Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate Heyhoe  

Asian Vegetable Medley

Portable Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Part III

by Kate Heyhoe


The Vietnamese have a knack for bringing out the natural flavors of foods by combining them with fresh herbs, greens and vegetables. They make a popular condiment known as Spring Onion Oil (spring onions being green onions or scallions in the western world), made by flash-frying the chopped onions, deeply infusing the frying oil with toasty, aromatic fresh flavors and irresistible browned bits.

I have devised a zillion applications for this intriguing condiment—from salads to soups to seafood. Being so simple, it fits into just about any menu plan, heightening flavors of other foods without obscuring them.

For this week's Portable Thanksgiving Side Dish, I've prepared an Asian Vegetable Medley with Spring Onion Oil, an easy dish that fits in perfectly with the traditional Thanksgiving spread. It tastes best served at room temperature, so there's no need to reheat it and can go directly to table—something your host will appreciate.

Spring Onions

Vegetable Medley
with Spring Onion Oil

This colorful side dish marries crisply cooked vegetables with flavorful Spring Onion Oil, made by frying chopped green onions until crisp and golden brown. It's such a simple dish, seasoned just enough to be pleasantly assertive without overwhelming the flavors of the vegetables or competing unduly with other dishes on the table. It also transports with ease. Whether you're bringing this side dish as a guest or serving it as a host, you can make it earlier in the day and serve it at room temperature. To save time and make for easier clean-up, prepare the Spring Onion Oil the day before. (The oil will keep refrigerated for several weeks, but tastes best freshly made, when the browned onion bits are crisp and crunchy.)


Spring Onion Oil

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse and dry the green onions well. Cutting across, trim away the root ends, then chop the green onions from the tip to the end of the green stalks.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan on high until very hot. Very carefully, add the green onions and salt. Caution: the oil will splatter vigorously as soon as the green onions hit; a splatter guard or lid quickly placed on top will help reduce splattering, which stops in the first few seconds. Fry the onions until they become crisp and the edges brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the green onions continue to cook in the hot oil so that they become golden to dark brown. Use in Vegetable Melange or as a condiment for salads, pastas, sandwiches and cooked meats and vegetables. Note: You can make this recipe in larger quantities to keep on hand. Store refrigerated in a glass jar.


Vegetable Medley

Spring Onion Oil (above)—use amount to taste
Assorted fresh vegetables, such as red potatoes, carrots, broccoli,
     cauliflower, red bell pepper (enough to fill a large casserole)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place several spoonfuls of the Spring Onion Oil (with the browned onion bits) in a mixing bowl or casserole large enough to hold the vegetable mixture.

While the water boils, cut the vegetables into large to bite-size pieces, starting with the potatoes. You'll be cooking each vegetable separately in the same water, so you want to start with the mildest vegetables and leave the broccoli and strong tasting ones for last. To save time, cut one vegetable as another cooks. Cut red potatoes in half (or quarters if large), carrots into 1-inch lengths, broccoli and cauliflower into florets, and bell pepper into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks.

When the water boils, dissolve 2 teaspoons salt in it. Cook the potatoes until tender and able to be pierced by a fork (about 15 to 20 minutes). Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, lift the potatoes from the water, drain over the pot briefly, then place in the bowl with the Spring Onion Oil. Toss the hot potatoes to coat.

Repeat the process with the other vegetables but unlike the potatoes, you want to barely blanch the other vegetables, so they are tender but pleasantly crisp and crunchy. Make sure the water is boiling when adding them in separate batches. Carrots take 5-8 minutes to cook, bell peppers take about 30 seconds, broccoli and cauliflower about 1 minute, depending on the size of the pieces. Toss each vegetable in the bowl with the Spring Onion Oil while still hot. If the mixture seems dry, add more oil and browned green onions as desired.

Serve the mixture at room temperature, adding salt and pepper to taste before serving.


November 7:
Portable Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Part I
Breads of the Americas
Kate's Chevre-Stuffed Green Chile Corn Muffins

from our archives...

Skillet Pinon Cornbread, by Mark Miller
Zuni Pepita Bread by Mark Miller

November 14:
Portable Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Part II
Dishes with Oranges & Persian Flavors

Orange, Pistachio & Date Bread

Persian-Inspired Spaghetti Squash


November 21:
Portable Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Part III
Asian Medley


November 28:
Exotic Encores with
Luscious Thanksgiving Leftovers


More Holiday Recipes and Articles:

from our archives...

Thanksgiving at Foodwine.com
The Perfect Turkey Handbook
The Thanksgiving No-Brainer
Using a Meat Thermometer


Copyright © 1998, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.


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This page created 1998. Modified November 2006.