The most recent cooking class I took focused on Vietnamese food. I first had Vietnamese food from a food truck. I tried the ban mi sandwich, which felt familiar like a po boy with a baguette, meat, pickled veggies, and a flavor-packed sauce. It was both familiar and different. And, it was most definitely delicious.
Since I loved the flavors, why not take a cooking class to learn how to make it at home? So, I did.
We made three dishes: shrimp banh mi, Vietnamese-inspired sausage rolls with a nuoc cham dipping sauce, and Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Let's dive in!
Let's start with the banh mi. Banh means bread, and mi means wheat. (At least that's what the Internet told me as I am not fluent in Vietnamese). So, this wheat bread refers to the baguette that is the vehicle for the sandwich. Usually, banh mi include chicken or pork. I've had both, and both are delicious. The banh mi we made in class featured shrimp, which I love! It's a quick-cooking protein that really absorbed the marinade.
Next, we made Vietnamese-inspired sausage rolls and nuoc cham dipping sauce. This reminded me of pigs-in-a-blanket with Asian flair. The nuoc cham, which loosely translates to fish sauce for dipping, was a liquid-y, acidic sauce that cut through the fattiness of the pork sausage.
My only disappointment with the usage rolls was that the puff pastry was a bit soggy on the inside. Next time I try the recipe, I think I will brown the sausage before rolling in the pastry dough to keep it crisp.
Last, but certainly not least, we made ice cream. This was my first time to make a crème anglaise, the base of the ice cream (milk, cream, eggs). I was really excited to try this homemade ice cream. I hesitated to make homemade ice cream before because I was worried about scrambling the eggs in the crème anglaise, and secondly we don't own a ice cream maker. I made the crème anglaise in class. It was simple and totally doable at home. You need a pot, thermometer, ladle, whisk, mesh strainer, 2 bowls (one slightly smaller than the other), and an ice cream maker.
Stream a ladle full of the hot cream mixture into a bowl with the eggs while whisking. Continue to slowly add cream to the egg mixture until you've added about a quarter of the cream to the eggs. This heats the eggs slowly and prevents scrambling. Now add the egg mixture to the rest of the cream mixture in the pot. Whisk continuously. Now heat the mixture to 170-175*F while occasionally stirring. Making sure nothing is sticking or burning on the bottom of the pan. When the thermometer reads 170-175*F, pour the crème anglaise through the strainer into the smaller bowl.
Make an ice bath by placing the smaller bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice. Stir the crème anglaise to help it cool. Then, add to your ice cream maker. Let the ice cream maker churn and do it's job. Then, enjoy! I LOVED this ice cream. It has a texture similar to gelato, super creamy. The coffee flavor cuts the sweetness of the ice cream. It might just be my new favorite ice cream flavor!
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