Stephan Brezinsky dipped his culinary toes at the likes of Pok Pok, Il Mulino Prime and the Third Man before opening Soothsayer Vietnamese, where he pays tribute to his Southeast Asian heritage. Situated in New York’s East Village neighborhood, the restaurant was once home to a recording studio where the Beastie Boys laid down their first tracks. Contemporary flair is evident in dishes such as the light, crunchy “taro tots,” which borrow from Spanish, Asian and American cuisine.
“The inspiration for the dish stems from comfort-food classics and characteristics in cuisines found across the globe from Southeast Asia to Spain and here in America,” Brezinsky says. “Starting with the cubed taro, which was inspired by the traditional Spanish tapas dish patatas bravas, which is a fried potato, cut into chunky shapes and served with a drizzle of aioli. Additionally, Vietnamese cuisine is traditionally light, vibrant and flavored with fish sauce and fresh herbs and pork, which was also incorporated into the dish by adding basil, chili and pork floss. And of course, the resemblance to American tater tots, which is a quintessential comfort food, which adds familiarity to the dish as the perfect healthier version of the snack.”
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut flakes (unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (untoasted)
- 1 large taro root
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Garnish with pork floss, Asian basil and chili
- Steamer basket
For the tots
Peel and cube taro.
Steam by bringing the water to a boil over high heat. When you hear the water bubbling and see steam starting to emerge from the pot, it's ready. Scatter the taro cubes over the steamer basket, cover and reduce heat to medium. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Take tots out and place in fridge until chilled.
While taro tots are in the fridge, prepare the batter by mixing all ingredients together.
Set stovetop temperature to high heat and place frying pan with oil. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain.
Top with aioli, pork floss, Asian basil and chili.