Sunday, July 18, 2010

Goi Cuon

Our grocery bill was soaring last month (like $175 each, when we usually spend about $50-75). We ate out a lot because I was working late and couldn't manage an hour to cook something. Now that I'm better managing my time (because I can't afford to eat out now), I'm getting back to cooking each meal at home --which will also minimize the weight gain.

I'll tell you that I'm quite the lazy cook and I won't make anything that takes longer than an hour. I'm also not traditional in any sense and will add ingredients to Vietnamese food that will make my mom cringe. And I'll also add things to Indian cooking that will make The Boy's mom cringe. I do this mainly because of lack of ingredients and needing to use what I have left in the fridge before it goes bad. I make a few different types of dishes a week and at the end of the week I have a hodge-podge of ingredients that don't seem to fit, but I'll pull out a Chopped Moment and make something with it.

Surprisingly, my brother thinks some of my dishes taste better than Mom's, and The Boy thinks my dishes taste better than some Indian restaurants, but can't beat his mom's cooking because I break too many rules. Good enough for me. I'll take it. 

And honestly, do believe that innovation is born by surpassing any preconceived notions of how something "should" be done and doing things that just make it look/taste/work better. Plus, because I am most familiar with Asian cuisine, I tend to fuse that into all my cooking.

Back to yesterday's lunch. I went to the grocery store yesterday and dropped a whopping $6 on supplies to make goi cuon for 3 really hungry people. Yum!'

 I don't buy all the ingredients to make a traditional goi cuon because I'm a heavy dipper with the peanut sauce so I don't bother since it'll mostly be masked by the yummy sauce. Plus, I like to keep my fridge stocked simply so I don't end up with weird herbs I won't use later, so at $0.98/head of iceberg lettuce, $0.50/cucumber and $0.38/bunch of cilantro, I keep the veggies simple and inexpensive. The guys don't seem to care either.

Sorry these photos aren't the best, I took them with my phone. :(

The spread
All rolled up

Shrimp (I had EZ peel shrimp in the freezer)
Pork (I used shoulder roast, most cuts work)
Noodles (any white noodle works fine, I used thick bun bo noodles because I was planning on making bun bo hue the next day)
Banh Trang (the rice wrap)

Dipping Sauce
Hoison Sauce
Peanut Butter

Boil pork in salted water, and skim the top. Remove pork when done,  then add shrimp into same stock.  I let The Boy make the eggs since he makes some great fried eggs. Cut cucumber into long thin slices, shred lettuce, and we roughly chop cilantro for easy assembly. Boil noodles and you're set.  Sometimes I add julienned carrots, but I got too lazy. 

Now, the good part. I mix 1:1 hoison sauce and peanut butter. To thin it out I add the pork/shrimp stock and stir. I always avoid using water in any cooking (except for boiling). When you can add flavor, try it! The Boy added sriracha to his sauce because, I mean, you can't go wrong with adding sriracha. Most restaurants will top your sauce with chopped peanuts and garlic, but I think this makes for a great start.

Assemble, dip, and enjoy. Super easy and inexpensive.

I saved my pork/shrimp stock for my next meal. More on that tomorrow! :)