Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's For Dinner: Vietnamese hot pot with beef, prawns & Squid

I love seafood, but for the most I don't eat it too often anymore. Tear... With the oceans becoming contaminated it's difficult to find affordable and healthy choices for seafood. I personally try to avoid most large fish like tuna, swordfish and so forth because of the potential mercury contamination. I also watch where the seafood is coming from. If it's from China or even Mexico it's not high on my "I want to eat this" list.

When shopping for seafood it can be helpful to have the Seafood Watch Guide, provided by Monterey Bay Aquarium, on hand.

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The guides do change depending on what region of the US you live in, click HERE to get the guide for your area. (The above guide is for Central US.) 

This excellent guide lets you know what fish is best to buy in your region of the country. It lists fish in three columns:
Best Choices
Seafood in this category is abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.

Good Alternatives
  These items are an option, but there are concerns with how they're caught or farmed-or with the health of their habitat due to other human impacts.

  Take a pass on these items for now. They are caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.
With that all said, when I do sit down to a seafood meal, I want it to be good, really good. I think this recipe falls into that category. It's from the cookbook Lemongrass and Lime by Mark Read. Before you start it, make sure you can get the freshest seafood available in your area and hopefully use the above guide for some reference. 

What You'll Need
Serves 4-6 
100g/3½oz sirloin steak
100g/3½oz chicken breast
100g/3½oz raw prawn tails, deveined if available
100g/3½oz squid bodies and tentacles
2 large carrots
100g/3½oz shitake mushrooms
2 large shallots
2 sticks of celery, leafy if possible
8 cilantro springs
1 bunch of watercress
2 heads of bok choy
4 dried chiles
200g/7oz rice stick noodles
1 liter/1¾ pints chicken stock
unrefined sea salt

Getting Started
1. Slice the steak and chicken breast into thin, small strips and cut the prawns in half lengthwise. 

2. Cut the squid from the tail to the tip so that the squid can lay flat. Clean all the sinews on the inside, then score the squid using a criss-cross design. You want to cut about two thirds of the way through. Finally, slice the squid into thin strips.

3. Peel the carrots, cut into large chunks (about 2") and then slice into thin strips. Clean the mushrooms with a damp towel and slice thinly. Also peel the shallots and slice them thinly.

4. Thinly slice the celery like the carrots, saving any celery leave for garnish at the end. Roughly chop the cilantro, watercress (including the stalks) and bok choy. 

5. Remove seeds from the chiles by slicing them in half, then chop into small pieces. Add the now chopped chiles to a small bowl of water and allow to soak for about 10 minutes. 

6. While chiles are soaking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and the rice stick noodles and allow to cook for about 3 minutes or until soft. Don't overcook, you just wanted to blanch them. Remove noodles from water, drain and then place in a cold bowl of water. 

7. In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add the carrots, mushrooms, celery, shallots, chiles and bok choy. Return liquid to a boil, then add the steak, chicken, prawns and squid. Cook everything together for 2-3 minutes. (NOTE: in the original recipe there is no salt added to the hot pot, however I felt like it needed some, this might depend on the saltiness of the seafood and rice noodles. I'd recommend tasting the hot pot at this point and adding salt if you find it necessary.)

8. Add the drained noodles to the pot with the veggies, meat and seafood. Bring to a boil. Stir in the cilantro, any celery leaves and watercress. Serve it up and enjoy!

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1 comment:

  1. This is one huge bowl of absolute goodness! Thanks for sharing it with Hearth and Soul Hop :) I think this is my first visit in your space and it's beautiful. Stay in touch :)


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