Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thi Lien - Vietnam (Part 1 - food)

Since the missions conference we went to was focused on Southeast Asia, we decided to start there.

Thi Lien is a 9 year old Vietnamese girl who lives in a rural mountain village with her family. They are farmers and their village is self sufficient. Ansley picked her out; she is the only girl with 2 older brothers.

We did not really start talking about Vietnam with the food, but we finished the food portion first so that's what the first post will be about.

Most of these recipes came from an Asian cookbook that I have.  It appears to be authentic, because you can't find a lot of the ingredients in a normal grocery store.  Plus is isn't loaded full of sugar and other stuff which would lend to a more American palate.  I didn't check the translation of the dishes, this is what was listed. Everything except the traditional Bahn Mi was from the cookbook.  

We ate (not all in the same meal):

bo nuong vi - Lemongrass Grilled Beef.  This was tasty, but no veggies.  Just the beef.  But the marinade was really good. 

goi cuo'n - Vietnamese Spring Rolls.  Apparently traditional Vietnamese Spring Rolls are fried, and have the vegetables on the side.  So these are an unfried - veggies inside version.

pho- Beef Noodle Soup.  The broth for this soup was amazing.  I had never made stock with anise, clove, and cinnamon, and the spices totally perked up an otherwise plain dish.  This is the dish that is highlighted as the traditional meal that Thi Lien eats with her family.  Not sure if they put all the spices in it or not. This soup has a wide rice noodle, and I'm not a fan of noodles, but I loved the broth.

bahn mi chien tom - shrimp toasts.  These were really pretty good.  I think at least one person in the family really like at least one of the dishes that we made, this one had the highest score.  I have no idea how traditional it is, but you sort of chop the shrimp with some spices until it's kind of a paste, and then spread it on a baguette and fry it.  The baguette is a french influence.... since Vietnam was once a French colony it's possible. In the picture, there is one sort of burned one, and one that wasn't burned :)

bahn mi - Head Cheese Sandwich.  This wasn't that bad.  I may or may not have made the head cheese right, but my daughter ate the entire sandwich and asked for seconds, I would have eaten all of mine if I hadn't filled up on the shrimp toasts, and R.  says he ate 3 big bites of his and it "wasn't bad."  The other boys did not like so much. We put dijon mustard, sauerkraut, and cucumbers on the sandwiches.

Even though I love cooking new and different foods, I am glad that we are done with this for a couple of weeks.  The Philippines are next up and I have some organs I need to get out of the freezer. Thankful for a little break.

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