Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making (Vietnamese Cold Roll) - our journey.

The Recipe.


12 rice paper wrappers, large, round
2 carrots julienned
4 oz rice noodles
4 green onions sliced fine
1 cp bean sprouts
1/4 cp mint leaves
1/4 cp chive leaves
12 boston lettuce leaves

Spicy peanut dipping sauce:
1/4 cp rice vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs water
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 fresh chilli
1 tps sugar
1 tbs roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tbs fresh chive leaves, finely chopped


- Blanch carrots in boiling water for 45 sec. Refresh under cold water and drain well.
- Cook the rice noodles in pot of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well.
- In a large shallow dish of warm water soak the rice paper wrappers (one at a time) for about 45 sec. and remove from water and place on clean dry work surface.
- Place one lettuce leaf over the surface of the rice paper. On the bottom half of the roll, place approx 4 tbs of the noodles, 1 tbs each of bean sprouts and carrots

- Sprinkle with the green onions, chive leaves, and mint leaves.
- Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the vegetables. Tuck in the sides and continue to roll (like making cabbage rolls).
- Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Place on large plate covered with damp towel and plastic wrap.

Dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients except chive leaves into bowl.

-Sprinkle chive leaves over just before serving.

- Easiest way is to have wrappers just moist enough so that they are pliable, yet not too wet that they fall apart when rolling.

Our Experience

Our group faced several hiccups during the course of this project, but every hurdle we crossed and solved together helped to bring us closer and enjoy the experience better and most rewarding of all, we accomplished our cold roll masterpieces. Come along as we take you through our journey through our photo and video gallery. Hope you enjoy it!

Here is (Diem and Nyuet) starting on the preparations on the spring roll.
In this picture Diem is Julianne-ing the carrots. We had a tough time figuring out how to Julianne carrots but after some mishaps came to our rescue and told us to use Bich's shredder which helped to expedite our preparation processes. Cám ơn các !

We were also told, to our surprise and pleasure that Vietnamese Cold rolls required that all vegetables were to be prepared fresh and did not require blanching. Crunchy roll YUM yum! And there was Nhung helping out with the garnishing material - Red Chili!

Relax... Everything is under Cô Bích's control =)

Dững after taking a bite from Nhung's very first cold roll - which was an utter mishap due to its larger than life size LOL.

Interview of Diem and Hao

Thanks Phong for teachin Diem and Nhung to roll. Without you and the other classmates who gave us your opinions and help we might not have been able to do it. Thanks alot guys! Cám ơn các bạn!!

That was the first monster roll we made. Say AAAAHH!
Ăn Nhe!

Close up view of the finished display product. Our garnishing theme consisting of the Vietnamese flag and red chili. Served in white-blue ceramic characteristic of Vietnamese ceramic.

On the left, the dipping sauce which was probably the toughest thing to make. We started out with a very sour sauce due to rice vinegar overdose but thanks to the help of and Bich and their taste buds, we managed to make a sauce that was deemed okay by Bich in the end.

Diem making final touches to the spring rolls

Our Achievement =)

Các Cô

Group photo

More pictures can be viewed at

Diem, Dững, Nhung and Nyuet =D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chả giò

Chả giò is the traditional vietnamese spring roll, also known as “Imperial Roll”, used to be a delicacy made for the royalty. Today, it is a dish enjoyed by both Vietnamese as well as foreigners.

Ingredients for filling
Garlic: 1/2 clove, finely minced
Yellow Onion: 200g (finely chopped)
Carrot: 150g (finely chopped)
Dry vermicelli: 30g
Earwood (tree ear mushrooms): 30g
Black mushroom: 30g
Minced pork or chicken: 300g
Beansprouts: 1/4 cup
Egg: 02
Pepper, sugar: 1/10 teaspoon
Fish sauce

Ingredients for dipping sauce
Vinegar or fresh lime juice: 01 teaspoon
Fresh Chilli, garlic: 01 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Fish Sauce: 1 teaspoon

Other ingredients
Round Rice Paper
Cooking Oil

Cooking Instructions

1. Place the vermicelli and earwood in separate bowls. Add warm water to cover to each bowl and let stand until soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Drain the vermicelli and cut into 2-inch lengths. Drain and rinse the mushrooms; chop coarsely.

3. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, noodles, mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, fish sauce, pepper, and chicken or pork. Then, mix them together well.

4. Soften the rice paper: Dampen several clean kitchen towels with water. Fill a pie plate with cold water. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Spread a damp towel on a flat work surface. Dip 1 rice paper round at a time into the water and spread it flat on the towel. Continue dipping and laying the rice papers in a single layer. When you run out of room, lay a damp towel on top of the rounds and continue, always alternate a layer of rice papers with a damp towel. Let the rice papers stand until pliable, about 1 minute or longer.

5. For each roll, shape 2 tablespoons filling into a compact cylinder about 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long and place along the lower edge of a wrapper.

6. To fry the rolls, pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large frying pan. Place over medium-high heat and heat to 350 degrees F.

7. Using long chopsticks or tongs, lower a few rolls into the pan, leaving plenty of space between them. Fry, turning often, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.

8. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Place on a platter and keep warm while frying the remaining rolls.

9. Dipping sauce: Put fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and chili in a large mixing bowl; add 2 spoonfuls of water in, then stir well. This sauce is best made 1 hour ahead.

On the day prior to the actual cooking session, we headed over to Dương's house to do the preparation work and also to ‘try out’ the recipe. While shopping, we met Cô Quỳnh at NTUC!

Being our first encounter with the vietnamese rice paper, we were really clumsy in the rolling process and we ended up rolling Chả giò of different length, thickness and appearance. As inexperienced chefs, we met with the largest challenge of having to ‘titrate’ our own proportion of the ingredients and fish sauce before we could get the right taste after mutiple attempts at the end of the day.

In addition, we had brainstormed on how to present our dish. After much discussion, we decided to present the dish in a round basket, as basket weaving is quite common in Vietnam. The orchids on top of the yellow cloth surrounding the dish, and the two flags by the side, one of Vietnam’s and the other of Singapore’s, show the fusion of the two cultures. The harmony between the colours is representative of the friendship between the two countries. The whole presentation is livened up by the dragonfly from Vietnam, which has just ‘landed’ on the handle of the basket, adding life and vigour to the dish, just like the youths learning with humility from our teachers. Finally, the blade of leaf has the words, “Chúc các cô, các thầy, các bạn và các em vui vẻ!” on them. This is from the team, as we wish everyone happy, especially after eating our Chả giò.

On the morning of 18th October 2008, the four of us met at Newton MRT station and walked to Cô Bich’s house. Due to the preparation and rehearsal we had from the previous night, we felt light-hearted and relaxed.

Soon, we settle down at Cô Bich’s dining table and began wrapping our Chả giò . During the wrapping session, Cô Bich shared with us a few tips on how to wrap the filling more tightly and the appropriate length of . As Dương and Quỳnh were busying wrapping Chả giò , Chau and Đông prepared the sauce. However, the sauce turned out to be too sour as too much lime was added. Being clueless, we turn to Cô Bich (our master chief) for advice. Cô Bich added in lots of sugar, fish sauce and a small amount of water and our sauce tasted better than before.

While waiting for the kitchen to be available, we started to prepare the decoration of our dish presentation. With some time to kill, the four of us took a walk around Cô Bich’s condominium and went around checking up on other groups. In between, we had small chats with them and exchanged some tips.

Finally, the kitchen was free and we are allowed to fry our Chả giò. Dương and Quỳnh were in charge of frying while Châu and Đông did the final touch-up on the presentation. After much anticipation, we had finally completed frying all our Chả giò. Upon reaching the outdoor garden, we realised that everyone was waiting for us. However, when they saw our dish, they were amazed and go ‘wow’. Despite feeling sorry for making everyone wait, we felt excited about our Chả giò as our classmates seems impressed.

Finally, the food evaluation began. On the table, there were salads, rice noodle, spring rolls and desserts. Cô Bich, Cô Lê and Cô Quỳnh began to savor all our products and gave their comments. The comments we received was that the filling in our Chả giò tasted different from the traditional Vietnamese Chả giò , however, our presentation looked great. After the food evaluation, it was everybody favorite time, which was ‘eating time’. The day was ended with a group photo of us and us enjoying the food.

Through this project, we had learnt a lot about Vietnamese food and the process of preparing them. All groups have really put in effort in preparing their own dishes and we enjoyed ourselves too!
Cám ơn các em!
Dương, Quỳnh, Châu, Đông

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vietnamese Chicken Salad~

On the early morning of 18th October, the four incredible chefs sprang out of their beds and headed to cô Bích's house! With stomachs were filled with much excitement and lots of empty space, we were all ready to chomp down all the yummmy foods that awaits us!

Our role of the day, make a 'rất ngon' chicken salad!

Our excitement can barely be contained. We got to cô Bích ở nhà early and started playing with our groceries! Here's the carrot-nosed Gerlynn!

Lots of shredding were done! The 'Food Shredder' helped us a lot! Gigantic Cabbage gave us lots of shreddings!

The critical part of the salad lies in mixing the sauce! With our indigenious taste-buds, we cocktailed a balance between sour, fishy and garlicky and ta-dah! Sauce-o-cocktail is created! Starfruit was cut into 'nhiều sao' and used to beautify our salad!

Our final product! Đẹp quá knông?

The vegetarian version was created since there were SO much vegetable shreddings left!

Các bạn có đói không?

The final moment! Three beautiful judges tasting all the yummy food! Cô Bích's being camera shy! (= Hurry and taste the food! "Các cô ơi, chúng em rất đói!"

See, we can't wait to start digging in!

Finally, presenting to you the 4 incredible chefs! Chúng tôi rất vui!

So here's our secret to a yummy chicken salad,

For the sauce,
Sugar + Fish sauce + Lime juice + garlic (chopped) + Vinegar + Water
Proportions based on much tasting and intuition (=

For the shreddings,
Cabbage + Carrot + Big yellow onions, small red onions + Basil leaves + Mint leaves + Bean sprouts
Shred and mix them together!

TIP: The trick is to make the sauce not too vinegary but more fishy! And let the garlic soak longer because it makes the sauce have a really nice smell!

Hope everyone enjoyed yourselves! We had a really good time~
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Chè đậu xanh, green bean sweeeeeeeeeeeeet soup!

Chào các cô, chào các bạn,

Ngày mai, chúng ta đi nhà cô Bích để nấu ăn!

Thời gian (time):
Chúng tôi đến nhà cô Bích lúc mười giờ rưỡi sáng.

Địa điểm (Location):
Nhà cô Bích: 57 Cairnhill road, #10-11, Elizabeth Heights, Orchard or Newton MRT (Nhà cô Bích đẹp lắm!)

Nhiệm vụ (task)
Nấu ăn : Chè đậu xanh (green bean sweet soup):
We came out with a theme for our cooking project -high class Vietnamese green bean soup for a romantic candlelight dinner.

In an all-girls group, we happily played the “he loves me, he loves me not” rose “dismantling” game while decorating our dish and waiting for a stove to be available.As we were the last few groups to do the cooking and we didn’t want to waste food, we have decided to cook a smaller portion compared to the other groups. (and small is beautiful!)

Our recipe for the traditional favourite, chè đậu xanh:
225 g Skinned split mung beans, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained
500ml Coconut milk
50 g Caster (superfine) sugar
Toasted coconut shavings (optional), to serve

Method :
•Put the mung beans in a pan and pour in 500 ml water.
•Bring the water to the boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the water has been absorbed.
•Press the beans through a sieve, or puree them in a blender.
•In a heavy pan, heat the coconut milk with the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
•Gently stir in the pureed mung beans, making sure the soup is thoroughly mixed and heated through.
•Serve hot in warmed bowls sprinkled with toasted coconut shavings, if liked.

Cooking can be interesting!
We took turns to stir our mung beans while waiting for the water to be completely absorbed by the green beans. Sau đó, Miss Bibi helped us to blend the green beans using the mashed-potato-blender. (Thanks Bibi!)
Our pureed mung beans looked exactly like the mashed potato; we added our mung beans paste into the heated coconut milk with added sugar. We continued to stir the pureed mung beans in the coconut milk, to make sure the soup is thoroughly mixed.
Ta tang - - - -> a smooth silky green bean soup is finally produced.
We waited for the soup to cool down before we professionally scoop and fill the glass with the soup so as to not ruin our high class, fine dining, and romantic image.

And we had our very first taste of chè đậu xanh, Vietnamese green bean soup 
-simply a “bobochacha-tau suan” hybrid for the locals-

Our group: Dung, Ánh, Ngân, Hòa (from left)

Cám ơn cô Lê, cô Bích, và cô Quỳnh! Cám ơn các bạn!

Chúng tôi rất thích LAV1201cooking project.
Đồ ăn Việt Nam ngon quá!
Well done, everyone! *a round of applause*
(note that, we have zero food poisoning case :p)
We enjoyed ourselves on that day. Nấu ăn session is fun and really brought many of us closer together –a bonding session for sinh viên tiếng Việt!

Hẹn gặp các cô và các bạn ở lớp tiếng Việt 
When we are free, chúng ta đi uống cà phê ở nhà cô Bích nhé!

Gỏi cuốn

It has been well-known amongst NUS students that taking up language module is a very tough task. However, it is only partially true for LAV1201. We must say that learning Vietnamese language is not easy but the module structure is very fun.

LAV1201 is the only module that offers projects that give no stress to the students. The previous visit to the Asian Civilisation Museum exposed us to the history of Vietnam .This time round we do not only learn but we get to EXPERIENCE the Vietnamese culture by cooking and eating Vietnamese food. Learning a language is never complete without learning its culture.

Our group chose to do the famous Vietnamese Cold Salad Roll (gỏi cuốn). We chose this dish because we thought it should be easiest among all other options as it does not involve much cooking. Conversely, later on we realise that the ingredients wasn't easy to sort. Hien had a hard time looking for the Thai basil leaves, chives and mint leaves. As we were preparing the ingredients at cô Bích's house, we had fun teasing at each other's cooking skills. It seems like most of us do not cook regularly.

Duc having difficulty using the peeler for his very first time.

Ly and Suong trying to slice the cucumbers as thin as possible.

The messy table as we were preparing the Gỏi cuốn.

After trying many many times, only half of our Gỏi cuốn was presentable. The others were either too hideous or lack of one of the ingredients. Nonetheless, the not-so-successful Gỏi cuốn were not wasted, they were all eaten up by our group mates.

Our cold Vietnamese salad rolls displayed simplicity, flavour and colours. The choice of ingredients definitely played a part in its characteristics. The fresh prawns gave it its orange colour, the vegetables gave the green, and the rice paper just shows off its colourful ingredients within. The mint and basil leaves gave it its powerful taste and even so with the special sauce that was pre-made. Placing all the groups’ creations on the table, the table displays a picturesque sight of colours and variety.

Tadah..~ Our final product. The rolls look much better with a bit of garnishing.
The sauce prepared by Xuan was very very good.

Judge of the day =D

Class photo

Despite learning about the cuisine, we get to experience the hospitality of Vietnamese people too. Having cô Bích to host this cooking project at her house truly shows that Vietnamese people are hospitable. Cô Lê and cô Quỳnh were also eagerly walking around to see if we needed help in preparing the dishes. Besides, thay Minh also brought some Vietnamese jelly made by his wife. All these small gestures were significant to illustrate the warmth among Vietamese society.

The Smiling Chicken Salad

NUS students often get stress up when it comes to project. However, everyone was so hyped up for this cooking project. On the actual day, we met at Newton Mrt and realized our chicken was insufficient (Junyi was the one doing the grocery shopping). Moreover, we saw other groups carrying bouquets of flowers, straw baskets, and beautiful plates for decoration and we have …… none. In the end, we plucked some flowers (morning glory) on our way to Co Bich’s apartment to use it for our decoraton.

We started off with food preparation.

Here’s the task allocation of our group:

Huiteen aka the Master Chef
- Superb knives handling skill (most of the cutting is done by her)

Khai Yinn aka Professional Vegetable Washer
- The vegetables washed by her was spotless and clean (mind you, it’s an important job coz we are eating raw vegetables)

Cheng Xiang aka Fast Hand Chicken Peeler
- Peel the chicken to shreds at an amazing speed
- Assist in the cooking of the chicken

Jun Yi aka Secret Sauce Mixer
- Assist in the cooking of chicken
- Mixing of the secret sauce

While we are cooking, we send 2 of our most diplomatic members; Junyi and Cheng Xiang to borrow more chicken, lime, and cabbage from other groups, as our ingredients are running low. We finished our dish in 2hours, which is quite early and end up swatting flies. Unfortunately, Junyi and Huiteen have to leave early and didn't get a chance to taste othe fabulous dishes. Overall, we really enjoyed cooking and tasting the Vietnamese food together with friends. Through this cooking project, we get to know more Vietnamese food and how they actually taste like. Khai Yinn favourite’s Vietnamese food is pho’ and pink banana soup, partly because it is in pink (her favourite colour).

We would like to thank the teachers for organizing this event for us. Thank you very much!

Group Members: Jun Yi, Cheng Xiang, Huiteen, Khai Yinn

Here Our Secret Recipe:
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
- Chicken breast: 200g
- Onion: 2 pieces
- Mint leaves and Coriander leaves
- Ginger, Garlic
- Rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, chilli, lime, salt, black pepper,seasame
- Boil chicken breast, add salt (a bit) and ginger
- Shred the cooked chicken into thin strips with your hands and place in a large bowl. Also chop chicken skin in to small pieces(not as small as the shredded chicken)
- Toss chicken with salt (1/2 tea spoon) + black pepper (1/4 tea spoon) + lime juice(1 table spoon) + sugar(1/2 table spoon)
- Wash onions and put in water for 15 mins, then chop into 4cm-long thin pieces. Finely toss with vinegar and put in same bowl with shredded chicken.
- Make the salad dressing: Vinegar(1 table spoon), lime juice(2 table spoon), fish sauce(2 table spoon), sugar(1 tea spoon), ginger(1 tea spoon), chilli (2 pieces, remove the seeds and finely chop), garlic (2 tea spoon, finely chopped), all mixed together in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved
- Pour the dressing over the salad, add mint and coriander leaves and toss all the ingredients together until they are well combined
- Put in a nice plate, add some chopped chili and fried sesames for decoration

Chè Đậu Xanh ngon nhất!

Chè Đậu Xanh, the fabulous desert presented by our group might not be able to compete with Cô Bich's pink jelly-bannana soup, at least not in terms of colours and extravagance. But despite or becuase of its simplicity, it was clearly the preferred desert of the day - in no time at all, the big bowl filled with Chè was suddenly empty, even before we could try it ourselves. The interplay of our rich and pure ingredients, the beans, water, coco nut milk and a little sugar triumphed into a experience of taste, matchless in simplicity and gentleness.

Chè Đậu Xanh - Sweet Vietnamese Mung Bean Soup

If you did not have a chance to try our soup, you might want to take down our recipe for the original Vietnamese Chè Đậu Xanh (4-6 serves):

  • 225 g Skinned split mung beans, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained; (Insider Tip: Buy the bright yellow, peeled, split mung beans for this soup rather than the whole green ones.)
  • 500 ml Coconut milk
  • 100 g Caster (superfine) sugar


Put the soaked mung beans in a pan and pour in 500 ml water.

Bring the water to the boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the water has been absorbed.

Press the beans through a sieve, or puree them in a blender.
In a heavy pan, heat the coconut milk with the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Gently stir in the pureed mung beans, making sure the soup is thoroughly mixed and heated through.

You can serve the soup warm or cold - depending on your taste. Best to try both: Eat it warm, when its fresh and keep some of the Chè cooled for the next day.

Boiling the water with the beans, watch the heat!

After a lot of simmering, squashing, mushing and sqeezing, the soup is ready to eat

For the attraction of the eye, Lian instructed us in building little swans,
big swans, big boxes and little turtles out of paper....

Các sinh viên tiếng Viêt Nam waiting for Chè Đậu Xanh
...which is standing in the middle of the table

Cô Bich trying our soup - Her face being very critical....

When the judges reached for our dish however, our confidence vanished for a short time. Being the first to try the soup, Cô Bich carefully tried one of our prepared samples, but instead of breaking into a fury of excitement, her facial expression winced for a moment - was is that horrible? A "tốt qua" from her mouth then reliefed us.... And as she passed on one of our little bowls to the friendly neighbour woman, who had taken photos of us with everyone's camera, we knew that it couldn't be that bad after all....

The image of the day was clearly the huge tabel filled with all the food... Mmhh it looked all so good! Well then, chào các bạn, chào các cô! Ăn ngon!

Lian, Rachel, Halimah, Dennis