Vietnam comes to Napa.

Seattle locals have assured Summer is ‘absolutely beautiful’, yet I still feel inclined to soak up every last bit of NorCal sunshine. 145 days of the year featuring cloud tears is a hefty stat, so let’s just say I’ll be bringing my Marmot with me to Washington’s urban city.

Given the news of an offered internship in March, I have since recently graduated from the OC’s Chapman University with a demanding degree in (PR) Advertising & Graphic Design. Allowing my mind to slow from its million mph speed has been nearly impossible these past few months, what with that little thing called graduation (I’m on my way to reality’s grand opening! Have you tickets yet?), all-nighters to perfect my Best Ad Campaign of the Year recognized at our film school’s version of the Oscars, and attempting to be fully present when giving out bear hug goodbyes. Finding time to cook has been tricky to say the least.

You could say we were thrilled to win the honor!

You could say we were thrilled to win the honor!

But now I’m home. For a bit at least. I can confidently call myself an adventurer never wanting to stay in one location and being home is no exception. No opportunity flies over my inquisitive mind if it’s one to experience something new. I’m always beginning new life chapters, and along the way, doctoring seasonal ingredients with innovative treatments.

Seeing that I will only be in Napa for another week or so before taking on my soon to be home in the UW District (yes, I’ll be living in a frat house…more stories to come), our Chef approved kitchen has become my experimentation stomping ground. And chopping, slicing, and dicing ground for that matter. I am determined to maintain my ‘Chef Green’ title every night pleasing my parent’s palette and desire to test fresh recipes.

Before setting up shop in the kitchen however, an actual bit of indulgent relaxation was finally made possible reading the captivating findings of Bon Appetit’s writers. I honestly feel like I am a friend of Andrew Knowlton, Adam Rapoport, and most recently my new favorite food writer Francis Lam. Their words not only flatter the month’s ingredients in an appetizing light, but provide often funny and adventurous foodie tales that lead to the featured picks.

David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs, Heart of the Artichoke, and One Good Dish spent the greater part of November and December equally upholding these expected standards of the magazine. On a mission to discover the ‘grandma’ like figures, and local cuisine of the country, he was well introduced to their daily tastings. Without the pleasure of enjoying this culture’s heavily meat-based cooking, I was thrilled to discover a few of his crafted dishes fit my Pescatarian diet.

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The final product in all its glory.

Stocked with mung bean sprouts, chopped scallions, and salt + pepper Argentinean shrimp (offers a lobster like quality), the turmeric laced Hoi An pancakes wrapped this overflowing filling with a slightly sticky, and crispy feel. Coupled with mini butter lettuce leaves, fresh chopped mint, cilantro, watermelon thins and Vietnam’s staple Nuoc Cham sauce, our California dining table certainly couldn’t have anticipated the depth and intensity of this acidic dish. As a first timer attempting this cuisine, let’s just say practice will make perfect next time around.

[Check out my NOTES following the recipe]

 

INGREDIENTS

BATTER

  • 1 cup brown rice flour(available at Whole Foods)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

ASSEMBLY

  • 5 tablespoons (or more) avocado oil, divided
  • 4 oz. Argentinean shrimp, peeled, deveined (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. mung bean sprouts (about 1 cup)
  • Large green-leaf or Bibb lettuce leaves and mixed tender herbs (such as mint, cilantro, and Thai basil; for serving)      
  • thinly sliced watermelon for plating                                                                                                                                                                          Nuoc Cham (click for recipe)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Calories (kcal) 330 Fat (g) 19 Saturated Fat (g) 3 Cholesterol (mg) 45 Carbohydrates (g) 32 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 9 Sodium (mg) 410

BATTER

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  • IMG_0823Whisk flour, turmeric, salt, and 1½ cups water in a large bowl until smooth. Cover and let sit at room temperature 1 hour (this allows the rice flour to hydrate; the batter will get creamier as it sits).

ASSEMBLY

 

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  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing often, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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    • Wipe out skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add oil sparingly.

 

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Mix batter to reincorporate rice flour, pour ½-cupful into skillet, and swirl pan to evenly spread out batter. (Be careful: Batter will splatter.) The key here is less is more; the thicker the batter, the more likely its sticky consistency will wind up on the roof of your mouth.

  • Cook pancake, shaking pan occasionally, until almost cooked and edges begin to curl, about 4 minutes.

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Top with one-fourth of scallions, one-fourth of bean sprouts, and one-fourth of shrimp and cook until pancake is golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, fold pancake in half, forming a half-moon. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining batter (mixing before adding to pan), scallions, bean sprouts, and shrimp to make 3 more pancakes, adding more oil to skillet as needed.

  • To eat, tuck a lettuce leaf in a corner of a plate along with some herbs. Place the pancake on top in a diagonal and add Nuoc Cham drippings for a Chef inspired presentation.

 

NOTES

*I found the actual pancake to be quite chewy and sticky due to using too much batter. The thinner the better. Aim for a crepe/ pancake hybrid to avoid an overpowering exterior.

*The Nuoc Cham sauce is quite acidic with a majority of lime juice and fish sauce. To lessen the citrus taste, add more heat from the chile, or even a few tb. of water.

ADAPTED FROM BON APPETIT’S MAY 2014 ISSUE.

 

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One thought on “Vietnam comes to Napa.

  1. Pingback: Green Leaf : a Seattle Cultural Crossing | The Innovative Rabbit

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