Win Some, Lose Some

7 Jan

As in sports goes cooking. Unfortunately the Redskins lost in a crushing blow to the Seahawks after to coming out with a strong lead. We had a great season and still have lots to build on looking forward – I’ll stick with my Fantasy Football team name “Maybe Next Year.”

Another early weekend day start got me in the kitchen bright and early. I zonked out Saturday night and didn’t get to prep the Banh Pate So as planned, so here we go:

Banh Pate So

1 lb ground pork or chicken (we used chicken in this recipe)
1 can pate (or not, your preference)
1 cup finely diced carrots and peas (can use any veggies you like, or none at all)
1/4 cup rehydrated and chopped woodear mushrooms
2 tbs fish sauce
1/2 tbs ground white pepper, fresh cracked black pepper
1 package puff pastry
1 beaten egg for wash

Mix all of the ingredients – except pastry and egg wash – for the filling (this can be done ahead of time).

Banh Pate So before going in the oven.

Banh Pate So before going in the oven. The ravioli style rectangles worked out best.

Lay out your thawed puff pastry and cut in squares. NOTE: Don’t overwork the puff pastry. Mine got too warm and was difficult to work with. Take a small spoon or tablespoon and add filling to a corner of your square. Fold opposite corner back to make a triangle and pinch edges with a fork to seal to make little “triangles”.  Place pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with egg wash. Use a paring knife to make a hole in the top of your pastries so they don’t explode in the oven.

Obviously, mine are not triangles and instead look like a toddler’s array of blocks at daycare. They all come out the same in the end. Next time, however, I’m going to make sure the puff pastry is thicker and cut rounds to hold the meaty goodness.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Banh Pate So

Banh Pate So

Next up, Nem Nuong Cuon after the jump.

I love these ricepaper rolls. The meat is sweet and savory (sensing a trend?) and they have a fried eggroll wrapper in the center for extra crunch. I started with the Ravenous Couple’s recipe but made some changes, as written below.

Nem Nuong Cuon (Grilled Pork Patty Spring Rolls)

1.25 lbs. ground pork (what I had in the freezer)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup sugar (or more to your taste preferences)
1/2 tbs nuoc mam
1/2 tbs pepper

Mix these ingredients well. Next, combine 1 small package of Alsa baking powder (single acting) with 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon of caramel syrup (doesn’t add much except for the reddish color seen in finished product). Fold in to meat mixture and let set up in fridge for at least an hour.

When chilled and set, the meat mixture is easier to form into shape. I made sausage-ish forms and grilled on a grill pan to get the nice grill marks. Mine didn’t come out smooth like restaurants, but tasted pretty good.

Now you’re ready to make the rolls. I fried a bunch of rolled up egg roll wrappers earlier in the day which may not be the best plan as it was tough to not eat the entire plate. Get your rice paper rolls, water and fillings all together.

Start the rolls by adding fresh, crisp veggies

We first added lettuce, sliced cucumber and a lot of herbs – Tia To (the purple-ish, broad leaf), Thai basil and Cilantro. Then make a half roll to secure the veggies and add in slices of the grilled pork patties and a fried eggroll wrapper. Make another roll for all of the ingredients and fold in the sides before finishing the roll. The RC have a nice video if you’ve never rolled them yourself. Very helpful!

I didn’t have time to make  pickled carrot and diakon radish, but the greens are tasty and super refreshing. Mẹ (that’s mom in Vietnamese – pronounced like “may-ah”) came over to watch the game and help me in the kitchen and made Nuoc Mam Cham (sweetened fish sauce for dipping) that was perfect. I’m finding that it’s all made to your family’s taste, but hers has Nuoc Mam, sugar, garlic, and chili garlic sauce. I’m on the hunt for the orangish dipping sauce that restaurants serve with the Nem Nuong Cuon but haven’t had any luck. Maybe you have a recipe to share?

Nem Nuon Cuon rolled and ready to devour!

2 Responses to “Win Some, Lose Some”

  1. foods for the soul January 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    They look like little presents with a filling “surprise” inside! Both of your dishes sound simple and satisfying. I haven’t been able to find rice paper rolls at our local supermarket; do you have any suggestions on where to find some?

  2. amandare January 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Thank you! The simplicity of most Vietnamese dishes has been a surprise. I was so intimidated before I started watching family members in the kitchen and searching for recipes.

    Check the International aisle of your local store – I know they have different noodles usually stuck on the bottom shelf. If they don’t have anything, hopefully you have an international market nearby.

    If all else fails, there’s always Amazon!

    They come in different sizes, but I recommend the larger rolls so you can fit more ingredients.

    Good luck!

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