Sunday, March 21, 2010


Chào các cô! Chào các bạn!

Chúng tôi đã có một nấu ăn project cho LAV1201 Việt Nam 1. Nhóm của chúng tôi có năm sinh viên, gồm có Minh, Trâm, Thu, Giang và Xuân.

Thứ sáu buổi tối last tuần, chúng tôu đã đi nhà Trâm để nấu Chả Giò (Vietnamese fried spring rolls).

Thu was placing the ingredients on “popiah” skin during our first cooking trial of Vietnamese fried spring rolls.

All the spring rolls were wrapped and they look delicious!


Frying of the ‘not so authentic’ Vietnamese spring rolls


Potential housewife--- Thu

Our final product from the first trial! (:

A Group photo with our initial ‘not so authentic’ spring rolls =)

Nó đã thành công, nhưng chúng tôi đã worried about ngày mai vì chúng tôi chưa tried out nấu với Việt Nam rice paper. Sau khi nấu ăn chúng tôi ở lại để thảo luận về decorations for món ăn của chúng tôi. Chúng tôi cảm thấy rất vui mừng.

Chúng tôi đến nhà Thu vào sáng thứ bảy để chuẩn Nguyên liệu của chả giò. Nguyên liệu của chả giò là tôm, thịt lợn, nấm, cà rốt, và some other ingredients. Chúng tôi đã đồng ý mặc red clothes vì nó represents cho một Màu sắc của cờ của Việt Nam. Every one of us was self-initiated and eventually we were able to finish on time.

Things that are done before reaching ở nhà Thầy Minh:

1) Marinate the raw minced pork and unshelled minced prawns by adding some seasonings (Pepper, salt, soy sauce and sugar. Chicken seasoning is optional.) As for the exact amount, it’s really based on intuition.=p

2) Stir fry the shallots and garlic over a small fire. Thereafter, add in the carrot strips, yam strips, spring onions, black fungus strips and stir fry them swiftly. Scoop the veggies out into a container.

3) Stir fry the minced pork and prawn over a short period of time, ensuring that it is not FULLY cooked. Put them in a separate container.

Sau đó,chúng tôi đến nhà Thầy Minh. Although we were one of the last few groups to arrive, our ingredients and decorations were already prepared. Hence, we managed to learn the wrapping skills from cô quỳnh and started the frying process swiftly. However, the deep frying process took the longest time as the oil needs to be fully heated up before putting in the spring rolls. The frying process is tedious but nevertheless crucial to produce a good and crispy spring roll! (: The following steps are what we have done at Thầy Minh house.

4) Mix the veggies and meat together evenly before cracking two eggs in. Mix thoroughly again.

5) Handle the rice paper with caution. They are VERY delicate in the presence of WATER. Instead of dipping the rice paper into water, we spread water on it evenly to gain better control.

6) After which, we can begin with the wrapping of spring rolls! Caution! Putting too much fillings may tear your paper while rolling. However, putting in too little fillings will make the rolls less tasty and appear empty when eating.

7) The art of rolling: it is similar to how hawkers wrap POPIAH. Fold in the two sides of the paper first and then start ROLLING slowly. We must ensure that the spring roll is packed tightly. (This means that your fillings should not be too little) If the rice paper won’t stick at the end, just add a little bit of water to seal the roll up.

This is the potential housewife! Thu rolling away... ...

The authentic end product of the spring rolls before they enter the oil should look something like this (:

8) Frying: Heat the oil till bubbling occurs continuously to ensure that oil is ready. You need loads of patience for this! (: Introduce the rolls in batches to allow us to monitor the progress of the frying closely without any confusion. Deep fry the spring rolls until they turn golden brown.

Looks YUMMY right? :D

9) The sauce: While some are frying the spring rolls and decorating the plates, a representative is sent out to learn how to make the sauce from Cô Bích.

 The raw sauce - without chilli and garlic. 

10) Remember to add garlic and chilli to enhance the taste. Các cô thích! Too much chilli may not be favorable too.

11) After the spring rolls are done, drain them thoroughly to help reduce the consumption of unhealthy oil! (:

The best way is to tap the spring rolls with kitchen towels as they absorb oil effectively.

12) We then place the spring rolls on the decorated plate and our dish is ready to be served on the dining table!

A group photo with our finished product!
Our rất đẹp chả gió! ^^

During the tasting, we were anxious of how our finished product tasted. But it turned out fine surprisingly and we were very relieved. This learning process was a very fruitful one and everyone enjoyed this unique cooking experience! GoGo Team Frog! =))

Thế thì tốt quá!

***For the filling of the (Chả Giò), we followed our LAV senior’s recipe as we felt that the ones online were not as reliable as a group which experimented it before. After browsing, we decided on the recipe from this link:

Chào các cô! Chào các bạn!

Last weekend we had to wake up very early in the morning to prepare for our Vietnamese cooking project. Our group chose to cook the delicious Vietnamese green bean soup known as Chè Đậu Xanh.

Chúng ta đến nhà thầy Minh lúc tám giờ sáng. When we arrived, there were already two groups using the stoves. As there were limited stoves, we had to wait for our turn. While waiting, we started working on our decoration using recycled materials.

Here are the ingredients used:

500g of Skinless Green Beans (Mung Beans)
Rock Sugar
Coconut Milk
Pandan Leaves
Sago Pearls
Sweet Potatoes
Portable Water

Steps involved:

1. Skinless green beans were soaked overnight a day before the actual cooking session

2. Boil the water

3. Add in skinless green beans, sweet potatoes and pandan leaves
4. Constant stir until the green beans is cook.

5. Add in rock sugar and coconut milk into the soup.
Add in sago pearls while the soup is hot enough.
Reduce the heat once the pearls get translucent.
Ready to serve!!!!

When it was finally our turn to cook, the kitchen was filled with people and it was very chaotic. We began boiling our green beans and also our sago pearls while the other group is working on their green bean soup at the same time. As we were too engrossed in our green bean soup, we also forgot about our sago pearls, that was when Cô Bich walked in and said we were cooking glue instead of boiling sago pearls.

Other than that, Cô Bich also taught us how to prepare garnish with tomatoes and chilli.
After much work, our group was finally able to complete our green bean soup and continued down to the function room for a our long waited food tasting session. Even though we were tired after a long day of work, các em rất mệt nhưng rất vui!

Personal Reflections:

Peng Chong (Phong): It was a fun and enjoyable experience as very seldom do you see a module having cooking as their assignments. I learnt alot of things that day as Cô Bích was sharing her culinary skills generously to the class. I would definitely remember this memorable day for the rest of my life!

Elless (Thu): This cooking project is very fun and interesting. It is the best way for everyone to bond and have fun together. I really enjoyed myself and had a good time interacting with teachers and classmates. It is a good opportunity for us to learn about the Vietnamese culture, their delicacy etc in an interesting way. Looking forward for the next project (:

Lydia: On last Saturday, we went to Thay Minh’s house for cooking project. I lived in Hougang but I reached the earliest. We cooked green bean soup. Our green bean soup is sweet and delicious. I leant how to cook Vietnamese dishes and decorate the food. I met many new students from other Vietnamese classes and spoke with my Vientnamese teachers. I also met the family of Thay Minh. His son is very cute. I was very happy last Saturday.

Kok Hong: It was fun and lovely Saturday! I do enjoy myself a lot during the entire cooking session. This event is enriching and fruitful as we all managed to learn about Vietnamese’s culture during the preparation of food. Besides, it also gives me a great opportunity to bond myself with each and every of my classmates. Most importantly, I LOVE LAV1201 !!

Michelle (Anh): I am enthusiastic about the Vietnamese cooking lesson at thầy Minh's house last Saturday. Cô Bich was teaching us cooking and decorations. Cô Quỳnh taste food. Cô Lê taught us how to gamble. Cô Quỳnh say that if bankrupt in gambling, love will be lucky. thầy Minh’s son is very cute and follows Cô Bich around. Cô Bich say that Teacher’s Minh’s son is her mới bạn trai.

That day, Kok Hong is our chef, we decorate the food. On that day, the food we cook is green bean soup. Our green bean soup is very delicious because there is extra ingredient- sweet potatoes.

Cô Bich is very strict in judging and likes sweet. We are very nervous but all students had fun tasting everybody’s food. I love chicken pho!

GỎI GÀ 101

Chúng em là Hà, Phương, Đông và Công. Thứ sáu tuần trước, chúng em nấu gỏi gà ở nhà thầy Minh. Chúng em cũng học nhiều thứ về việc nấu món ăn Việt Nam.

There are a million gỏi gà recipes out there, so whichever you decide to choose in the end, here are some utterly important things to remember if you wanna make gỏi gà that tastes like the REAL thing.
1.     BẮP CẢI / CABBAGE To shred the CABBAGE which is the main component of the salad, use a peeler (the thing that you use to peel carrots). Don’t use a shredder or a mandolin cos it takes a lot more effort!
2.     GÀ / CHICKEN Make sure you peel your cooked CHICKEN into shreds. The texture isn’t nice if you pluck them into small pieces.
3.     HERBS Throw in plenty of herbs with your cabbage for a light and fresh tasting dish. Be generous! We used THAI BASIL (this is different from Italian Basil), CORIANDER and MINT. Avoid the herb stems and use the leaves only.
4.     CARROT & CUCUMBER These 2 are completely optional. Add a little of each if you really want them in your gỏi gà. If you add too much cucumber, your gỏi gà will end up too wet and tasting too sour.
5.     DRESSING VINEGAR + SUGAR + FISH SAUCE / NƯỚC MẮM. Some people substitute the vinegar with LIME JUICE, which was what we did on Saturday but we think the vinegar dressing tastes more Vietnamese though. Some people even skip the NƯỚC MẮM altogether, but the combination above is a safe bet.

At the end of the day, this is what one of our group members had to say...
Phương: The cooking project was a really nice experience for me as I had never really gotten the chance to eat Vietnamese food before. At first, I had thought that the process was easy, considering that we were just going to make a salad. ‘How hard could it get?’ How wrong was I to claim that. Making the sauce for the salad was difficult. With nothing in mind of how the sauce was supposed to taste like, we just started mixing the ingredients. First try, hmm, the sauce was sour. Luckily, our Vietnamese friends Thơ and Liên helped us a lot. Besides being our food testers, they also helped us cut our watermelon. Thanks to them, we had plenty of watermelon to share with everyone. We even managed to give Cô Qùynh a cup of watermelon juice which she enjoyed. 
At the end of it, I was quite full not because of our gỏi gà, but it was more of the slices of watermelon that the group members were forced to eat. But, I have to admit our gỏi gà tasted good thanks to the effort of our fellow members and Vietnamese friends! It was really a fun experience that helps us to understand an aspect of Vietnamese culture.

Cold Salad

Hello everyone! Our group members consist of Nga( Zhiying), giao(HuiFong), điệp(YaYing), đậi( kenny) and zhengwei. The dish that we are cooking is cold salad .

The cooking project is really awesome. All of us had never been doing something like that in school before. It was really a very good learning experience for all of us, because not only we learn about Vietnamese’ s traditional food and culture we also get to interact with other classmates who are also taking Vietnamese.

So for this blog post, we shall share with you our interesting cooking experience.

Kenny, Zhiying, Huifong, YaYing and Zhenwei is confident about making cold salad!~ =)

On the actual day, all of us gathered at Thầy Minh house for the actual cooking. The whole house was packed with people, our group managed to settle down and start arranging the ingredients that we had previously prepared.

Dear Co Bìch taught us how to decorate our final dish. Carrot, cucumber, orange, chilli padi, and etc were used to sculpt into very cute and attractive decorations. She taught us step-by-step, so no worries if you don’t have the experience in food decoration!

We also learnt how to wrap the salad rolls with the ingredients well prepared by us beforehand. The wrapping techniques are taught clearly by Co Bìch. She is indeed a great ‘professional’ cook!

Few points to note:

1. The prawns should be big enough and don’t cut them into small pieces

2. Chicken should be sliced and not diced!

3. Put more herbs inside the salad rolls, because our tutors very like herbs such as coriander leaves, mint leaves and basil

4. Do not buy Italian leaves which Vietnamese food doesn’t include in their recipe XD

5. Remove the stem of the lettuce to aid in the process of wrapping

Our cold salad!~ whee whee!~~

We played some traditional Vietnamese games with Co Le after we had completed our cooking. That was our best moment to build rapport and establish strong bonds with our lovely classmates. Overall, we think that all our classmates had put in a lot of effort in making this Vietnamese Food Festival a success one.

The most exciting moment was when our three wonderful tutors gave their comments on our dishes. Everybody stood around the tables and watch the tutors’ face expressions after they had tasted the food. The teacher’s reactions were really funny and we could not stop laughing!! But the main purpose of their comments was to teach us more about Vietnamese culture and their food preferences. It was a pity for you to miss it!

After the judging and tasting, everybody grabbed their chopsticks and swarmed to the food!! Because we were all very hungry!! Haha!! Within few minutes, the tables were left with little food. OH MY GOD-HUNGRY GHOSTS! We took photos together with our 3 pretty tutors and classmates!! It was indeed special Saturday for all of us!!

We've really enjoyed ourselves very much!~

Cooking Project Rocks!!

Chào các thầy cô và các bạn!

Vào cuối thứ bảy, Ming Ming (Trang), Qi min (Linh), Shirlyn (Sen), Jennifer (Lan) và Sharon (Hoa) nấu ăn ở nhà thầy Minh. Chúng em bắt đầu nấu ăn lúc mười giờ. Chúng em rất vui vì chúng em nấu Gỏi Gà cho các bạn.


Before the arrival of this D-day, we allocated the preparation work among ourselves. Sharon and Ming Ming bought the cooking ingredients from the supermarket while Jennifer helped to buy the ingredients from the wet market. Thanks to Qi Min, she woke up early on Saturday to steam the chicken. Not forgetting our creative Shirlyn and Jennifer, they thought of a lot of ideas for the decoration of our dish. (P/s: I love the tomato rabbits! Cute!!!)

The chicken breast meat has to be steamed beforehand so that we could start off with the salad making immediately when we reached thầy Minh’s house. The de-freezing part of the chicken took forever, and it is really annoying when the chicken is still solidly frozen when you are in a rush to cook it :P The chicken meat was steamed for around 40 minutes to make sure it was thoroughly cooked and off we went on our journey to thầy Minh’s house.

The time when we reached thầy Minh’s condominium, the place was already packed like sardines. Enthusiastic students could be seen squeezing at every nook and cranny of the house, preparing for their dishes. Fortunately, we managed to occupy the dining table and start working without further procrastination =)

We started into a frenzy of cut, chop, skin, slice, shred the veges! We had cabbage, carrot, basil, mint, lime, green onions and cilantro(Chinese parsley). Thanks to the combined effort from our efficient team members, we were done with preparing the veges real soon :D Also not forgetting our most important ingredient of all—the chicken. The steamed chicken was shredded using just two forks. Next step: MIX ‘em all up!

After mixing all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl, we started preparing the garnishes. We began to line the serving plate with lettuce. After that, we made a whole family of rabbits out of cherry tomatoes!


The tomato rabbits differed in sizes and the baby rabbit even had its own basket (made from an orange with cô Bích’s guidance).



In addition, we also had small roses made from tomato peel. It was not an easy task to “peel” the tomato as the skin tended to break easily. Fortunately, some of our group mates managed to do it. Thus, we had some pretty little roses accompanying our salad! :D


The above picture was how our salad looked like when everything was put in place!
After all the preparations, we were almost all set and ready for judging! So we brought our yummy sauce and salad down to the swimming pool area to wait for the other teams to finish up. While waiting at the poolside, it was picture time of course! And finally when the judging was about to begin, we mixed the sauce and the salad and TADA!!! Our authentic Gỏi Gà!


The judging table was soon filled with all the other groups’ beautifully decorated dishes. Cô Quỳnh's , Cô Bích and Cô Lê were the judges and when it came to our team, we were all nervous and all eyes were on the judges’ expressions! Thankfully, they liked our Gỏi Gà because we added lots and lots of herbs!

After the judging was over, we were finally able to taste all the dishes that our classmates prepared! On top of that, there was chicken noodle soup (Phở Gà) that was prepared by our tutors. We enjoyed the sumptuous food and we were glad that our salad dish was finished as well.

It was definitely a fun cooking experience and everyone sure put in effort! =D =D =D

Vietnamese Sweet Banana and Coconut milk Soup: Chè chuối

Chào các bạn!
Chúng tôi là Diệu, Diem, Cuc, Mạnh và Dũng. Tên tiếng Anh là Wan Ting, Audrey, Grace, Samuel và Eugene.

Một tuần trước khi hôm nay, chúng ta có our first project for lớp tiếng Việt một, which is the nấu ăn project. We chose to nấu Chè chuối (cook banana soup) as we feel that we have not heard or tasted it before, với lại we have a sweet tooth and Diem thích desserts quá!

We were the first group to cook (lúc tám giờ đúng sáng). We were very eager and excited as this is the first time we cook Vietnamese dishes vơi các bạn. That day, Diem and Mạnh had prepared all the ingredients, while Cuc and Diem cooked the soup together. The experience was really fun as we chatted while cooking. The bulk of our time spent during the cooking was the stirring of the minute tapioca till they turned translucent. Then Mạnh and Diệu folded lotus flowers and placed our banana soup into glass bowls “wrapped” in the lotus flower, which is the Vietnamese national flower. After stewing for half an hour, our soup is done. Our final product was rất sweet! We also took picture of the soup “blooming” from the fresh lotus but forget to take a group ảnh as we are too excited cooking the soup! Thế thì tốt quá, các em!

I really appreciate that teachers have planned this project for us as we really enjoyed doing this project and this has made us closer together. Our teachers were also very spontaneous and enthusiastic and it made the entire experience more fun than I imagined it to be. Diệu was also very impressed by Cô Bích’s ability to turn fruits and vegetables into beautiful flowers and baskets used for decoration!

  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 ripe bananas, peeled and diced, or 1 cup fresh sweet yellow corn kernels
  • Toasted sesame seeds
Bring the coconut milk and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the tapioca pearls, sugar, and salt, and cook until tapioca pearls are translucent, about 30 minutes. Add banana or fresh corn kernels and cook for 10 minutes more.
Divide among 4 bowls, garnish each with a sprinkle or 2 of sesame seeds, and serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

Project Xong!
Cám ơn các bạn! Chào các bạn!