I Heart Vietnam

You know the awkward ice breaker questions that you have on a first date? … ‘What’s your favourite food?’ always tends to come up.

I dread it. It just opens up a can of worms.

I’m hopeless when it comes to picking just one. So now I just go by cuisine, which makes it marginally easier. At the moment it’s Vietnamese. Not that I have ever been to Vietnam so my concept of the Vietnamese cuisine could be way off, but I trust that Swan Street, Richmond is doing something right so I’ll go with my gut instinct.

Eating out as a vegetarian or vegan can be a bit tricky when it comes to Vietnamese because of the fish sauce, so I tend to make it a lot at home. Also a restaurant down the road that I used to work at does a lot of Vietnamese stuff, and I still like to think I have a bit of influence around there so I am allowed to be that pain in the ass customer and make super annoying requests to my order which is handy 😀

I found a vegetarian fish sauce the other day when I was at Vincent’s Vegetarian in Footscray (last I checked they also have a little stall at the Prahran market). If you ever need a vegetarian substitute for ANYTHING, go here. Literally anything. Ribs, prawns, duck, beef jerky (see below), they got it. So the fish sauce doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing but it gets shit done. And that’s all I ever ask for ya know?

vegan jerky

From a nutrition standpoint -> awesome option for take away. Lower in fat that Thai because of the lack of coconut milk, and a lot less oil and sodium than Chinese. Lots of fresh veg and herbs for flavour, although if you’re eating out the dressings tend to be quite high in sugar and salt so keep that in mind. But if you’re cooking at home, use coriander, chilli and lime juice instead.

I think Vietnamese is best to make when you’re cooking for a group of people. Because who wants to spend an hour rolling rice paper rolls when you’re the only one eating them? My beautiful housemate made an amazing banquet the other day with rice paper rolls, Banh Xeo (crispy pancakes) and noodle bowls. Delish.

banquet

 

Today I did something new and made Dao Hu Sot Ca. Yeah I dunno either. But it’s crispy tofu with tomato sauce. To be honest I’m not sure if it came out right because I’ve never done it before. But it’s tasty so all goooood.

Recipe adapted from Hungry Huy.

 

photo

Crispy Tofu with Tomato Sauce

Serves one. Because I am destined to be alone forever.

 

1/2 block of firm tofu (about 150g) (and make sure it’s firm not silken!)

1 tbs of coconut oil

2 ripe tomatoes
1 green capsicum
1 red chilli
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp [vegetarian] fish sauce
Coriander for garnish

Heat oil in a pan until you can see little bubbles
Slice up the tofu into cubes and place in the pan, it should sizzle, if not the oil isn’t hot enough
Let the tofu brown on each side until crispy

Chop up tomatoes
Slice capsicum and chilli finely
Place into a sauce pan with water, sugar, salt, and fish sauce and bring to the boil
Add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thicken
Serve with lots of coriander