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Tropical Curried Chicken Salad

Curried chicken salad is an item popping up on a lot menus. Chicken salad is always a great go to sandwich at your local deli, and adding curry powder just gives it that extra oomph. For some reason curry powder & mayo just meld together into a wonderful flavor. What makes Mum Mum’s curried chicken salad stand out and special? We put in just a little extra elbow grease (not literally of course ; } ) and lots of love. We use only chicken breast. We believe roasting gives the meat much better flavor. The chicken breast we use has the skin on to give it extra flavor and keep it moist. The split chicken breast is rubbed with olive oil,  kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Javin’s yellow curry powder. Each chicken breast is shredded by hand and mixed with chopped red onion, celery, dried mango, golden raisins, ginger, mayo & yellow curry powder.

The flavors of all the ingredients blend so well together, and the mango just gives it that extra something, something. Give this sandwich a try next time and you won’t go back to that plain old, only mayo chicken salad again.

Curry roasted chicken breast just out of the oven.

 

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What is a Vietnamese Pork Roll?

Vietnamese Pork Roll/Sausage

The Vietnamese Pork Roll/Sausage is the main player in our sandwich called the “Hanoi Classic.” It is called “cha lua” in Vietnamese or “moo yaw” in Thai.

It’s in a variety of dishes in Vietnam, mostly in small appetizers like “banh cuon” which is a rice crepe. Is is also commonly found in the “banh mi” or Vietnamese sandwich with the typical banh mi players of mayo, cucumbers, pickled carrots, pickled daikon radish, jalapenos & cilantro. (Note: we have left out the pickled daikon radish on our version as it has a strong taste as well as smell — think “methane.”)

In Thailand, it is generally made in the Isaan region and is typically eaten simply pan-fried and with rice or in a salad form called “yum moo yaw,” which is spicy and scrumptious. I’ll have a recipe for yum moo yaw below.

The main ingredient is pork, potato starch and fish sauce. The fish sauce gives it a strong smell which is mellowed out after it is pan-fried. The pork must be pounded into a paste not chopped out ground. It needs to be smooth in texture. It is then wrapped in a banana leaf into a cylinder and boiled. The pork roll must then be cooked, generally pan-fried, before being consumed. I like having a nice crisp texture when eating it. The pork roll we use is the one pictured above in the middle. There is another type which is pictured to the left which has pork fat and pig ear added giving it more texture. Personally I do not prefer this type as the added fat gives it a slimy texture.

The closest place to buy the pork roll is in Portland at any of the Asian markets. My 2 favorite markets are Hanukmen on Forest Ave or Makot Pech on St. John St. It is found in the freezer aisle.

Yum Moo Yaw Recipe: Thai-Style Pork Roll Salad

Ingredients:

1 Pork Roll (Typically 2 lb roll) halved and sliced thin

2 small shallots sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber quartered & sliced thin

1 small tomato sliced into wedges

Thai bird chili (1 is enough for good heat, add as many as you prefer though be forewarned they are tiny but give a bang) sliced

1 -2 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp fish sauce or thin soy sauce

10-15 mint leaves torn

2 scallions cut into 1/2 in pieces

2 sprigs cilantro coarsely chopped

Method:

1.) Pan-fry the sliced pork roll with a touch of vegetable oil until heated through on medium heat

2.) Mix with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy with salad greens or sticky rice

The flavor profile of this dish is spicy, sour and salty — adjust the amount of fish sauce/thin soy sauce, lime juice and bird chili according to your preference.

The Dynamic Duo

Like Batman and Robin or Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, scallops and bacon go hand in hand. Ubiquitous on catering menus, you’d think people would be sick of the combo, but scallops wrapped up in bacon is always a crowd-pleaser. Then again bacon on anything is scrumptious, though I might draw the line on bacon ice cream.

So after eating bacon-wrapped scallops at party after party I decided why not put it in a sandwich with a little tweak.  Our scallops are coated with panko bread crumbs & deep-fried instead of grilled.

I wonder who does the wrapping.

The Pacific Rim

I was first introduced to the term “Pacific Rim” by my “Contemporary East Asian Economics” professor. The “Pacific Rim” generally refers to the countries that are on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, but on an economics standpoint it refers to an economic region that consists of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. I’m getting old, so at the time of this class Japan was still a relevant player in East Asian economics. Actually, no, was a ‘more’ relevant player; the karaoke-loving, ramen-slurping, anime-crazed Japanese are still hanging on. I digress, the point is since that class I have always associated the term “Pacific Rim” with Japan.  Plus, the professor was a Japanese expert and super dreamy.

Now our sandwich, the “Pacific Rim” has pickled ginger & wasabi mayo, 2 ingredients many associate with sushi, hence Japan. Pacific Rim was just the perfect name. It’s become one of our best selling sandwiches. The crisp lettuce  & creamy avocado blend perfectly with the bite of the pickled ginger & wasabi mayo. Simply — ooishii desu ne!!!

Sloppy Joe’s Thai Rendevous

I have a sweet spot for sloppy Joe’s. It brings back childhood memories of Catholic school where once a week, usually a Thursday, there would be special meals we could buy for $1.25. Sometimes hot dogs or burgers, but the sloppy Joe’s are what we all waited for. It’s such a classic childhood dish you can’t help but enjoy and reminisce about the simpler days.

Now if sloppy Joe went to Thailand  and had a little fling in Pattaya with a Thai girl, or boy, or even a ladyboy he would turn into our version of the sandwich. We use ground pork, instead of beef, red curry, ginger, garlic, lemongrass & palm sugar. We top it off with jalapenos for a nice bite, cilantro & some cheddar cheese.

All these women are actually men.

Side Note: Thailand has become infamous for a lot of unsavory things lately. The redlight district is quite embarrassing.  A major player in the redlight districts like Pattaya or Patpong is the ladyboy. For whatever reason Thai men make beautiful women. I’ve had many guy friends leave Thailand so confused because they have no clue if they were seeing women or ladyboys. It’s actually a fun game if you’re ever in Thailand.

There is a beauty pageant for ladyboys called the Miss Tiffany Universe. Thai ladyboys win almost every year.

Ni Hao Chairman Mao!

Our Chairman Mao sandwich is not in honor of the infamous Mao Zedong of China, but of Beijing’s popular “Peking Duck.”  A visit to Beijing is not complete without trying Peking Duck at least once and taking a chomp out of a duck head. This dish comprises of a specially roasted whole duck where the skin is super crispy, cucumbers, scallions & hoisin sauce to be wrapped in a pancake. Our sandwich has basically the same components with the addition of cilantro & mayo and eaten in a baguette or wrap.

Chairman Mao’s reputation has transcended beyond tyrannical Communist leader whose rule resulted in millions of deaths through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Though compared to the likes of Stalin and Hitler, there is no doubt he is still revered as a great leader amongst the Chinese. Are they brainwashed? Maybe to a certain degree. China’s propaganda machine is probably one of the most successful in the world. Mao’s portrait is still hung probably in almost every restaurant in China. And you can’t miss Mao’s giant portrait in Tienanmen Square or his Mausoleum where you can still see his embalmed ‘green’ body.  Though he may have committed countless horrible acts, it can not be denied he was one of China’s greatest rulers and a significant political figure in world history. Even Time Magazine named him in the top 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

In a way Mao has become a part of pop culture especially after Andy Warhol’s portrait of him.

And you can’t ignore the infamous Oba-Mao image made global after the Beijing Summer Olympics.

There are many who can be offended (We actually did have a gentleman walk out of the restaurant because of it, hence this post resulted. But, who isn’t offended by anything nowadays? I could say “the” and hurt someone’s feelings.) that a sandwich can bear the name of murderous Communist leader; however,  since most of the 1.3 billion people of China won’t take offense and will probably be proud just because they are such an ethnocentric race and, would love  to have anything bear a name that represents China we probably should calm down a bit. You can’t deny that “Chairman Mao” sounds a lot catchier than “Peking Duck Sandwich.”

Good Morning Vietnam!!!!!!!!!

Please meet Miss Saigon, the sandwich Mum Mum was basically created around. The word fusion gets thrown around a lot nowadays with globalization basically at its peak. There are so many fusion cuisine creations like French-Thai, Latin-Japanese and Latin-Chinese to name a few. Many blend the flavors of the 2 cultures quite well, but many also miss the mark completely.  Miss Saigon, or “Banh Mi” in Vietnamese, might be one of the ultimate fusion food creations. It is probably one of the few positive outcomes of the French “colonization” of Vietnam.

The French brought over the baguette to Vietnam which was totally embraced by the people there. The French were kicked out and baguette remained and given a different twist by the Vietnamese. The recipe was tweaked and the Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour as well as wheat flour giving it a flakier crust and softer inside. What really  makes the Banh Mi stand out are the fillings. Generally always made with meat fillings like chicken, beef or pork, but always definitely flavored packed. The meats are marinated with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, honey, palm sugar and soy or fish sauce and are usually grilled or sauteed until the meat is nicely caramelized. The typical banh mi always has the bread, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots, pickled daikon radish, jalapeno & cilantro. Some fillings still left over from the French are things like head cheese and pate which are also still popular.

Banh mi has become quite popular in larger cities like NYC, Boston, San Franciso & LA where there are larger Vietnamese populations. Many more Americans are embracing the banh mi because it does provide something familiar — the sandwich, yet giving a taste of the exotic. The common citizen also has a little more exposure to Banh Mi due to shows like the Great Food Truck Challenge that introduced Nom Nom’s banh mi to middle America.

Banh Mi was a great inspiration for Mum Mum’s because it completely comprises what we grew up eating being first generation Americans. We always tweaked typical American fare by giving them a Thai twist. Combined with our Asian-American upbringing and my experiences traveling through Asia we were able to create the dishes on our menu.

How We Make Our Marinade:

We use a wooden mortar and pestle to pound lemongrass, ginger, honey, shallots & white pepper to a  paste and then mix with soy sauce and sesame oil before marinating the chicken breast, shaved steak or tofu.