Vietnamese cooking is famous for its lively, fresh flavors and artfully composed meals. Vietnamese food and cooking is the true ‘light cuisine’ of Asia. Abundant fresh herbs and greens, delicate soups and stir-fries, and well-seasoned grilled foods served on, or with, rice or noodles are the mainstays of the Vietnamese delicacies. Even the sweets for snacks or desserts are often based on fresh fruits served with sweetened rice or tapioca.
Yours truly was recently in Vietnam and has now a few favourites. I forced my husband to buy me two Vietnamese cookbooks and therefore brace yourself to be bombarded with some Vietnamese dishes. This is the 2nd one that I’m sharing on the blog. I also tried a ‘Vietnamese Pho’ and a ‘Tapioca Pearls Sweet’ and it was real yummy…watch out for that too.
The rice paper wrappers that I used I got from Vietnam, but they are easily available here in UAE in Asian grocery stores.
350 grms Beef (follow the recipe below or use your favourite recipe to make a dryish beef side-dish)
Small packet of rice vermicelli/noodles (boiled and drained)
Lettuce – thinly sliced
Carrots – cut into strips
Cucumber – cut into strips
Mint leaves – few
Coriander leaves – few
Basil leaves – few
Rice Paper wrappers
Slice beef into long thin strips – combine and marinate the beef with 1 clove garlic(minced), 2 small onions, minced ginger(1teaspoon), 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, ½ teaspoon stew powder and little salt to taste). Heat a skillet. add little oil and cook the beef on the hot skillet for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then till the beef is soft and tender. Alternately, you can cook beef using any recipe but making sure that it is nice and dry.
Dip a rice paper wrapper in a bowl of water until soft. Remove and place on a dry surface, smoothing it with your fingers. Arrange a few noodles on the wrapper, closer to one edge, and top with some carrots, cucumber, lettuce and the mint, basil and coriander leaves. Arrange strips of beef. Fold the closest edge of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up tightly.
Serve along side with dipping sauce (Peanut Dipping sauce & Vietnamese Dipping Sauce).
Peanut Dipping Sauce :
80 g (1/2 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts, 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds, 65 g sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon butter. Grind the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds until fine in a blender, adding a little water if necessary. Combine the peanuts, sesame seed mixture with sugar, salt and water and bring to boil over medium heat. Cook until the mixture turns to a thick syrupy consistency, say about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Mix and serve.
Vietnamese Dipping Suace (Nuoc Cham)
3 cloves of garlic, minced, 2-3 green chillies,minced, 5 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, ¼ cup sugar, 4 tablespoons water, 1 cup grated carrot. Grind the garlic and chillies to a smooth paste in a blender, adding a little water if required. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and water. Mix well – add carrots – stir and serve.