Thursday 23 August 2012

Vietnam Trip Post 5 - Hoi An

being put to work in the herb garden

It has taken me forever to post this! Really i am working on getting all my posts up from Vietnam, hopefully they will be up by the time I go on my next holiday to Australia in October! Next time will write posts well on the holiday.

 Ok I want to start this post by saying don't think I have ever eaten so much food in a day, after dinner I felt as if I was going to pop, it was painful way to much food, but it was so gooooood. So the day started quick visit to the gym, which is really boring when your gym buddies are not on holiday with you. Then we went to the breakfast buffet from the hotel, I think I had some waffles and an omelet, ooohh and the waffles (I love waffles) with fresh mango and maple syrup and cream awesome, seconds and thirds please.

After breakfast we took a taxi from our hotel in Hoi An town to Morning glory restaurant. There are a lot of cooking classes in Hoi an but we chose Morning Glory, because it was recommended by a friend in Hong Kong. We signed up for the class the day before. Ms. Vy the owner dose not teach all the classes so if you want to take part in her class I recommend checking a few days before, on which classes she will teach. We signed up for Herb garden tour & cooking class which we thought included a market tour, but didn't (I think something was lost in translation). After the herb tour we mentioned this the staff were very helpful and let us join the market tour on the next day at no extra cost.

making Cao Lau noodles
We met outside Morning Glory for our bicycle herb garden tour, we ended up being the only us on the tour. We met our tour guide I have forgotten her name, I thought that someone from the restaurant would be doing the tour but it was sub contracted out to Heaven & Earth Bicycle tours. Our tour guide was pretty funny she was about our age and along side the tour she liked to talk about boys and boyfriends, as well as having a slight difficulty pronouncing peanuts, "nooooooo thats not how you say it, its not penis, its pea -nuts pea -nuts".

The look on her face when we told her what she was actually saying was pretty funny, she looked like she was remember everyone she had ever said it to! We started the tour by riding the bikes to peanut growing field, then to a house where they make Cao Lau noodles. From there we rode to some herb gardens, where she showed us all the kinds of herbs, which are used in Vietnamese cooking. On the ride back to the Hoi An we stopped of at a street vender selling Sesame soup, which is suppose to be good for upset stomach. It tasted really good, like a sesame sweet pudding. After the soup we pedaled back to Morning Glory for our class.
black sesame soup
During our class we cooked Cabbage leaf parcels with shrimp mousse in broth, fresh rice paper rolls, BBQ chicken and lime leaf, mange salad and Banh Xeo (crispy Hoi An pancakes). Our class/tour cost 672,000 and took around 5 hours. I also bought the cookbook after the class which cost $40 USD I think, but it is well worth it, there is a very interesting story that goes through the book with many great picture, recipes and explanations of Vietnamese ingredients. I had only one complaint about the class was it was rather full about 35 people, that said the staff made sure to come around to students a few times during the class to give you one on one instruction.
mango salad and Banh Xeo (crispy Hoi An pancake)
Usually I am not a big fan of cabbage as mentioned in previous posts but the Cabbage leaf parcels with shrimp mousse in broth was amazing. Ms. Vy said that in Vietnam a bride must prepare this dish for her prospective mother in law to test, not just her cooking skills but also how well she will take care of her future husband! haha. (See recipe below)
Cabbage leaf parcels with shrimp mousse in broth 

making mousse parcels 
Recipe from Morning Glory Cooking School Program

Vegetable Stock 
1 liter water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon rock sugar
300 gram cabbage chopped

1. Bring water to boil add salt, rock sugar, fish sauce, cabbage.
2. Cook for 25 minutes at low heat.

Shrimp Mousse 
200 grams raw prawns, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup white spring onion and shallot, chopped finely
1 egg white

1. Blend all ingredients to make mousse.

Other Ingredients 
6 cabbage leaves
12 spring onions
1 liter vegetable stock, hot
8 carrot flowers, sliced finely
sesame oil
1/2 cup spring onion curls
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon course black pepper

1. Cut cabbage leaves in half discarding thick vein piece.
2. Bring small pot of salted water to boil, blanch cabbage leaves for 2 minutes in water and set leaves aside.
3. Cut the bottom white part off spring onions, and blanch in same water for 30 seconds and set aside. Discard water.
4. Bring vegetable stock to boil.
5. To make dumplings take 2 teaspoons and dip in oil to avoid mousse from sticking to spoons. Take a small amount of mousse mixture and make dumplings with the 2 spoons. (you kinda scrape it off one spoon and then onto the other until a oblong shape is formed. Make 12 dumplings in total. If you have left over mixture it can be made into small balls and added to broth at last moment.
6. Poach dumplings in vegetable broth for 1 minute and remove.
7. Cut cabbage leaves into small rectangles 10cm x 15cm, reserving left over cabbage.
8. Take 1 of the cabbage leaf rectangle and place on a flat surface, place dumpling on cabbage 2 cm from edge, fold in edge and roll up and tie with blanched spring onion.
9. Place parcels in broth with carrot slices, left over torn cabbage leaves and prawn mousse balls and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Bale well for dinner!
10. Serve in bowls topped with spring onion curls, coriander leaves, a pinch of black pepper and a few drops of sesame oil. Season to taste.

Morning Glory Street Food Restaurant & Cooking School
106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An
T: (0510) 2241 555, (0510) 2241 556

Hoi An pancake at Bale Well

After the cooking course I went for a dress fitting and then we met up with a some friends that had also taken the cooking course. We met them at the bar and they had been trying snake wine, and really cheap gin and tonics, so everyone was a bit drunk. At the course some aussie guys who were doing a bike trip around Vietnam suggested we go to Bale Well for dinner, after looking around a bit we found it, its down an alley. So we all sat down, and the food started coming, you don't have to order. Tons of pork skewers and Hoi An pancakes. So I go to reach for one and the owner starts to make me one to make sure I do it correctly, and then she proceeds to feed it to me, the whole thing... I think she though I needed to eat more because she fed me about two more immediately after I finished the first one! She even fed me some of my beer, it was pretty funny, then she went around the table and fed everyone else around the table. By the time we were finished I could not move way to much food, i think i actually got one of the guys to carry me down the street to the taxi. 
carnage after the meal!

1 comment:

  1. Naomi, my tummy is actually rumbling reading about all this, massive food envy!!