A good Pho loaded with lime, fresh herbs and chile is one of my favourite dishes. A dish that I have no idea how to recreate…so when Uyen of Leluu supper club started her Vietnamese cookery course I knew I had to go along.
I left my house in South East London on bicycle and headed for Hackney with what I thought was plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately Google maps doesn’t warn of markets and I hit a few on the way (Deptford market, Broadway market)…but at least now I know where they are…I had been meaning to find Broadway market and have since been back. I arrived a bit late…so I felt a bit awkward but the awkwardness quickly turned to ravenous anticipation as we discussed the day’s menu:
Banh Cuon With Five Spice, Honey & Lime Pork Belly
Bo La Lot
Roasted Sea Bream With Spring Onions & Soy Sauce
Fried Morning Glory
Brill With Mango
Braised Pork Belly in Coconut Juice & Egg
Ten dishes…now that’s good value for a cooking course! Plus, there were a few hidden extras for starters. We had a refreshing basil tea and some store bought pandan flavoured jelly. The tea was made quite simply from basil seeds, water and brown sugar. I really liked this and have since made it at home. It is a delicious and refreshing summer drink. I love gooey textures, japanese mochi is one of my favourites, and the pandan jelly was very similar but with the subtle flavour of pandan leaves.
Summer Rolls have always been a dish I enjoy. It was a revelation to find out how easy they are to make. I had seen the wraps in the shop before, but just wasn’t sure how to get them from the hard crispy state from the packet to the soft, stretchy rice wrap special to a summer roll. Turns out 5 seconds in a bowl of warm water is all you need! Since taking the course this has become a regular lunchbox meal for me. It’s easy to make them in the morning before work and it is delicious and healthy!
It would take forever to go through each and every dish so instead I will point you toward Uyen's website where she has most of them and more http://www.leluu.com/p/recipes.html
I think the success of a cooking course can be estimated by the ability to recreate the dishes at home...that's the point after-all. The summer rolls were easy, but the other dishes were more intimidating. So I put one to the test with the Braised Pork Belly in Coconut Juice & Egg.
I followed Uyen's recipe from the class as posted on her website: http://www.leluu.com/2011/03/recipethit-heo-kho-trung-braised-pork.html
The ingredients were not difficult to find and it was a simple recipe. I love eggs and they are a highlight in this dish that is sweet but savoury and just so good. I used chicken eggs... My housemates were scared to try it...the smell of fish sauce is a bit unusual in our house and I think they were put off. I plan to make it again and insist they try it next time...this time I was quite happy to keep the whole pot to myself. It lasted several days by just heating it twice per day as Uyen suggested.
I look forward to making the Bo La Lot and of course the Beef Pho in the near future...blog posts coming soon :)
If you love Vietnamese food or even if you aren't very familiar with it, I highly recommend this course. For £75 it is great value and lots of fun.