I decided to share this recipe because it uses ingredients I would consider as western – all of which can be found very cheaply at a Vietnamese wet market.
Two red peppers, one orange pepper, a white onion and a few cloves of garlic (total cost less than VND 30k) are transformed by roasting and combining with a few store-cupboard spices.
Fantastic bread (this one from Mai Sen Bistro), a tiny swirl of milk and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds is all that is needed to make it a great and healthy meal.
My local market, Cho Thi Nghe, is a hive of activity every morning without fail. One of my favourite things to grab is some eggplant, freshly grilled street-side and sold with two little baggies of flavour-bomb: spring onion oil and spicy fish sauce. VND 20k buys two eggplants which I often take home and sprinkle with some sesame seeds and flaked coconut.
I urge you to take a wander around your local market to discover some unlikely gems, too.
Roasted red pepper soup
(Makes 3 large bowls)
- 3 mixed colour peppers
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 white onion
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chilli
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
De-seed the peppers, cut into large pieces and arrange on a sheet pan with the whole garlic cloves. Grill the peppers and garlic until charred. Remove from the grill and place in a small sealed bag to cool and steam for five minutes. Once cool, remove the skins. Place peppers and garlic in a blender jug.
Sauté the onion in a little olive oil with a large pinch of salt. Once softened, stir in the paprika, chilli and oregano. Add to the blender together with two large mugfulls of drinking water.
Blend on high speed until smooth. Warm in a pan and serve.