Stir-fried Caulifower with Anchovies-Bông Cải xào với Cá Cơm Hộp

Vietnamese food

Have you ever wandered into international food ailses in supermarket  and found something looks or sounds familiar but totally different from what you know.  To me, anchovies is one of them.  I love fermented anchovies “Mắm Nêm”.  I was so happy when I spotted a can of anchovies when I first came here but then disappointed quickly when the can was opened.  It is not what I thought it was.  Well, it is not cheap either. One of the cheapest one costs about $2 per 2 ounces.
Like most stir fried dishes, you can adjust ingredients to suit your taste-ore or less garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, etc. but everything has to be prepped and ready to use nearby.

1 medium head of cauliflower
One 2 oz canned anchovie in oil with or without caper
1 lime or lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crush
1 small asian shallot, coarsely chopped
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
A few sprigs of parley, cilantro or 1 green onion for garnish

  1. Trim and discard the leaves. Cut caulifower into bite size florets.  Cut and discard tough  fiber layer outside of the center core and slice the core  thinly .  Rinse them with water, drain.  Peel, chop garlic, shallot.  
  2. Remove anchovies from the oil, and chop them finely. Reserve the oil.
  3. Blanch cauliflower in a boiling water for 5 minutes, drain or cook them in microwave for 5 minutes. 
  4. Heating oil (from the can about 1 Tbs) in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic, shallot, stir until fragrant.  Add anchovies and 1/2 tsp red pepper flake to the pan, and stir until anchovies disolved in oil.  Add cauliflower, stir to coat well with other ingredients in the pan.  Cover, turn the heat down to medium or medium low.  Stir occasionally until cauliflower soft as you prefer about 5 minute. If not enough steam add a few Tbs water to the pan and continue cooking until cauliflower tender. Squeeze juice from 1 or 2 wedges lemon or lime.  Stir, taste and add more lemon/lime juice or red pepper flake if needed.  Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with parley, cilantron or thinly sliced green onion. 

*Notes: 

Cauliflower can be stir fried without blanching or cooking in microwave first but just need add more water and cook longer in the pan.  

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