Vietnamese Stuffed Tomatoes

And so it begins, another year. Christmas trees have come down, the fridge no longer tells tales of a festive feast, the carols have stopped and the hot cross buns are baking. January is always a sad time for me. It’s a swift kick back into reality, back to work, early mornings and working out. Ugh. What I miss most though is that feeling at the beginning of December, that excitement, the anticipation of the holidays, work is getting quiet, people are in party mode, the last day of work is imminent, and most of all, that just around the corner is completely guilt free overeating. Don’t you miss it…

So on that rather gloomy note, I have something to reinvigorate the taste buds, sorry I can’t really help with anything else. Christmas time is for most people, a fairly traditional affair, turkey, ham, prawns, and even though we had a Spanish themed Christmas this year, I still feel like I need some punch, something to refresh and awaken the taste buds and what better way to do that than with some fresh Vietnamese flavours. These stuffed tomatoes are delicious and served with a fresh and zingy Vietnamese salad, it’s a perfect way to start the year.

Serves 4
Recipe from The Ravenous Couple

4 large tomatoes
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 finely diced eshallot
1 large dried black fungus mushroom
A handful of dried shiitake mushrooms
A handful of bean thread noodles

2 ripe tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped or minced
1 tbs oil
1/4 cup sliced shallot
Cracked black pepper

Cut tomatoes in half horizontally, remove all core, seeds and juice. Reserving the core and juice for the sauce.

In a large bowl place the mushrooms, fungus and bean noodles, cover with boiling water and leave to soak and soften for 10 minutes. Drain and chop.

Return the mushrooms and noodles to the bowl and add pork, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, salt and eshallots. Mix well, it’s usually best to use your hands. Now you are ready to stuff your mushrooms. Stuff the tomatoes, packing them tight and ensure the top is flat. At this point you can put them in the fridge for a little while to firm up, these are also a great item to make ahead of time.

For the sauce, whaz the 2 tomatoes and left over tomato core and juice with the sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until smooth.

Once you are ready to cook, add oil and garlic to a medium heat pan, brown the garlic slightly and then add tomatoes filling side down. Brown the stuffing for a minute or two and then add the pureed tomato. Cook for a further minute and then flip the tomatoes, handle with care so you do not lose any filling. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes, spooning the sauce over the tomatoes and stuffing once or twice.

Once cooked, serve with some cracked black pepper and sliced shallots.

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