The Movie: We Were Soldiers
This Randall Wallace directed 2002 epic centers around the Battle of La Drang in 1965. Colonel Hal Moore is the main character (played by Mega star Mel Gibson) and he has to not only lead the battalion into battle but has the unenviable task of training the first. Some of the soldiers in his charge are played well by stars in their own right such as Greg Kinnear and Chris Klein among others.
After the American camp is attacked, Moore must take his small squadron of around 400 soldiers into the unknown to remove the opposition despite not knowing the number of troops they face. This turns out to be over 4,000 and the inevitable struggle ensure with many of his team losing their lives.
While this goes on, Julia Moore (played brilliantly by Madeleine Stowe) has found herself in the position of “head” of the wives on the base back at home. When the Army begins to use yellow taxis to deliver telegrams informing the next of kin of deaths in combat, Julia takes on that tough but essential role instead.
Having repelled some of the Vietnamese attacks, Hal Moore only leaves the battlefield in the knowledge the remaining surviving members have been removed already. Towards the end of the film, it is revealed Moore and his soldiers killed over 1,800 North Vietnamese and Viet Kong soldiers, before cutting to a poignant ending where he visits the war memorial to take in the names of the fallen. An excellent film based on the book by Hal Moore himself.
Available on Netflix Streaming and DVD.
The Menu: Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
We just love this Vietnamese dish, full of great flavors and textures. These rolls are made with chicken, but you can use pork, prawns or beef. Plenty of vegetables are included. The chicken recipe is based on ‘Ga Kho Gung’ a very traditional Vietnamese style of food.
Serves: 6 (or 12 if cut in half) as a starter Preparation
Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 x 6oz skinless and boneless chicken fillets
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- ½ small red chilli, seeds removed and very finely chopped
- ½ inch piece of ginger, sliced into fine matchsticks
- 3oz vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water and drained
- 3tbsp Vietnamese caramel sauce, or low fat soy sauce
- 3 inch piece of cucumber, deseeded and sliced into matchsticks
- 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into fine matchsticks
- 6 round rice paper sheets
- 1tbsp vegetable or sesame oil
- In a medium sized pan or skillet, heat the oil and gently fry the chicken over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until cooked through.
- Add chili, garlic, ginger and onion and cook for a further 2 minutes, so that they are still slightly crunchy.
- Add the caramel or soy, stir and then add the noodles to heat through.
- Leave to cool and then take each rice paper wrapper separately and fill with the chicken mix, cucumber and carrot matchsticks. Make sure you start at one end, tuck in the sides and roll reasonably tightly.
- Serve with chopped peanuts and spring onions for a traditional Vietnamese dish.