Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Let me just preface this year’s recipe by saying that my goal was not to recreate an authentic or traditional Vietnamese dish. Despite having grown up in South East Asia, Vietnamese cuisine was not really something I’d experienced much of until I moved to Sydney (slightly ironic, yes, but Australia is truly a melting pot of cuisines and cultures!). And so, not wanting to butcher any of the already perfect Vietnamese favourites I’ve come to love in my twenties, I decided to instead draw inspiration from some Vietnamese-Australian fusion I’d eaten in Melbourne during one of the brief intermissions between lockdowns.

As with every other Auguest, it was definitely a… journey… for me to get to this recipe. The original game plan was to take advantage of popular local seafood, such as barramundi. But fate had other plans. Due to a highly traumatising incident while pet-sitting for tropical fish (who I now see as the vicious, carnivorous killers they truly are!), my stomach forced me to swear off all forms of fish flesh for the foreseeable future.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

Also, having been under pretty strict lockdown for almost as long as I can remember, I’ve had fairly limited access to specialty Asian ingredients. Many servings of banh mi and bowls of bun cha later (you know, for research, and supporting local businesses), I came up with another idea – sausage rolls! Such an iconic Australian food, yet every bakery and home cook has their own special recipe. I dreamt up a great chicken sausage roll recipe packed with aromatics and fresh ingredients reminiscent of my experience with Vietnamese-Australian cuisine.

The recipe was right up my alley, and came together with hardly a hiccup. But then last week my brain decided to remind me that Allison’s blog is now actually kind of pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan – which chicken is not.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

And so I resorted to the last-minute brain scramble I thought I’d gotten past, frantically modifying the recipe I’d perfected at the beginning of the month. So much for preparedness, but it kind of worked out in the end, and to be honest I’m not mad at the vegetarian version (#sorrynotsorry to all the vegans, though).

My recipe is still chicken-based, but I’ve also included some modifications to make a pretty tasty tofu filling, so feel free to choose your own adventure with this recipe!

Unless it’s vegan.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 15 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 500g firm tofu (or 500g chicken mince)
  • 1 cup (65g) fried scallions
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, ends and outer leaves discarded, pale inner bulb finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, about 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • 2 red bird’s eye chills, minced
  • 2-3 eggs (1 egg if using chicken)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
    3 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sriracha

METHOD

  1. Press a 500g block of firm tofu between several layers of paper towels with a flat heavy object on top to remove excess water. Let it sit for about an hour, then use your hands, a large grater, or knife and cutting board to turn the tofu into small crumbled pieces.
  2. Separate 3 sheets of prepared puff pastry, and set aside to thaw. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan forced, 350F, or gas mark 4).
  3. In a blender, pulse the fried scallions until finely crushed – this will be a super flavourful replacement for the breadcrumbs traditionally used in sausage rolls for keeping the filling from shrinking.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tofu with the fried scallion crumbs and remaining filling ingredients. Mix well. Add up to 3 eggs until mixture binds and holds.
  5. Working with one sheet at a time, use a sharp knife to carefully cut puff pastry into thirds from top to bottom, then left to right, creating 9 even squares. Each of these squares you’ve cut will be used to individually wrap the tofu rolls.
  6. Take approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape into a log, placing diagonally across each small square of pastry. Brush the entire surface of the mixture and pastry with the beaten egg. To seal the roll, take the exposed top corner and fold across the top of the mince mixture. Take the opposite bottom corner and gently fold and press on top of the first pastry corner. Repeat with remaining filling and puff pastry sheets and arrange folded pastry rolls onto lined baking sheets.
  7. Brush the tops of the pastry with the remaining egg and place into the oven, baking one sheet at a time for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the pastry are golden brown.
  8. Combine the ketchup with sriracha and mix well to create dipping sauce, and serve with the pastry rolls. Enjoy!

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Whenever I see or think of Vietnamese rice paper, Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring roll) and Chả giò (fried spring roll) immediately come to mind. I love these appetizers so much that I eat them as snacks or as my main dish for dinner.

My problem with spring rolls (including the Filipino version Lumpia), however, is the step that involves wrapping. I find it tedious and prone to errors (uneven shapes or rolls with holes). Haha! To prevent that from happening, I have two options: order from a restaurant or “solve the problem”. On extra lazy days, I would choose the former. However, if you know me really well, you’d know that I’d usually go for the latter. And so, I had to do different takes on rice paper and spring roll preparation.

I’ve categorised these into three levels (easy, medium, hard) and I’m hoping you’re up for the game to reach Level 3. Are you ready?

Level 1 – Easy

Rice Paper Puffs. Or Fried Rice Paper. This has become quite popular on TikTok. All you need to do is cut 3-4 pieces of rice paper into quarters and deep fry them in hot oil – that’s it! I think rice papers already have a mild sweet and salty taste to it so I prefer to eat them as it is. At the same time, I’ve seen videos where a little bit of salt and pepper, or instant ramen seasoning packets are added at the end. Try it plain first. If it’s too plain for you, then add seasoning.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs

Level 2 – Medium

Rice Paper Nacho Salad. We’re following the same procedure with the Rice Paper Puff, except that you cut up the rice papers into smaller pieces. Serve with fresh herbs and julienned carrot and cucumber. How you eat it is like how you eat with nachos. Even if you cut up the rice paper into small triangles, it still puffs up large when fried so you don’t have to worry about falling pieces of vegetables when you eat it (but wouldn’t there always be falling pieces of filling or sauce whenever we eat nachos?). Again, I enjoy them without any seasoning so feel free to add salt and spices to your liking.

Bonus Round – Of course there’s a bonus round!
The salad makes the dish colourful enough but NOT ENOUGH for me. Lol. Why not add some colour to the rice paper? For yellow, mix turmeric powder in hot water. For pink, mix red beet slices and a teaspoon of vinegar in hot water. For violet, boil half a head of cabbage (shredded) in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Remove the shredded cabbage then add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Your liquid may turn blue which is great, but mine came out violet and I’m still happy with it. Allow for the three liquid colourings to cool before use.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nachos

How to colour rice paper is just like how you paint with watercolor! Dip your silicone brush into your liquid colouring, then paint one side of rice paper. As soon as you’ve coated the entire surface, slap another rice paper onto it and hold them firmly until they stick together. Wait for it to dry. Once dry, follow the steps for Level 2.

Level 3 – Hard

Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups. This is a simple Vietnamese salad minus vermicelli noodles. The rice paper cups would replace them. The inspiration for this recipe came from YouTube videos I chanced upon last year. Surprisingly, these are Korean recipes that use Vietnamese rice paper. They are called 라이스페이퍼 꽃부각 (Rice Paper Flower) or 라이스페이퍼 튀김 (Fried Rice Paper).

To make rice paper cups, press on a teaspoon or 2 of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper. Cut the rice paper into 4 up until you reach the center. Deep fry it in hot oil for 10 seconds and drain immediately. Adding cooked rice in the middle prevents the rice paper from curling too much and it will allow it to form a flower shape.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

You’ll use the same salad as in Level 2. For the dressing, I recommend the one from Allison’s Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad [https://amcarmenskitchen.com/2020/10/21/magic-vietnamese-style-glass-noodle-salad/] recipe (it’s sooo good!). What I did differently when I took photos for this recipe is that I used calamansi instead of lemon, garlic powder instead of minced garlic, and chili oil instead of minced chili (at that time, I didn’t feel like mincing garlic and chili and I ran out of lemon).

When ready to serve, scoop up some salad and place it in the middle of the rice paper cup. It’s very important that you consider this step. If you put the salad too early, your rice paper cup will be soggy from the moisture of the vegetables and herbs.

Bonus round – Fight!
The rice paper cups will be plain looking without any colour. Boooring! Prettify them by painting the edges with the same liquid coloring you used. Let it dry first before frying. You may also add colour to the rice using the same liquid coloring. I made the rice green by boiling the remaining cabbage liquid for another 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

They really look like flowers once deep fried! Let your family or friends marvel at the fried rice paper flowers first then impress them some more with the salad!

Step up your salad game by adding shredded rotisserie chicken and pickled jalapeño slices. You may replace the chicken with steamed or poached shrimp and the pickled jalapeño with a fresh one.

And that’s the end of your kitchen journey. For now! I’m sure you’ll have more adventures as you try all of Allison’s Auguest recipes. I hope you enjoy making and eating rice paper 3 ways!

Here are the main ingredients that you’ll need for the recipes below:

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways Main Ingredients


Rice Paper Puffs

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME <5 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pcs rice paper
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Salt and black pepper, or seasoning (optional)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 4 equal pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease.
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs


Rice Paper Nacho Salad

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

6 pcs rice paper
Oil, for deep frying
3 cups carrot, julienned
3 cups cucumber, julienned
2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 8 pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined.
  4. Transfer the salad to a large serving dish and prop the fried rice paper slices around it.
  5. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season the fried rice paper slices with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nacho Salad


Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pcs rice paper
  • 3 tsp cooked rice
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 3 cups carrot, julienned
  • 3 cups cucumber, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies, finely minced

METHOD

  1. Press a teaspoon of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper.
  2. Cut the rice paper into 4 parts up until where the cooked rice is, and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  3. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Add the water, lemon juice, sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic cloves, and chilies in a jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Scoop some salad and place it in the middle of the fried rice paper cups and serve with the dressing in a dipping sauce cup or small ramekin. Enjoy!

Optional: You can add your choice of protein and pickled jalapeño slices to the salad to bulk it up and make it a really filling meal.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

As a third time Au-guester, my goal is to not only keep up with the theme, but also share recipes that require less effort than the first 2 recipes I’ve submitted in the previous years. This is why I’ve decided to not include steps on creating the liquid colouring in the recipe method. I’m really into colourful dishes and I’m usually bound to outdo myself every time I create something new. If you did try to add color to your rice paper, please let me and Allison know how it was like for you. We’d be very interested to learn about your kitchen experience!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Hello Everyone! This bowl as a whole reminds me of a deconstructed version of Vietnamese spring rolls – vibrant in flavour as they are in colour, topped with poached prawns, fried tofu, snow peas, fresh carrots and mint leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed roasted peanuts.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

In fact, the recipe for the sauce/dressing used for this dish is based off of a Vietnamese spring roll dipping sauce. It is made with lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, and a bit of fresh garlic and chillies. The sauce is very acidic, which is exactly what you need to trigger the color changing properties of the butterfly pea flower. These striking blue and violet glass noodles, steeped in butterfly pea flowers to achieve their rich colour, transform before your eyes when mixed with the acidic sauce.

It’s cool, refreshing and perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Love and Olive Oil by Lindsay.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the glass noodles

  • 3 packets (80g per pack) glass noodles
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Pinch of salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, finely minced

To assemble

  • Carrots, shredded
  • Firm tofu, fried
  • Mint leaves
  • Prawns, poached
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Snow peas, blanched

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small to medium-sized bowl and mix well. Adjust taste to your liking by adding more fish sauce, lemon juice, or chillies. Set aside.
  2. Glass Noodles: Combine the dried butterfly pea flowers in a small saucepan together with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to steep for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the flowers.
  3. Place the glass noodles in a large mixing bowl and pour the blue-infused water over the noodles. Give it a good mix, making sure that the noodles are covered with water. Place a clean tea towel over the bowl and set aside for the noodles to soak and cook, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked through, drain and separate into two batches in bowls. Drizzle half of the prepared dressing in one of the bowls and give it a good mix. You’ll see that the colour will change from blue to violet in a matter of seconds.
  5. Assemble: Place an equal amount of the blue and violet noodles into individual serving dishes and top with vegetables and meat of your choice. I kept mine pescatarian so went with poached shrimp and bulked it up with tofu as well. I added vegetables such as shredded carrots, snow peas, mint leaves, and topped it off with some roasted peanuts.
  6. Add more dressing as you wish and enjoy as a room temperature or cold dish on a hot summer’s day!

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2019: Marissa Mai

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Hello beloved foodies! My name is Marissa and I run the Sydney Foodie Blog, also known as Maiyummyy. Today it’s such a pleasure for me to be invited to guest blog on Amcarmen’s Kitchen once again for the second time since Ally started her Auguest series in 2015.

For those who follow me over on Maiyummy on Instagram, you’ll know that my strong expertise is in Vietnamese cuisine. So good news! Today I will be sharing with you a new fusion recipe inspired by one of my favourite fruit, Avocado. This dish is called Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce, which is inspired by Rachael of Rachael Ray Every Day.

Da Nang, Vietnam

I grew up in Da Nang, one of the most popular coastal cities in Vietnam. It is a coastline city that stretches 30km long, famous for beautiful beaches, resorts, great climate, and a great source of fresh vegetables and seafood for the locals. The reason behind choosing this dish is because I always have a strong passion for seafood and fresh ingredients. We always cook seafood during family gatherings or during Vietnamese celebrations served with beer.

Scallops are considered quite rare to cook in Da Nang because it can be very pricey (like abalone) to catch, so we don’t get the chance to cook them often. The idea of this dish originated from this city, and it is simple, quick, and easy to cook; it is quite delicate and rich in texture.

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME <10 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

For the scallops

  • 3 sea scallops
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (I used 25% less fat Devondale Butter)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest from half a lemon

For the avocado-mayo sauce

  • 1/2 medium-sized avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tsp free-range egg Traditional Creamy Mayonnaise (I used Praise brand)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Zest from half a lemon

Optional

  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 stalks green shallots, chopped

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Sea Scallops: Wash the sea scallops clean under cold water, and thoroughly dry them with a paper towel.
  2. Season the sea scallops with a pinch of salt, ground black pepper, and lemon zest Let it sit and marinate for about 15 minutes before cooking.
  3. Avocado-Mayo Sauce: While waiting for the scallops to marinate, prepare the avocado sauce. Using a fork, smash the peeled and pitted avocado in a small bowl.
  4. Add the lemon zest and mayonnaise. Mix well and then season with a touch of salt and sugar to taste. Set aside.
  5. Cooking the Scallops: Melt the unsalted butter in a 12-inch pan (don’t use a non-stick pan), over medium-high heat.
  6. Carefully add the scallops to the sizzling hot pan, making sure that they do not touch each other. Immediately add the minced garlic to the pan.

Note: Do not add the minced garlic before putting the scallops in. This is to prevent the garlic from burning first.

  1. Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on one side without disruption, until golden crust forms. Wait until the garlic turns golden brown, then remove them from the pan so that it does not burn.
  2. Using a tong, carefully flip the scallops and cook the other side for another minute. The center of the scallops should be slightly translucent. Overcooking will result in chewy and unpleasant texture.
  3. Plate up and Serve: Divide the avocado-mayo sauce into 3 white porcelain soup spoons arranged on a plate. Top with the seared scallops, chillies, and shallots.
  4. Serve immediately as a delicate entrée and enjoy!

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Seared Lemon Butter Scallops With Avocado Sauce

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Marissa Mai

BON APPÉTIT

– Marissa Mai

myTaste.com