Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pate Chaud

Baguettes, shallots, asparagus, croissants and many, many other food items now popular in Vietnam can be attributed to the French.  For slightly over 150 years, Vietnam was colonized by the French (outside of a brief period of Japanese occupation during World War II), and the influence on the local cuisine is unmistakable.  

The wonderful desserts and breads directly reflect French influence, and one of my favorite French/Vietnamese snacks is the Banh Pate So, which is from the long ago used French term of Pate Chaud meaning hot pie or hot pastry.  Pate in French now refers to meat, so this term could be misunderstood, but the Vietnamese term refers to so and chaud being pronounced identically, and banh and pate both mean pastry.  So it is an interesting backstory on the terminology of the dish.  Enough on the linguistics lesson, let's eat!

Banh Pate So- Pate Chaud- Hot Pie
 3 oz dried wood ear mushrooms
1.5 oz bean thread vermicelli
2 lbs. ground pork
3 shallots minced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy
2 tsp black pepper
puff pastry
2 eggs beaten
1 cup beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soak the wood ear mushroom and vermicelli in separate bowls of water for about 20 minutes until soft.  If the wood ear is in larger pieces, then thinly slice.  Cut the vermicelli into pieces about 1 inch long.  Thoroughly mix the pork, wood ear, vermicelli, shallots, fish sauce, soy and pepper.  If you overwork the meat then you will get a tougher filling, so be gentle.  Using a large biscuit cutter (about 4 inches in diameter), punch out large circles of puff pastry.  Form meatballs with the filling and place in the center of the pastry.  Brush the edges with some beer and place another piece of pastry on top.  Gently press down and use a fork to seal the edges.  Repeat until the pastry is gone.  If you have extra filling, you can use it in Vietnamese egg rolls (which will be a blog for another day!)  Brush the pastry tops with egg and bake until golden brown.

Custom plates by Gerald Haessig

In honor of arguably my favorite Vietnamese food item, I rocked to some Guns 'N Roses and Appetite for Destruction!  Possibly the best album of the 80s and maybe the best debut album of all time, in my opinion, the band was never able to reach this zenith again.  Songs like "Mr. Brownstone", "Think About You", and "Rocket Queen" stand the test of time and could blend in with today's top rock acts.  "Sweet Child 'O Mine" might be the best monster ballad in the history of MONSTER BALLADS!  An  disagrees that this song is a monster ballad...what say you?  Seriously, who doesn't immediately know Slash's guitar riff?  Too bad Axl had to break it all down, but give this album a listen and come back and discuss this with me!

My beverage of choice was a wonderful Ca Phe Sua Da.  The Vietnamese version of iced coffee is sweet and filled with a wonderful kick!  I make my own slow drip cold coffee with either French Market, CDM, Trung Nguyen, or Cafe de Paris.  Pour some condensed milk in the bottom of a glass, and top it with coffee and stir well.  Add ice and enjoy!  

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