Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vietnamese Style Sautéed Rognons

They’re plump and juicy and oh so tasty. This is by far my favourite meat dish that my mother prepares so well. I was at her house the other day and helped her cook this delicacy which many would cringe by just hearing the word “kidney” which I can completely understand especially when you’re aware of its main function in human or animal bodies. But if properly cleaned and cooked, it can be nutritious and so pleasant tasting.

Known for its pungent smell and taste, pork kidney has a very similar texture as liver when uncooked. It’s no stranger to Asian cuisine, and certainly not in my family’s kitchen. Although I have tasted kidneys cooked in different ways, I find it tastes best when cooked medium-rare with very little seasoning. When overcooked in overwhelmingly thick creamy sauces, often found in European recipes, the true taste of the kidney is completely masked…might just as well use regular meat cuts if you can’t taste anything but the sauce. The simpler its preparation, the better you’ll get out of the authentic taste of this wonderful dish. It’s eaten best when served fresh that same day.

This recipe has been, and still is a long time favourite in my household. It’s so simple and tasty that there never is any left over.
Preparation : 10 minutes, Cooking time : 5 minutes

Recipe « au pif » :4-6 pork kidneys
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 fresh scallion, sliced à la julienne
1 tbsp vegetable oil

* Ask your local butcher to clean it for you. They have the proper knives and technique to remove the impurities from the kidneys. *
How to cut the kidneys:With a sharp knife, make cris-crossed diagonal incisions on the surface of the kidneys. This will allow them to cook quickly while keeping them plump and juicy. Cut the kidneys in about 2 inch pieces.

How to clean the kidneys:½ tsp salt
¼ cup white vinegar
3 cups water
Boil the water in a large sauce pan, add the salt and vinegar and the kidneys. Don’t cook the kidneys, just let them sit for about 10 seconds. Discard water and put kidneys aside.

Heat oil in a hot Teflon pan, on medium-high heat. Add in the chopped onions and stir for about 10 seconds.

Add the pieces of kidneys and stir fry for about 20 seconds.

Add the fish sauce and stir fry for another 60 seconds, or until the kidneys have browned a little but they’re still a little pink in the center. * You don’t want to overcook them or they’ll be dry and tough*.

Add pepper.

Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the scallions

Serves 4 people.

Share and enjoy!


white on rice couple said...

I just love family favorite dishes! Thanks for sharing your Mom's dish, it's so special for me too to learn something from her. I love the fact that it's so quick and healthy too!

We had to eat lots of offal as kids and I appreciate all that my parents fed us.

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks appetizing. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try making it myself, but it looks good :)

I think you've missed the point on the whole Western kidneys-drowned-in-sauce. If you don't know how to properly clean kidneys to make them taste good - as you did here - the point of the sauce is to forget you're eating offal. Experiences like this are probably why I'm afraid to try your recipe now!

QlinArt said...

I thought your name "fearless kitchen" would mean you would be ready to try anything ;)
About the western way of preparing offal - they usually have to clean it as described in my post - otherwise, you might find yourself if gastro problems later on. Believe me, I have a friend from French who prepares these and cleans them like there`s no tomorrow and yet, drowns it with this thick sauce - good but not as good as this one. Believe - worth the try and the cleaning. It's an acquired taste. thanks for the comment!