Tag Archives: stirfry

Viet Stir Fried Green Beans

19 May

This blog should be renamed – Stopping and Starting Vietnamese. But I have a really, really good excuse for the hiatus. You know, that darling little baby I told you about last summer.

Now that Little is eating more food, and loving everything we put in front of her, I’m getting back in to cooking. Usual modifications for our flavor preferences are upstaged by modifications for less sodium / sugar / spice. Not always easy with Vietnamese cuisine.

Not that we have to worry about flavors – the girl was squawking for more mouthfuls after her first slurp of bun mam, a fermented fish noodle soup that even took me several encounters to love. She hesitated a bit with stir fried bittermelon, but if that isn’t an acquired taste, I don’t know what is.

My frequent routine is to head to market Saturday or Sunday morning, and prepare protein or the most complicated dishes Sunday evening. If I cook ahead or at least marinate and have on hand the right proteins, all I need to do is prepare a quick fresh veggie and it seems like I was chained to the stove all day rather than in the office.

Lately these green beens have been a bright spot with our ca kho (caramelized fish) or ga kho gung (caramelized ginger chicken).

Vietnamese Stir Fried Green Beans

Serves 2 as a single side, 4 with multiple dishes

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and ends trimmed
  • 5 green onions, using only 2 white bottoms
  • 2 tbs neutral oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 tbs fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper (or more, to taste)

Clean and trim the ends of your green beans. Roughly chop green parts of all onions, using only 2 of the white bottoms. If you want super onion-y dish, go ahead and use them all. If not, use in soup or kho caramel dish.

Heat oil in sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add green beans and white onion pieces, stirring to coat in oil and garlic. Add fish sauce, sugar and light soy, mixing well so sugar dissolves with the vegetables. Stir frequently and cook for a few minutes.

Add green onion pieces and black pepper, cook for another minute or two. Remove and serve hot!

Beans will still be crunchy. If you want them softer, you could add some water and cover to steam-cook before adding green onions and pepper at the end.

We usually make a more Chinese-style green bean dish with oyster sauce, but after the first serving, Anh is won over. We’ll be making these from now on.


Ca Chim Fried Butterfish 3 Ways

21 Jun

Everyone must have been in the mood for the fried yet light, buttery fish Palmburo or chim (cheem) this week, or else it was on special at the market. Ma prepared the dish for us after work and sent me home with two fish to make later.

I’m still not great at frying things, but this went a bit easier. Preparation is simple – give a good rub down with iodized salt to clean inside and out of the fish, and rinse thoroughly. Slice each side of the fish for more even cooking.

Pour vegetable oil in a fry pan and heat well. Drop the fish in and cover loosely to fry for about 7 minutes each side.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fried Palburo fish

I like this fish because the bones are larger and easier to remove.

While the last fish was on its second side, I prepared the leftover rau muong water spinach with fermented tofu. So easy and flavorful – a really nice compliment to the fried fish.

Start with some oil in a wok or stirfry friendly pan and add 2 cloves garlic until fragrant.

Then add 2 – 5 blocks of the fermented chili tofu (we like more…), breaking up with a wooden spoon until soft. Then add the rau muong and toss to cover. It doesn’t take long for the greens to cook down and soften.

Serve with rice and you’ve got a quick (under 30 minutes) and inexpensive (under $8 for t wo) meal. Take that, Rachel Ray.

Fried Palmburo fish and stir fried water spinach

So what’s this third way, you ask? Later in the week we went over to his brother’s house after hanging with our nieces and much to our surprise what’s for dinner? Why ca chim, of course!

They fried the fish in a stock pot filled higher with oil and tossed them both at the same time. Smart, actually. Although you use quite a bit of oil this way.

To serve, they made a bed of rau muong for the fish and spooned the nuoc mam on top instead of dipping separately. I like both but may favor the greens with fermented tofu to balance the sweetness of the nuoc mam. 

Fried Palmburo fish with beef and green bean stir fry

To accompany the fish, they made an easy stir fry with flank steak thinly sliced and fresh green beans. The stir fry seasoning is easy with Oyster Sauce, Mushroom seasoning, sugar and pepper. All, of course, to taste.

So really the “3 ways” are very similar, mostly differing in presentation and accompaniments  All of them are damn good and easy. So give it a try!



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