I had so much fun at my latest class at Warren Kitchen and Cutlery last week. This one was on Vietnamese cooking using readily available ingredients and we made beer-steamed shrimp, poached chicken with three dipping sauces, Vietnamese coleslaw, steamed jasmine rice, stir-fried eggplant with ground pork, coconut flan and Vietnamese iced coffee. Yum. The food was great and the students great company. Here are a couple photos taken by class coordinator (and expert food stylist) Jessica Bard.
The coconut flan was so silky and delicious I’m going to demo it again next week at the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck, NY, just so I can have an excuse to eat some more of it! The demos will include crispy Vietnamese spring rolls and are scheduled for Wednesday, August 20, at 11 a.m. and Sunday, August 24, at 1:30 p.m.
Vietnamese Beer-Steamed Shrimp
Tom Hap Bia
Westerners brought beer to the Vietnamese, who, besides learning to enjoying a frosty glass of it on a sultry day, discovered that its yeasty flavors were great for cooking seafood. I use Rolling Rock but any light dry lager will do. In Vietnam this dish is made with fresh heads-on prawns but here regular shrimp stands in beautifully. I buy mine mostly frozen these days because they thaw quickly and you can control the freshness. Serves 4 when served with other dishes.
1 lb. large shell-on shrimp
3 scallions/green onions, sliced
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 1/2” slices and bruised with heavy knife
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 12-ounce bottle beer
Nuoc cham dipping sauce (see recipe below)
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced, for garnish (optional)
If shrimp shells are not already cut through back and deveined, slice into backs and remove veins, leaving shells on. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Toss into a medium bowl with scallions, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, salt and pepper. Chill 1 hour.
Heat beer in large saucepan until simmering. Add marinated shrimp. Cover saucepan, lower heat, and steam 5 minutes, until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Strain and place on a platter with optional cucumber garnish (which is also good in the dipping sauce). Eat by peeling shrimp and leaving shells and chopped flavorings behind on platter.
Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
1-2 Thai-type bird’s eye pepper, minced, OR pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
3 tablespoons water
Mince together garlic and hot pepper and mix well with sugar (you could also use a mortar and pestle). Add fish sauce, lime juice and water and stir well until sugar dissolves. Adjust to taste and let sit a few minutes before serving.