AAUW-Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek
Vietnamese Gourment Dinner


January 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm
All ingredients are available at Ranch 99 in Concord and Dublin


Menu: pancake appetizer Roseann and Walt Krane,
1st Course: Saigon Noodles,Noriko & spouse
Entre: Beef with snap peas, Judy Lauper
Rice, Roberta and spouse
Four kinds of Vegetables, Caroline and Evan Sanchez
Tapioca, Joan Renolds & Morgan
Drinks: green tea and water Walt and Roseann Krane
Vietnamese Food
Famous for its lively, fresh flavors and artfully composed meals, Vietnamese food and cooking is the true 'light cuisine' of Asia. Abundant fresh herbs and greens, delicate soups and stir-fries, and well-seasoned grilled foods served on, or with, rice or noodles are the mainstays of the Vietnamese delicacies. Even the beloved sweets for snacks or desserts are often based on fresh fruits served with sweetened rice or tapioca. Rarely does any dish have added fats.

While the Vietnamese cuisine relies on fresh vegetables, subtle seasonings and rice, Vietnamese cooking also reflects its Chinese and French influences and it has numerous regional difference; in the south, look for plentiful fresh seafood and in the colder north, you'll find slightly heartier meals with beef. In central Vietnam, around the ancient royal capital Hue, the food may contain influences of the former court cooks.

But regardless of the region, home-style Vietnamese cooking calls for an array of simple dishes that make complementary partners at a family's communal meal. Dinners customarily call for a soup, probably a platter of leafy greens accompanied by rice papers and a dipping sauce, seafood or grilled meats or poultry, a vegetable stir-fry, and rice or noodles in some form - with hot tea as the preferred beverage. While such meals may look complex to outsiders, most dishes come together easily, and some call for advance preparation to avoid last-minute conflicts. And, as in any type of cooking, planning ahead makes putting together meals much easier.

Modern cooks with well-equipped kitchens and handy appliances will find preparing a Vietnamese meal both rewarding and relatively easy. And with the widespread popularity of Asian recipes and foods, locating ingredients is not a challenge as most supermarkets carry such basics as fresh ginger and spring onions, lemongrass and chilies, even coconut milk and Asian noodles.

Appetizer: Hue Stuffed Pancake Recipe

- Serves 4 hue pancake ricePancakes

5 tablespoon


55 g


Pancake batter

85 g



125 ml


Pancake Filling

7.5 g

1 clove

15 ml

125 ml

145 g

85 g

30 g

30 g



Oil (for frying)


Seasoned flour



Rice flour


Eggs, beaten

Coconut milk



Ginger, chopped

Garlic, chopped

Soy sauce

White sauce


Mushrooms, chopped

Green onions (scallions), chopped

Bean sprouts



Method :

Combine rice flour, coconut milk, 3 eggs and salt to make a pancake batter.

Heat a little in an 8 in nonstick frying pan, add enough batter to coat the bottom. Make pancakes in the usual manner until all batter is used. Blend ginger, garlic, soy and white sauces. Add crabmeat, mushrooms, green onions (scallions) and bean sprouts. Season to taste. Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each pancake. Tuck in ends and roll like a burrito, so mixture doesn't escape. Carefully roll each pancake in seasoned flour then in remaining beaten egg. Deep fry until golden. Serve on lettuce leaves, sprinkled with chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, accompanied by nuoc cham sauce with finely sliced, seeded red chili pepper. As a variation, use thinly rolled rice pancakes. Pancakes can also be filled and served without deep frying.


1st Course: Saigon Noodles Recipe (Pho Saigon)riceNoodles

Ingredients : Serves 4

4 tablespoons

2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon


250 g

150 g

300 g

375 g

2 tablespoons

6 cloves


200 g

25 g

250 g


1 sprig

Soy sauce

Oyster sauce

Nuoc cham sauce

Lime (squeezed and juiced)

Boneless, skinless chicken fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces

Pork fillet, thinly sliced

Raw shrimps, peeled, deveined and halved lengthways

Thick rice noodles


Garlic, crushed and chopped

Shallots, finely chopped

Bok choi, shredded

Bamboo shoots

Bean sprouts

Asparagus spears, cooked and chopped into 5 cm lengths

Coriander leaves, for ganishing

Method :
  • Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce and nuoc cham sauce with the lime juice.

  • Divide them between 2 bowls.

  • Put the chicken and pork in one and the shrimps in the other. Leave to marinate for an hour.

  • Cook the rice noodles and set aside in the colander.

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan. Stir fry the garlic and shallots for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and pork with their marinade.

  • Stir and fry until the meats change color.

  • Add the bok choi, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, shrimps and asparagus.

  • Stir and toss until the shrimps change color.

  • Run warm water through the cooked noodles and separate them. Then, add them to the wok.

  • Stir and fry everything together, adding a little water if the mixture seems too dry.

  • Serve and garnish with coriander (cilantro) leaves.


 Four Kinds of Braised Vegetables

Ingredients : Serves 4-6

1 can

15 small

4 medium


1 tablespoon

1 1/2 teaspoons

1 1/2 tablespoons

4 cups

3 tablespoons

1 tablespoon

White asparagus or 16 fresh green tips

Dry black mushrooms or 1 can button mushrooms

Fresh tomatoes

Green vegetable heart or broccoli

Soy sauce


Cornstarch, to make paste

Soup stock


Chicken grease (optional)

Method :
  • Place canned asparagus (with juice) into bowl, steam for 15 minutes until hot.

  • Cut the green vegetable heart to 2 1/2 inches long. Cook in boiling water for about 2 minutes.

  • Plunge into cold water and immediately squeeze dry.

  • Peel and cut each tomato into 5 slices (4 from outside and 1 from tip). Soak mushrooms in warm water and remove the stem. Reserve its water.

  • Cook the green vegetable with 2 cups boiling soup stock, add 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil.

  • Remove after 2 minutes using a strainer, let drain dry. Lay attractively on large round platter in 2 sections. Reserve the soup in frying pan.

  • Add tomato into the same soup and cook about 1/2 minute. Remove and lay on platter in 2 sections near green vegetable and discard the soup. Lay drained asparagus in remaining section of the platter.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Fry the mushrooms. Add 2/3 cup of reserved mushroom water or soup stock. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cook about 2 minutes. Thicken with 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch paste, pour in the centre of the platter.

  • Boil 1 cup soup stock, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch paste and cook until thickened.

  • Sprinkle in 1/2 tablespoon chicken grease, pour on the three kinds vegetable parts, not over the mushrooms.

Entre: Beef with Snap Peas Recipe

Ingredients : Serves 4

beef 200 g Beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Corn flour (cornstarch)
1 tablespoon Cooking oil
500 g Snap peas
1 tablespoon Garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Fish sauce

Method : Marinate beef with rice wine, 1/4 teaspoon salt and corn flour. Leave for 10 minutes. Bring a pot of water to the boil then add some salt and cooking. Blanch Chinese kale and drain. Heat a wok with cooking oil and stir fry garlic until fragrant. Add beef and stir fry for 5 minutes. Season with sugar, fish sauce and salt to taste. Add snap peas and mix well. Serve with steamed rice.

Glutinous Rice Vietnamese Style

Ingredients : Serves 5

14 oz

1 teaspoon

Glutinous rice


Method :
  • Boil about 700 ml water in a thick saucepan.

  • Add the rice and salt and bring it back to the boil.

  • Let it boil for 1 minute or so and then cover it with a well-fitting lid.

  • Take it off the heat and hold the lid tightly on the saucepan.

  • Turn it over and drain it fairly dry.

  • Return to a very low heat and allow the rice to cook for about 20 minutes.

  • After cooking, set it aside for 10 minutes to complete the cooking.

  • When ready to serve, fluff it up with a ladle or chopsticks, whichever you prefer.


Tapioca and Cantaloupe Recipe

(Bot Bang Chan Trau)

To make this simple dessert, you'll need to shop at your local Asian market. For the tapioca, you will need the pearl tapioca sold at Asian markets; the Western tapioca pearls are not a substitute. If you cannot find canned coconut juice - not the same product as coconut milk - use water instead. Young coconut meat is sold frozen or possibly in cans.

Ingredients : Serves 4 - 6

375 ml (1 1/2 cups)

60 g (1/2 cup)

250 ml (1 cup)

1/4 cup

65 g (1/3 cup)

125 ml (1/2 cup)



Tapioca pearls (sago)

Coconut juice

Young coconut meat


Coconut milk

Cantaloupe, about 500 g ( 3 cups), scooped out with melon baler

Generous pinch of salt

Method :
  • In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the tapioca pearls and coconut juice. When the tapioca becomes almost translucent, after about 5 minutes, stir in the coconut milk and the sugar, stirring constantly so the pearls don't clump. Cook 5 minutes more, taste for sweetness adjusting if necessary; then remove from heat.

  • Warm the coconut milk over low heat. Add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat.

  • To serve, spoon 1/2 cup cooked tapioca into each individual serving dish, and top with 2 tablespoons coconut milk and several pieces cantaloupe. Stir and serve.