This dish has been a favorite of our dinner guests for a couple of years. The combination of mellow smokey gingery twang tasting fresh grilled salmon, and the hot but not too zing of the red curry noodles… is devine!
This dish is relatively easy to cook…. mostly a matter of timing. You will need to prep your Chaing Mai noodles ingredients, soak your cedar planks ( I like a 24 hour soak), and marinate your salmon in advance.
Once you start your grilling, and put your Chaing Mai noodle dish together… you are ready to feast.
Here we go…
I buy my cedar plank from Lowes… 1 x 8 inch untreated boards by 8 feet long. I cut them into about 9 inch lengths. There are companies that sell cedar planks for cooking… but at $10 or more a piece, it doesn’t make sense to buy them.
I get appx. 9-10 planks for cooking for about $18 at Lowes. Here is a link to the Lowes cedar board you want.
Cedar Boards You can cut this soft wood with any hand saw.
Do soak the boards for 24 hours if possible. Weigh down the planks with a water bucket or some such in the sink, so that they will soak all over. Otherwise you may need to turn the boards over every so often. Soaking for 24 hours will increase the subtle cedar smokey taste, and keep your boards from catching fire on your grill a bit better. As a final cedar plank note… have a clean water sprayer on hand for grilling time. You’ll want to put out fires when/if the wood catches fire. The burning wood can add a bitterness to the salmon if left unchecked.
Find the freshest salmon you can… It should not smell fishy… you should be able to slice off a piece fresh and eat it raw.
I cut my salmon into portions for two people, so that I can place this smallish piece of fish on a manageable cedar plank size. You will want to be able to move planks around to hotter cooler places on your grill.
The only ingredients you will need for the salmon are the salmon, the cedar planks, julienned (match stick cut) fresh ginger, and Soy Vay Veri-Veri Teriyaki.
To marinate the salmon:
Cut your salmon to manageable grilling sizes for you.
Place salmon skin side down on a large platter.
Top salmon pieces with thinly cut fresh ginger appx. one tablespoon or to your taste. The ginger while strong and hot tasting fresh, will mellow out in the cooking.
Now drizzle the salmon liberally with the Soy Vay Teriyaki. Do save some of the Soy Vay for the possibility of a final drizzle while in the late stages of grilling.
Put the salmon in the refrigerator until 30 minutes or so before you are ready to grill.
You can marinate the salmon for hours or much less… it will still be tasty.
Ingredients for the Chaing Mai Noodles:
1 pound of Hokkien Noodles (available at asian grocery stores)
I actually use Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, available at my local Ingles supermarket (in the pasta section).
3 small red shallots diced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped.
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper.
1 table spoon Red Thai curry paste, available at asian grocery stores.
1 large carrot remove skin, and julienne into thin strips.
1 1/2 cups of fresh cilantro leaves, washed and de-stemmed.
2 table spoons of a good vietnamese fish sauce. ( available in the international section of some stores or an Asian grocery store. I use 3 Crabs Brand Fish Sauce.
1 tablespoon brown sugar.
3 scallions, remove the root end, cut scallion to 1 inch lengths and quarter these pieces along their length.
All the prep work is done prior to grilling the salmon .
All of the Chaing Mai noodle ingredients should be prepped ahead of time in separate bowls and refrigerated.
I cook my Tinkyada rice pasta beforehand for about 13-14 minutes until al dente, then rinse them with cold water to stop there cooking. They can be set aside… and will be reheated into the dish while it cooks. If you cook the pasta too long it will start to break apart… it will still taste good, but look less appealing.
Once the salmon is done and resting… the noodle dish only takes 3-4 minutes to put together.
Fire up your grill to medium high heat, if you have a large grill, have a lower heat available area if you need to slow down the cooking.
Use a spatula to place your marinated room temperature salmon pieces skin side down onto your cedar planks.
Try not to douse the plank with too more teriyaki sauce near the edges… it will burn rather quickly.
Do have a glass of water or a sprayer to put out large wood flames.
Cook the salmon on medium high heat to your desired doneness.
If you bought nice fresh fish, YOU COULD HAVE EATEN IT RAW…. so badly over cooking it should be avoided!Keep in mind, the fish will keep on cooking while resting, so take it off the grill before you feel they are actually done…
I like a medium- medium rare doneness…
The cedar plank will extend your cooking time to approximately double that time which you’d grill the piece of fish without the plank. Mind your plank fires… check your salmon doneness by using your spatula as a knife edge in between the flesh grain. Obviously the thicker portions of fish take longer than thinner ones. Remove thinner (done ) salmon pieces from grill and put on a clean platter to rest (cover with foil).
Place your slightly under done salmon on a platter and cover with foil, set aside.
Time to put the noodles together.
You will need a large wok style pan, or large saute pan for the noodle dish.
Add appx. 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan over medium high heat.
Add the diced shallots, cook for 1 minute or less.
Add the garlic… 1 minute or less (do not toast garlic)
Add the diced red pepper and carrots, stir constantly for 2 minutes or so.
Now add your red curry paste to the mix…. you may have to push it around in the pan to get it to blend in.
Add your fish sauce, brown sugar, and scallions to the mixture, let cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
Time to add your pre cooked Tinkyada rice pasta, and to the dish.
Toss all of the ingredients to coat the noodles, less heat up for 1 minute.
You can add a small amount of chicken stock, or water if you’d like to moisten the dish.
Serve your noodle dish on separate plates or into a large serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro leaves.
Serve your salmon onto plates or a serving platter on the table….
You add a green element to the dinner by making an Asian inspired salad side.
Here is a edamame salad recipe that may be a nice addition to this meal.
I would avoid a ginger based salad dressing as it may compete with the salmon dish.
I think you will enjoy this meal… knock yourself out!
PS I will try to add pictures when I cook this again …soon!
March 19, 2013
Stumbled my way into a very successful “refridgerator” left over soup.
It ends up with a aromatic cilantro and green curry lime zing, a dash of sweet (carrot and brown sugar) and rice vinegar/fish sauce tang.
Here are the ingredients:
64 oz of a low sodium chicken stock (organic preferred).
1/2 of a left over roasted organic chicken torn into bites. (You can cheat and use store bought roasted whole chicken)
1 medium zuchini julienned.
1/2 red bell pepper julienned
1 carrot julienned
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2-3 green onions cut into 2 inch lengths then stripped length wise.
Lime wedges for garnish in each bowl.
1 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice.
Hand full of fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar.
1 TBSP Vietnamese fish sauce. (found at asian grocery stores)
1 TBSP rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 cup coconut water.
1 TBSP Pantai Green Curry paste (found at asian grocery stores)
3 TBSP of vegetable oil
Prepare all of the julienned ingredients, set aside.
Slice the green onions.
Prepare the chicken to bite size, set aside.
In a large, heavy bottomed pan…
Add the vegetable oil bring to medium heat.
Add zuchini, carrot, red bell pepper, and garlic.
Saute for 3 minutes stirring well.
Add green onion, curry paste.
Stir for another 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock, coconut water, fish sauce, and brown sugar.
Let cook for 2 minutes.
Add precooked rice.
Add rice vinegar.
Cook another minute.
Taste broth for curry content… add more if your taste for it says so.
Serve into bowls.
Add a squeeze of fresh lime and generous dash of fresh cilantro in each bowl.
You can substitute the chicken for mild fish/pork/beef/ or tofu.
Just adjust WHEN you’d put it into the soup mix, so as not to over cook it.
July 3, 2012
So…. We had some ground lamb in the freezer.
We are making a Greek chicken dinner tomorrow for quests, so our challenge is…. Do something other than Greek flavorings with lamb tonight!
It’s not an easy task… Rosemary, garlic, olive oil and grilled lamb go so well together!
I went on the Epicurious website, my go to source for online recipes.
I searched for Asian lamb dishes ( I knew I would find a lot of Indian lamb dishes) but I was looking for a one dish Asian meal…
What I decided to make was Stir Fried Noodles with Singapore Lamb Curry.
Please go to the Epicurious recipe link above if you are interested in the recipe… it is very worth the endeavour.. I would make it again and make it for guests!
The preparation was just as intensive as many Asian dishes are.
Hopefully you have a very sharp knife, magic fingers, and a collection of prep bowls, you will need them all!
Here is what the line up looks like before the conflagration begins.
Marie and I doubled the recipe. (we were hoping we’d like the leftovers)
You can’t always expect a recipe to be something you’d make again. (I.E. taste good)
This one… to our tastes, was very worth the effort.
If your palate is more “Gringo”, or you are cooking for milder tastes, you will have to back off some of the heat intensities here.
The ginger content , the hot chile garlic sauce ( I substituted Sriracha and fresh garlic).
We ended up loving the dish but it was very intense with ginger, jalapeno, and Sriracha.
Otherwise the dish had a lovely lamby complexity along with the aromatic and spicy Asian twinges.
Last but not least…. the noodles you use are important to the dish! (cook them “al dente”, then stop that cooking with a cold water rinse, because they will cook further when you reintroduce them in the dish!)
You can find soba noodles at the international section of your grocery store.
With all of the focus on gluten free products…. Look for rice bran noodles in the pasta section of you grocery store.
We used Tinkyada Pasta Joy Rice bran pasta.
Doubling the recipe we are insured good left overs for days.
As anyone who cooks knows… leftovers either get better with time, or taste better because you didn’t have to do the prep the second time around!
Here’s what the dish looks like before serving.
Straight up, here is the Wikipedia description of what Pho is…
If you have never tried Vietnamese Pho soup (pronounced “fuh” in Vietnam) then you have never lived!
Pho bo is Vietnamese beef soup, Pho ga is chicken soup.
I’m just a gringo… I’m going to let you know about how I recreate Pho Bo at home.
The Vietnamese people are very traditional, very hard working, and would be possibly offended by my western (quickest way to satisfaction) method of recreating their national dish. All I can say is that I love everything I tasted in their country… And I am trying to spread the gospel of Vietnamese food glory.
With that caveat…
Pho is a wonderfully sublime beef stock based soup with a lovely twinge of toasted anise, clove,cinnamon, and other aromatic herbs and spices.
The addition of fish sauce is very Vietnamese, pungent, yet falling into a sublime and exotic place in this fantastic tangy soup dish.
Pho is typically eaten at breakfast… or whenever you want more Pho!
Pho is all about the stock. You can then make it hotter with added chiles. More aromatic with added cilantro. Or tangy-er with added lime… your choice of garnishes, very personal to your bowl.
I started my Vietnamese cooking education from Luke Nguyen’s (Red Lantern of Sydney Australia) book “My Vietnam Stories and Recipes“.
I took Luke’s Pho Bo recipe and made it a 1 hour total turn around delicacy…
As I say… this is probably blasphemy… but it still tastes very good!
Here we go…
Here’s a picture of a very good start to a Pho stock.
What you see here is one onion, one head of garlic, one good chunk of ginger charred blacken on a propane grill.
What you see toasted (just until aromatic) in the pan is one tablespoon black peppercorns, 6 star anise, 7 wholes cloves, and 2 inches of stick cinnamon. The blackened onions, garlic, and ginger get skinned, and large cut into chunks.
The toasted spices are cooled, then ground in a coffee grinder (or such), then wrapped up in a cheese cloth bag (for steeping in the broth).
Ok, so now we have most of the flavorings of the stock.
You could now make beef stock from scratch… or be lazy like me and pour 96 ounces of organic beef stock into a stock pot.
So we have a stock pot ready to go… drop in your cheese cloth spice bag suitably tied up so that it wont leak powdered spices into the soup…. also, add the blackened skinned and diced onions ,garlic, and ginger chunks to the stock.
Heat the stock to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes.
At 30 minutes in… you should add 2 ounces of Vietnamese fish sauce, and one and one half teaspoons of brown sugar.
Believe it or not we are almost done!
If you want protein in the soup. Pho Bo is traditionally made with thinly sliced raw beef (cooked by the boiling hot broth). You can add all sorts of things… But you’ll have to cook some of them in advance… In my dish I used pre-grilled chicken thighs sliced thin. But the sky is the limit…
In the mean time you have another important element to mind… And that is the Pho Rice noodles.
These are available at Asian grocery stores where you will also find the Vietnamese fish sauce for the dish.
Ok, we are almost there.
You will need a fresh bunch of cilantro for garnish. A fresh lime to cut into wedges for squeezing. A red jalapeno, or asian red chile very thinly sliced for those who love to add heat. You also need to prep one green onion per two soup servings, cut in 2 inch lengths and cut thin lengthwise.
So, we have the stock, spiced, onioned, garlied, gingered, fish sauced, and sugared… We have the protein pre grilled to perfection (or just short of done, knowing it will cook more in the soup!). We have the Pho thick rice noodles cooked as per the instructions on the packaging. We have our bowls ready to go.
So… we add some rice noodles to a bowl. We add sliced proteins of choice on top. We add sliced green onions, chiles to taste.
Next add the very hot Pho broth to the bowl using a strainer to get only the broth. Them garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.
There you have it! A aromatic, fresh and lovely Pho…
You can experiment with amounts of all things. Everything to taste. This will give you a good start to make a very satisfying healthy soup. It can be made in an hour or so… or longer if you choose to make the stock from scratch.
The flavors are wonderful however you chose to produce this.
Here is what the dish looks like served.
June 26, 2012
Ok, we have some fantastic sweet early summer corn here in the south.
So basically you can eat it anyway you like it.
It is all good, even raw.
My current favorite style is grilled Mexican street corn style.
This dish was inspired by my dinner one night at Boca Restaurant of Asheville NC.
Hopefully you will try this easy recipe and fall in love with it as I have.
Here we go with the way I cook it… but there are many recipes available online… try them all!
First shuck the harder outer husks from the corn.
Then peel back the more delicate husks and remove the silks.
Soak the corn and husk in water for as long as you like… hours is ok.
Next prep: (Per ear of corn to be cooked.)
1 tsp of diced fresh cilantro
1 tsp dry-ish cheese: cotijo (crumbly Mexican) feta, asiago, or you name it.
1 lime wedge.
1 Tbsp. Mexican creama, olive oil mayo, or regular mayo.
A pinch or two (to taste ) of ground cayenne, ancho, or a very small pinch of chipotle pepper.
(I have found that too much chipotle here is a mistake, it overshadows the lime and delicacy of the flavors)
For the grilling.
Heat the grill to high, but leave one burner low for heat control zoning options.
If you are using charcoal, place the coals to one side of the BBq so you can sear the corn and cook it on low also.
I have a water sprayer near by… So if the husks start to burn I can re-wet them and keep steaming the corn.
Corn takes probably 12-15 minutes depending on your BBq heat.
But remember you can almost eat it raw, so it is pretty forgiving.
Caramelized bits of slightly blacken grilled corn are a good thing… so relax and be patient here.
It’s not street corn unless it’s rustic.
When the corn is cooked to your satisfaction…
Remove the husks. Put all the corn in a mixing bowl.
Slather corn with Mexican creama, or olive oil mayo.
Sprinkle with chile powder of choice.
Crumble feta or whatever cheese you’d like on top.
Toss with cilantro.
Squeeze a wedge of lime on each ear.
Serve it up hot!
The taste is zingy, aromatic, sweet and fresh.
You are going to enjoy this dish!
Here’s a picture of the finished product (before the mayo melted down.)
PS… you can leave the husks on when serving, it makes it that much more rustic… and provides a way to handle the corn.
January 10, 2012
January 10, 2012
I know everybody has made a big deal of the anarchy that is Vietnam traffic…
Seriously, after nearly a month of it, we began to really enjoy the game.
When you get to the point of being blas’e about it… it’s time to get back to where you came from…