3 courses in Vietnam

A couple of times a year my Swedish girlfriends and I take turns making themed 3 course dinners for one another. I thought we’d have to cancel this winter when I learned I’d be starting the FODMAP diet… we are already not the easiest group to cook for, with one vegetarian, one who doesn’t eat seafood, picky eaters etc…but they said they’d be up for giving it a try! So I volunteered to go first and decided to have a vietnamese inspired theme, or “rice everything!”.

Appetizers

For the appetizers I decided we would wrap our own spring rolls at the table, that way each person could add the fillings they like, and I could also offer some non-FODMAP-free options like avocado, even if I couldn’t eat more than 1/8 of one myself.

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Some examples for fillings:
-vermicelli rice noodles
-lettuce
-fresh herbs (thai basil, cilantro/coriander, mint)
-cucumber
-carrot
-cooked shrimp
-cooked meat or firm tofu
-bean sprouts
-bok choy

To prepare the spring rolls, we simply had a bowl of warm (NOT hot) water on the table, which we dipped the rice paper in VERY quickly, since they continue to soften after you remove them from the water and put them on your plate. Then it was simply a quick fill and roll.

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Served with a variety of dipping sauces, like this FODMAP-free Nước Chấm, and a garlic free sweet chili sauce I found at the asian market.

Main Course

For the main course we had vietnamese crispy crepes, or Bánh Xèo. This kind of food which you eat hot from the pan has the drawback of requiring the host to spend some time next to the stove, but the advantage was that I could customize each one (making one vegetarian, one without shrimp, etc.). I also added some onion for the others, but not to mine, to keep it FODMAP-friendly. Unfortunately my pan wasn’t as non-stick as I’d thought, so they didn’t look as pretty as I’d hoped, but they tasted delicious!

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Dessert

Finally for the dessert I made some of my tropical rice pudding, dressed with cantaloupe balls and pineapple slices. This is not necessarily a vietnamese dessert… they’d probably have something made from red beans or the like… this was just something I came up with that was “asian inspired” and definitely fit into the “everything rice” theme!

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All in all a successful evening. A restrictive diet doesn’t always have to lead to a restricted social life, at least when you have awesome friends like mine!

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