When Tri, my trainee at Village Chance, came back from the market one day and emptied a bag full of jumping frogs into the sink, I jumped back as fast as the frog squealing with horror while Tri gleefully laughed at my squeal!
I always feel not sure about eating little god’s creatures, but Tri assured me that these farmed frogs are safe to eat, their meat is soft and white - and has the taste of both chicken and fish.
Before this first direct encounter with live kicking frogs, I only knew about the famous French fried frog legs (grenouilles frites) and the frog hot pot (lau nhai) in Hanoi, so it was an amazing lesson for me to actually observe how Tri skilfully sent these poor creatures over the other world and turned them into various delicate dishes.
First Tri picked out one of the struggling frog, and gave it a big whack on its head with the stone pestle to pacify it. Then he cut of its head and rinse the blood off under the running tap water, then he slipped off its skin, et voila, the spotty brown frog turned into the princely porcelain white blue frog.
After the innards was removed, the frog was portion into bite sized pieces, ready to be marinated and to be made into frog porridge, grilled frog. And spicey stir fried frog.
|Gutted and cleaned frog|
Tri cook frog porridge whenever he feels he is not well, it is known as one of the best nutrition for recovery patients.
But the Vietnamese frog porridge is prepared and served quite differently from the popular frog porridge in Singapore, Malaysia and South China.
Frog porridge Vietnamese style.
To make 4 large noodle soup bowls:
2 skinned, gutted & cleaned frogs or 4 pairs of large frog legs (frozen in Asian groceries) cut into small pieces
2tbspns fish sauce
1tspn ground pepper
4 golden shallots, minced
2 minced large garlic cloves
1cm grated ginger
½cup jasmine rice
1/3cup glutiness rice
1/4cup split mung bean, soaked in hot water until soft, drain well
3litre chicken or pork stock
4 green shallots, separate white and green part finely chopped
Fresh mixed herbs finely cut mixed with green shallot
Freshly ground black pepper
Marinate frog pieces in fish sauce, shallot, garlic ginger pepper and 20mls oil for at least 30 minutes. Heat 20mls oil stir fry frog pieces to [partly cooked. Set aside
Heat the rest of oil, fry the white part of shall with the rice and bean until golden and aromatic , add stir fried frog mix well over medium heat. Add stock and cook gently until rice is soft and frog is tender. Adjust seasoning served with mixed herbs green shallot and pepper.
NOTE : A good stock is the base for good tasty dish. If use stock cubes or ready made stock read the list of ingredients carefully. AVOID those which include MSG (621) (Flavour enhancer) (flavour powder), preserver and artificial colour and flavours.
These additives tend to spoil the natural flavours of the ingredients.
Frog porridge Singapore style
In this style the plani porridge is cooked and served separately from the frog in clay pot.
Clay pot frog
3 Skinned gutted cleaned frogs, sectioned into pieces.
2Tbspns cooking rice wine
2Tbspns Light soy sauce
2Tbspns sesame oil
10 whole dried chilies
4 green shallot, separate white and green parts, cut into 2cm lengths
4 minced garlic cloves
2cm young ginger, cut into thin slices
2tbspns rice wine
2Tbspns oyster sauce
Marinate frog pieces in rice wine , salt, soy sauce, sesame oil for at least 30 minutes .
Heat 100ml oil , fry whole dried chilies, till aromatic, remove from oil do not burn them. Fry marinated frog in small batch until golden, remove from oil . In the same pan, discard most of the oil , add ginger white shallot stir fry until aromatic, add frog pieces and chilies, sprinkle with rice wine, add sugar and water and oyster sauce, cook over low heat until sauce thickened. Transfer into a clay pot with sauce, add onion , sliced ginger and green shallot, cook with lid on for a few minutes. Serve with plain rice porridge.
½cup Jasmine rice
1/2cup Glutinous rice
3litre chicken or pork stock
Fry rice with a little oil, add stock cook slowly until rice is soft. Served with clay pot frog.
Frog stir fried with lemon grass & chillies
This is one of the common frog dish in restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City along with the spicy grilled frog.
4 skinned gutted cleaned frogs, cut into small pieces
2 minced garlic cloves
4 golden shallot, finely minced
1 red chili, seeded finely minced
1 stems of lemon grass, only the white part minced finely
1/2tspn sea salt
1tbspn fish sauce
1tspn Ground Vietnamese red pepper or Sichuan pepper
100ml olive oil
4 stem of lemon grass, very thinly sliced diagonally the white part
4 red chilies, seeded, cut into strips
1 handful coriander
Marinate the frog in garlic, shallot, chili, lemon grass, salt, fish sauce, pepper and 2tbspns oil for as long as you can, over night in refrigerator is good.
When needed, heat oil until hot, deep fry chili strips and lemon grass slices quickly then remove from oil drain on kitchen paper. Pour the frying oil into a container, and in the same frying pan, add sugar, stir to melt and caramelize sugar, add frog and a little oil with water. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, add fried lemon grass and chili. Serve with coriander sprigs.
Some Village residents went to a wedding in the country, and brought back some live frogs. We were given a few and we decided to grill them this time.
The frogs were skinned and cleaned, seasoned with salt peppere, chili, lemon grass then grill till golden brown. They were very tasty and tender, now I am a professional frog eater
If these styles of frog cooking does not appeal to you, you can prepare them the European way, the Latin American way or any of the other South East Asian way. However whichever way you choose remember live frogs have better taste and texture than frozen frogs and therefore the inevitable bloody murdering job! And a prayer for their early incarnation would ease your conscience.
The promised recipes for duck in spicy orange sauce and green papaya salad for the visiting Australian dentists in November 2011.