Hello foodies 🙂 I decided to tell you more about one part of my Vietnam trip that was absolutely great: a trip to the local market in Hoi An with a chef and cooking four traditional Vietnamese dishes afterwards.
I love Vietnamese cuisine because oft he use of fresh ingredients and especially herbs for flavoring. This leaves you feeling happy and health after your meal and not sticky and tired. In Vietnam markets are much more common than in Europe and people seem to buy most of their daily groceries here. Many vendors produce the products freshly at the stalls or bring produce from small farms outside of the towns. I was especially impressed with the lady making fresh rice noodles. I had only ever seen the hard, dried version that we get to buy in stores but freshly made, cut and soft noodles, how much more delicious does that sound? Of course some areas of the market are also of a bit of a different standard that we are used to in the western world (uncooled, open meats and more) but luckily I was sticking to plant-based food so I was totally fine with the standards and felt safe eating the food 🙂 I really really like the selection of fresh fruits as well. There are a few kinds I had never tried before and especially jackfruit I liked. To me it tastes a bit like a mixture of a melon and a mango but of course that’s maybe not what it actually tastes like 😀 I was also lucky to experience the market prior to the Tet festival (Chinese new year) and the chef explained to me that there are a selection of candied and dried fruits that Vietnamese buy around this time of the year to offer to guest at their home. I especially liked the fresh candied coconut!!! So yummy, it’s a bit like the coconut chips you can buy around here but still in a soft state with a tiny bit of sugar around it. Very very yummy and I’m hoping also a bit healthy if you don’t eat too many? 😛
After we had bought all the ingredients at the market it was time to head to the kitchen for my cooking class. It was actually a semi-outdoor kitchen which was super nice! We covered the table with banana leaves and then started to cut up the veggies and spices. We started by preparing the papaya salad, then continued with a fresh summer roll with mushrooms, ginger and herbs. Next, I got to prepare a traditional dish from the Hoi An region. A sort of pancake made out of rice flour and topped with veggies, sprouts and fresh herbs. The last dish was an egg-plant stew with rice (I will link you the actual recipes at the end of this post). All the dishes were so yummy and fresh! I was also very happy that the chef explained in detail how to prepare every aspect of the dish, also the sauces which are very important in Vietnamese cuisine! I would say I liked every dish but my favorite might have been the rice pancake 🙂
- Fresh Summer Rolls:
- Ingredients: 200g mushrooms, 100g carrot, 100g onion, 50g lettuce, herbs (mint and coriander), rice paper
- Sauce: Oil, soya sauce, peanut sauce, chili, roasted peanuts, salt, sugar
- Fry the mushrooms and set aside in a bowl. Julienne the carrot and onion and marinate with sugar, lemon and ginger. Wet the rice paper with a towel and put on an even surface. Put the lettuce leaf at the bottom edge of the rice paper. Start by adding the rest of the ingredients to your own liking. Rolling the summer roll: Take the edge closest to you and fold it over to the middle of the paper. Fold in the left and right sides. Roll all the way till the end.
- Papaya Salad:
- Ingredients: 200g papaya, 200g carrot, 50g mint, 50g dried onions, 50g peanuts
- Seasoning: Sugar, lemon juice, chili, fish sauce
- Peel, wash and julienne the papaya and carrot. Season the veggies. Roast the peanuts and top the salad with the roasted peanuts and dried onions.
- Egg-plant stew:
- Ingredients: 250g egg-plant, 50g ginger, 50g chili, 2 stalks green onion.
- Seasoning: Sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, cooking oil
- Caramelize the sugar and add the grated ginger. Cut the egg-plant into 2cm thick pieces and fry for a few minutes. Add the pre-fried egg plant to the caramelized sugar and ginger and pour the fish sauce and soy sauce into the mixture. Refill into a clay pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle green onion, chili and black pepper over the finished dish and serve with steamed rice.
- Rice pancake:
- Ingredients: 100g fried tofu, 100g fried mushrooms, 50g bean sprouts, 300g rice flour, 2 tea spoons turmeric powder, rice paper, salad, mint, coriander, water, carrot, ginger, vegetable oil
- Sauce: lemon, sugar, water, fish sauce, chili, ginger
- Mix the rice flour with the turmeric powder and water until it has a liquid texture. Let it settle for 10 minutes. Pour enough vegetable oil in a pan and add two large spoons of dough. Keep in medium heat and do not turn before crisp. Turn two times. Top with the bean sprouts. Serve with rice paper, herbs and the dipping sauce.