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Noya's warming Vietnamese recipes

Noya Pawlyn, founder of Noya's Kitchen shares her chef secrets and a few cherished family recipes

As the weather turns, we find ourselves craving warmer, heartier food for those wintry afternoons away from the elements. Recently, we spoke to restaurant owner and chef Noya Pawlyn about her award-winning supper club and love for home cooked Vietnamese cuisine. And, because we couldn’t leave her kitchen without a few secrets, we asked her if she'd be happy to share her favourite winter dishes, because nothing says good-for-the-soul food like an old family recipe...

An’s Vietnamese Chicken Curry - Cà ri gà

Serves 4

“Inspired by my mum’s southern Vietnamese recipe that I grew up with. I use all my favourite ingredients including lemongrass, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves and coconut. It’s aromatic, rather than spicy but you can add chilli for punch and pickles to add freshness and zing. Our regular customers love An’s Chicken Curry, and always come back for a second helping.”

M A R I N A D E

Add 1 tsp of curry powder, ½ tsp of salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large bowl with the chicken thighs. Leave for 15 minutes or more.
While the chicken is marinading, prepared all your ingredients .
 

P R E P

Finely chop the onions, garlic, ginger and bruise the lemongrass using the back of your knife or a pestle. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into cubes.

On a plate, lay out the ingredients ‘around the the clock’: curry powder, turmeric, chilli flakes, cinnamon, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Then place your other ingredients in order, ready to cook: onion, ginger, chicken and garlic.

M E T H O D

1.    Heat up the wok or pan with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Fry the chopped onion until slightly soft. Add the ginger and fry for 30 seconds. Move the ginger and onion to the side of the wok.
 
2.    Add 1 tablespoon of veg oil before adding the chicken, browning off on both sides. Then add the garlic. Mix the onion, ginger and garlic together with the chicken and move all the ingredients to the side of the wok.
 
3.    Reduce the heat to low and add the curry powder, turmeric, chilli flakes, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and cinnamon. Fry for a few seconds and mix all the ingredients together.
 
4.    Add water, coconut milk and cubed sweet potatoes. Stir well and bring to a boil. Season with 1 tablespoon of palm sugar and 3 tablespoons of fish sauce. Mix together, cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked but not too soft.
 
5.    Remove the lid. If the sauce is looking a bit too thick, then add a little water. Simmer for another 10 minutes until you are happy with the consistency of the curry.
 
6.    Top with sliced spring onion, coriander leaves and fresh chillies (optional) and serve with steamed Jasmine rice or French baguettes. Yum!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with marinated Prawns - Gỏi cuốn

Makes up to 10 summer rolls

“I love how fresh, simple and delicious these summer rolls are. It’s all about how you treat your ingredients. The layers of flavours wrapped together means you get a burst of everything in one bite. The burst of freshness from the mint and coriander, the zinginess of the carrot and the crunch from the peanuts, and then the dipping sauce transforms everything into another flavour from the sweet and salty sourness.”

P R E P

Boiled prawns

1.     Add 300ml of water,  2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, sliced ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiled, add the  prawns until they turn pink, just for 1 minute or until cooked. Drain and reserve the stock for soup if you like.
2.     Allow the  prawns to cool down before slicing in half lengthways. Set aside. 
Alternatively, use already cooked prawns & slice lengthways in half.

Noodles

In a large bowl pour boiling hot water over the vermicelli noodles (making sure they are fully covered) and allow to soak for 3 minutes exactly. Strain in a colander and cover with a clean tea towel and allow to dry out for 15mins, turning the noodles which were sitting at the bottom of the colander to the top, which will allow them to dry out too.
Make the pickled carrots and dipping sauce in advance (PTO)

M E T H O D
 
1.     Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one whole sheet of rice paper, shake off excess water and place flat on a plate.
 
2.     At the top of the rice paper about 2 inches from the top, place 3 prawns in a horizontal line, pink outside onto the rice paper, then 3 mint leaves just below the prawns, a sprig of coriander, shredded mango and a tablespoon of vermicelli noodles below the mint. Make sure you leave 2 inches of rice paper around the fillings to be able to make the rolls.
 
3.     Now to roll! First fold the top side of the rice paper over the fillings, then fold the 2 sides into the centre, then roll the rice paper up, pinch and roll to the end. Make sure the roll is tight, before you reach the end, add a piece of garlic chive or spring onion, so that the green part sticks out at the end. That's optional, but it looks pretty!

Serve with spicy chilli & lime dipping sauce

Combine the water, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, sugar, chilli and fish sauce in a jar. Stir and leave for 15 mins before use. Taste and adjust, to your taste.

You can making the dipping sauce a day ahead. It will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Chilli & Ginger Aubergine stir fry - Cà Tím Nướng

Serves 2

“A lovely quick, simple dish to make and wonderful for vegetarians and vegans. It’s packed with flavour as the aubergine acts like a sponge. Rich and intense, led by the ginger and with a typically Vietnamese balance of sweet, salty and zingy flavours working together.”

P R E P

Cut the aubergine in half and then lengthways into 2cm thick sticks. Pan fry the aubergine sticks with vegetable oil in 2 batches (so they don’t go watery) in non-stick frying pan until golden and cooked through on all sides. This does use quiet a lot of oil! Put the first batch on a plate while you fry the second batch.

If you prefer using less oil use a steamer and steam the aubergine sticks for about 5 minutes until cooked. I think the frying method is tastier though.

Mix the sauce ingredients together: light soya sauce, sugar, chilli flakes, rice vinegar, corn flour and water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

M E T H O D

1.    If using the steamed method above, add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a hot frying pan before adding the steamed aubergine pieces to be browned off for a few minutes.
 
2.     Move the aubergine to the side of the frying pan. Using medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and add the ginger, frying until translucent. Then add the onion frying until fragrant, and then the garlic. Fry for a few seconds and mix all the ingredients together.
 
3.    Give the prepared sauce a good mix, then pour all over the aubergine. Stir and then wait until the sauce has thickened with a shiny gloss and has coated all the ingredients. This can happen very quickly!
 
4.     Place onto a serving dish, topped with spring onion, coriander, sesame seeds and peanut (all optional). Drizzle with a tiny bit of sesame seed oil. Serve with Jasmine rice.