Asian Flavors

Vietnamese Steak Wraps
Sirloin steak, about 3-4 oz per person
Flour tortillas
Lime Juice from 1/2 a lime
Garlic - a large clove minced
Fish sauce - 1 tsp
Lemon Grass, chopped - about a Tbsp
Fresh cracked pepper - a pinch
1 tsp vegetable oil

Shredded romaine lettuce
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Crushed peanuts
Nuoc Cham sauce (recipe below)

Nuoc Cham Sauce:
Fish sauce - 2 Tbsp
Lime Juice from 1/2 of a lime
Rice Vinegar - 3 Tbsp
Garlic - 1 clove minced
Ginger - 1 tsp minced
Sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp
Carrot, 1 Tbsp finely grated
Hot Water, 1- 2 Tbsp
Sambal Oelek (chilli paste) 1 tsp or more if you like it really hot. Or use chopped, fresh chillies, such as Serrano.
Mix sugar in hot water until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients in a covered jar. Shake to mix. Refrigerate until needed.

Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over steaks in a non metal bowl or plate. Marinate the steak in marinade while you prepare the rest of the meal. Do not marinade for more than an hour or the steak will taste too strongly of lime. You just want a hint of the citrus acidity. 
Sear on both sides over medium high heat. It should be about medium rare. Let rest about 5 minutes before slicing into strips.
Warm tortillas in a dry pan on medium low (or use microwave, about 10 seconds) until warm. Arrange beef slices in the center of the tortilla. Top with lettuce, cilantro, red onion and Nuoc Cham sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and devour!

Vietnamese Curried Kebabs

8oz ground lean beef or sirloin
8oz ground pork
1 egg
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped red onion or sweet onion such as Vidalia or Peruvian
2 teaspoons lemon grass, finely chopped (I buy it in a jar as a speciality shop)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
 2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 Tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 tsp Indian curry powder
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons minced  fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1-2 teaspoons Sambal chillie paste or 2-3 minced chillies such as Serrano
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 of a lime, juiced

Mix together bread crumbs, eggs and coconut milk. Add remaining ingredients and form into patties or meat balls. Thread on a skewer if desired and grill. Or, bake or broil until done. You can also pan fry them as patties like a slider burger. Do not over cook. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the top.

Serve with a veggie noodle salad with peanut sauce or in a wrap garnished with lettuce, fresh cilantro, cucumbers, and bean sprouts. Drizzle with Nuoc Cham or peanut sauce.

Lamb Curry - serves 4

1 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder or leg cut into  2 inch cubes
1 large onion, Vidalia or Peruvian sliced.
2-3 Serrano chillies seeded and sliced
2 inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
3 large cloves of garlic or 4-5 small ones minced
1 Tbsp Indian Curry powder, plus 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 bay leaf
1 15 ounce can petite cut tomatoes
5-6 Cardamon seeds
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, about 1/2 tsp or to taste
3/4 - 1 cup of water
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
Vegetable oil for sauteing

Sprinkle lamb cubes with 1/2 tsp of curry powder. Set aside.
Saute onions in a little oil until soft. Add ginger, garlic, cardamom seeds and Serrano pepper. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp curry powder and saute a minute more. Push onion mixture to one side of the pan. Add about 1 tbsp oil and add lamb pieces. Lightly brown lamb then mix with onion mixture. Add salt, bay leaf, tomatoes, garam masala and 1/2 cup water. Mix well and lower heat and let simmer until lamb is tender, about 20 minutes. Watch pan and add more water from time to time. Liquid should be about the consistency of a thin gravy. When done, remove bay leaf and cardamom seeds. Off heat and mix in fresh cilantro.  Serve with basmati rice and raita.

Raita (yogurt dressing)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin power
1/2 cup chopped cucumber, seeded
1 plum tomato chopped
pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients. Serve with curry and rice.

Singapore Noodles

Vermicelli Asian rice noodles, I used two dry squares which is how they come from my Asian grocery story.
Or use thin spegetti  and cook al dente according to package directions.
Chopped cooked chicken
Chopped barbecued pork ( I had left over ribs from lunch at a local Barbeque's place.)
Chopped  raw shrimp ( marinated in a little fish sauce, and sambal)
Tofu, cut into slices and marinated in a little fish sauce, sambal and a pinch of sugar
Sliced onions
Sliced celery
Sliced bell peppers, I used red and green mixed
Shredded romaine lettuce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced fresh or jarred ginger
Oil for sauteing, about 2 Tbsp
1 lime (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste.

1 cup broth or water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Indian Curry powder
1/4 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tsp Sambal Oelek (Chili  paste) or to taste (it's very hot.)
1/4 tsp fish sauce

Soak rice noodles in hot water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside, leaving a bit of the water with the noodles so they don't stick together.
Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Saute tofu over medium heat in a small amount of oil until browned. Add onions, celery and bell peppers. Saute until limp, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and let cook about a minute. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Add chicken and pork and toss to combine. Shove everything over to the side of the pan and add raw shrimp to pan. Cook about two minutes until barely cooked through. Add romaine lettuce and noodles and sauce. Toss to evenly distribute sauce. Adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper as needed. Serve in shallow bowls with a wedge of lime to squeeze on top.
Tropical Fish Cakes with Avocado/Papaya relish.

Inspired by my love of Thai food and locally grown ingredients from my home town of Miami, these cakes are a combination of fish and crab cakes, served with a spicy tropical relish of avocado and papaya.

Fish-crab Cakes
Make 8 cakes.
2- 6 ounce cans of crab meat or 1/2 lb fresh crab meat picked over for shells.
1/2 lb mild white, Atlantic fish such as Mahi Mahi or Snapper
3/4 tsp Thai style red curry paste
3 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1/2 cup unseasoned fresh bread crumbs
1 egg + 1 egg white beaten together
1 tbsp chopped kaffir lime leaves (available jarred in speciality shops) or 1/4 tsp grated lime zest.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground preferred
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 medium sized red onion, cut into small dice
1/2 red bell pepper cut into a small dice

Sprinkle half the salt and pepper over the fish fillets and cook in a non stick skillet in 1 tsp of olive oil. Depending on the thickness of the filets, limit cooking time to 3-4 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Put cooked fish filets in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Saute ginger, garlic, onion and red bell pepper in remaining oil until soft. Add to fish. Drain crab mixture (if using canned) until fairly dry, squeezing out the excess moisture. Add crab to fish and mix well, leaving a few chucks of fish and crab.

Mix red curry paste, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lime leaves or zest, and mix until well combined. Add to fish and crab mixture, along with bread crumbs and eggs. Mix throughly and form into patties a little smaller than an average hamburger. You should have eight cakes total. Cover and refrigerate while you make the relish. Pan fry the cakes on medium heat in olive oil until golden using a non stick pan. Fry in two batches, using 1 Tbsp of olive oil for each batch. Serve over bed of shreded iceburg lettuce with the Avocado relish on the side.

Avocado/Papaya Relish
1/2 head of iceburg lettuce, shreded
1 Haas avocado or 1/2 Florida (large variety) avocado
1 cup papaya cut into small dice
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 Tbsp Asian Fish sauce
1 Lime, juiced
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp or more of Sambal chilli paste (Optional)
Make dressing: In a medium size bowl mix together the chopped cilantro, Thai sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, and salt.  Add Sambal if you like it really spicy and hot. Set aside.

Add the papaya and avocado to the remaining dressing. Mix to cover with dressing. Refrigerate until searving time.

To serve: Arrange fish cakes on top of shredded lettuce Serve with Avocado-Papaya relish on the side. A side dish of baked or roasted sweet potatoes make a great accompaniment.

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