Posts from August 2014

Mash Up your Meatball Sandwich with Xiu Mai from 'Banh Mi Handbook' by Andrea Nguyen

Mash up your meatball sandwich with this recipe from The Banh MI Handbook,  Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches ( Ten Speed Press, July 2014) by Viet World Kitchen Andrea Nguyen...

Meatballs in tomato sauce

Makes about 30 meatballs, enough for 6 sandwiches ■ Takes about 1 and 1/4 hours

This tasty old school sandwich is a conundrum of sorts. It features delicate Viet meatballs called xiu mai, which are inspired by the filling for shu mai dumplings, the wildly popular Cantonese dim sum. The fragrant pork mixture is steamed as spheres, then put into a light tomato sauce bath. (Poaching the meatballs in the tomato sauce is my less fussy approach.) To distribute the meat in the bread and construct a sandwich that holds together, banh mi makers mash the meatballs when stuffing them into baguette.

Yes, a smashed meatball sandwich based on a dumpling is a crazy-delicious banh mi.


1¼ pounds (565 g) ground pork, about 85 percent lean
⅓ cup (2 oz / 60 g) finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup (2.25 oz / 70 g) finely
chopped water chestnuts
2 tablespoons finely
chopped cilantro sprigs or green onion (green part only)
¼ plus ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
About ½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1½ tablespoons regular soy sauce
1½ tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (see page 67)
1 large egg
A 14.5-ounce (410 g) can peeled whole tomatoes in juice (1¾ cups / 420 ml)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup (240 ml) water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup (2 oz / 60 g) chopped shallot
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mashed meatballs banh mi handbook


For the meatballs, in a bowl, combine the pork, onion, water chestnuts, and cilantro, stirring and mashing with a fork. In a smaller bowl, beat together the pepper, salt, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, and egg. Pour over the meat mixture. Use the fork, a spatula, or your hand to vigorously mix into a sticky, compact mixture. Cover and set aside.

Put the canned tomatoes in a bowl and use your hands to break and mash them up; discard any skin or hard stem ends. Add the 1 tablespoon sugar, ketchup, and water. Set aside.

To cook the sauce and fit all the meatballs in one layer, select a big, wide pan, like a 5-quart (5 l) Dutch oven or deep skillet. Heat it over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant and no longer raw smelling. Add the tomato mixture.

Bring to a vigorous simmer. With wet hands, form meatballs the size of ping-pong balls (about 11⁄2 tablespoons each), gently dropping them into the bubbling sauce as you work. You’ll have about 30 meatballs total; toward the end, gently shake the pan or nudge semicooked meatballs to make room for new ones. When done, all of the meatballs should barely be covered in liquid; add water if needed.

Vigorously simmer for 10 to 20 minutes to cook through and reduce the sauce. When done, the meatballs should be about two-thirds covered by sauce; if you coat the back of a spoon and run your finger through the sauce, a line should hold. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. Cool for
about 15 minutes to further concentrate the flavors. Skim the orange oil that gathers at the top or leave it for richness. The warm meatballs are ready for banh mi.


Line the bottom of the bread with some sauce and smear mayo on the top portion; drizzle on a little Maggi, if you want.

Add the meatballs, breaking and mashing them with your fingers or a spoon to distribute well; or mash the meatballs in the sauce before adding them to the bread. Add any of the pickles, cucumber, cilantro, and chile. Eat your Vietnamese meatball sandwich fast or it will get soggy.

To make ahead, cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days; warm the meatballs in a saucepan or microwave oven.

(Reprinted with permission from The Banh MI Handbook by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Food Photography credit: Paige Green © 2014)

DIY Cocktail Inspiration, 'Craft Your Own Bitters' Kit by Brooklyn's Hella Bitter

Looking for a DIY drink project that's less involved than making your own small batch brew or spirit, there's a kit for you.

Brooklyn based Hella Bitter introduced their 'Craft Your Own Bitters Kit' a month ago at Summer Fancy Food Show.


A great gift idea too...

Off to the Islands with Pelau, One Pot Trinidadian Chicken and Rice from 'Caribbean Potluck'

Off to the Islands with Trinidadian Chicken from Caribbean Potluck (Kyle Books, May 2014) by Two Sisters and a Meal Suzanne Rousseau and Michelle Rousseau...

Trinidadian Chicken and Rice (Pelau)

Pelau will always remind us of our time living in Trinidad. This one-pot dish of chicken, rice, pigeon peas, coconut milk and vegetables is so good that you will keep eating it for days after it is made. This recipe calls for the quintessential “green seasoning” that is the basis of all Trini cooking; this amazing seasoning blend can be used as a marinade for many meats and as a flavor enhancer for many dishes.

This delicious recipe comes courtesy of our Trini friend Cree, who has saved our lives
with her incredible pelau on many occasions during Trinidad Carnival, when we roll in exhausted from a night of debaucherous behavior—and one too many glasses of rum. Thanks, Cree.

Serves 12

For the Trini-Style Green Seasoning

4 stalks scallion, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bunches fresh chadon beni (culantro) or cilantro
1 bunch fresh parsley
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Scotch bonnet (optional)
6 pimiento peppers
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ketchup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into parts
2 cups dried pigeon peas
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups canned coconut milk
2 cups parboiled rice, washed and drained
3⁄4 cup chopped onions
1 cup peeled and chopped calabaza pumpkin
1⁄2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 whole Scotch bonnet
1⁄2 cup sliced scallions

Trinidadian Chicken


1 To make the Trini-style green seasoning, puree the scallions, thyme, chadon beni, parsley, garlic, onion, Scotch bonnet, pimiento peppers, vinegar and oil in a blender. Remove to a baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

2 Add the soy sauce, ketchup and 1 tablespoon of the oil to the green seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, add the chicken and set aside while you cook the peas.

3 In a small pot, cover the peas with salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peas are cooked. Drain the peas and reserve the cooking liquid.

4 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a pot on medium heat; when the oil is hot, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the base of the pot. Let the sugar melt and when it starts to bubble, add the chicken and sear it, turning often, until browned and coated with the “burnt” sugar, about
8 minutes. Add the peas and stir. Add 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and the coconut milk and cook for about 30 minutes.

5 Stir in the rice and up to another cup of the reserved cooking liquid as needed and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the onions, pumpkin, carrots and Scotch bonnet. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until much of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Cover
the pot and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, 30 to 40 minutes.

6 Serve garnished with the scallions.

(* Recipe excerpted from Caribbean Potluck by Suzanne Rousseau and Michelle Rousseau -Kyle Books, May 2014- Photography by Ellen Silverman- all rights reserved)