To celebrate the Vietnamese New Year known as Tet, the lovely Paul Cadden, owner of Saba Thai and Vietnamese Eatery on Clarendon Street Dublin, has given me a copy of Saba: The Cookbook – Inside a Thai/Vietnamese Kitchen to give away on the blog. The book traces the story of Saba and is beautifully illustrated and crammed with Thai and Vietnamese recipes, not to mention a great selection of cocktails.
Now this is the first time I’ve ever had a competition on the blog and, to be honest, I’m a teeny, weeny bit nervous. Bear with me a moment while I work up to it.
It all came about like this. The other day I was looking for help on Twitter to track down Sri Racha chilli sauce to make Kaffir Lime Chilli Prawns for Taste of China when up popped a helpful reply from @SabaDublin. So I dropped into Paul in this “happy meeting place” (that’s what the name means in Thai) for a chat.
Tet coincides with Chun Jie the Chinese Spring Festival and the Vietnamese are also marking the beginning of the Year of the Snake. Snakes are considered to be lucky in Vietnam, having a snake in the house is considered a good omen as it means your family will never starve. Hmmm… I can see certain issues with that if you’re living in Ireland.
Paul offered me the recipe for their fantastic New Year’s cocktail Dragon’s Tail from the cookbook for Taste of China. With our own little grandson Dermot having arrived in Beijing on the very tail of the Year of the Dragon, how could I resist… Try it at home or in Saba – grapefruit vodka, fresh dragon fruit and lemon juice muddled with crushed ice. You will feel as if you have been plunged back in time to colonial Hanoi. (Don’t you love that word “muddled”…)
Vietnamese cuisine has been on my radar since my daughter Claire and her husband Mike went along to check out The Red Lantern in Sydney so I am keen to learn more about it and how it differs from Chinese food. I was delighted when Paul gave me a copy of Saba: The Cookbook so that I could try out some of their recipes at home and also gave me a second copy of the book to offer as a prize.
Which brings me to my first ever giveaway on the blog. As my daughter Claire would say “how exciting!!”
Win a copy of Saba’s Cookbook
How to enter:
Simply leave a brief comment here on the blog saying what is your favourite Asian recipe and why. If you can tell me were I can find the recipe better still but it’s not essential.
A few ground rules:
(and I’m making these up as I go along as I’ve never done this before but I did sneak a look at how Babaduck runs her competitions because she knows a thing or two.)
- Entries will close at midnight on Saturday 23rd February.
- The winner will be chosen at random by Derry using a random number generator (because I don’t trust myself to be unbiased!!).
- I will contact the winner by email to get an address in Ireland or the UK to which I can post the book. If the winner lives further afield they will have to pay the extra postage (sorry!).
- Only one entry per person will count in the random draw.
So join in the fun. Enter now and spread the word around by Twitter or Facebook.
And the second prize is… another copy of Saba: The Cookbook
I’ve been so delighted by the immediate response to the competition that I’ve decided to get another copy of the book and give it as a prize for the recipe I like best from those suggested a) because the proceeds of the sale of the book are for such good causes and b) because where’s the power in a random draw, I ask you! And if I get a link to the recipe itself I will even cook it for the blog after the Chinese New Year celebrations have died down. Feel free to enter more than once but only one entry per person will count in the random draw.
By the way if you don’t win the book you can buy it on the Saba website, at the restaurant, at Saba to Go or in any good bookshop. It retails for €30 and all the proceeds go to charity – The Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin and the Thai Red Cross Society.
When I was leafing through the cookbook, the recipe for Xao Hao Lo caught my eye because it could easily pass for a Chinese stir-fry. Paul tells me that it is one of the most popular dishes on the Saba menu and here is the recipe to whet your appetite. I cooked it last night and it was light and tasty with a lovely crunchy texture. As it is not spicy it will suit families of all ages. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough light to get a decent photo of the finished dish.
Vietnamese Xao Hao Lo – Stir-fried Beef with Cashews and Asparagus
- 450 g beef fillet, thinly sliced
- 3 dsp sunflower oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped
- 150 g asparagus, sliced 5 cms and par-boiled*
- 80 g baby corn, halved and par-boiled*
- 80 g snow peas
- 50 g unsalted roasted cashew nuts
- 80 g oyster mushrooms, torn
- 2 dsp Thai soy sauce
- 1 dsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 dsp Thai black soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 30 ml chicken stock or water
- Bring the wok to a medium heat. add the oil and garlic and stir until there is a good aroma.
- Now add the beef and stir for a minute before adding the asparagus, baby corn, snow peas and cashew nuts. Add the oyster mushrooms last and stir.
- Season with the soy sauce, oyster sauce, black soy sauce and sugar.
- Finally, add the chicken stock or water, pouring it around the edge of the wok to gather all the lovely flavours. Stir for one minute only, making sure the vegetables remain crunchy.
- Serve with Thai Jasmine rice.
By the way Saba also do cookery classes and, as I realised half way through cooking the dish that I don’t known the difference between Thai soy sauce and Chinese soy sauce, a cookery class which includes a guided visit to the Asia Market in search of the correct ingredients seems like a very good idea.
A big thank you for the first ever prize on my blog to Paul and the team at Saba Dublin.