Thursday, February 18, 2010

Viet junkfood

This recipe is another adapted from one of Duguid and Alford's for a kind of Vietnamese street food handroll that they call, Green-wrapped flavor bundles (in their book Hot Sour Salty Sweet) and which I admit the name of totally made me laugh my head off and think, Wow, they need a better translator. Then we made them and ate them (along with my pride) and all I could think was that they were the most appropriately named little flavor bombs I'd ever had. They're stuffed with intensely flavorful pork, and the crunch of the fresh cabbage wrap blows any and every kind of deep-fried eggroll or springroll wrap I've ever had out of the water (or deep fryer as the case may be), and Toronto has a pretty kick ass Chinatown (actually it has three Chinatowns, but that's besides the point). A caveat, these rolls are addictive and for a week after we made them I'd find myself standing with the fridge door open staring at the tuperware full of pork and trying to resist its pull.

Another side note: we've returned the digital camera we were borrowing from our awesome photographer friend, Jason, and are back to using cheap Kodak ISO 800 film, which we buy at a flee market, as in our first post. You may also notice the drugstore did something funny with our scans, creating unintentional diptychs. Yeah coincidence, we love them anyway.

Recipe: Cabbage wrapped pork handrolls

1 cabbage, deleafed and cut to scoops the size of your palm


1/2 lb ground pork
3 tbsp oil
1/2 C shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tamarind dissolved in 1/4C water (or substitute soy sauce in water)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp salt, or a healthy pinch

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced
2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro/coriander, finely chopped

For the pork filling, add oil and heat a wok or large pan to med-high. Saute the shallots and garlic just until they start to brown, then add ground pork and continue to stri-fry until all of the meat is browned. Now, add liquids, brown sugar, salt and ginger and simmer until the sauce thickens, which should take 4 to 6 minutes (turn down the heat if it starts to smoke at any point, you don't want to burn the sugars!).

For the rolls, take your palm sized cabbage leaf in your left hand and spoon in an overflowing tablespoon of the pork filling, then sprinkle with lemongrass, fresh grated ginger, green onion slices and cilantro garnish.

Now shovel them down your gullet. Mmm, they're so amazingly good. They are the word ZING in a bite.

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