You guys might know my mom as the commenter who comments in ALL-CAPS which would make anyone flinch because it pretty much feels like she's yelling at you. That's cuz she is! She's a passionate woman, survivor of the Vietnam war, self-proclaimed "GOOD GIRL", woman of faith, and a very honest mommy. She tells things like it is and not holding back is her choice of communication.
For you lucky readers out there, I'm going to share just a few of the many precious emails from my dear mama:
"JENI, MOM LOVES U VERY MUCH BUT SOMETIME U ARE REALY A PAIN IN THE BUTT..."
"DYLAN IS THE ONE TO KEEP AND HE IS SO SWEET, SO U BETTER NOT TO SCARE HIM OFF...."
"STILL NOT HAPPY WHEN YOUR SITE IS NO FACES. SUCK. WHO WANT TO LOOK AT A PICTURE W/O A FACE. ONLY THING HAPPENING WHEN THEY HAVE A INTERVIEW W/ SOME WITNESS WHOM DON'T WANT TO BE KILL BY CRIMINAL, YOU TWO ARE NOT A WITNESS FOR ANY OF GANGSTER CRIME... WHY SO SCARE???"
"TRY DO THE MOST U CAN TO HELP DYLAN, OK. I LIKE HIM A LOT... DON'T RUIN IT. I KNOW U, SOMETIME U ARE A PAIN IN MY ASSSSSS..."
My mom seriously cracks me up. But at the same time, the woman can drive me completely nuts. If you're Vietnamese, you probably know that two strong Vietnamese woman CANNOT be in the same room together. It's like a freegin rooster fight. But even through our arguments and debates, I know I will always be her little girl.
Like every good but crazy mother, mothers are also the key to good food and recipes. My mama is my sole link to my Vietnamese culture and today I bring you our goi cuon recipe, one of our favorite snacks to make in the summer months.
Rice paper (My favorite brand has a Rose on it. There are a lot of copycats, so make sure it also has a small dolphin icon on the upper left.)
Carrots (for color)
Shrimp (3-4 small shrimps per roll)
Pork (leg, shoulder, butt, loin, it's up to you)
Most people quickly boil their shrimps, but my mom and I prefer grilling our shrimps in either a thai basil or lemongrass marinade consisting of oil, salt and pepper. Same with the pork, both my mom and I prefer using thit nuong (grilled pork) for that extra kick.
After you've got all your ingredients ready, it's time to roll. Now, when I was younger our family didn't care about the aesthetics of our goi cuon. But after helping Dylan cater a wedding where I had to roll 80, yes 80 duck spring rolls, I've learned some important tips on how to make the spring rolls look hawt.
1. You want the shrimp to be on the bottom so they can be seen from the outside.
2. Use butter-leaf lettuce. It's more expensive, but it's so much easier to work with. There isn't a hard vein in it like romaine and there aren't as many curls as in green leaf.
3. Don't fold in the sides. Just don't. I know there's a way to fold in the sides without seeing the ugly overlay, but I don't know how. I'd just rather cut off the excess sides to keep the ends clean.
4. Roll them tight!
Like I said, roll them tight!
When it comes to the goi cuon dipping sauces, I cringe when I see places, usually non-Vietnamese joints that just use plain Hoisin sauce as a goi cuon dipping sauce. Hoisin sauce alone is way too overpowering and it will definitely take away from the fresh flavors from the goi cuon. Most people make a peanut dipping sauce, but we personally like using cashew butter over peanut butter since cashews have a milder and sweeter nut flavor.
Hoisin Cashew Butter Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2-3 tablespoon water
3 spoons cashew butter
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. When it is hot, add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Add the hoisin sauce, sugar, cashew butter and chili garlic sauce, stir well and simmer for 15 seconds. Stir in the water, the mixture should have a thick, creamy consistency.
Hope you enjoyed this Mother's Day edition at Oishii Eats.
Happy Mother's Day mama!