Faux Phở? We Don’t Think So.

2011.Jul.30 Saturday · 4 comments

in Casa SaltShaker, Food & Recipes

“You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”

– William S. Burroughs, novelist

History has an interesting way of repeating itself. A couple of years ago, some of my students in the Italian cooking series got to talking about missing Vietnamese food, and wondered if I could offer up a class. Now, I know the basics pretty well, but at the time, I thought it would be fun to get a more insider perspective and contacted Thuy, who was running the closed door restaurant A Little Saigon at the time. She gladly offered to put together a class, and one of the students’ specific requests, was to learn to make phở. And that’s where historic repetition comes into play, one of my regular students in the vegan Asian classes asked if I’d teach her to make it. Now we already had a Vietnamese class in the series, which she’d taken, and I’ve played around with more dishes over time, so why not?

I put together the same class that Thuy offered up, but vegan style and with altered recipes that I’ve played around with, and also with some input from a couple of online vegan friends, and my friend Simpson Wong of Cafe ASEAN in New York. And, I think it came together quite well. There were happy smiles around the table at lunch!

Vietnamese 2 class - banh tom

Banh tom – crispy sweet potato and mushroom fritters with nouc cham dipping sauce – completely addictive.

Vietnamese 2 class - pho

Phở, with fried tofu puffs, enoki mushrooms, and a mix of vegetables, ready to be condimented with lime, hoisin and sriracha…

Vietnamese 2 class - pho

…and, ready to dip into. Which we did, with gusto!

Vietnamese 2 class - che chuoi

And, for a little sweet finish, Che chuoi – bananas cooked in coconut milk with tapioca pearls. I haven’t been able to find the nice clear tapioca pearls here recently, these are the mixed tapioca and sweet potato starch ones, which are colored a glistening dark brown.

Our other class this week was the first session of our Four Chinese Meals series – Canton & Hong Kong. And that’s what you missed this week in the kitchen classroom.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

gautam July 30, 2011 at 11:20

Banana’s cooked in coconut milk! Oh good lors, ill have to try that.

Andrea Schwartz July 30, 2011 at 12:30

I can’t believe you can find those ingredients in BAires! How things have changed.
Are you planning to post the Faux Pho recipe? I’ve been wanting to learn how to make that broth at home for a long time!

Keep it going!

Boston, MA

dan July 30, 2011 at 15:58

I may, but it will definitely be in the cookbook that will come out this year!

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