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Feb 1, 2007 01:32 PM

Hot Sour Salty Sweet: snacks and street food/ sweets and drinks

February 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on snacks and street food and on sweets and drinks here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating.

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  1. Avocado Shake (variation of Classic Banana Shake from Thailand, on p. 303).

    Delicious! I had a perfectly ripe avocado in much better condition than a couple of bruised bananas. The ratio I used was one avocado to 5-6 large ice cubes, didn't have whole milk so I used a cup of light cream, and sugar and sweetened condensed milk to taste - probably a couple tb of sugar, and maybe 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk. The pinch of salt suggested is key also, otherwise it tasted a bit flat. The recipe emphasizes the technique of really processing the ice in the blender so there is no graininess. I put all the ingredients into the blender, started slow, and then increased the speed until you could no longer hear ice. It was fantastic - a beautiful pale green, slightly sweet, velvety smooth, thick, and creamy. As mentioned in the recipe, it's really filling; it made a nice lunch for me today.

    5 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        Classic Banana Shake (Thailand) p. 303.

        Not only another delicious shake, but easy too. This time I blended three bananas, two cups of ice, a cup of milk, and about 2 Tb sweetened condensed milk.

        1. re: Rubee

          (was going through the book and these threads to review favorite recipes for something to make this weekend - realized all the pics are gone so re-posting)

          Avocado and banana shakes:

          1. re: Rubee

            I'm going to have to try the avocado shake, thanks for bumping this Rubee.

            What's up with the photos? Do they expire after a certain period of time or something?


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Chow did an update around that time I think and lot of pics were deleted. I just checked and noticed all of my Zuni, and some Leite's Culinaria and Arabesque pics are gone too.

              The avocado shake is really good! In fact, it's one of the things I'm going to make this weekend.

      2. I really want to try and make the vietnamese spring rolls but am a little afraid. Has anyone tried these or a similar recipe?

        2 Replies
        1. re: daily_unadventures

          I haven't, but plan to this weekend. I've actually never made spring rolls since my family keeps me supplied! I'm a bit apprehensive too, and nervous about rolling them tight enough and not having them fall apart. I'll report back.

        2. Coconut Milk Sticky Rice with Mangoes (khao neeeo mamung - Thailand), p. 297

          Great way to use leftover sticky rice (from dinner with Fried Beef Jerky - p. 218). I warmed a can of coconut milk along with salt and some palm sugar. Added one cup of the coconut cream to some cold leftover sticky rice (3-4 cups), and let it sit for about an hour. Served with some fresh sliced mangoes. Finished it off by spooning some of the remaining coconut milk over the rice and sprinkling with sesame seeds. My first time making this classic Thai dessert - easy and delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. Classic Vietnamese Spring Rolls (cha gio - Vietnam), p. 275

            Having never made these before, it was easier than I thought. I had planned on making them for dinner Sunday night, so made the filling yesterday afternoon. Ended up rolling and cooking them for dinner Monday, and the filling didn't suffer at all from keeping it overnight in the refrigerator. The filling was relatively easy. Finely chop or mince some raw shrimp, shallots, garlic, and carrot (I used a few pulses in a food processor ). Mix with ground pork, black pepper, and fish sauce. Soaked bean thread or cellophane noodles are cut into 2-inch lengths and added. I used 8-inch round rice paper wrappers which were soaked briefly in warm water until pliable. Filling and rolling was not too difficult, even if they weren't perfect, and it went pretty quickly. Ha - for novices like me, here are some handy diagrams in this blog's "Cha Gio for Dummies":


            Fried them in hot oil and drained them on paper bags so they wouldn't get soggy. They really didn't get golden brown, just darker. My favorite recipe so far. E ate his just dipped in nuoc cham. I liked mine wrapped in Boston lettuce with noodles, chopped scallions and cilantro, and sliced cucumber. Great dinner!

            11 Replies
            1. re: Rubee

              Awesome! Thanks for the report, I am super excited to try this! Are those your pictures? They look really good :)


              1. re: daily_unadventures

                Thanks! For lunch, I re-fried the leftovers in some hot oil for about 2-3 minutes, and they reheated fine. They got a bit blotchy, but were even crispier.

                1. re: Rubee

                  once fried, they crisp up very well in a toaster oven
                  my mom fries, freezes, then reheats in oven

                  I am a little shocked you found these intimidating, Rubee! Glad it all worked out...

                  1. re: pitu

                    Thanks, good to know. I reheat my aunt's spring rolls (wheat wrappers) in the oven, and was wondering about that.

                    Ha. I think I was intimidated about making these, viewing it as one of those family generation recipes!

              2. re: Rubee

                After lots of searching, I finally found Rose brand, wedge-shaped rice papers and used them to make the Classic Vietnamese Spring Rolls. I’d made the Shrimp and Crab Rolls in ItVK with some other brand of 8-inch papers and like these smaller ones—and the Rose brand—much better. I found the wedge-shaped papers even easier to work with (or, perhaps it was just that I’d done it before) and liked the smaller roll, too. And the Rose brand papers fried up crispier than my others did (or that might just have been a question of experience, too).

                I had two problems with these. Not one, and I mean not a single one, could I turn over to cook the other side. So despite trying to hold them under the oil and trying to spoon hot oil over them, they ended up well done on one side and pale on the other. And I had difficulty getting them all done to the same degree. Some were outstandingly crispy, but a bit overcooked; others seemed just the right amount of doneness (is that a word?), but weren’t as crispy.

                I liked the flavor of these very much. I just wish to hell I could figure out how to make them look as good as they taste. Speaking of which, I am totally convinced that the photo in the book is faked. No way they could have gotten them that perfectly even, perfectly golden color following the directions as written.

                1. re: JoanN

                  You've totally peaked my curiosity on the frying thing -- I recall getting two sides browned fine, with a little more hit and miss on the remaining two sides. But it's been a few years since I've made spring rolls from scratch (always been able to rely on my mom's and the frozen ones from HK Market - bright orange and yellow wrapper, frozen section) The raw frozen ones fry up pretty evenly. I shallow fry (not immersed in oil)

                  1. re: pitu

                    Not sure when I'll get around to it, but on my next attempt I will definitely try shallow frying. I'm hoping that that will allow me not only to turn them to try to get them evenly browned all over, but that it will keep them from "migrating" into each other and having them get stuck together. The only way I was able to keep them from sticking to each other (and when I tried to pull them apart gently at least one of them would rip open) was to fry them one by one until each one was cooked just enough to keep the wrappers from sticking to each other. That was one of the reasons my rolls were so unevenly cooked. Maybe I'll try freezing them before frying them, too, and see if that helps.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      No need to freeze before frying, I'm sure. I grew up making these things with my mom -- we'd do a big batch, fry, and freeze in smaller packets. Sticking together is a problem if you crowd the pan...but one at a time? When you shallow fry, they stay put.

                      1. re: pitu

                        Definitely not a crowding the pan problem. I only had maybe five six in my wok at a time. But they wouldn't stay put. They'd sort of roll toward each other. I'm sure at least part of the reason for that is that my stovetop isn't exactly level.
                        Definitely trying shallow fry next time. And good to know I don't need to experiment with freezing them first. Thanks.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          ah - important detail --> we use a flat bottom cast iron frying pan.
                          It totally did not occur to me that you were using a wok.

                2. re: Rubee

                  (reviewing this thread to make something this week; noticed original pics gone so re-posting)

                3. Banh mi (Saigon Sandwiches - Vietnam), p. 287

                  I had previously sealed leftover Vietnamese Cinnamon Pate or cha que (p. 259) and oven-dried marinated beef or neua kaem (p. 218) with a FoodSaver vaccuum, so when I saw some great banh mi rolls in Chinatown, I knew what I was going to make for dinner this weekend. The meat froze really well - I took them out of the freezer Saturday night, and yesterday made these sandwiches for dinner . I crisped up the beef in some hot oil, and then made two types of sandwiches. I toasted the rolls in the oven, and then followed her suggestions - butter, mayo (I used Kewpie Japanese mayo), slices of the pate, meat (the beef on one, and roast duck I had picked up in Chinatown on the other), pickled carrot salad (p. 85), and fresh cilantro. I also drizzled some nuoc cham, and slices of pickled chiles I keep in the fridge (a "Pleasures fromn the Vietnamese Table" recipe). Wow were these good. I love banh mi anyway, but I could have eaten 10 of these! The bread was perfect - slightly chewy but crackly crispy on the outside, and the layers of flavors were just delicious. I love that I can make some of the components ahead of time and freeze.

                  Beef and pate banh mi:

                  With duck:

                  Previous links to beef, and cha que recipes:

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    Re-posting full-size pics:

                    Beef and Vietnamese pate banh mi, and duck banh mi:

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Made duck banh mi again this week with roasted duck from Hope Kee, a Hong Kong-style restaurant with BBQ counter inside Lee Lee's (10.95 half, 17.95 whole). Duck, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, fresh sliced chiles, and Kewpie mayo drizzled with nuo cham.