Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Taste of Indian and Vietnamese Cuisines

our group

Finally, one last week and our summer class is over. Next week, the days will be devoted for lectures and recalling the knowledge we have learned for a month of Asian cuisine involvement. Yesterday, for our last culinary practice, we cooked two Asian dishes; Indian and Vietnamese. Different spicy powders like chili powder are staple ingredients in cooking Indian food. Do you know why Indians love spicy foods? Maybe since many spices grow abundantly in India, the local people thought of some ways to extensively utilize it, so they really used to season every meal with chili pepper. On the other hand, Vietnamese people prefer vegetables and salads more than meaty and oily foods. That is why Vietnamese cuisine is listed as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

The two recipes we prepared were Tamatar Murghi or Indian Tomato Chicken and Goi Buoi Tom Thit or Pomelo Salad. Listed below are the recipes and procedures as well. Take heart to try. These recipes are so easy to prepare and the taste is tempting 

Tomato Chicken

Ingredients :
 - 2 lb chicken cut into pieces
 - 5 onions sliced finely
 - 2-3 tbsp curd or unflavoured yoghurt
 - 1 1/2 tsp red-chilli powder
 - 2 -3 tsp coriander powder
 - 1 tsp cumin powder
 - 3 tomatoes, pureed
 - 2-3 cloves
 - 1 inch cinnamon bark
 - 2-3 cardamoms
 - 2 tbsp cashewnuts, grind with a little water to a paste
 - A bunch of cilantro (Coriander leaves), chopped
 - Cooking oil

Method :

First is to fry the sliced onions in oil until they are properly browned.
Remove the oil, add the unflavored yoghurt and blend the mixture with the cinnammon, cloves and cardamoms till smooth. Set aside.
We were not able to buy cloves and cardamoms because they were out of stock. But we just used turmeric powder instead to add further spiciness in replace of cloves and cardamoms.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the above mixture which is called masala until the oil begins to separate.
Now add the dry powders ( red chili, coriander and cumin powder ) and fry for 45 secs.
Add the pureed tomato and the chicken pieces.
Add some water and simmer until the chicken is cooked.
Add the cashewnut paste and bring to a boil.
Garnish with the chopped Cilantro.

We had no cilantro too so we used parsley since they both belong to the same plant family. hehe

The taste of this Indian food is really hot and spicy. It has no saltiness nor sweetness but the combination of different spicy powders will definitely play in your mouth. Just imagine eating chili without any extra flavor, that's the taste of this. Anyway, we were also delighted after receiving a good grade from our professor and being commended for the good meat texture - perfectly cooked.

Pomelo Salad

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 medium pomelo
1 carrot, peeled and cut into fine shreds
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped ( we used basil leaves as substitute )
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, leafy tops only
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts
1/3 cup crispy caramelized shallot

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 generous teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1. Put the salt in a small saucepan and fill 2/3 with water. Bring to a boil and then add the shrimp. As soon as they've curled up, drain them and set aside to cool.
2. Return the water to a boil and add the chicken. When bubbles form at the rim, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes to cook the flesh. Remove and set aside to cool.
3. Cut the shrimps in sizes that will blend well with the pomelo and other ingredients. Hand shred the chicken and set aside. For us, we cut the shrimps into half to make it into bite size pieces.
4. Cut off one end of the pomelo to reveal its fleshy pith. Then use your fingers and knife to remove the pith so that all that's remaining is the white covered flesh. Pry the pomelo open and split into two parts. Then use a knife, scissors and your fingers to peel away the skin from each segment and remove the flesh. Separate the flesh into bite size pieces and deposit in a bowl.
5. For the dressing, combine fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste the dressing and add additional flavors if needed.
6. Right before serving, add the shrimp, chicken, carrot, basil, parsley, peanuts and shallot to the pomelo. Toss with tongs to combine well. Add the dressing and toss. Transfer to a plate, leaving any liquid behind and serve.

Try to put ample amount of fish sauce to the dressing to make it a bit salty. The sweetness of pomelo is absolutely appropriate to the saltiness or sourness of your dressing. This dish is actually a popular food and offered in almost all restaurants in Vietnam. :)

lemon water on the side

Every nation has a distinctive cuisine to offer. All delectable and must trys!

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