A French culinary magazine has analyzed the key difference between Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines in that Vietnamese dishes often combine “salty-sweet”, whereas Chinese dishes favor the match of “sour-sweet”. Hence, the greater gap is recognized, as we learn that according to Oriental Medicine, salty dishes belongs to Yang, sweet and sour ones are of Yin side. Thus, Vietnamese dishes have the advantage of Yin-Yang balance. An example is the dish “Grilled Anguillidae Rolled in Piper Lolot” that we introduce here. In the Northern delta, there are around 50 dishes with piper lolot as an ingredient. The reason is quite simple: seafood has a cold property; piper lolot adds heat to balance yin-yang. Furthermore, the fragrance of piper lolot helps eliminate the residual unpleasant taste of the seafood as it thaws on tongue tips of the guests.
ANGUILLIDAE FISH ROLLED IN PIPER LOLOTPrint This
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE FISH
- 400g anguillidae fish filet
- 20g piper lolot leaves
- 50g ground pork
- 50g raw pork paste
- 5g green pepper
- 10g shallot
- 5g garlic
- 1g seasoning powder
- 21g salt
- 1g sugar
- 1g ground black pepper
- 10g sauté chili paste
- 10g alum
- 500ml cooking oil
- 1 aluminum foil roll
- INGREDIENTS FOR DIPPING SAUCE
- 20ml lime extract
- 30g caster sugar
- 25ml fish sauce
- 15ml boiled water set to cool
- 10g minced garlic
- 5g hot chili
- ACCOMPANYING VEGETABLES
- Herbal vegetables
Preparation: Put the fish into a pot or a basin with lid. Pour in a mixture of lukewarm water with 10g alum and 20g salt, and cover tightly. The fish will squirm and excrete all slimy grease until it stops squirming. Then take it out and rinse under running water. Use a towel to clean it from head to tail till clear of grease. Slit along the belly and do away with the guts, rinse again and clean dry. Use a sharp knife to obtain the filets on two sides of the fish, around 400g. Rinse the piper lolot leaves, cut off the stalks. Mince the shallot and the garlic. Cut the aluminum foil into pieces of 23cm long and 20cm wide. Rinse the vegetables, lettuce, cucumber and set all to dry.
Marinate the fish: Cut the filets into chunks of 15cm, marinate them in 1g of salt, 1g ground black pepper, 5g shallot, 5g garlic, 10g chili paste. Toss to mix well and leave in 15 minutes for thorough marinating.
Make the stuffing: slice the piper lolot leaves thinly, then mix them with 50g ground pork, 50g pork paste, 1g seasoning powder, 5g shallot, 5g green pepper, 1g sugar. Stir all up into a gummy soft compound.
Wrap the fish in piper lolot leaves and fry: lay each piece of marinated filet on a plate, spread the stuffing on it, then roll it up. Put the rolled fish onto a piece of wrapping foil, roll up again, wrap the two ends tightly. Do the same with the remaining fish filets. Pour 500ml cooking oil into a frying pan, and deep fry each roll as the oil heats up. Flip regularly for each to be evenly cooked. Fry for 10 minutes. Prick each roll with a toothpick; the fish is cooked when it’s soft. Take all out for the grease to drip off.
Make the dipping sauce: Mix 20ml lime extract with 30g sugar, 15ml water; whisk till all are dissolved. Pour in 25ml fish sauce, stir well. Taste for sour-sweet flavor, then add the minced garlic and hot chili.
Remove the foil, arrange the rolls of fish on a serving platter, serve with fresh vegetables, dip in sweet-sour sauce.
The fish is chewy and has the fragrance of piper lolot; the stuffing is evenly cooked, flavoring the natural sweetness of fresh fish.
If frying is not preferred, the fish can be barbecued directly over fully burned charcoal.
Brush a thin layer of oil on the wrapping foil prior to putting the fish on will avoid fish clinging onto the foil during cooking.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish brings out combined effects of anguillidae fish, pork and piper lolot. Thus, it fosters the strength of our bodies, eliminates rheumatism, and is good for malnourished persons with loss of appetite, anemia, asthenic body syndrome, lumbago, limb numbness, joint pain, digestive disorder, itchy rash. It cures children with avitaminosis, woman with menorrhagia and hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, efflorescence, and osteoporosis.
Note: due to the existence of plenty of fats in anguillidae flesh, a limited consumption of this fish is recommended for people with high blood cholesterol.
Author: Chef TRAN THI LAN ANH First Place Wedding-Conference Center (Ho Chi Minh City) Runner-up of the 2013 Golden Spoon Awards