Cooking Vietnamese

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I took a second cooking class at Saigon Culinary Arts. This time with Lee, who says he’s the cook back in his Florida home. (I hate to tell him it was partly a ruse so his wife, Carolyn, could go shopping!). We had a wonderful time and got to eat our creations, too! We were stuffed.

Lee and I ended up back at the Saigon Culinary Art Center for a new cooking lesson. This is our chef Mia, who taught just the two of us.
Lee and I ended up back at the Saigon Culinary Art Center for a new cooking lesson. This is our chef Mia, who taught just the two of us.
These are our spring rolls, stuffed with chopped pork, shrimp and crab. We dampened the rice paper wrappers with sugar water to make them golden and crispy, but our cook said beer was even better.
These are our spring rolls, stuffed with chopped pork, shrimp and crab. We dampened the rice paper wrappers with sugar water to make them golden and crispy, but our cook said beer was even better.

Fried Spring Rolls, Cha Gio
• 30g crab meat, minced
• 40g shrimp, minced
• 30g pork, minced
• 15g dried wood ear mushroom, rehydrated and minced
• 40g sweet potato, grated fine (or turnip, taro)
• 1t chicken powder
• 1t sugar
• ½ t black pepper
• 1t each, chopped spring onions and shallots
• 3-6 rice paper wrappers
• Mixture of sugar water, coconut juice or beer to wet the rice paper with your fingers
• Soybean oil for deep frying
Use 1 heaping teaspoon per rice paper wrapper
Dipping sauce
• 1T sugar
• 1T lime juice
• 1T fish sauce
• 1t minced garlic
• ½ t chopped red chili
Serve with lettuce leaves, fragrant herbs, fresh rice noodle and dipping sauce

This is the sour fish soup. It gets it's sour taste from tamarind and lime juice, but we added sugar and pineapple to balance it.
This is the sour fish soup. It gets it’s sour taste from tamarind and lime juice, but we added sugar and pineapple to balance it.

Sour soup with shrimp, Canh chua thom va tom (makes one serving)
• 70g of shrimp, fresh peeled (we used fish)
• 1T cooking oil
• 1 t chopped garlic
• ¼ pineapple, cubed
• 1 small tomato, peeled and cut into cubes
• ½ t sugar
• 1t chicken powder
• ½ t each salt and pepper
• 1T chicken broth
• 1T lime juice
• 1T sour tamarind (more lime if you can’t find)
• Water, if needed
Garnish, just before serving:
• Fragrant herb, minced: long coriander, mint, Thai basil, cilantro
• Bean sprouts
• 2 slices of red chili or red pepper
• Fried, chopped garlic
Heat oil. Add garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add tomato and pineapple. Stir in sugar, chicken powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth, lime juice and tamarind. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and bring to a boil again. Adjust seasons (may need sugar or water, especially). Top with herbs, sprouts and chilies. Serve.

Caramelized fish in a clay pot was amazing, particularly the sauce. The single hot pepper, which was not chopped, added a tremendous amount of heat. This dish was served with steamed rice.
Caramelized fish in a clay pot was amazing, particularly the sauce. The single hot pepper, which was not chopped, added a tremendous amount of heat. This dish was served with steamed rice.

Caramel Fish in clay pot, Ca kho to (makes 1 serving)
• 100g boneless fish
• 1 ½ t caramel syrup (sugar cooked in water until it thickens and darkens)
• 1t chopped shallot
• 1t chopped spring onion
• ½ t chopped chili
• 1t sugar
• 1T Fish sauce
• 1t chicken powder
• ½ t pepper
• ½ cup water
• 1T soybean oil
Marinate fish in oil, caramel, fish sauce, sugar, chicken powder, pepper, chili and onions. 20 minutes.
Bring fish to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce dries. Add water. Put on the lid and let simmer until done.
Garnish with spring onion and chilies and serve with steamed rice

I'm an official Vietnamese cook, now! We ended our meal with a sweet soup, made with mung beans and coconut milk.
I’m an official Vietnamese cook, now! We ended our meal with a sweet soup, made with mung beans and coconut milk.
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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

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