Monday, January 6, 2014

Easy Saigon Stew

This stew was too good to stop and snap a picture, so this pic I took in Saigon a few years ago will have to do. The spicy, curry, lemongrassy broth is amazing! Can't believe the flavor that comes out of this super simple recipe. GetmebacktoVietnam!!!

Easy Saigon Stew
Recipe adapted from The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons minced Thai bird chiles or as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground anise
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
Salt as needed
Black pepper as needed
1.5 pounds ground pork or beef
3 cups beef broth
3 lemongrass stalks, crushed and cut into 3-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce or as needed
1 tablespoon soy sauce or as needed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups thinly sliced carrots (You can mix and match. This time I did one cup carrot and 1 cup radish)
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
cornstarch if needed
rice for serving

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, chiles, 5 spice, anise, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Spoon half of this shallot-spice mixture into a bowl and set aside.

2. Add your meat to the Dutch oven and stir until evenly blended with the remaining shallot-spice mixture. Saute until meat has lost its raw look, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, carrots, and onion and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

3. Stir in reserved shallot-spice mixture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional fish sauce or soy sauce. Sometimes I also like to dilute a teaspoon or two of cornstarch in a little bit of water and add it to the stew if it needs a little thickening. Serve with rice.