Meet Kim and Soung, two Vietnamese refugees who came to Australia with nothing in their pockets, but a huge passion for food in their hearts. Kim and Suong (both 38yo mums) have been friends for over 20 years after meeting at high school in Melbourne and this year sees them living out a long-held dream of representing both themselves and their families as part of the new season of My Kitchen Rules. Immensely proud of their culture and their food, these “supermums” have seven children between them. Kim is mum to three daughters and Suong to three boys and a girl.
Suong says being mothers changed their lives. They lost themselves with life becoming all about the kids. So being on MKR is about doing something for them.
You mention in your promo video “We all have a story within us”. We’d love to hear more of yours…
Suong: We’re both Vietnamese and we’re both refugees. I came here when I was five on a homemade boat. I’ve never been to a five-star restaurant before. I never say no to food. I eat everything. It’s thanks to our parents that we’re here and having a good life. When I grew up we didn’t have much to eat so I always want to make sure my four kids are happy and fed.
Kim: What we didn’t have we are trying to give to our kids now. We definitely appreciate and understand the value of food. When we met at high school our friendship grew because we understood each other so well.
What made you decide to audition for My Kitchen Rules?
Kim: We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. We’re doing this for ourselves and for our families. We want to make them proud. It’s going to be hectic but we’re mums, we’re used to it!
What are you like in the kitchen?
Suong: We cook with love and passion and try to use every bit of an ingredient to minimise waste. For example, we use the carrot skin, orange skin and roots in our cooking.
Kim: I am more assertive, especially when it comes to timing and presentation. Suong is in charge of the cooking. We write our own recipes and wing it when required.
What is your signature dish?
Kim: Oxtail stew because it’s nutritious, full of flavour and my children love it.
Suong: Vietnamese pork and seafood noodle soup. At first glance it looks simple but it’ll catch you by surprise with its depth of flavour. It’s my kids’ favourite dish.
What is your ultimate food dream?
Kim: I would love to open a restaurant or café while Suong wants to build a new career in the food industry.
When did you start cooking and how did you learn?
Kim: I was 10 years old. Self-taught from other family members (brothers and sisters), the culinary institute and an apprenticeship.
Suong: I was 5 years old. Self-taught and watching everyone and anyone in the kitchen.
What will your team bring to this year’s season of MKR?
Kim: Fun and traditional Vietnamese cooking.
Suong: Diversity, passion, competitiveness, cooking skills and presentation skills.
What can we see in your kid’s lunchboxes in 2018?
We love including things like fresh fruits, coconut and apricot chia balls, fun sandwich kebabs or vegetable and prosciutto rolls.
COCONUT AND APRICOT CHIA BALLS
– makes 12
3 ripe bananas, cut into 0.5cm thickness
(leave the skin on)
300g dried apricots
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
¼ cup desiccated coconut, raw
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
Juice and zest of 1 lime
4 tablespoons chia seeds
Extra desiccated coconut for rolling
Method: In a pan, combine bananas, coconut oil and honey. Cook the bananas until golden and soft. Add the bananas to a blender and blend until a smooth paste.
Using the same pan, add the apricots and gently simmer in the residual liquid for five minutes or until just soft. Add the apricots and the liquid from the pan to a blender. Add toasted and raw desiccated coconut, sesame seeds and zest and juice of the lime. Pulse the mixture for around 10 seconds or until just combined. Add chia seeds and set aside for 30 minutes. Roll the mixture into 2cm balls and coat with extra raw desiccated coconut.
– makes 12
500g regular pork or chicken mince
1 small brown onion, finely minced
1 carrot, finely grated (keep the skin on)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
50g glass noodles, soaked for 10 minutes
in hot water then coarsely cut
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon coriander, finely sliced
1 tablespoon spring onion, finely sliced
Ingredients to assemble:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
12cm – 15cm bamboo skewers
Sandwich bread slices cut into ¼
Cucumbers cut into round 0.5cm thickness
Method: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meat patties and massage the meat until well combined. Set aside for 30 minutes overnight in the refrigerator.
Roll the meat into balls the size of a tablespoon then gently flatten the balls to around 1.5cm thickness. In a large pan, add oil and bring to the pan to medium heat. Cook the patties for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden. Set the patties aside to rest.
Thread a skewer through a piece of bread, then a meat patty, then a slice of bread and a slice of cucumber. Repeat the process and finish with a cherry tomato on top.
The girls make their cooking debut on Feb 4th on the Seven Network. Find out more at Yahoo 7.