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Here’s a relatively fast summer meal which is traditional among the Hmong tribes people of Vietnam and nearby areas. I have limited the amount of noodles per portion, as they are high in carbs. I have also given you alternative noodle choices. This is NEVER made with wheat noodles.
Serves 4, easily doubled for 8.
1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 T sugar – Em: substitute agave (start out with 1T)
1-1/2 T fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced fine
1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
Em: tiny slivers of carrot
In a bowl stir together all dressing ingredients until sugar dissolves. Chill, covered, 1 hour.
The Shellfish or Fish:
1 lb jumbo shrimp (16-20) or tiger prawns (14-15) Em: or white fish, like cod
1 large garlic clove, minced fine
1/2 small onion Em: or leek, sliced thin (use green as well as white)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp chili oil
The Shrimp Sauce: Em: or see Nuoc Cham, below
1 T Asian fish sauce (nam pla)(nuoc mam)
2 T brown sugar – Em: use agave (start out with 1T)
2 T water
Stir to dissolve the sugar.
1 lb rice stick noodles ( use 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide Vietnamese noodles)
Em: or use bean thread noodles, tofu noodles, sweet potato noodles, mountain yam noodles — all in Asian groceries.
Em: serve no more than 1/4 – 1/3C of cooked noodles per portion.
In a bowl soak noodles in hot water to cover, for 15 minutes to soften. While noodles are soaking, bring 6 quarts salted water to boil. Drain noodles in colander and cook in boiling water 45 seconds, or until just tender.
Em: Don’t waste the 6 qts of water! So, use the water for soup stock or more noodle cooking, later, by draining noodles into an empty soup pot. Rinse the noodles under more cold water to stop cooking. Drain again and with scissors cut into 4-inch lengths.
1 English cucumber, halved, seeded, cut in 2-inch long sections, then into julienne strips
4 scallions, cut first into 2″ long sections, then into julienne strips
1 red pepper, cut, seeded, then into 2″ long julienne strips
1 cup Asian white radish (“daikon”), sliced into thin julienne strips
a little mesclun salad mix or some romaine or kale – bite-sized
1 cup fresh mint sprigs
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1 cup Thai basil leaves (sprigs)
2 Tbsp chopped peanuts
Em: or other nuts – do not use peanuts or nuts if you are food-sensitive to them! Peanuts are not recommended as most have aflatoxin mold on them.
Shell and devein shrimp, dry between paper towels.
Heat the oil in the pan, stir fry the garlic and onion 1 minute, add the shrimp, pepper, and the sauce. Cook for about 2-4 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked. Halve the shrimp, lengthwise.
Em: If using cooked shrimp or prawns, just heat to re-warm, briefly. Take from heat and cool. Halve shrimp lengthwise.
Plating the finale:
In large individual bowls, layer in the mesclun, romaine or kale. Combine the noodles, other salad ingredients (except herbs) and add a little dressing. Toss, then top with shrimp with its own dressing and then nuts. Serve the fresh herbs on the side. Let each diner tear mint, cilantro and basil leaves onto the top of their salads. Add more dressing, if needed.
(Em: – this is more authentic, like we had in Bangkok)
1 bird’s eye chili Em: or use hot red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic
2 T sugar – Em: use agave nectar (start out with 1T)
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
¼ cup warm water
1 T thinly shredded carrot
Roughly slice the chili and garlic and then put in a mortar, along with the sweetener. Pound into a paste and transfer to a bowl. If you do not have a mortar, finely mince the chili and garlic before adding to the sweetener. Add the other ingredients (except the carrots) and stir well. Add the shredded carrots. Let the sauce stand for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to fully develop.
Use salads as the basis for all your summer meals beyond breakfasts. This is the time when fresh, raw produce is at its cheapest, or you can start harvesting your garden plot or container garden.
Fresh veggies are the powerhouse foods of the human diet. They provide plenty of protein, all on their own — just think, the largest mammals on Earth are only vegetarians! Whales, elephants, mountain gorillas and giraffes all grow massive, healthy bodies just from plant foods — so don’t be afraid about not getting “enough” when most or all of your diet is oriented to plant foods.
Fresh raw veggies are not just good protein sources — they are filled with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber (fuel for your friendly bacteria in your gut which manufacture vital substances for you) as well as being a broom to clean intestinal walls (letting you absorb your nutrients better and clean out unsavory left-overs). And, even when well-washed, the friendly bacteria we need hitch-hike onboard to carry them to our small intestine.
Some fresh veggies are more power-packed or useful than others, too. This is another reason this salad is SO healthy, as it contains some magnificent choices!
___ Use mesclun or dark green leafy vegetables, like romaine lettuce and kale, as the salad basis. Lots of B vitamins to combat stress here.
___ The following foods have very high ORAC values — that is a measurement of their anti-oxidant activity. In random order, high ORAC foods in this recipe are: limes, garlic, onions, red pepper, mint, cilantro, basil and holy basil.
___ Fresh garlic is an anti-viral.
___ Limes and red pepper supply lots of Vitamin C and important anti-oxidant and immune system booster.
___ Cucumber is an excellent pH alkalizing food. Everyday, you want to help your body be just slightly alkaline pH and most “western” foods make you “acidic” pH.
___ Onions and garlic provide important sulfur to make some of your most protective anti-oxidants and are liver protective. All those diabetic and cholesterol-lowering meds assault your liver.
___ If you choose the healthiest nuts (or seeds), you will add to your valuable Omega-3 reservoir. I recommend almonds or macadamia nuts for this salad or Nutiva organic hemp seed. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are needed everyday, and as I never recommend farmed salmon, and wild-caught fish are an expensive food (even during the summer season runs), these vegetarian, heart-protective sources are important.
___ These are all low glycemic foods, so they are protective against raising insulin too much. Insulin spikes need to be avoided.
___ This is also an easy meal to take with you for lunch at work. Bring the dressing separately and put it on right before eating.
___ And, meals like this are a chance for you to set a good example for your children. Vietnamese children eat this just fine; there’s NO reason why western children have to be fed high carb foods which lead them to pre-diabetes. Forego the mac and cheese; pastas, hot dogs, poorly-made pizzas and sugary foods, please!
OK, go off to the market, and make this salad this week-end. I am.
Best to all — Em
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(c)2009 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordlress.com
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