Names of dishes in Vietnamese cuisine might be tough to pronounce (Sample this — Tôm Xào Su Hào for stir fried prawns or Gi Mc Bánh Phng Tôm for squid salad with prawn). But according to chef V Ramkumar of Benjarong, there are a few that one can easily make in any South Indian home. “Dishes like spring rolls can be made easily. This can be a snack or meal. All you need is a rice paper, which is available in most supermarkets, and the ingredients like vegetables or meat that you want to bite into,” he says with a smile.
The humble spring roll is one among the nearly 40 dishes that are available in the menu of the Vietnamese Food Festival at Benjarong. “The spring roll is not fried, unlike in other cuisines. One can chose either meat, prawn or vegetables as filling. Also, none of the ingredients is cooked, except for the prawn or meat. That apart, it includes a lot of fresh vermicelli and herbs wrapped in rice paper,” he says.
With minimum use of oil and a lot of fresh herbs as accompaniments, Vietnamese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, he adds. “They use long coriander, lemon grass, cinnamon, ginger, etc,” he says.
Raamkumar, who underwent two weeks of training in cooking the Vietnamese dishes from expat chefs Nguyen Thi Nho and Ly Kim Ngan who had come down from Vietnam for the festival, says that among the traditional Vietnamese dishes, fish spring rolls, platter fish and beef noodle soup are the most famous. “Beef noodle soup is their National dish. But since not all Chennai people consume beef, we have chicken and vegetable versions of it in our restaurant. Besides that, there is steamed fish and Vietnamese chicken curry, which are not as spicy as Thai food,” he says. When it comes to drinks, there is strong Vietnamese Black iced coffee which is world famous and desserts include moong dal cake and banana cake among others. “In this cuisine, desserts are mostly made of fruits and vegetables. They don’t use dairy products. Even the use of coconuts is restricted to desserts mostly,” he says.
Vietnamese Food Festival is on till July 19 at Benjarong, TTK Road.
Shrimp Spring Roll
- Rice paper – 10 nos
- Prawn – 100 gms
- Fresh vermicelli – 100 gms
- Mixed herbs – 50gms
- Chives or spring onion
- Cucumber - fine julienne
- Carrot - fine julienne
For dip sauce
- Hoisin sauce – 30gms
- Peanut butter – 30gms
- Tender coconut water – 200ml
- White sesame seeds – 15gms
- Lemongrass – 15gms
- Chopped garlic – 15gms
- Salt – to taste
- Sugar – 05 gms
- Cook prawns with little seasoning and cut into lengthwise
- Soften the rice paper by adding little tender coconut water
- Place mixed herbs, fresh rice vermicelli, and prawns in the bottom- middle of the rice paper, fold and roll tightly to make a roll
- Stir-fry garlic and lemongrass until they turn golden . Add coconut juice, sesame, hoisin sauce, salt, MSG, sugar and cook until the sauce become thick
- Then add peanut butter and mix well
- Add minced chilli and broken roasted peanut on top