This blog isn’t participating in VeganMofo this year because I’m busy at the blog I share with Tami, where we’re cooking through the Horizons cookbooks. I don’t want this blog to be silent while I’m busy elsewhere, so I asked a couple of non vegan friends if they’d like to cook something vegan and blog about it.
As I suspected David was first off the mark. He’s worked as a chef and taught catering for years. (He’s also an excellent e-learning trainer should any of my blog reader also be interested in that sort of thing!).
He’s written it up on his own blog but I’ll reproduce it here. I’m thrilled with the level of detail but I should have expected that from a cookery teacher! Thanks David. It’s fascinating to see what non vegans think about when asked to produce a dish and I’m sure us vegans would be ecstatic if only restaurant owners took the same trouble.
So, Nime Chow.
Why? Well, it’s a slightly complicated/personal story.
Liz Wyman, a vegan friend (that sounds awful – she’s a normal friend, but chooses to eat food that has no animal connection whatsoever), challenged me to cook a vegan meal and to blog about it. Well, at least I think that’s what she did.
Now, I’ve taught vegetarian cookery at a fairly high level and I do understand the various connotations involved, but at home Sharon and I rarely eat meat/dairy-free food with any intent. Having said that we often eat vegetarian food and we often eat dairy free vegetarian food but may still have buttery, milky, meaty stuff with it. Veggy Samosas and onion bahjis spring to mind (with a chicken curry etc.)
So Liz’s challenge needed to be purer than that and possibly something I’ve never cooked/prepared before. Nime Chow sprang to mind immediately.
Jamie, our Providence, R.I. based, American friend had once prepared a Vietnamese Nime Chow for us as a starter and it was amongst the cleanest tasting foods I’ve ever eaten. As it happens, we’d also eaten a similar dish on the same State-side holiday, whilst passing through Bandon on the Oregon coast. Nime Chow was part of the Thai meal we had there too.
As many of the ingredients are not available everywhere I had to do a fair bit of research to locate them and to plan their purchase. I’d also asked Jamie for the recipe he’d worked with and checked out quite a few others online. My own is a mixture of Jamie’s and personal choice. The dipping sauce is all Jamie’s and where you might expect a peanut based sauce, this one has no nuts at all – Jamie is allergic.
(* = hard to ***** = very easy)
Dipping Sauce *****
50ml Rice vinegar
1tblsp Soy Sauce
– to taste Salt
… Heat gently, until sugar has dissolved and then add …
1t’sp Finely crushed ginger
1t’sp Finely crushed garlic
Nime Chow ***** (preparation) *** (wrapping) ** (finding ingredients)
- Rice Paper wrappers (use two per ‘wrap’) … These are prepared right at the last minute
- Rice vermicelli (v. fine) – third of packet … These are soaked in warm water then drained. Can be done before you need them.
- Spring onion (just two) … Cut into very fine strips
- Basil – t’sp shredded (to taste) – prepare in advance
- Mint – t’sp shredded (to taste) – prepare in advance
- Firm tofu – 60g … I cut this into small dice and then fried them slowly in a tiny bit of oil until they became crispy. Prepare in advance.
- Lettuce – shredded (half). Prepare at last minute.
- Bean sprouts (Optional) very few – just us they come.
I eventually found the ‘hard to find’ ingredients at a Chinese supermarket on the edge of Leeds market (which I was passing anyway) but have since seen less authentic (and less appropriate) replacements in Tesco.
First of all, make the dipping sauce as it’s the only thing that needs any real cooking. As soon as you’ve set that aside, quickly fry your Tofu dice – remember that this provides a different texture as well as protein to a non-meat diet, so DON’T BURN IT!
While all the above is cooling you can start soaking and then draining the Rice Vermicelli, crush the garlic and ginger, slice the spring onions thinly, shred your herbs (I’ve used mint and basil – but use what you like) – set aside.
When you’re ready eat, shred the lettuce (very finely) and soak the Rice Paper wrappers (follow instructions on packet).
Folding the Nime Chow is similar to folding Burritos, Wraps or spring rolls – simply fold in the ends (they are round, so you will have to choose the ‘ends’!!) and then start folding! See images above for ‘loading’ …
When you have a tight cannelloni shaped parcel, cut it in half and stand open-side up ready for service!
thÜªng thÙc (according to Google!)
Thanks Liz. We both enjoyed the food. As I think you suspect, it’s harder for us only because we don’t ‘look’ for those ingredients. I now have three 50g bits of smoked tofu in the freezer, which I will no doubt conjure up something to eat with. 😉
Wow…..I’d think you cooked like this all the time. Well done!
This looks too great! It’s making me hungry.