Last weekend we caught up with a friend from Sydney and went to yum cha. It was great to meet up, but the food left a bit to be desired, and, because we did the early sitting, we were out on the streets by 1 pm. So, rather than just head straight home, feeling sad about our lack-luster lunch, we decided to make a detour and visit Little Saigon Market in Footscray.
Now, this is not quite like December 19 Market in Hanoi. No snakes being skun on boards with a nail to hold their head, no roasted dogs with teeth bared, no live chickens or ducks wallowing around in cages, but a great variety of fresh produce to stimulate the senses, in a positive fashion. There were lots of familiar and lots of less common (for round-eyes like us) fruit, veggies, meat and fish. Some of the purchases included banana blossoms, lotus roots, bitter melon, beef tendons, tripe and a whole oxtail. The oxtail was boned and stuffed with some of the tendons before cooking in the slow cooker. This is a Janni Kyritsis recipe from “Wild Weed Pie” and I’ll write about it later (even though there was very little TMX involved).
Kathryn Elliott has recently posted about making some new or different for dinner. I had already decided to do just that, but now it was even more relevant. So there have been a few creations in the last few days featuring the treasures from Little Saigon.
First up is a recipe using pomelo. There were mountains of both pink and yellow fleshed pomelos, with slices available for tasting. The yellow fleshed ones seemed a bit dry, so I punted for pink and purchased prawns to produce the following salad.
It is based on a couple of similar recipes, and you can certainly use your imagination to conjure up something that will satisfy your hunger, or search the web.
The first recipe that I consulted was from a Tony Tan cooking class, and he in turn adapted the recipe from Mai Pham’s “Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table”. The other was in a book, by Nguyen Ngoc Tu, which is in Vietnamese, English and French, with the English title “A Guide to Typical Vietnamese Cookery” (The Vietnamese is “So Tay Noi Tro – 70 Mon an thuan tuy Viet Nam”, while the French title is “70 Recettes Types du Vietnam – guide pratique et concret”). The recipe for Gỏi bưởi in this book is translated as Salad of Shaddock. I had never heard of Shaddock before, but it appears that pomelos took on that name after being introduced into the West Indies by Captain Shaddock in the 17th century. This recipe called for Stomach, and since I had just used some, I felt that I would save you from more tripe.
Even though we are in the depths of winter, it was easy to imagine eating this dish beside the pool at a hotel on Phu Quoc, on a beautifully warm day. Hey, I can even smell the fermenting anchovies from the distant fish sauce factory.
Shaddock and Shrimp Salad (Gỏi bưởi)
20 medium prawns, peeled, de-veined and cut in half lengthwise
Marinade for prawns:
2 tsps fish sauce
2 tsps light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
freshly crushed pepper
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp freshly chopped rau ram (Vietnamese mint)
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup Thai basil
1/2 cup carrot, julienned
1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsps sugar
juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
freshly crushed pepper
2 Tbsps fried shallots
2 Tbsps roasted peanuts, chopped
Place the shallot in TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7. Add remaining marinade ingredients and blend for 10 seconds on speed 4. Place prawns in ceramic or glass bowl that will fit into the Varoma, mix through the marinade and place in fridge for 15 minutes.
Peel the pomelo and segment, removing the pith & membranes and then break into small pieces.
Place the dish with prawns & marinade into the Varoma. Put 500 g water into the TM bowl and position Varoma on top. Steam the prawns for 10 minutes, or until they turn pink and are cooked, at Varoma temperature on speed 3. Once cooked, allow prawns to cool slightly in the marinade.
Combine all the salad ingredients, except for the peanuts and fried shallots, in a bowl and toss gently. Add the prawns and marinade to the salad. Toss again and serve garnished with fried shallots and peanuts.
See also here