Thursday, April 14, 2011

Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls) w/ Peanut Sauce

Goi cuon (spring rolls) are so light and yummy in my opinion. They are a perfect appetizer and can be served with either peanut sauce or diluted fish sauce (I prefer peanut sauce though). These spring rolls can be made with shrimp and pork, but since tomorrow is Friday and I can't eat meat, I made mine with shrimp only. Another alternative is using thit nuong (bbq char-grilled pork). This is also verrrry yummy!


  • Bun (rice vermicelli)
  • Boiled shrimp (I normally use medium/large sized shrimp and use 3 halves for one roll)
  • Rice paper
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Mint leaves
  • Boiled pork (optional)
  • Chives (optional)

Peanut Sauce (enough for about 18-20 rolls):

  • Peanut butter (I use crunchy)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Siracha (Rooster) sauce
  • Coco Rico (coconut soda)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp potato or corn starch diluted in a small bowl of water (see pic)

Step 1

Boil water to cook your shrimp (and pork, in a separate pot, if you’re using pork). Boil another pot to cook your vermicelli. Follow instructions on vermicelli package. While water is boiling, wash your lettuce and herbs and set aside to dry. When water boils add shrimp and wait for a few minutes until water boils again. Drain shrimp, let cool, peel, and slice in half length-wise. Prepare all ingredients to wrap your rolls.

Step 2 (optional)

If using pork, cook well, drain, let cool, then slice into thin slices about 1/8 in. Set aside.

Step 3 (see pic if you get confused)

Prepare a bowl of warm water and if you have a spring roll tray (pink, see pic) you may want to use it. Dip rice paper into water and gently shake off excess water. Place rice paper on a plate or your spring roll tray. Place 1-2 pieces of lettuce (depends if you like more or less veggies). Place a fair amount of vermicelli on top of your lettuce, then cilantro, then mint (use whatever herbs you like and as much as you like, but don’t overdo it). If using pork, then you would put the slices of pork in now. Then fold the bottom of the rice paper up and in about 1/3 or a little less than half way. Place shrimp outside down so the pretty color shows through your wrapper, then fold the left and right sides in. Place chives and kind of tightly roll your spring roll, but not too tight for it will break the rice paper.

Step 4

If you are anal like me, you may want to individually wrap each roll in plastic (saran) wrap so they will not stick to each other or just place them apart. When I bring them to work I wrap them individually :D

Peanut sauce time (this is what makes the whole dish)… *drumrolls*

In a small pot, add 1 tsp oil and sautee on medium heat your minced garlic for about 30 sec. to 1 minute. Then add half a can of Coco Rico (6 oz.). Then add 2-3 Tbsp each of hoisin sauce and peanut butter (I use the crunchy kind because it has little pieces of peanuts in it). Mix well, taste (it should be a little salty and a little sweet), when it is to your taste bring to a slight boil and turn heat down to low. Take your starch water and slowly add teaspoons of it to your sauce while stirring moderately (2 tsp of starch water usually thickens it enough). If it becomes too thick, you can always adjust it with the Coco Rico ;)

If you like a little spice squirt a little Siracha (Rooster) sauce (1-2 tsp depending on how hot you like it) into the peanut sauce and slowly mix. Turn off heat and avoid stirring the sauce too much for it will lose its thickness. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve with your spring rolls. Good luck and enjoy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ca Nhoi Thit Cua (Crab Stuffed Flounder)

Last week I was feeling a little adventurous and came up with this recipe for Crab Stuffed Flounder, my dish for Lent. I let my parents try it and they loved it! They even asked me to make some more for them this week, since tomorrow is no meat Friday ;) I served my fish with white rice, but this can be served as an appetizer or even a main dish with a side of steamed or pan seared asparagus. Yum! This recipe makes sixteen 1 ½ - 2 inch fish rolls.


  • 8 filets of Flounder (I used frozen Flounder that I got from Sam’s Club 3 lbs. for $11 and I only used about 1/3 of the bag, you can substitute Talapia if desired, just make sure the filets aren’t too thick)
  • 1 cup lump crab meat
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ onion, finely diced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 shallots, minced
  • 4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp lime or lemon juice
  • ½ tsp garlic salt (or just a pinch)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 2 Tbsp sliced scallions (green onion)
  • 8 toothpicks, broken in half
  • (Optional) ¼ Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
  • (Optional) Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Spicy Mayo Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Siracha (Rooster Sauce), use less if you don’t like spicy
  • ½ tsp sugar

*Mix well and put in sandwich bag or squeeze bottle

Step 1

Thaw and clean fish, then cut in half length wise. Lightly sprinkle Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning on both sides of fish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

In a medium sized bowl, mix together crab meat, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, shallots, onion, bread crumbs, sugar, garlic salt, black pepper, cilantro, bell pepper (optional) and a pinch of paprika (optional).

Step 3

Prepare baking tray (if you want easy clean up, line your tray with foil) and liberally spray Pam (non stick cooking spray) to ensure fish doesn’t stick to the tray. Place your fish in a standing position and make it into a roll (see pic). Then gently fill with crab stuffing while gently pushing down. Then gently secure your fish roll with ½ of the toothpick (see pic). Place each finished roll onto your baking tray.

Step 4

When finished placing all of your rolls, drizzle a little bit of spicy mayo on top. Bake in center rack for 15 minutes. Then carefully move your baking tray to your oven top and drizzle a little bit more of spicy mayo on top. Then carefully place some scallions on top and return to oven and bake for an additional 3 minutes, just until the scallions give off their scrumptious aroma.

Step 5

Carefully remove baking tray from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, prepare your plate. Drizzle some spicy mayo on your plate in any pattern you want. Then remove the toothpicks from your rolls and plate them. Enjoy as appetizer or with white rice.