I was given a new Cookbook for Christmas. I  guess this means my family is tired of Rice, noodles and take away…. I can take a hint and I’m actually excited to try to cook something new. So, our adventure for today is a trip to the Ben Thanh Market to try to find a variety of Vietnamese stables like lemongrass (xa) and coconut cream (sua dua) Saw leaf (Ngo gai) and glass noodle (bhntau)…..

Last time we were there Arlo puked. Everyone looked at us like we had brought Swineflu to the market. Then Zeb was swarmed by a group of  older Vietnamese girls that wanted his number so, well see what today brings……..

First stop fruits and vegetables. Everything is so fresh and cheap!

Next search for rice, beans and spices….

Ready for a lunch break. There are all sorts of little “restaurants” set up in the Market. We chose one with a vegetarian option for lolo and I. Arlo had the Pho Chay and I had a rice and tofu dish Phee went for the chicken.

After lunch I still need to find turmeric. A sweet lady pointed me in the direction of the Curry shop. Unfortunately it was to close to the meat and fish… The air was hot and stale with a very pungent odor of dead meat and sweat. To much for little man and he puked! Again looks of Swine Flu from the Americans.

I was able to get the rest of what I needed in An Phu.  I LOVE a well stocked kitchen nothing feels more comforting to me than to have a full fridge. Time to get cooking…..Let me know if anyone tries this recipe.

Bahn Cuon- fresh spring rolls

  • 2oz dried glass noodle
  • 1/2 pound firm tofu
  • 1 small head of lettuce chopped into narrow strips
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-sliced carrots, cucumber,red bell and jicama or asian
  • pear ( i used the pear)
  • 1/2 cup mint and 1/2 basil thinly sliced
  • Dried Vietnamese rice paper
  • salt
  • Bring 3 cups of water to boil with a little salt.Add the noodles cook 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Slice the tofu into thin strips 2-3inches long. Set the tofu and sliced
  • veggies and herbs aside.
  • Fill a large bowl with warm water. Place ice paper sheet in one at a time. let each soak for about a minute. Until the are soft and pliable.
  • Fill each sheet with little bit of everything and wrap it up like a log.
  • Peanut Sauce:
    • 1/2 roasted peanuts
    • 2 tbls roasted white/black sesame seed (I used black)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 TBLS vegetable oil
    • 2 Tbls chili sauce (optional) I left this out
    • 1 teaspoon salt

    Using a mortar and pestal or a food processor ground the peanuts and sesame seeds together. Transfer all ingredients to a sauce pan over med. heat stir to mix well.

    Bring to a boil and simmer stirring constantly for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Dilute with water if it’s to thick.

    Now for the Sweet fried rice:

    Cook up a pot of sticky rice

    i a bowl mix coconut cream. (The yummy thick cream on top of the milk. If you open a can of coconut milk very gently the cream will be there.)

    Add 2 TBLS sugar

    Pinch of salt

    Add to the cooled rice. Form into patties and roll in Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

    Fry in enough oil to cover the patties. Remove and place on paper towels when they are light brown

    Dice mango and put on top.

    Thats it! Enjoy.

    Tomorrow Vietnamese crepes……..


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