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Multi Kulti Kitchen: Vietnam

Photos: Vladimir Tomashevich

Welcome to the latest Multi Kulti Kitchen event on 14 April 2013 in Photosynthesis, Sofia. This time our host is Vietnamese An Fam, who’s been living in Bulgaria since she was 5 years old. An will broaden our horizons, will bust a myth or two, will let us taste traditional meals, will check how skilful we are and how much we know and some of you will win prizes.

An Fam was born in Vietnam with two Vietnamese parents and a bunch of relatives. She often forgets she is Vietnamese, because she’s been living in Bulgaria since she was 5 years old. Cooking has always been her passion and she dreams that one day it becomes her profession. She hosts monthly culinary evenings called “Meetings with Vietnamese Cuisine” in the kitchen of culinary school Amuse Bouche.

In her blog In An’s Room you can read more about Vietnam, its traditions, culture, cities, streets, cuisine and history, even though in many cases the its personal and family history.
The following recipes were first published in An’s blog and you can find many more there.

 Recipes

Caramelized eggs

10 eggs, hard-boiled
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cooking oil
water

Peel the eggs and put them in a pot, so that they fit in one line. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and pepper. Caramelize the sugar and the cooking oil in a small bowl, while shaking it the whole time until the sugar melts. Caramel and oil remain separate – this should not surprise you. Be careful that the caramel doesn’t get too dark and become bitter. While it is still light brown, add it to the eggs. Pour water to cover the eggs up to the middle. Let them cook on low heat until the eggs become dark brown.

Fried Tofu with Tomato Sauce

500 g tofu
cooking oil
3 large tomatoes or soft canned, peeled and sliced into crescents
1/2 bunch of dill
1/2 stalk of green onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Fish sauce – optional

Cut the tofu into small equal pieces. Fry them until golden on both sides in heated oil that covers them up to the middle. In another container boil the tomatoes with 1 cup of  water and the fried tofu and extinguish the heat. Add the finely chopped dill and green onions, season with salt and pepper and if desired – with fish sauce.

Beef with lemongrass and ginger

500 g beef round, cut across the fibers in strips as thin as possible
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass (available at the fresh herbs stand in Piccadilly for example.)
Fresh ginger, the size of a walnut, finely chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 pinches of black pepper
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced

Mix the meat well with the spices and leave it for at least 20 minutes to absorb the flavors. Heat in the pan (wok) 3 tablespoons of oil and saute the garlic. Add the meat and stir constantly – if you stop for a second, the meat will boil and its juices will start running . The moment you get the meat pink-gray in color, it’s ready to serve. Do not overdo the frying – the faster you cook beef (assuming it is good), the more tender it is. The lemongrass and ginger give it a great flavor and taste!

Caramelized salmon

500 g salmon – leave whole pieces if it’s chop or cut into bite sized pieces, if it’s fillets
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Fresh ginger, size of walnut, cut into thin sticks
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1-2 chillies, according to taste, whole or chopped

Arrange the salmon on the bottom of the pan, leaving space between the pieces.
In a small bowl, mix the oil with 2 tablespoons of sugar and put on medium heat. Do not stir, just shake the container gently until the sugar has melted. Oil and caramel remain separate, this should not surprise you. When you get a light brown caramel color, add the garlic and onion to the mixture and remove the container from the heat – caramel will darken a little. Be careful that the caramel doesn’t get too dark and becomes bitter . Add all this to the fish with fish sauce, 1 more tablespoon sugar and pepper. Mix well all the pieces and leave to marinate for 1 hour.
Put the pan on low heat. Add fresh ginger, lemon grass and chili peppers and cook the salmon for 20 minutes for each side. Be very careful when turning the salmon to keep the integrity of the pieces.