I’ve been on somewhat of a Vietnamese food kick thanks to an awesome culinary travel narrative I just finished, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam by Kim Fay. I won’t say too much about it here as I plan to write a separate review of it but a big focus of the book is to make people aware that there is a whole heck of a lot more to Vietnamese cuisine than just phở, the ubiquitous noodle soup. Sadly, after finishing Communion, I went online and perused the menus of Pittsburgh’s area Vietnamese restaurants hoping to find some of the dishes featured in Fay’s work listed, but unfortunately I didn’t see any of the more unique sounding ones (i.e. not spring rolls). Well, I guess that just means a trip to Vietnam is in order (this I fervently hope!).
This past weekend I did make some Vietnamese food (complete with using a bamboo steamer and all!) including aromatic chicken, spring rolls (well, I made these by frying them…), and a delicious vegetable dish-zucchini with ginger. I don’t always equate zucchini with Asian food, however, as Communion explained, the French brought a lot of their produce favorites with them to grow in Vietnam (Vietnam used to be a French colony) including the courgette (what zucchini are known as in many European countries). So with this recipe you have a little bit of ol’ world French paired with Asian cooking ingredient staples such as ginger root and green onions.
This dish was extremely simple to make although I would recommend doing what I did-have all of your vegetables chopped/halved/ready to go before you even heat the oil. It’s a really quick cooking turn around time.
Zucchini with Ginger
Recipe courtesy of The Book of Vietnamese Cooking by Deh-Ta Hsiung
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
small piece ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lb zucchini, peeled and cut into small wedges
1 small carrot, sliced
2-3 tablespoons stock or water
2 oz straw mushrooms, halved lengthwise
1 tomato, sliced
2 green onions, cut into short lengths
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
-Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and stir-fry ginger and garlic about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the zucchini and carrot and stir-fry about 2 minutes, then add the broth or water to create steam, and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes.
-Add straw mushrooms, tomato, and green onions with salt, pepper, and sugar, blend well and cook 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with fish sauce and serve at once.