Fourth of July Festivities

4 Jul

We’re heading to an Independence Day parade in my hometown and pool party with friends later in the day, but if I were organizing a gathering of friends and family, it might look a little like this:

Husband enjoying grilled clams

Slurping is always a good review. 👌

Grilled Clams with fresh Thai Basil, crispy shallots and nuoc mam gung (Vietnamese ginger lime dipping sauce). Get the larger size clams and wash/purge thoroughly. No one likes a gritty clam. Toss them on the grill and remove when the shells pop open.

When cool enough to touch, spin off the top shell and prepare for dressing. Spoon some nuoc mam gung on top, followed by a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots and fresh chopped Thai Basil. You also can put crushed peanuts on top, but Anh isn’t a fan so we generally leave it off. Slurp all of the briny, sweet, fish saucey goodness.

Nghêu Xào Lá Quế Vietnamese Grilled Clams

A social main course perfect for a hot summer day is a grilled rockfish in rice paper rolls. Serve up with piles of fresh rau (herbs) – whatever you have. We often serve with Thai Basil, Mint, Coriander leaves, Diếp Cá (fish herb), lettuce and thinly sliced cucumber, along with bun (vermicelli noodles).

Ma has been making a tamarind dipping sauce, which is incredible. She’s going to show me the recipe soon and I’ll be sure to share with you all. Nuoc mam gung or Muối Tiêu Chanh (literally, salt pepper lime) also go well.

Grilled rock fish Vietnamese rice paper rolls

Ready to roll

These plastic perforated trays are great for prepping the rice paper rolls and passing around the table. They don’t stick as much as a regular plate would. (Amazon, of course)

Fish, noodles, herbs and cucumber on rice paper roll

Roll as you like it

Korean BBQ kalbi (short ribs) give a little more substance to the meal. We buy the store bought marinade, which works just fine. If we feel fancy, I’ll throw in some more grated Asian pear. If not, look for the container with highest percentage of the ingredient; those are usually the best.

Korean barbecue short ribs

Finger foods are a must. Or nhau (drinking food), if you’re not a toddler. I can’t make them, but Vietnamese delis and restaurants sell these delicious Chao Tom, Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp cakes. Con gobbled them up, even with all of the black pepper corns.

Asian girl enjoying Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp chao tom

This was her second Chao Tom (Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp)

And of course, cards.

Playing Chinese Poker xap xam

No party is complete without xap xam

Whatever your plans, have a safe, delicious, and fun Fourth of July!

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