Vietnamese Cooking Class

By far one of my favorite parts of our trip to Hanoi was the cooking class we took. Alex reserved space for the two of us to learn the “Monsoon Menu” from Hidden Hanoi. Two Australian college students, a teacher from Japan, and a scientist from the States joined us as we toured a local market and got to work creating an elaborate lunch feast.
The kitchen/work area at Hidden Hanoi was pretty amazing. The staff was super organized and had everything set up for us. We rotated around the tables, taking turns to help make each item on the menu. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make one thing from start to finish by the end of the class, but I had a good understanding of how to make several different dishes so armed with the recipes of everything we made, I think I’m good to go!

Hanoi Cooking Class

Here I am sauteing onions and tomatoes to make a sauce for our cabbage rolls. Everybody in the class got a set of these “cooking chopsticks” to take home. I’ve used mine several times already!

Hanoi Cooking Class

Part of the class included learning how to peel a tomato all in one piece and then how to wrap the peel to make a rose. It looked a lot easier than it turned out to be!

Hanoi Cooking Class

Alex did lot of chopping and grating for the banana flower salad.

Hanoi Cooking Class

Everybody was in charge of rolling a few spring rolls.

Hanoi Cooking Class

Alex rolling spring rolls.

Hanoi Cooking Class

We started with a layer of fresh herbs.

Hanoi Cooking Class

Our spring rolls! …check out the tomato peel rose!

Fresh Spring Rolls

My absolute favorite of everything we made were these Cabbage Rolls stuffed with pork and mushrooms.

Cabbage Rolls

This banana flower salad was a lot like a super amazing cole slaw.

Banana Flower Salad

We also made wasabi leaf soup which was amazingly easy for how delicious it was and chicken with lotus seeds. Neither of those dishes photographed particularly well so you’ll just have to take my word for it that they were delicious.
I highly recommend that everyone try the cabbage rolls so here is the recipe:

Cabbage Rolls
Ingredients:
1 cabbage
200 g minced pork meat
5-6 dried wood ear mushrooms
1 bunch spring onions
1/4 carrot
1 egg
small bunch of cilantro
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp fish sauce
1. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water and soften them in hot water.
2. Put cabbage in a pot of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes to soften. Set aside to cool.
3. Chop mushrooms into fine strips. Shred carrot. Chop 4 stalks of spring onions and cilantro finely. Mix everything together in a bowl with the meat.
4. Beat the egg and add to the bowl. Mix by hand. Add the pepper, salt and fish sauce and let marinate for 10 minutes.
5. Peel large cabbage leaves off and cut off the end with the stem.
6. Place a big spoonful of meat mixture onto each cabbage leaf and roll into tight packages.
7. Dip spring onions into hot water to soften and then use them to tie up each roll.
8. Steam rolls for 10-15 minutes.
Sauce
Ingredients:
1 small onion
2 large tomatoes
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili sauce
2 cloves garlic
fish sauce and salt
1. Peel and core tomatoes and dice finely.
2. Finely chop garlic and onion. Fry with a little oil over low heat until soft.
3. Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp chili sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce.
4. Cook about 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft. Serve over cabbage rolls.
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