Banh Cuon for a Vietnamese Feature in Nourish Magazine
Banh Cuon or Pork and Mushroom stuffed Rice Noodle Rolls are one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes. It wasn’t actually until I was asked to write and shoot the Vietnamese feature for Nourish magazine that I realised just how easy this dish is to make at home. Gluten and Dairy free.
Sometimes the tastiest of things are the easiest to make. Wouldn’t you agree? Scrambled eggs. A cup of hot chocolate. A mish mash salad.
And now these…
Hang on a sec? A Pole cooking Asian food? Yup, and I love it.
It’s no secret that I am head over heels in love with the flavours, cooking techniques and overall use of fresh herbs and spices. They inspire me often.
I’ve shared my homemade Peking Duck recipe that rivals the ones we got to try in Beijing. Pumpkin soup tastes a hundred times better with coconut cream in it. I add Chinese five spice to stock. Have laksa for breakfast. Even my Spag Bol tastes better with red curry paste in it. This might be the reason why Sarah wanted me to adapt it for her latest I Quit Sugar for Life cookbook. It’s got that fab twist Sarah was after.
Needless to say, when Anji asked if I’d be interested in doing a Vietnamese feature for the magazine, I was stoked and immediately said yes. Vietnam is one of those magical places where food is omnipresent. And it’s not just about basic nourishment. It’s also about community, enjoyment and healing. Textures, fresh herbs with medicinal properties and distinctive flavours of fish sauce and spices.
The next issue of Nourish magazine, on sale throughout September and October, will feature six of my favourite Vietnamese recipes. Some will even have a healthier twist. You can checkout my delicious soup roundup in the current July-August edition, too.
While traditionally the dish is made with freshly steamed thin rice paper pastry, store-bought fresh rice noodle sheets are just as good. They are available from the refrigerated section of most Asian grocers. Dried shiitake mushrooms can be substituted with about one-and-a-half cups of finely sliced button mushrooms if you prefer. If you can’t find rice noodles, serve the mixture in lettuce leaves. Baby cos (romaine) leaves are perfect for this.
>>> So, tell me, what sort of dishes and flavours have you been inspired by lately?
- 20g dried shiitake mushrooms
- ⅛ cup macadamia, peanut or olive oil
- 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ small red onion, diced finely
- 250g minced pork
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional
- 3 rolls fresh Banh Cuon rice noodles
- A few sprigs Thai basil
- Fried shallots (look for a gluten-free version)
- Cover shiitake mushrooms with hot water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain water and chop the mushrooms finely.
- Heat half the oil in a large pan set over medium heat and fry off onion and garlic until fragrant. Increase heat to medium high and remaining oil and pork. Working with a metal whisk or wooden spoon, break the pork into small granules as it cooks. Add mushrooms and fish sauce and stir fry to combine and for the meat to finish cooking. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, to taste, if using. Set aside while you prepare the pastry.
- To prepare the pastry, steam each roll for 3 minutes or microwave on high for 20 seconds. Transfer to a sheet of making paper and unroll the pastry. Cut the sheet into two rectangles. Place about ¼ cup of the pork mixture near the closest edge of the pastry, then roll up. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
- Serve with a few sprigs Thai basil and a good sprinkling of fried shallots.