food for thought

by michelle

cooking class in Hoi An part 2

with one comment

imageOur second cooking class in Hoi An started with a visit to an organic vegetable village where all the gardening and watering is done by hand, the vegetables are fertilised with local river seaweed and the only pesticide used is ground clam shells. From there we went shopping for our ingredients at the local market. The first 2 recipes we were cooking were Phở or Hanoi beef noodle soup (including making the noodles) and lemongrass prawns wrapped in banana leaf and barbequed.

imageTo make the beef stock we used 2 pots of boiling water. The ingredients were all grilled over charcoal (either to reduce fat or to bring out flavour) then cleaned in the first pot of water before cooking in the second. This keeps the soup clear. We used 1 kg (2 lbs) of beef bones, 1 piece of ginger, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 2 star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 3 bruised lemongrass stalks, 3 peeled shallots and one peeled onion. Salt and sugar (2 teaspoons each) were added before simmering for at least an hour. Meanwhile we made the noodles using the same method as for rice paper (see cooking class in Hoi An) but this time oiled, folded and cut into 1 cm wide strips.

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The noodles are placed in the bowl along with  very finely sliced raw beef, fried shallots (see secret recipes) and spring onions and the boiling stock is poured over them. Served with the soup are fresh herbs including sawtooth coriander, mint, Vietnamese mint, bean sprouts and lime. We also made pickles to have with the soup. These were made by cutting 3 shallots, 3 cloves of garlic and 1 green and 1 red chilli into similar sizes before mixing with 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt. These need to stand for at least 30 minutes.

The lemongrass prawns (shrimp) were made by pounding 2 stalks of finely sliced lemongrass, 2 shallots, ½ a fresh chilli and ½ a teaspoon each of salt, sugar and black pepper to a fine paste. We added 2 teaspoons of oil and combined this mixture with 200 gm (¼ lb) of deveined and shelled prawns.This mixture was wrapped in banana leaves and barbequed for 10 minutes.

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The prawns were served with a dipping sauce of salt, pepper and sugar in equal amounts mixed with fresh lime juice.

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To be continued……………………………

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Written by michelle picker

April 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

One Response

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  1. […] until you have a neat parcel. These parcels can be held together by a barbeque fish basket ( see cooking class in Hoi An ) or tied with string. Cook the parcels on a BBQ over medium heat for 10 minutes on each side. […]


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