Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls)

Chào các em! Bích Hường, Bích Phượng, Bích Quỳnh, Bích Vân và Bình Đại from Gỏi cuốn 3 here! =) Our group made Gỏi cuốn, which means Vietnamese Spring Rolls for the tiếng Việt một cooking project. This was the recipe we used:

Recipe: Gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls)

>25 rice paper wrappers, large, round
1 packet small vietnamese bee hoon
1 cup bean sprouts, raw
1 cup cucumber, cut into thin strips
25 cooked shrimps, cut in half length wise
1/4 cup basil leaves/mint leaves
12 lettuce leaves (locally produced kind)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce/fish sauce (Lee Kum Kee sauce)

Chives, Tomatoes, Chillies, Cucumbers, Capsicums

1. Cook the rice vermicelli as directed in pack. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well. Set aside.
2. Fully dip the rice paper in a large bowl of water and remove immediately (one rice paper at a time).
3. Place one rice paper on a flat area. On the bottom part of the rice paper, stack your desired amount of lettuce, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, mint leaves, and 2 half shrimps.
4. Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the vegetables. Tuck in the sides and continue to roll as tightly as possible. (As shown in picture below)
5. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Directions for the Sauce:
1. Mix the hoisin sauce with water until desired consistency has been attained. Heat the mixture for a few seconds in the microwave if possible.

Practice Session!
On Thursday, 17th Feb 2010, we went to Vivian’s (Bích Hường) house for our practice session. Ingredients were first bought at the Sheng Shiong near West Coast Plaza. Unfortunately, not all ingredients were available at Sheng Shiong that day (think a lot people also making spring rolls? (Haha) so we outsourced to Cold storage and NTUC as well. =)

Each of us focused on different tasks so as to be more effective - Vivian cooked the bee hoon, Hui Min (Bích Quỳnh) cut the cucumbers while Dexter (Bình Đại) and Hoi Yee (Bích Vân) deveined the prawns before passing it on to Vivian for boiling. We had loads of fun as the recipe provided clear and simple instructions. We also experimented with other flavors such as with Fried Chicken, Bak Kwa (bbq pork) and mango! +D *They all tasted good by the way! The only drawback was that the rice papers were ABIT hard to manage as they grew sticky REALLY REALLY quickly! =S (think it's because they were soaked for too long)

But practice makes perfect and we finally (sort of) managed to get the hang of dipping the rice wraps swiftly and laying it on a flat surface for wrapping at the end. Also, having researched about difficulties faced if there’s too much fillings in the wrap, we made sure not to overload the fillings. The first few spring rolls looked rather out of shape, but we all mastered the art of wrapping them by the end of the day and recieved good reviews from our taste testers! (Vivian's parents) =D


It was a little chaotic for us at the begining as we didn’t know what to start with nor. However, we managed to get ourselves organized and divided the tasks among ourselves; namely with Hoi Yee, Dexter and Hui Min designing and decorating the plate while Vivian and Lishan wrapped the spring rolls. At times, we switched our roles so that everyone gets to try every single task on hand. =)
Decorating was the most difficult! (especially the tomato rose =S) We had to slowly cut off the skin of the tomato, ensuring that it was in one single piece. Several attempts were made, and luckily it was very successful in the end. (We learnt well from Cô Bích!) =)

Wrapping of the spring rolls was easier, however we had to ensure the springrolls were not overstuffed and all were wrapped tightly to give a better shape. Despite all the difficulties and problems we faced throughout the process, we managed to succeed and it was an accomplishment for all!

Finally, at judging, our hard work paid off! =D Cô Bích declared our spring rolls as the most delicious! She liked how our spring rolls had alot of mint leaves inside. =) *hinthint this is the trick! Put LOTS of mint leaves! =) The only thing is that we will have to use our own sauce in the future haha. (we used borrowed the sauce Cô Bích made =P) haha Regardless of that, Cô Bích's compliments made our spring rolls 'sell' like hotcakes! All were snatched up quickly! Yay! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR KIND SUPPORT! =D *we are seriously happy and thankful for this and we hope we have not disappointed anyone =)

Our Group Reflections:
We enjoyed the cooking project greatly as it was not only a time for us to learn about Vietnamese food and to prepare it, but also a time that let us learn to focus on details of things, as well as a time for us to bond together.

Before this cooking project, we thought that the whole process from grocery shopping to cooking was an easy task (it also shows that we seldom get into the kitchen too). However, when we started to prepare for this project, we realised that there were many details to consider before making a spring roll- the type of a particular ingredient to bring out the best taste and appearance of the food, and the techniques to prepare it.

From the grocery shopping, we faced some difficulties in deciding the right ingredient to buy, for instance, just the prawns, we had to consider the size, price and the texture of it after it was cooked. If we were to get frozen prawns, the texture of the prawns would not be tardy but flaccid, and its colour would not be vivid enough for the overall appearance of the spring roll. We had to do the same thought processes when buying all other necessary ingredients.

The cooking session with Cô Bích allowed us to learn the proper ways of making a spring roll and the ways to carve vegetables to decorate our food. When Cô Bích showed us the different knives for cutting and carving purposes to make the carvings look good, we realised once again that it was back to the smallest details of things, pieced together to make the food look good. =)

Aside from the lesson learnt on details, the cooking session was also a time for us, students from the different tutorial classes to interact and know one another. As usually we students rush off for other lessons after our tutorials, we seldom get the chance to stay back and mingle around to know each other. Through this project, we got to better understand each of our team mates, and even know more about other students whom we rarely get the chance to meet.

The cooking project was a time of great fun and joy, and where we learn to prepare and get the experience of tasting various kinds of Vietnamese food. We truly appreciate and enjoy this interesting project that enabled us to learn something beyond the classroom, and to bond with one another.

Bích Hường, Bích Phượng, Bích Quỳnh, Bích Vân và Bình Đại from Gỏi cuốn 3 signing off~

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