This month our Food 'N Flix pick is the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda, hosted by the events founder, Heather of girlichef. Our option was to watch the original movie and/or it's sequel. With time tight this month, I went back and watched the original film which I had seen before, but I do plan to go back and watch the second one some day.
It had been a while since I watched this movie and I forgot how fun and how foodie it is. Set in China, the film centers around Po, a rather portly panda who has a dream to be a kung fu master like his idols, the Furious Five—Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane. It seems like this will only be a fantasy and Po will follow his adopted father's path (running the family noodle shop), until he is unexpectedly chosen by Master Oogway to become the famed Dragon Warrior. Po will have to dig deep to find the courage and skill needed to defeat the evil villain and save The Valley of Peace.
With Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen and the rest of the cast adding their voices and humor, this animated film is sweet and funny. With the noodle shop and Po's emotional eating issues, there is plenty of food inspiration to be found. I took mine from a scene where Master Oogway, finds Po having a midnight snack of peaches from the "Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom."
Master Oogway: "I see you have found the Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom."
Po: "Is that what this is? Sorry. I thought it was just a regular peach tree."
Master Oogway: "I understand. You eat when you are upset."
Po: "Upset? I'm not upset! What makes you think I'm upset?"
Master Oogway: "So why are you upset?"
Po: "I probably sucked more today than anyone in the history of kung fu. In the history of China.In the history of sucking!"
Master Oogway: "Probably."
Originally, I was going to go with the more traditional Chinese-style small, fried spring roll but I decided that neither Po or I really needed all the frying. I decided instead to do a vegetarian Vietnamese-style rice paper roll filled with noodles for Po, herbs, and crisp veggies. For dipping sauce, we have a quick and easy Spicy 'Sacred Peach Dipping Sauce' made with peach jam and chile sauce. I am going to tell you right now that these aren't my prettiest rolls and best rolling work ever but, even not so pretty, they tasted great. ;-)
I am not going to go through making salad rolls with you--as you can see from my work, there are plenty of people and sites that teach it much better. ;-) My rolls included cooked and chilled rice noodles, Thai basil, cilantro, mint, chives, carrot, cucumber, and purple cabbage. The beauty of veggie rolls is that you can add in whatever ingredients you like. I prefer mine extra 'herby' and dipped in a sauce that is combination of sweet-spicy-savory-tangy.
Here is the recipe I put together for the dipping sauce:
Spicy 'Sacred Peach' Dipping Sauce
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about a scant cup)
1/2 cup chunky peach jam or preserves (chunky is good)
1/4 cup sweet chili paste
2 - 4 Tbsp Sriracha or other hot chili paste--to taste
1- 2 tsp hot Chinese mustard--to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
In a small sauce pan, place jam, sweet chili paste, spicy chili paste, hot mustard and soy sauce. Cook over low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until jam thins out a bit. Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil and rice wine vinegar and let cool. Taste for additional heat/seasoning and add as desired.
Notes/Results: Don't try to roll when you are late for a post and in a hurry/and or trying to take phone calls and shove peanut butter toast in your mouth because you were running late to and from a meeting and didn't get lunch! (Or just don't procrastinate until the end of the month and then mess up on the post due date!) ;-) I freely admit I slapped these together and it shows. That being said, the flavor was great. The rolls were crisp and slightly chewy (in a good way) from the noodles with plenty of flavor from the herbs and the dipping sauce. I liked the spicy peach dipping sauce--it was a good balance of tastes and the right amount of heat (a slow burn at the end) for me. The peach flavor was present and I enjoyed it, but another jam like apricot or current would also work well. (It took me four stores last week to find a good chunky peach jam/preserves.) I will use the leftover sauce for the veggie pot stickers currently in my freezer.
I am sliding this one in a bit after the deadline today (Thanks Heather!) but if you missed out on this month and you like food, films and foodie films, you can join us for May when Cheap Ethnic Eatz will be hosting the girl-power comedy, Bridesmaids.