“Cook mindfully. It will improve your brain, your body, your bank account, your sense of self, your happiness and your range of options in life.”
What do you call a fake noodle??? An impasta
After a busy day of shopping at the Asian store to replenish several items in the pantry I moved on to beginning my ramen broth project and to make Vietnamese pork patties for dinner and several more to keep on hand in the freezer for quick lunches or dinners. So now I have about 5-6 quarts of ramen broth and plenty of Asian style pork patties for future lunches and dinners.
To finish off a nice chunk of good deboned and trimmed pork butt and the rest of the dipping sauce from tataki night, I ground the pork and seasoned it with some basic Vietnamese flavors and went on to create a dipping sauce to add to what was leftover. Clean and dry Boston lettuce leaves, fresh basil, mint, julienned carrots and cucumbers were the other additions to the “salad” platter.
While I was waiting to grill the patties, I tossed a few clams on the grill and once they were open I drizzled a little of the dipping sauce over them for an easy appetizer…very nice.
I put together my own dipping sauce, but there are several to be found online and a link to for a basic sauce from Epicurious is below and many Asian stores carry premade ones, but I prefer the freshly made sauce.
3 Thai bird chilies or 1 Serrano chili, or to taste
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons sugar or agave syrup
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded carrots for garnish (optional) I had enough julienned carrot so I didn’t add any to the sauce
- * Optional chopped green onions
Cut the chilies into thin rings. Remove one-third of the chilies and set aside for garnish. Place the remaining chilies, garlic and sugar in a mortar, and pound into a coarse, wet paste. (If you don’t have a mortar, just chop with a knife.) Transfer to a small bowl and add the water, lime juice and fish sauce. Stir well to dissolve. Add the reserved chilies and carrots. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: Nuoc cham is very amenable to variations and adaptations. In Vietnam, cooks like to use various vegetables to flavor the sauce, such as thinly sliced marinated daikon and carrots, ginger, scallion oil or peanuts and even slices of kohlrabi and the core of a white cabbage. Each imparts a distinctive “savoriness”.