An intimate collection of more than 175 of the finest Vietnamese recipes.
When author Andrea Nguyen's family was airlifted out of Saigon in 1975, one of the few belongings that her mother hurriedly packed for the journey was her small orange notebook of recipes. Thirty years later, Nguyen has written her own intimate collection of recipes, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, an ambitious debut cookbook that chronicles the food traditions of her native country.
Robustly flavored yet delicate, sophisticated yet simple, the recipes include steamy pho noodle soups infused with the aromas of fresh herbs and lime; rich clay-pot preparations of catfish, chicken, and pork; classic bánh mì sandwiches; and an array of Vietnamese charcuterie. Nguyen helps readers shop for essential ingredients, master core cooking techniques, and prepare and serve satisfying meals, whether for two on a weeknight or 12 on a weekend.
Vietnam-born Nguyen writes passionately and knowledgeably about the history and fundamentals of Vietnamese cuisine and offers more than 175 tempting and largely nonintimidating recipes, with the Vietnamese translation of the name beneath the English name and headnotes that provide excellent context and helpful tips. Chapters begin with alluring introductory text the first set of recipes, for example, are the "Gifts to the Mouth," which the author explains is a translation of the Vietnamese phrase for snacking. The chapter includes such dishes as Beef and Jicama Hand Rolls, the Baguette Sandwich the "one sandwich in the Vietnamese repertoire... a tour de force" and Fried Shrimp Chips. Other chapters are Sacred Soups (Chicken Dumpling and Chrysanthemum Leaf Soup is one beautiful entry), Classic Meats (like Beef Flank and Ginger Simmered in Caramel Sauce), Vegetables Many Ways, and Delightful Sweets and Palate Refreshers, which features Grilled Bananas with Coconut Sticky Rice and Lemongrass Ice Cream. Chapters on noodles, poultry, fish and shellfish, and basic sauces, as well as guides to Vietnamese ingredients, round out this culturally rich culinary tour.