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Pan Fried King Bananas Recipe

Pan Fried King Bananas

07.13.10 by Jackie

Chuối ngự are Vietnamese bananas that look similar to small plantains. They have a starchy texture and a subtle sweetness. If you look for this particular banana in Asian markets, they're called King, Raja or emperor bananas.

King bananas can be prepared in a lot of ways. Today, I twice cooked them. First, I parboiled them, then I pan-fried the bananas in oil until golden brown. They make great appetizers if you top them with cheese and other condiments, or they also make a wonderful side dish. In this case, I paired them with baked fish.


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Shrimp Spring Rolls (Vietnamese Roll Recipe) Recipe

Shrimp spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese) are the perfect finger food when we have a party. Not only are they healthy, but they're very tasty as well. I usually serve them sliced in half with a peanut and hoisin sauce on the side.

For this dish, I prefer to wrap the rolls with tapioca sheets, called bánh tráng mỏng in Vietnamese, which literally translates to "thin paper disks". They are thinner than rice paper, and as a result the shrimp are still visible once wrapped. The other plus of using tapioca sheets is that they look fresh longer, once they're made, versus the ones with rice paper. Tapioca rounds are stickier than rice paper when wet though, so it's a little more difficult to wrap them.

In these particular fresh rolls, I added the basic ingredients such as shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs. Meat could be added but I like them very simple. It's a fairly fast dish; the only long step is wrapping the rolls, but with our large family, the work was quite easy.

And for the vegetarians in the house, we wrapped bì cuốn chay, so everyone could share the same meal for dinner.


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Bruleed Banana Cheese Gingersnap Treats (Croques Banane Brie Recipe) Recipe

I have Lulu to thank for inspiring me to prepare this snack. He was feeling a bit peckish, but there wasn’t a lot of food at home (the refrigerator is broken ). We had some brie leftover from my little munchkin’s birthday party, so he took a wedge of it and put it on a gingersnap cookie. Lulu was very proud of himself and offered me a bite.

The mixture of sweet and salty flavors and soft and crunchy textures was very pleasant, and it instantly took me back in time to my childhood. When I came home from school, I used to make myself brie and banana “sandwiches” with baguette or just sliced bread. It was probably my favorite snack. Given that there were some very ripe bananas in the house along with the brie and gingersnaps, it seemed only fitting that I should share a little bite of my childhood with Lulu and my little munchkin.

Of course, I’m not 7 anymore, so I decided to jazz it up a little. Caramelizing the bananas brought out additional flavors that really complemented the creaminess of the brie. And instead of white bread I used gingersnap cookies as the delivery device for the banana brie combo (thanks Lulu!). I’ve often found myself disappointed when I try to relive the memories of my favorite childhood dishes. This, happily, was not one of those times!


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Onion Bhajis (Indian Pakora Recipe) Recipe

Piaz pakora are the Indian version of onion rings. According to Wikipedia, when onions, on their own, are prepared in [pakora batter], they are known as onion bhujia or bhaji. Regardless of how you refer to them, the onions are cut into thin wedges and dipped in a pakora batter, which is a mixture of besan (chickpea) flour and spices. A quick turn in the fryer and they are ready to serve.

Lulu's aunts, Sherin and Sara, stayed with us this weekend and made these wonderful fritters. They're typically served as a snack, but they would make wonderful appetizers as well. Fried food is always a crowd pleaser!


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Pandan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Recipe

Pandan cookies always intrigue the guests who come to our house. The green color from the pandan paste makes the cookies very original, and after the first bite, our guests are amazed at how great they taste. Daddy's friend, who lives in Minnesota, loved them so much that I decided to send a basket of two dozen cookies to him as a care package.

When I was a child, Maman would use pandan leaves to flavor steamed jasmine rice. It's also used in many Vietnamese desserts, such a rau câu. That inspired me to try using pandan in Western dessert recipes.

I often fuse the ingredients of one cooking tradition with the recipes of another. It’s a great way to create new dishes. In fact, the very first recipe posted on PhamFatale.com was for pandan cookies. In that recipe, I used pistachios and white chocolate chips. Both are great, but I think the cocoa in semi-sweet chocolate pairs especially well with pandan. Changing ingredients and coming up with new dishes is a big part of the culinary journey I've been sharing with you for a year and a half. After all, that's what cooking is all about. The history of cooking is really the history of the migration of people from one place to another. As they traveled, they adopted and adapted the local cuisine, creating many of the classic dishes we enjoy today. I hope you enjoy my small contribution to this tradition.


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