Archives January 2021

Sizzling Pancakes

In 1989, Binh Duong, a Vietnamese refugee turned chef, owned one of the buzziest Vietnamese restaurants in America, Truc Orient Express in Hartford, Connecticut. Jacques Pépin was a fan. So was F&W’s associate test kitchen director Marcia Kiesel, who wrote that Duong’s dishes had “a balance that appeals to the shyest or most cosmopolitan palate.” Exhibit A: His bánh xèo, crisp and lacy rice crêpes colored with turmeric and studded with caramelized onions, shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. The Vietnamese name of the dish translates to “sizzling cake”—so called for the sizzling sound the batter makes when it hits the pan.

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 red Thai chiles or 1 medium jalapeño, thickly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Pancakes

  • 2 cups rice flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into very thin slices (about 30 slices), divided
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp (about 30 shrimp), divided
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts (about 7 ounces), divided

DirectionsMake the dipping sauce:

  • Step 1
    Using a mortar and pestle, pound chiles, garlic, and sugar until mixture resembles a slurry, about 3 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons water until blended. Set aside.

Make the pancakes:

  • Step 2
    Whisk together rice flour and 2 1/4 cups cold water in a medium bowl. Whisk in scallion and turmeric until blended. Set aside.
  • Step 3
    Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over high. Add 3 pork slices, 3 shrimp, and a few mushroom and onion slices. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until pork and vegetables are lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side.
  • Step 4
    Stir rice flour mixture. Remove skillet from heat. Holding skillet at an angle, pour in 1/3 cup rice flour mixture, and swirl to evenly coat bottom of skillet.
  • Step 5
    Return skillet to heat over medium. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until sides of pancake turn deep brown and curl up, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and sprinkle 1/4 cup bean sprouts over pancake. Fold in half, and transfer to a baking sheet; keep warm in preheated oven. Repeat procedure with remaining oil, pork, shrimp, mushrooms, onion, salt, pepper, and bean sprouts to make 9 more pancakes. Arrange pancakes on a large platter, and serve warm with dipping sauce.

Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs

Twenty years ago, way before Korean food was mega-trendy, Los Angeles food writers Linda Burum and Linda Merinoff were singing the praises of kalbi, the flanken-cut beef short ribs typical of Korean barbecue. The short ribs are marinated overnight in a simple mix of sake, soy, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. Cooked quickly on a hot grill, the juicy meat is tender with a satisfying chew. They make a stunning main course served alongside kimchi, lettuce leaves, and steamed rice. For the best results, ask your butcher to slice three or four ribs across the bone into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, and plan to marinate the meat overnight. The marinade is also delicious with chicken or pork.

Ingredients

  • 5 pound flanken-style (about 1/2-inch-thick) beef short ribs
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 scallions (white parts and 2 inches of green parts only), finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 7 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  • Step 1
    Place ribs in a large glass baking dish or enameled roasting pan; stir together sake and granulated sugar, and rub on both sides of ribs. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Step 2
    Meanwhile, stir together soy sauce, scallions, garlic, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/3 cups water, and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in vegetable oil and pepper. Pour soy mixture over ribs, and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Return ribs to room temperature before cooking. Discard marinade.
  • Step 3
    Open bottom and top vents of a charcoal grill completely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour onto bottom grate of grill, and then push to one side of grill. Working in batches, place ribs on oiled grates directly over coals, and grill, uncovered, until meat is seared, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to side of grill without coals, and grill, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill, and repeat procedure with remaining ribs. (Alternatively, preheat broiler with oven rack 3 inches from heat; broil ribs until browned and ribs reach desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-well.)