Red Bridge Cooking School...
Cooking up some Vietnamese goodies.
My lack of food carving skills.
November 25, 2006

This was the half-day cooking school I did out of Hoi An. We started the morning off at the Hai Scout Café with a drink. Then we went to the
Vietnamese market and learned about the local produce and herbs. We also were shown what to stay away from (the bags of MSG). After our
market visit, we got on the boat and headed 30 minutes down the river to the cooking school where we would whip up some Vietnamese dishes. We
also learned how to do a little bit of food carving. That proved to be complicated stuff. I am going to need
a lot of tomatoes to practice on before I
start garnishing plates with ‘roses’.

And now for our menu of what we learned to make…

Warm Squid Salad in a Half Pineapple


100 g. sliced squid
2 t. vegetable oil
1 t. garlic
1 t. ginger
½ t. sugar
1 t. salt or fish sauce
1 t. tomato puree or tomato sauce
1 T. sweet and sour chili sauce
½ c. green pepper (chopped)
½ c. pineapple (chopped)
½ c. tomato (chopped)
½ c. onion (chopped)
1 T. water
A few pieces of fresh coriander


Heat oil and stir in ginger and garlic. Add squid. Add a little bit of water, sugar and salt. Put in remaining vegetables and tomato puree. Heat for another 3 minutes, adding
water if necessary. Place all ingredients in pineapple and top with pepper and coriander.

*Squid can be substituted with any other type of meat, seafood or tofu. Cooking time will vary accordingly.

Asian Eggplant in Clay Pot


1 medium sized clay pot (or thick metal pot)
2 Asian eggplants (cut into 1 cm. pieces)
Root of 1 lemongrass (crushed)
1 t. salt
2 c. water

Cooking Dressing:

1 ½ T. tomato puree
1 t. sugar (or 1 T. honey or pineapple juice)
½ t. salt
2 c. water


Add 2 c. water to the clay pot. Add lemongrass and salt (the salt removes the bitterness of the eggplant) and bring to a boil. Add the eggplant and continue boiling for 3
more minutes. Drain all water from the pot. Then add the ‘cooking dressing’ and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until tender.

*If using an ‘aubergine’ (a big, round eggplant), use more salt as they tend to be more bitter.

**Can also do this recipe with other vegetables. You won’t need to use as much salt as other vegetables aren’t as bitter as eggplants.

Fresh Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp


100 g. peeled shrimps, deveined and sliced down the middle
Fresh rice paper (per recipe below)
2 pinches sugar
2 pinches salt
10 medium lettuce leaves
½ c. grated carrot
½ c. grated green papaya (or green mango or cucumber)
2 t. white vinegar
1 T. white onions (finely chopped)
1 t. vegetable oil
Chopped fresh herbs – coriander, mint, Vietnamese basil, etc.

Pour vegetable oil into wok over medium heat. Add onions and fry for 30 seconds. Add shrimp, 1 pinch salt, 1 pinch sugar and cook for 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, make the vegetable mix – add carrots, green papaya, vinegar, pinch of salt and pinch of sugar. Mix together.

Fresh Rice Paper


1 c. white rice (jasmine)
Pinch of salt
1 kebab stick

Soak the rice in fresh water overnight. Wash the rice at least 3 times, draining water each time. The rice should be white and all water drained away.

Mix 1 cup rice with 2 cups water and salt. Place in a blender and blend for 7 minutes. Then let sit for 1 hour.


Cover a pot of boiling water with a sheet of thing white cotton and secure it using elastic. Using a big soup spoon (about 2 tablespoons), scoop out the batter and pour
onto the cotton. Use the bottom of the spoon to move the batter around to form a circle. Cover and steam the batter for one minute. Remove lid and soak kebab stick in
the water. Use kebab stick to lift the rice paper from the cotton.


Place some vegetable and herb mix on the rice paper. Then place some wok mixture on top of the vegetables and roll up the rice paper. Take care to tuck the ends of the
paper as you roll. Cut into four pieces.


  1. When removing the rice paper from the pot, flip the paper over so the top ‘dry side’ of the rice paper is facing down.
  2. When stacking the rice paper, place a portion of a lettuce or bamboo leaf between each one to prevent them from sticking. This makes it easy to take 1 piece at a
    time when needed.
  3. Fresh rice paper is difficult to buy in Western countries. However, dried rice paper in packets is available. To soften the dried rice paper for rolling, remove
    contents from the packet and place amongst fresh vegetables or leaves for 3 hours in a closed bag or immerse in water.
  4. Dip rolls into a sweet and sour sauce before eating.

Sweet and Sour Sauce


1 T. water
½ t. sour chili sauce
½ t. tomato puree
½ T. finely chopped white onion
½ T. finely chopped pineapple
½ T. finely chopped tomato
½ t. crushed ginger
½ t. vegetable oil

Heat wok with vegetable oil and add onion, pineapple, tomato and ginger. Cook a few seconds. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to simmer and serve in a cocktail glass.

Hoi An Pancakes (Banh Xeo)

Rice Batter

1 c. dried rice flour
1 ½ c. fresh water
Pinch of salt
½ t. tumeric powder (or curry or saffron powder)

Mix all together, leave in room temperature for 1 hour.

*You can also use the batter mix from the fresh rice paper rolls.


200 g. pork belly (or any other meat)
Vegetable oil
300 g. small shrimps, shelled and deveined (or other type of seafood)
2 thinly sliced spring onions
250 g. bean sprouts
Topping mix – mint, coriander, basil, carrot and banana flower
Packet of rice paper

Cut pork (or meat) into thin slices. Heat a little bit of oil in pan or wok. Cook 3-4 slices of meat for 1-2 minutes. Add 3 shrimps and cook 1 more minute. (You can also use
pre-cooked meat and shrimp.)

Stir the batter and pour just enough into the pan to create a thin layer. Top with a few bean sprouts and spring onions. Fry over medium to high heat until the bottom is
crisp. Fold pancake in half and turn out onto a plate and soak up excess oil. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.

To serve, take a pancake, add some topping mix and wrap it in rice paper. Dip them in peanut sauce or fish sauce (recipes below).

Peanut Sauce


1 t. crushed garlic
2 T. crunchy peanut butter
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. brown sugar or honey
1 pinch of chili powder
¼ c. water or coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and mix over a moderate heat for 10 seconds (add lime juice if necessary).

Fish Sauce


2 T. fish sauce
1 t. crushed garlic
1 t. chili pepper (finely chopped)
1 t. sugar
1 lime or lemon (juice only)
1 t. grated ginger

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until sugar is dissolved. Serve as dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Steamed Ocean Fish on a Bed of Mixed Vegetables


200 g. ocean fish (fillet)
¼ c. heart of banana flower (or other large leaf)
¼ c. elephant ear mushrooms (or similar)
2 T. spring onions
¼ c. white onions (sliced)
¼ c. pineapple (sliced)
¼ c. tomato (sliced)
¼ c. carrot (sliced)

Cooking Sauce

1 T. oyster sauce
½ T. soy sauce
1 T. fish sauce (recipe below)
1 ½ T. sugar

Place fish on steaming tray. Put the vegetables on the top and sides of the fish. Then add cooking sauce on top. Place in bamboo steamer (or similar) and steam for 15
Back to Vietnam.