Saturday, July 04, 2015

Pho-mplings (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup-Spiced Dumplings)

Pho-mplings (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Dumplings) 1

You guys! Why did this not occur to me sooner? A couple of years ago, I had the bright idea of making Pho Burgers, by grinding the spices I used for making Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) and adding them to ground beef. You'd figure that after making Pho Burgers with Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Spices and Banh Mi Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup-Spiced Sandwiches), it would have dawned on me that I could use the spiced meat to make dumplings too...

But it wasn't until last fall when I stumbled upon this Gothamist article about Phumplings in Brooklyn that the pho-spiced dumplings started to take shape. Phumplings are larger and filled with soup, closer to xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings). A bit too much work for lazy old me. Not that I probably won't try that at some point.

Instead, I decided to make regular dumplings with pho spices. I had a rather lean cut of beef, but if you use fattier ground beef, you can get juicier dumplings. I used the same proportion of spices and aromatics as my Pho Burgers -- pureed onion, garlic, and ginger with ground cinnamon, cloves, and star anise spices. Then topped the dumplings with green onions (actually, chives from the garden) and basil, small squirts of Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha, and squeezed a bit of lime. With all the components in place, it was like eating pho in one bite.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Italian Shrimp Scampi Low Carb Zucchini "Noodles"

Shrimp Scampi Low Carb Zucchini Noodles 1

I'm not sure what sparked my craving for shrimp scampi, but I couldn't get the buttery, lemony shrimp pasta dish out of my mind. I've been trying to eat healthier though, so figured I could experiment with some zucchini noodles. Now, if you have a Zoodle Slicer or a Veggetti or whatever, this would go a lot faster, but I found julienning the zucchini worked just fine. It was actually quite therapeutic to slice and slice the zucchini until I had a colander full of thin strips.

Of course, you can use regular spaghetti noodles with this recipe if you wish, but I thought the buttery, lemony zucchini noodles and shrimp totally hit the spot.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chinese Kung Pao Shrimp

Chinese Kung Pao Shrimp 1

A few days after making Chinese Kung Pao Chicken, I got a craving again for the spicy, slightly sour taste of the dish. And while kung pao chicken is my preference, it takes a little longer to cook than shrimp. Plus, I had frozen shrimp on hand so any recipe that avoids having to leave the house wins hands down. But since it was late at night when I originally made the recipe, the photos weren't the best. I made it again several months later, but this time my celery supply was a bit low, so I added in a zucchini. I have to say, if you love zucchini as much as I do, it worked really well in a kung pao stir-fry.

While I love the crispness of a deep-fry, in this case, lightly coating the shrimp in cornstarch before pan-frying gave it a nice crunch. Toss in the vegetables, chilies, sauce, and toasted peanuts and the dish comes together in minutes. The key to the flavor is Chinese black vinegar and rice wine, which are much milder than their Western counterparts, but if you need to substitute with what you have on hand, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.