Slow Food Saddleback News

Viet Thai workshop a success

From the Pho Bo to the black sticky rice dessert, the Vietnamese and Thai dishes created by the five group leaders and some twenty five other Slow Fooders and friends at Saturday’s workshop (25 August) were interesting, varied, a touch spicy and very tasty. What wasn’t eaten on the day disappeared very quickly into take-away containers.

Thanks go to Slow Food stalwarts Helen, Judith, Liz, Barbara  and Carolyn for sharing their expertise as well as putting in the hours of planning and preparation that it takes to create a banquet for thirty people.

Prior to cooking the main dishes, the groups prepared red, green and yellow curry pastes, three dipping sauces and a variety of pickled vegetables. Between the soup and dessert we enjoyed Hor Mok Bla (steamed fish curry in banana leaves), Goi Cuon (rice paper rolls), Bo La Lot (beef and lemongrass in betel leaves), a chicken salad and a green papaya salad, Chu Chi Pla (a Thai fish curry), Sanjet Saenkham (another Thai curry – this time featuring vegetables and tofu) and a Thai inspired slow roasted lamb shoulder.

In line with Slow Food principles, many of the vegetables came from home gardens and, although a bit of ‘cheating’ was needed to create the Asian dishes, substitute local ingredients were suggested in many cases. For example, a green papaya salad can become a green apple, Chinese cabbage or kholrabi salad if you can’t get your hands on a green papaya.

The lunch was enjoyed with a glass of wine and the camaraderie that comes with sharing the experience of preparing and cooking the meal together. Each participant left with a ring-bound recipe folder and an enthusiasm to have a go at preparing some of the dishes.

Hint: Australian red chillies, particularly the long ones, aren’t hot but they have good colour. You can dry both short and long chillies by popping them in a 130 degree oven for a couple of hours. The idea is to retain colour and concentrate flavour, so don’t burn them!

Planning for an Egyptian-themed cooking workshop is well under way so keep an eye out for details.