Vietnamese Cilantro-Chile Sauce (Nuoc Mam Ngo)

Nuoc Mam Ngo

This sauce is amazing! It’s sour, sweet, herbaceous, pungent, salty, and spicy. So flavorful. It is a perfect example of what I love about Vietnamese food.

Nuoc Mam Ngo

This sauce is versatile. It can be used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls as well as a sauce for grilled chicken, beef, pork, fish, or shrimp. I served it with grilled chicken atop rice vermicelli noodles and spring rolls. So good.

Bun

It’s a spicy-hot sauce, but you could control the heat by using mild jalapenos. I used one serrano and one jalapeno and it was hot, but not too hot.

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you could surely make this sauce in a food processor or blender.

Vietnamese Cilantro-Chile Sauce (Nuoc Mam Ngo)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 chiles, stems removed and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 – 1/2 lime (rind and all), chopped (to taste)
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce

Add the chopped garlic and chiles to a mortar and use the pestle to pound them into a course paste. Add the sugar and cilantro and pound until smooth. Add the chopped lime and pound with the pestle until liquefied. There will be chunks of lime rind. Stir in the fish sauce and let sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to develop.

Advertisements

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

We almost never get Chinese food from a restaurant, mainly because most in our area do not deliver. In the past Chinese delivery was what I could fall back on when I was too tired to cook. Now, if I’m too tired to cook, I’m also too tired to drive somewhere to pick up something and hence, no Chinese food. I do get cravings from time to time. I have learned to cook some dishes commonly found in American Chinese restaurants. Beef and Broccoli is one of those dishes. It’s actually not terribly hard to make at home.

The key to being able to cook Chinese-style dishes at home is to have a well-stocked pantry and fridge. I adore a variety of Asian foods, so I have a pretty good collection of Asian ingredients. Soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine (rice wine) are essentials that I keep on hand at all times. I usually also have hoisin and/or oyster sauce too. I don’t always have fresh ginger (and it can be left out of this recipe). When I do buy ginger, I try to clean and mince the whole piece and freeze what I don’t immediately use for use in future recipes. This works well for me.

Serve Beef and Broccoli with hot rice. It’s great with cooked rice noodles too. You can also substitute the beef with chicken. It tastes great in this recipe too.

Beef & Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

1 pound beef (sirloin, round, flank, London broil, etc…), trimmed of fat and gristle and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick) and slice cut into 1-inch pieces

Marinade:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 pound (approximately) broccoli, separated into bite-size florets
1 onion, slivered
1 bell pepper, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into “coins”

Sauce:
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place the sliced beef in a bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the beef.  Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature (or for longer in the refrigerator).

Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat a wok (or large skillet), add 2 tablespoons oil, and add beef.  Stir-fry over high heat until just cooked through.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Clean out the wok.

Reheat the cleaned wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the minced garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry for about 15 seconds and then add the broccoli, onion, bell pepper, and carrot.  Stir-fry about 3 minutes.  Add the cooked beef and the sauce.  Cook, mixing constantly, until beef is heated through and the sauce begins to thicken.  Serve immediately.


Christmas Meltaways

Christmas Meltaways 2

Cornstarch and powdered sugar help to make these bite-sized cookies melt in your mouth. These tiny cookies are quick to make and not too sweet. They are a nice addition to your holiday baking.

Of course these cookies can be made any time of the year. Just use different colored nonpareils.

Nonpareils

Christmas Meltaways

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Christmas nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar together. If your butter is soft enough, you can do this with a wooden spoon. Next, mix in the flour and cornstarch mixture. I usually lose patience with the spoon  (or mixer) and just finish mixing the dough with my hands. Knead in the nonpareils. Pinch off a small amount of dough (about a non-rounded teaspoonful) and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. They are pretty small (and will only be about 1 inch in diameter when baked).

Unbaked

Bake the meltaways for 9 – 12 minutes (I like crunchy cookies, so I bake them for 12 minutes). Let cool completely.

Baked Christmas Meltaways

Makes about 6 dozen.