Caramel Shrimp Saigon Palace

Saigon Palace in Annapolis Maryland serves superb Vietnamese food .The spicy caramel shrimp has always been a winner with my friends and family.

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1 garlic clove , minced

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs water

2 tsp asian fish sauce

3 tsp sugar

12 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 scallions , cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces

1/4 onion, cut into wedges

1 tbs cornstarch

Fresh coriander sprigs for garnish

Serves 2

In a 10 inch heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and saute garlic, stirring until golden. Add 1/2 cup water , fish sauce and 2 tsp sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove skillet from heat.

In a small heavy skillet cook remaing 1 tsp sugar over moderately high heat until sugar melts and turns golden carmel and remove skillet from heat. Add some of water mixture to carmel, stirring until carmel is dissolved and transfer mixture back to larger skillet. Add shrimp and cook over moderately high heat, stirring 2 minutes. Add scallions and onion and cook, stirring occassionally until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl stir together cornstarch and remaing 2 tbs water and stir into shrimp mixture. Cook shrimp mixture stirring until sauce is thickened and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish shrimp with coriander.


Pan fried Fish with Tamarind mint sauce

sweet , sour ,spicy ,salty and aromatic, the perfect balance of taste in this Vietnamese fish dish using fish Filets , just the ease of serving makes it worth it. Make sure the fish is really fresh though, it really makes a difference.

Serves 4 -6

Source Wendy Hutton

4 tbs Tamarind pulp

4 tbs Fish sauce

3 tbs sugar

1 tsp light soy sauce

1  1/2 lbs snapper or bream cut into 4 filets, skin left on

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup cornflour

3 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs minced garlic

1 tbs minced fresh ginger

1 large red chili minced

2 tbs minced fresh mint

additional mint for garnish

Combine tamarind juice , fish sauce,sugar and soy sauce in a bowl , stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside. Dry the fish with paper towel , then sprinkle both sides with black pepper. Dip into cornflour and shake off excess.

Heat 2 tbs in a non stick pan until smoking hot. Add the fish pieces,skin side down, reduce heat and fry till skin is golden brown about 4 minutes, turn fish and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to serving plate and keep warm.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan and stir fry garlic ginger and chiliover medium heat for 30 seconds. Add tamarind mixture and simmer  1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in the mint leaves and pour sauce over warm fish. Garnish with additional mint leaves and serve.

Hanoi Charcoal Pork

Your neighbours will be drawn to the aroma of the pork cooking from all over ,you need to be prepared to share. This is best grilled, over charcoals, but do not hesitate to use your broiler. I make a bed of lemongrass , (the parts you are getting ready to discard and kaffir lime leaves ,soak them in water ,then wrap them in foil and placing it on the grill or under the broiler with the pork. WOW!!!! ( I have adapted this recipe to my liking )

source Annabel Jackson

1 lb boneless pork loin


1 garlic clove ,minced

2 tbs each minced shallots and scallions

2 tsp each sugar ,fish sauce and sea salt

2 tsp liquid smoke


2 tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 garlic clove ,minced

1 fresh hot red chili ,minced

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 carrot ,thinly sliced

1/2 English cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

2 oz green papaya (optional ),thinly sliced


8 oz thin rice noodles, cooked

mustard greens or lettuce


sprigs of fresh herbs such as basil ,cilantro and mint

Cut half of the pork loin into pieces about 1 inch square; grind the remaining pork. Mix together the ingredients for marinade. Divide in half; combine one half with the pork pieces the other half with the ground pork. Leave to marinade for at least one hour, refridgerated.

Form the ground pork mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter, and flatten them into patties. Arrange on a fine mesh grill rack together with the pork pieces. Grill over a charcoal grill or under a broiler, until the meat is well browned and cooked through.

Mix together all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and stir in 1/2 cup of water.

To serve ,place heaps of noodles in individual rice bowls , top with both types of pork and add torn greens , beansprouts and herbs. Generously spoon over the dipping sauce to create quite a sloppy dish . SERVE

Deep-Fried Beancurd with lemon grass

This is a dry Vietnamese dish created by Annabel Jackson. I was taught to drain bean curd very well prior to frying as it is delicate and contains a great deal of moisture. Simply place cut up pieces on double layers of paper towels or kitchen towel.Place a heavy weight on top and allow the curd to drain excess fluid. Use as needed.

Serves 2-4

1 lb firm bean curd  (tofu) cut into 1 ” cubes

1/4 cup minced fresh lemon grass

2 fresh hot red chilies ,minced

1/2 tsp salt

Vegetable oil ,for deep -frying

2 garlic cloves, minced

Drain the bean curd on paper towels.

Mix together the lemon grass ,chilies and salt. Gently toss with the beancurd, then cover and leave for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Deep fry bean curd in hot oil for 10 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

Stir the garlic into the remaining lemon grass mixture. Saute mixture into a little hot oil until lemon grass is golden. Pile onto of bean curd and serve immediately.

Chopped Watercress salad with peanuts

This super simple ,refreshing salad comes from famed food writer Nancie Mc dermott. She suggest substituting Baby spinach leaves, a mix of spinach and arugula, or thinly sliced celery,or cucumber sliced or chopped ,for this dish. Any number of these combinations works great ,with my personal favorite of spinach and arugula.

2 bunches watercress

1/4 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped dry -roasted salted peanuts

Seperate watercress,trim away coarse coarse ends,rinse in cold water and drain well. Chop into 2 inch lengths. Measure out 3 cups watercress,reserving remaining greens for another use. In a small bowl combine the vinegar,water,sugar,oil, salt and pepper, and stir well to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over watercress and toss well. Transfer seasoned watercress to a small platter ,sprinkle with chopped peanuts and serve.

Vietnamese torn chicken and cabbage salad

Goi Ga is a healthful, delicious Vietnamese “coleslaw”. Honestly this salad is quick and easy to make but I take a furthur short cut by purchasing a rotisserie chicken, cooling it, removing any skin and finely shredding it…salad in minutes. Of course the option to steam your own chicken is up to you.

Serves 6

Adapted from Williams Sonoma


1 serrano chili, seeded and minced

2 garlic cloves , minced

11/2 tabl;espoons sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


1 whole chicken brest , steamed and shredded or 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded.

4 cups finely shredded green cabbage

1/2 carrot, peeled and finely shredded

1/2 cup finely slivered fresh mint

2 tablespoons finely slivered fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts.

Tear chicken into long , thin shreds.

Add cabbage, carrot, mint, cilantro, and dressing. Toss gently to mix well.

Arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Stir fried chicken with mango and Cashews

This Vietnamese recipe has complex flavors. The addition of juicy mango, tomato and snow peas, with just a hint of saltiness from the fish sauce makes this dish perfectly balanced. We have Wendy Hutton to thank for this delicious concotion. I have even made this dish with pork with great results.

1 large, firm mango.

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut in 3/4 in pieces, throughly dried

2 teaspoons very finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon very finely minced red chili

7 oz snow peas

1 medium ripe tomato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup dry roasted cashew nuts

Slice mango.

Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar , salt,and pepper in a small bowl stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.

Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken in two seperate batches, stirring frequently for two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Pour all but 3 tablespoonsof oil from the wok. Re-heat the oil and stir fry the garlic and chili over medium heat for a few seconds.Increase the heat ,add the snow peas and stir fry 1 minute. Add chicken and fish sauce mixture, stirring to mix well, then put in the reserved mango slices, tomato and cashews. Stir about 30 seconds just until heated through taking care not to mash the mango and tomato. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with rice.