Armed with recipes from our cooking class, and a couple of new Vietnamese cookbooks, we made Pho and Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio or nem ran, depending on whether you're in the South or the North) for dinner tonight. Both came out very good, though ultimately much more expensive than getting the same things in a restaurant (the Pho especially -- just the bones to make the broth cost $13. I got 6 servings out of it, but still...).
Spring roll filling - doesn't look all that appetizing, but it was tasty. Ground pork, chopped shrimp, flaked crab, plus grated carrot, onions (green and white), chinese black fungus, bean thread noodles and fish sauce.
Making the rolls:
Ready to fry:
Finished rolls and dipping sauce:
Very tasty, though they didn't brown very well -- I think the secret is using sugar in the water you soften the dried wrappers with. We'll try more sugar next time. Not sure how I'd make these for a crowd, as we could only fry two at a time, due to them wanting to stick together. Maybe fry a bunch, keep them warm in the oven, then a quick dip in the hot oil again to crisp them back up?
You don't cook Pho so much as assemble it. Here it is ready to eat: