Archive for January, 2011

Egg Rolls | Spring Rolls

I invite you to try my version of egg rolls, នែមចៀន (Naem Jean) or also known as spring rolls. I think the naming will depend on where you are located. I’ve actually heard of “summer rolls” in Eastern parts of the USA however those are mostly refer to the fresh ones which in California are called “spring rolls”. Basically what I am showing here is how to make a delicious crunchy, crispy “FRIED” rolls.

Enjoy egg rolls with your favorite dip such as the sweet chili sauce or with fish sauce. You can even create a bowl of Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad by cutting up these egg rolls and adding fresh chopped lettuce, sliced cucumbers, rice noodles and some pickled carrots & daikon.

I’ve choose to cook the filling first and allowed it to drain and cool. Using this technique has a couple of benefits. A cool filling prevents soggy egg rolls. Egg rolls can sometime fry up too quickly and you might notice that the shell will brown and sometime burns before the meat inside is cook. For this reason, if the filling is fully cook then that is one less thing to worry especially when you are serving to large crowds. You do not what any guest to complain about under-cook meat, a big NO NO.

For the curious mind, here is an excerpt about egg rolls. “An egg roll is an appetizer and dinner, a variant of spring roll, which was originally eaten in East Asia but has spread throughout the world as a staple of Asian cuisine. Many Asian countries are claimed to have originated the dish, and variants of the egg roll exist in multiple Asian cuisines.”

Video Tutorial:

Egg Rolls | Spring Rolls (makes 25 egg rolls)
(Naem Jean) នែមចៀន

Ingredients
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 bunch mung bean thread, soak and cut into 1-inch
½ cup shredded fungus, soak
1 egg white, use for sealing
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup full ground pork
1 tablespoon oil for frying

Seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon (or less), black pepper
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups oil for deep frying
1 pkg egg roll wrapper (25 sheets)

Method:
Making the Filling
Get your pan nice and hot then add the oil. Once the oil is hot toss in the garlic. Fry until golden brown.

Next add the ground pork. Spread and break it up as you fry. Continue to stir fry until the meat is about 80% cooked. Add ½ of the seasoning into the pork mix. Continue to stir fry 1-2 mins or until most of the sauce has evaporate.

Add shredded fungus, shredded carrots, and the shredded cabbage follow by the rest of the seasoning and continue to mix it all together. About 1 minute later, turn off the heat and add in the chopped green onions.
Give it a final stir to incorporate all the ingredients and flavors.

Use a colander with a bowl under and transfer the filling mixture. This will allow the filling to cool as well as drain any liquid to prevent a soggy egg roll. Add and mix in the mung bean noodles.

Rolling & Wrapping the Egg Rolls
Gently peel a couple of egg roll wrappers. Set aside and use a damp paper towel/cloth to cover so the sheets don’t dry out.

Lay one sheet flat with one corner pointing towards you. Add some fillings about 1 inch away from the corner and spread it around. Roll it in (outward), roll it once then bring the left and right sides to the center.
Seal the end with a wash off egg white.

Repeat this step until you have used up all your wrappers and filling. Makes 25 egg rolls.

How to Freeze Egg Rolls
Lay egg rolls in a single layer. Cover with plastic or parchment paper to prevent sticking then add the next layer. Once they are frozen you can transfer them to resealable bags. There is no need to defrost them. Deep fry them while they are frozen.

Let’s fry some up!
Heat enough oil in your frying pot/pan. Add the egg rolls carefully one at a time turning occasionally until golden brown. Once done, place on wire rack to drain and cool. This will keep them crispy.

Serve it up with your favorite dip. ENJOY!

Crispy Fried Larb Balls

A few weeks ago I shared one of Southeast Asian fresh flavorful salad known as Larb, ลาบ (ឡាប). With just a few extra ingredients you can kick it up a notch and turn them into Crispy Fried Larb Ball (Larb Bompong Sroeuy Sroeuy), ឡាបបំពងស្រួយៗ. This bite-size flavor exploded balls makes a great appetizer (paired with alcohol beverages) or a snack. Enjoy it with steamed or sticky rice and you have a fulfilling meal. Some people are not familiar with the taste of Crispy Fried Larb Ball. Crispy on the outside and as you bite into it you will instantly be remind of the Larb salad flavors.

Superbowl XLV (45th) is coming this February 6, 2011 and many will join their friends, family and loved ones to watch the game, this would be a great dish to serve and share. If alcohol is involve then definitely check out my Cambodian Popcorn Chicken and Stuffed Chicken Wings recipe. It will sure to be a hit! If time is limited, you can order my Mother’s Cambodian Sausage. You just need to put these on the grill and they are good to go. Order by January 29, 2011 and we will have them delivered in time for game day.

As always with my recipes, feel free to substitute your choice of meat. This time I am using ground turkey instead of pork. Ground chicken would be another great choice. There is no need to pre-cook the meat since the Larb will be formed into a ball and deep fried. For this reason, it is important that the balls are not too big of a size so they are cooked thoroughly.

Crispy Fried Larb Balls (makes 25-30 balls)
(Larb Bompong Sroeuy Sroeuy) ឡាបបំពងស្រួយៗ

Ingredients
1 lb ground meat (chicken, pork, turkey)
1 bunch bean thread, soak until soften and cut into 1½ inch
1 large shallot, diced
1 tablespoon toasted rice grain, pound or grind finely
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanut
1 teaspoon sugar
4-5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
2 stalks green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
oil for frying

assorted fresh vegetables and herbs for serving

Method:
In a large mixing bowl combine the first 11 ingredients. Mix well. You can use plastic gloves to protect your hands.

Add 1 teaspoon flour. This will help absorb the juices and shape the ball. Set aside.

Prepare 2 separate plate/bowl. One for the beaten egg, and the other for the Panko bread crumbs.

Scoop about 1 teaspoon of Larb mixture and form into a ball. Try to make the balls of equal sizes so they fry up evenly.

Using a flork or slotted spoon dip the ball into the beaten egg. Drain and coat it with Panko bread crumbs. Set aside. Repeat this step until you have used up all the Larb mixture.

Depending on the size on your frying pot/pan add enough frying oil so that it will cover at least half of the Larb balls. You want to use a heavy base pot/pan. If the frying pot/pan is too thin it will cause the outside to burn while leaving the inside meat un-cook.

Heat oil to medium high and add the Larb balls in increments and batches. Adding them too quickly all at once will drop the oil temperature. This can cause the oil to penetrate through and make the Larb balls soggy instead of crispy.

Deep fry the Larb balls until golden brown. Turn them occasionally so all the sides cook through. Strain on paper towel or paper bag to remove excess oil.

Serve with your choice of fresh vegetables and herbs. ENJOY!

Asian Garlic Chicken Penne

Today is one of those days that I ran out of fresh ingredients in the fridge and not emotionally well to do my grocery shopping just yet. I survey my fridge, freezer and pantry and the things I gathered were previous frozen chicken breast that I’ve defrost overnight, a box of whole wheat penne and a head of garlic, oh and also I snipped some green onion that was on my kitchen window sill as a garnish. Seasonings were things I usually use for my stir-fried dishes. Seasoning is to taste and because this is a “garlic” dish you are free to go overboard with the garlic, as much as you can handle.

This is suppose to be a quick and easy fix or if you want to stretch out your money by making use of what you currently have. You can substitute penne with any type of dried pasta or noodles. The same goes with the meat. Pork and shrimp would also make a great substitution like my Garlic Shrimp Rice Noodle recipe.

Asian Garlic Chicken Penne (makes 1-2 serving)
(Mon Ktum​​​​ Saw Jear Muy Penne) ម៉ាន់ខ្ទឹមសរជាមួយ Penne

Ingredients
1½ cup whole wheat penne
1 chicken breast, sliced (optional: pre-soak with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 cups water to tenderize)
1 head garlic, peel and minced
1 teaspoon oil
finely chopped green onion for garnish

Seasoning
2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon chicken powder
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method:
Cook penne according to the package, drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and saute garlic just until brown.

Add chicken with half of the seasoning and continue to cook. The liquid from the seasoning will help to pick up the garlic pieces that might have stuck to the pan. Also the steam will moisten the chicken as well.

Once chicken is 95% cooked add the remaining seasoning and toss in the penne. Stir to coat, taste and adjust accordingly.

To serve, dish out and sprinkle with green onion. ENJOY!

Larb Pork

Larb, ลาบ (ឡាប) can be describe as a fresh flavorful Southeast Asian salad dish consisting of ground meats married with lime juice, fish sauce, ground toasted rice and various seasonings and herbs. On restaurants menu it might be spell Laab, Laap, or Larp. This dish is mostly served at room temperature along with assorted fresh or steamed vegetables. If you have sticky rice on hand it would be absolutely delicious as it helps pick up the tasty Larb juices. Sticky rice is also customary in Laos and Isan Thailand however, I usually go with which ever type of rice I have on hand.

You can substitute pork with any type of ground meat such as chicken, beef or turkey. In addition, all of the measurements that I provided for the ingredients should serve as a guide. Adjust the flavors according to your taste especially the level of spicy. I like to enjoy Larb with cucumber slices and iceberg lettuce because of it’s fresh and crisp flavors that help balance the spicy taste. Of course, the choice is up to you and/or who you are serving.


Larb Pork (makes 2-3 serving)
(Larb Sach Jrook) ឡាបសាច់ជ្រូក

Ingredients
¾-1 lb ground pork
2 tablespoons ground toasted rice
1 tablespoon ground red pepper, adjust amount to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 shallots, peeled cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
7-8 cilantro stems, chopped
2 stalks green onion, chopped
your choice of fresh or cooked vegetable to serve

Method:
In a heated nonstick pan add ground pork and cook thoroughly. Add small amounts of water if necessary to fully cook the meat. Set aside and allow to cool down a bit.

In the meantime prepare your vegetables to be served.

In a large mixing bowl add cook meat and all of the remainder ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust accordingly. There should be a balance of salty and sour taste and you should also taste the ground toasted rice.

Serve Larb with vegetables you had previously prepared along with sticky or steamed rice. ENJOY!

Cambodian Popcorn Chicken

In my attempt to try and create a Cambodian version of Popcorn Chicken I decided to use Khmer Kroeung which is the base flavor for many well-known Khmer dishes such as the Cambodian Spicy & Sour Soup and Fiery Stir-Fried Lemongrass Quail, just to name a few. I will therefore name it Cambodian Popcorn Chicken, ម៉ាន់គ្រឿងបំពង (Mon Kroeung Bomporng). I am extremely happy with the outcome. It was delicious and there was that hint of Khmer Kroeung in every single bite. The only thing I sort of regret is not having fresh holy basil leaves so I opt for Thai basil leaves instead.

One of the greatest things I love about living in the Bay Area beside the weather is the availability of the different ethnic food. Seems like everything is within proximity. You don’t have to drive too far or fly out of state. If you visited California recently especially around the Bay Area or Southern California you might of seen a bunch of small Asian Fusion Style Chain Cafe such as Quickly and Tapioca Express. Although there drink selection is overwhelming I can’t seem to resist ordering is their Popcorn Chicken or otherwise known as Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken or just plain Salt & Pepper Chicken. It is not the same as the Popcorn Chicken you get from KFC or American restaurants. The one you get from Quickly or Tapioca Express is flavored with Asian spices such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel. These spices together make what is known as Five-Spice Powder. This was my inspiration for creating this delicious Cambodian Popcorn Chicken.

I also made a red pepper salt mixture as a sprinkle because I just love the spicy flavor in savory dishes. This is of course optional. This spicy flavored salt can also be sprinkle on fried eggs, omelets, chickens and many more items that calls for a splash of the usual salt and pepper.

Cambodian Popcorn Chicken (makes 1-2 serving depends if serving as a snack or with rice)
(Mon Kroeung Bomporng) ម៉ាន់គ្រឿងបំពង

Ingredients
¾ lb chicken (breast or thigh meat) cut into bite size pieces – for this recipe I used a whole large chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon Shaoxing wine, used as a tenderizer
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
½ cup sweet potato flour or also label as potato starch
holy basil leaves or Thai basil leaves as garnish
oil for deep frying

Spicy Flavored Salt Mixture
1½ tablespoons red pepper powder
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
½ teaspoon salt

Method:
To make the spicy flavored salt mixture combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can definitely adjust the amount to taste. Set aside for later use.

Marinade the chicken pieces with garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, salt, sugar and Khmer Kroeung. Mix well, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight for best flavor. Try to bring it to room temperature prior to proceeding with the next step.

In a heavy pan/pot heat oil over medium heat. While waiting for the oil to heat up sprinkle sweet potato all over marinaded chicken pieces. Use more if necessary. There will be clumps therefore I just use a strainer to shake off the clumps so that it doesn’t end up in the frying pan as it is rather difficult to fish out small pieces of burnt flour in hot oil.

When the oil is hot and ready, deep fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. Depending on the type of meat (white/dark) in addition to the cut sizes it can take anywhere from 3-4 minutes to fry.

Test a piece and once it is cook use a medal strainer or slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towels or paper bags to remove excess oil.

Next toss in the basil leaves in the hot oil. Be extremely careful because this cause a loud popping sound and sometime oil splashes if the leaves are not thoroughly dried. Protect yourself with a splatter guard or quickly toss it and step far away until the sizzling sound decreases. It should only take 20-25 seconds to fry the basil leaves.

You can transfer the chicken to a serving plate or serve it in paper bags garnish with fried basil leaves. Sprinkle with spicy flavored salt if you prefer.

This delicious dish can be served as a snack or eaten as a meal with steamed rice. ENJOY!

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