3 articles Articles posted in shrimp

Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp and Pork Belly (Goi Du Du)

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This green papaya salad is a great warm-weather dish with its crunchy, cool papaya, plenty of fresh herbs, shrimp, and pork. In fact, the first time I had this dish was at a quiet, riverside hut with my cousin in Vietnam. We were at a daytime retreat center just about a half hour outside of the city. Each hut came with a beautiful view, a table, chairs, and the best part, hammocks! They had a full menu, so you could order everything from an entire hotpot meal to fresh coconut waters. We picked a few things off the menu and spent the day lounging and relaxing by the water. All the makings of a perfect, lazy summer afternoon.

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My mom and I set out to recreate this simple dish back at her home in Portland, Oregon. It doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, so it was a cinch to put together. The only thing you may need to hunt down is a green papaya. These should be available at any Southeast Asian supermarket or even at a Chinese grocery store. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some shrimp chips too. I prefer the long, rectangular ones that my mom brings back for me from Vietnam (for maximum load), but you can use the little, round ones that are available at any Asian grocery store too.

_MG_0884 copyVietnamese Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp and Pork Belly
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer, 4 as a light meal

1 large green papaya, shredded (about 6-8 cups)
1 bunch thai basil
1 bunch mint leaves
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 /2 lb. medium or large shrimp
1/2 lb. pork belly
nuoc cham dressing
crushed peanuts
fried shallots
shrimp chips

1. Wash and peel the papaya with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half and remove the seeds inside. Julienne the papaya with a knife, or use a mandoline or julienne peeler to get thin strips. I find that the julienne peeler is the best tool for this job since it is quick, easy, and produces the perfect thin-yet–still-wide-enough-to-be-crunchy papaya strips.

2. Boil the shrimp for a minute or two until just cooked.  After the shrimp have cooled, lay them flat and slice through them horizontally (butterfly them). This should produce two pieces of shrimp that make for a more attractive salad and an easier bite to eat!

3. Steam the pork belly in a small pot with about 1/2″ inch of water or in a steamer until just cooked. Let it cool and then slice thinly.

4. Wash and dry the thai basil, mint, and cilantro. Next, you’re going to chiffonade all the herbs by picking off all the leaves, stacking them, rolling them up, and slicing into thin strips.

5. Time to fry those shrimp chips! See directions here for frying.

6. Finally, assemble the papaya, herbs, shrimp, and pork together. You can either mix them up or layer them like I did for a more attractive presentation. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts and fried shallots (I forgot them in these pics) on top and serve with nuoc cham dressing. You can always dress the salad and mix it all up for your guests, but you’ll have to finish the whole salad in one sitting. If you think you’ll have leftovers, I’d suggest serving the dressing on the side.

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Shrimp Story

* Shrimp were indeed sacrificed in the making of this post. Shrimp bought from Wing’s Food Market in Portland. Cooked hotpot-style and served with sesame soy sauce. 


Vietnamese Sugarcane Shrimp (Chao Tom)

Whenever we go to Vietnamese restaurants, this is one of my Dad’s favorite dishes to order. He doesn’t make it too often at home, and I think part of it has to do with the lack of fresh sugarcane in the grocery stores. Granted, you could probably make it without the sugarcane or even substitute it with something else, but I think munching on the sweet sugarcane at the end is my favorite part of the meal (and his too, I like to think)!

Well, after chopping up my own stalk of sugarcane, I did in fact have fresh sugarcane for this recipe. If it’s not available in your area, you can always used canned sugarcane too.

Vietnamese Sugarcane Shrimp (Chao Tom)
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 for appetizer (accompanied with rice paper and all the fixings)

Instead of chopping the shrimp by hand, you can also use a food processor to make the whole process faster. Even if you use a food processor though, take it out at the end and whack it in a bowl a few times to help make the mixture more springy.

1 lb. shrimp
3 slices bacon, fat only
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 beaten egg white
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
dash of white pepper

1. Remove the fat from the bacon. Set aside the meat for another use. Mince and save the fat for the shrimp mixture.

2. Chop up the shrimp and keep chopping until the mixture turns into a smooth paste. This is usually done with a butcher knife and at the point where your chopping is no longer doing any good, use the flat side of the knife to mash the shrimp a few times.

3. Add in the garlic, corn starch, fish sauce, oil, salt, sugar, pepper, and bacon fat. Beat the egg white until frothy and add that in as well. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Pick up the whole mixture in your hand and throw it back into the bowl with a forceful motion several times. This helps add springiness to the mixture.

4. Pound the sugarcane sticks with the flat end of your knife a few times to help the sticks release their juices.

5. Separate your shrimp paste mixture into 12 sections. Grab one section and form an oblong ball with it. Place the sugarcane stick in the center. Press it into the ball and enclose the sugarcane with the mixture. Reform it into a smooth football shape.

6. Place the shrimp sticks into a steamer and steam for 8-10 minutes, until the shrimp turns opaque.

7. Meanwhile, heat up a small amount of oil in a pan. When shrimp is done being steamed, you can dry them off and fry them lightly in the oil to brown the outside.

8. Serve with lettuce, Vietnamese herbs, rice paper, rice noodles, and nuoc cham dipping sauce. For wraps, you can cut the shrimp balls into quarters so they lie nicely in the rice paper.