Last Monday I took a day off to take advantage of the Tuesday holiday for a pro-longed weekends (man I can get used of that 3 day work week) and attended a cooking demo at Le Meridien KL.
It was part of the “Experience Vietnam” promotion at Latest Recipe that runs from 16-22 May, 2011. Three chefs from Sheraton Saigon – Chef Tran Cong Tien, Chef Nguyen Thi Duy and Chef Bui Van Tien Dong flew all the way here to KL to infuse the restaurant with some true blue (or red?) Vietnamese cuisine, and of course, to share a few recipe with us.
yes, these are real Vietnamese ladies too.
I’ve always been a fan of Vietnamese food ever since the university days in the States, and having traveled to Saigon for 9 times over the last 7-8 years or so, this brand of South East Asian cuisine isn’t exactly very foreign for me.
Yet, this is the first time I learn how to make a real Vietnamese Sping roll. It turned out to be really simple, you can source all the ingredients locally and make yourself some authentic Vietnamese spring rolls too!
making a vietnamese spring roll
Here’s the ingredients to make 20 spring rolls:
- 20 pieces of rice papers
- 80 grams of lettuce
- 25 grams of your favourite Vietnamese herbs (basil and chives usually)
- 70 grams of carrot, sliced in strips
- 200 grams of fresh rice vermicelli (they use the thick version, i think mee hun might work too?)
- 20 pieces of blanched prawns, peeled & halved
Then the ingredients for dipping sauce
- 50 grams of tamarind pulp
- 50 ml of hot water
- 40 grams of dried mung bean
- 60 ml of tepid water
- 200 grams of preserved soya bean
- 50 ml of corn oil (or any cooking oil)
- 10 grams of chopped garlic
- 60 grams of sugar
Kim and I got our hands dirty, and our cooking skills upgraded 😀
The steps in making the Vietnamese spring roll is surprisingly easy:
- wet the rice paper on one side with hand, but careful not to drench it
- apply a piece of lettuce, then 2 basil leaves, a few strips of carrot, then some noodle
- next fold the rice paper from both sides, then roll up from bottom until you just cover the ingredients
- at this point put 2 pieces of shrimp on top, a piece of chives, and continue to roll the spring roll till complete
The last step separated out for mainly aesthetic purposes, so you can clearly see the shrimps through the translucent rice paper. Brilliant, I always wonder how they made it that way. Now I know. 😀
chef Tran Cong Tien and team making Bo La Lot (beef in fragrant leaves)
While you can consume the spring roll as is, they are best served with the soya bean dipping sauce, and here’s how you make them:
- Stir in tamarind pulp in 50 ml of hot water, then strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
- Steam the mung beans with 60 ml of water for about 20 minutes then blend together with the steaming water to form smooth paste. Set aside.
- Blend the soya bean into a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Next, heat up the oil in a pan, sautee the garlics till golden and throw in tamarind pulp paste, mung beans paste and soya bean paste. Stir till combined.
- Simmer for 10 minutes till mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool down before storing in fridge. This dipping sauce can be kept for up to a week
The good chefs from Vietnam also taught us how to make one of the most iconic Vietnamese food – Bo La Lot (grilled beef in fragrant leaves), and the dessert by the name of Cheo Troai Noouc (sticky rice dumpling with green bean filling and ginger syrup). I didn’t get a chance to try how to make those, but perhaps one day!
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