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Vietnamese Food for the Health Conscious

A recent CDC study conducted in USA found that approximately a quarter of US employees take in nearly 1300 calories weekly from food obtained at work– with much of the food being empty calories. Vietnamese Foodies, an exciting new addition to Dubai’s growing culinary landscape, offering authentic, fresh, naturally healthy and affordable southern Vietnamese dishes to UAE food lovers, has launched their new Healthy Business Lunch Menu to promote eating healthier in meetings and at the work place.

The launch of the new menu follows the much cited study- from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that found that those calories were often from food with low nutritional value and that free food accounted for 71% of all calories acquired at work. In the UAE, with little data available on office eating habits or Healthy Meeting policies at UAE companies, statistics from the International Diabetes Federation, which reveal a skyrocketing  type 2 diabetes rate of 17.3% in the UAE – over 1 million people – suggest that more needs to be done to address and encourage healthy eating both at home and at work. Executive Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen designs a menu that takes inspiration from the culinary diversity of Ho Chi Minh City and its abundance of flavorful and affordable dishes, featuring a variety of naturally healthy paleo, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free dishes, with many dishes cooked in broth or water instead of oil.

CRISPY VEGAN SPRING ROLLS

Ingredients

For the dipping sauce

• 1 cup water, . cup sugar, . cup lemon juice, . cup soya sauce

• Finely minced garlic & red hot chilli pepper For the filling

• 0.5 kg taro root Vegetables

• 1 big carrot, 1 small onion, a few green onion sprigs

• 1 bundle glass noodle (mung bean threads – can be skipped if not available)

• 3-4 wood mushroom ears (can be replaced by dry shitake mushroom but make sure to boil the shitake a few times to remove the strong taste)

• rice papers

• 1 teaspoon salt, . teaspoon black pepper

• Cooking oil for frying

Method

For the dipping sauce: Mix together water, sugar & lemon. Taste to make sure you have achieved the taste of the best lemon juice, then slowly add soya sauce to your liking. Finally add minced garlic & hot pepper to your preferred level of spiciness. For the spring roll’s filling Shred the carrot and taro. Soak the bean threads & mushrooms until soft (15-20 mins), then cut them thinly. Chop the onions finely. Add everything in a bowl and mix well, season with salt, black pepper.

To make the rolls wet 2 sides of the rice paper with water, wait 1 min for the paper to soften. Arrange the fillings inside and roll it tight, tuck the sides in along the way.

To fry In a thick pot or a deep frying pan, heat up enough cooking oil to completely cover the spring rolls. When the oil is hot enough for deep frying, add the spring rolls batch by batch but make sure there is space among the rolls. Fry until golden & crispy then remove to a plate lined with paper towel.

CRISPY WON TON (MAKES 20 WON TONS)

Ingredients

• 20 won ton wrappers

• 200gr shrimp, de-shelled, de-veined & cut into 4 lengthwise

• 100gr minced chicken

• 3-4 dry shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30mins, drained & minced

• 1 tsp oyster sauce

• 1 tsp sesame oil

• . tsp black pepper powder

• 2 tsp corn starch

Method

Mix ingredients 2 through 9 in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment in 5mins over medium speed, or blend for 10mins using a hand-held blender with the hook attachment. This is your filling. Add 1tsp filling in the middle of the won ton wrapper. Shape the won ton in a triangle or pillow shape then deep fry in vegetable oil.

GREEN PAPAYA & PRAWN SALAD (SERVES 4)

Ingredients

• 0.5kg prawns, steamed, de-shelled & de-veined

• 100gr green papaya, julienned

• 1 carrot, peeled & julienned

• 1 cucumber, julienned (leave out the soft core)

• a bunch of coriander & sweet basil

• 20gr roasted peanuts, skinned & crushed lightly For the Nuoc Cham sauce 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp fish sauce, some minced garlic & red-hot chili pepper

Method

First prepare Nuoc Cham: in a small bowl dissolve sugar in water then add the lemon juice & fish sauce. Taste & add more fish sauce or lemon juice then add minced garlic & chili pepper to your preferred level of spiciness. In a medium bowl mix together the lotus rootlet, carrots, cucumber & herbs then add 4 tbsp of the Nuoc Cham mixture. Mix well then transfer to a serving place. Place on top prawns, shallots & crushed peanuts then drizzle 1 tbsp Nuoc Cham on top. Serve alongside crispy shrimp crackers.

SWEET POTATO VEGAN ROLLS

Ingredients

For the rolls

• 0.5kg sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into fingers

• 1 carrots, cut lengthwise into fingers

• 1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into fingers

• 2tbsp olive oil

• Lettuce, beansprouts

• Fresh corriander, sweet basil

• 1 Cucumbers: cut into thin strips

• Rice paper

For the dipping sauce

• . cup hoisin sauce

• 2 tablespoons Peanut butter

• 2 tablespoon soy sauce

• . cup water

Method

For the fillings

Coat a skillet lightly with olive oil then pan-grill the vegetable fingers until soft but not soggy. Season with salt & black pepper then remove from heat.

To make the rolls

Wet 2 sides of the rice paper with water, wait 1 min for the paper to soften. Arrange the fillings inside and roll it tight, tuck the sides in along the way.

To make the dipping sauce:

Add hoisin sauce/black bean sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce and water in a small pot, mix well and cook on low heat until bubbling. Set aside to cool down before serving. Garnish with some crushed peanuts if desired.

Details:  Vietnamese Foodies, Tel: +971 04 565 6088. Address: Lake Level, Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D, JLT

Executive Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen designs a menu that takes inspiration from the culinary diversity of Ho Chi Minh City and its abundance of flavorful and affordable dishes


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