In some historical records Saigon is described as ”a place where unlikely assortment of people meet”: “la noi gap go cua dan tu chieng”, how true it is for me. the last six months living in Saigon, by chance I ran into so many peoples whom I had not seen or heard of for a very long time.
One of these coincidences was the vegetarian lunch booking by a VIP, according to my trainees.
The VIP turned out to be the daughter of the Ex President of South Vietnam in the 1960s. whom I met in Sydney when they officially visited Australia. As a Colombo Plan Student I was invited to the reception at the Governor General’s House,
And here we are 50 years later I made lunch for the daughter.
We made lotus seed stuffed tofu with spicy sauce , braised daikon & shiitake mushroom with soy sauce and coconut juice and pumpkin soup with peanuts. She complimented : “I had never eaten such beautiful vegetarian food “ And she took away what were left.
Lotus seed stuffed tofu with spicy sauce.
Preparation time: 45minutes
Cooking time: 20minutes
Make: 4 large filled pockets
600g Regular soft tofu, divided into 4 portions. Drain on kitchen paper and weighted with a flat plate. Fry. Sli 1 side make into empty pocket. Reserve the soft tofu.
100g Dried lotus seeds, washed, and soaked in warm water. Boiled, and mashed.
100g dried split mung bean, washed, soaked and steame & mashed
6 dried shiitake mushrooms,, washed, soaked in hot water until soft. Squeeze dry. Diced finely
2 dry black fungus ears, washed, soaked, drained, finely diced.
2 leeks, use the white part only, washed, finely diced use for both filling and sauce
50g dried mung bean vermicelli, soaked in warm water until soft, finely chopped.
2tbspns, finely chopped coriander
1tspns freshly ground white pepper.
50ml olive oil
3tbspns leek (from above)
1 red hot chili
1tbspn tomato paste
2 large ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
500ml vegetable stock, or water
1tbspn shisho (perilla) leaves roughly chopped.
In a large bowl, mix evenly the soft tofu , mashed lotus seeds, steamed mung bean, diced mushroom black fungus and coeiander and leek. Season with salt and pepper for the filling.
Fill each fried tofu pocket with the filling, and arrange the pocket, slit side up side by side in a pot..
To make the sauce heat oil in a frying pan, fry some leek until soft, add tomato paste, minced chili, stir to make a rich red colour, then add diced fresh tomato, season with sugar and salt, cook slowly until tomato is soft , add stock or water, bring to boiling briefly, then pour the sauce over the stuff tofu pocket, The sauce should generously cover the tofu.. Cook the tofu in sauce on low heat for 10-15 minutes., most of the sauce will be absorbed by the tofu.
To serve, slice each tofu pocket into 4 sliced served with shredded perilla.
|Braised Daikon and shiitake|
Pumpkin Soup with peanut and coconut milk
600g pumpkin, seeded, skinned, cut into thin slices
50ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves, squashed
2litres vegetable stock
100g raw peanut, skinned, soaked and boiled till tender.
100ml coconut milk
1tbspns chopped coriander and green shallot
Heat oil, fry garlic add pumpkin, salt and sugar, stir fry until soft.
Blend boiled peanut and coconut milk.
Add to pumpkin.
Gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander and green shallot
|Pumpkin soup with peanut & coconut milk|
|Vegetarian lunch guests|
Next post: Some restaurant experiences in BVietnam