Monday, February 1, 2010

just like in Nam

I just discovered that I’m staying down the road from Tai Ping Asian supermarket… home of all things Asian, except limes. I couldn’t seem to find them anywhere and asking the staff didn’t yield much success as I was just given puzzled looks. I didn’t let the lack of limes hold me back from getting some bargains though – a 49 cent iceberg lettuce, more bean sprouts than one could possibly need and an assortment of sauces and dried goods that, now, due to the language barrier I’m not exactly sure what they are! The car park at Tai Ping was chaos with drivers ignoring the road markings and direction arrows. It reminded me of Vietnam, minus the rickshaws and conical hats. And so I was inspired to make some Vietnamese fresh spring rolls.

I free-styled the spring rolls, using a mixture of my Tai Ping goods and ingredients from the fridge. I used the following instructions to roll my rolls, filling each one with vermicelli noodles, shredded iceberg lettuce, bean sprouts, slices of red pepper, grated carrots, some chopped fresh chilli, and a mixture of Vietnamese mint, coriander and mint from the garden. I also free-styled a dipping sauce, by combining chopped chilli, chopped peanuts, fish sauce, white wine vinegar, a dash of sugar, a squeeze of lime juice and some water till it looked and tasted right. It's quite time counsuming making all the individuals rolls, but it's worth it. (Although Kate described them as looking like vegetables in condoms, I think they looked beautiful.) They tasted lovely and fresh, and oh so healthy too! They're great with chicken or prawns in them also and next time I'll put crushed peanuts inside the rolls rather than in the dipping sauce.
In keeping with my Vietnamese theme I also decided to make Vietnamese pork balls with fresh herb salad from Julie Biuso’s Never Ending Summer

Pork Balls
500g minced free-range pork
¼ cup panko crumbs (I just used bread crumbs)
6 kaffir lime leaves, center ribs removed, finely shredded
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp peeled and grated ginger
1 fresh hot red chilli, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

Herb salad
1 cup very fresh bean sprouts, trimmed
½ telegraph cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup coriander leaves
½ cup mint leaves
2 cups micro cress or torn cos or iceberg lettuce leaves
4 Tbsp white vinegar
1 fresh hot red chilli, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped shallots

Olive oil for hot plate
Steamed rice for serving
Toasted coconut flakes for garnishing
Sliced fresh red chilli for garnishing

To make the pork balls, put all the ingredients in a bowl and squelch together. Shape into 30 small balls putting them on a tray as they are done. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. Bring pork balls to room temperature before cooking. Cook pork balls, either on BBQ hot plate. Or in a little oil in a non stick frying pan. To make the salad, put the bean sprouts, cucumber, herbs and micro cress or lettuce leaves in a bowl and toss lightly. Mix the vinegar, fresh chilli and shallots together in a small dish and add to the salad. Toss lightly. Serve pork balls on steamed rice garnished with coconut (I hate coconut so didn’t do this) and fresh chilli. Serve the herb salad separately.

The pork balls were nice, but I felt that they needed a sauce to go with the rice. I couldn't work out what sauce to have with them though - suggestions are most welcome.

Many thanks to Kate, for being my personal food photographer!


  1. Hey Miriam, it just keeps getting better! My 'steak on the bbq' dinner tonight just pales in comparison to your masterpiece!! Hope school / internship is going well. PQ

  2. Dinner looks delicious, yes a sauce would have been nice, what about the dipping sauce from the rolls? Or a (proper) satay sauce might be nice?

    Good idea to put the peanuts in the rolls, is impossible to catch them when they are in the dipping sauce isn't it. Sarah had some vegetarian rolls the other day that had crispy fried shallots in them which was a nice twist, I hope a bag of these were among your purchases at Tai Ping - they are so good.

    Oh and can relate re the beansprouts - so cheap to buy an enormous bagful but then they induce such feelings of guilt as they turn brown and slimy faster than you can think up ways to use them...

  3. yum...those spring rolls and meatballs look great!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...