it, but the little one only took a couple bites.
The last dish of the night was Chicken and Ginger Simmered in Caramel Sauce (Gà Kho Gù'ng). To make this, I first had to make the caramel sauce. This is not a sweet, sticky sauce, it is actually rather savory. The recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs, for some reason Harris Teeter didn't have any. So I used breasts. I'd really like to try it again with the thighs, they are more flavorful.
1 2/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
Chubby 2 inch peice of fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced, and smashed with the broad side of a chef's knife.
3 T. caramel sauce
2 T. fish sauce
1/4 t. salt
2 T. water
1 scallion, green part only, chopped
In a small saucepan, combine the chicken, ginger, caramel sauce, fish sauce, salt, and water and stir to distribute everything evenly. Cover and bring to a strong simmer over medium heat. Stir again to break up the chicken pieces and replace the lid. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and again so that all the chicken is evenly exposed to the sauce. Fragrant plumes of steam will shoot from under the lid and the contents will boil vigorously. The sauce will increase in volume as the chicken releases it's juices. If the contents threaten to boil over or the lid rattles, lower the heat.
After the 10 minutes, uncover and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and the color deepens to a rich reddish brown. Remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Taste the sauce and adjust the flavor with extra fish sauce, if necessary. Serve over rice and garnish with scallion.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Vietnamese weekend.