Before COVID John and I used to do quite a bit of traveling and in November, 2019 we took a trip to Southeast Asia. We started a cruise in Hong Kong and made our way down Vietnam, then to Cambodia, and ended up in Thailand. One of the things we signed up for was a cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City. The chef in Vietnam took us to the Ben Thanh market and discussed ingredients and then we went back to the Saigon Cooking School and made a three course meal. Here are some pictures.
At the Saigon Cooking School we each had a super hot and scary propane cook top and sharp knives. We needed to watch the chef and try to duplicate what she was doing. Most of us had trouble just turning on the cooktop. My towel caught on fire!
Here at home our ingredients are not quite the same. After our okra slimed out yesterday we decided to use use what we had in the refrigerator which was some broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, and cilantro. Although John is skeptical about the non-traditional ingredients, the soup turned out great! The tart flavor of the tamarind coupled with fish sauce and brown sugar gave an authentic taste to everything. I think I would put more shrimp in it next time. I posted the original recipe from the Saigon Cooking School the first time we tried to make it at home.
This is the third time making the soup and it came out the best so far. I think we are figuring out the ratios of what tastes we like best.