Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam's Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooksby Mai Pham, Pham Mai
A land of vibrant cultures and vivid contrasts, Vietnam is also home to some of the most delicious and intriguing food in the world. While its cooking traditions have been influenced by those of China, France, and even India, Vietnam has created a cuisine with a spirit and a flavor all its own. Chef and restaurateur Mai Pham brings to life this diverse and exciting
A land of vibrant cultures and vivid contrasts, Vietnam is also home to some of the most delicious and intriguing food in the world. While its cooking traditions have been influenced by those of China, France, and even India, Vietnam has created a cuisine with a spirit and a flavor all its own. Chef and restaurateur Mai Pham brings to life this diverse and exciting cooking in Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. Born and raised in Saigon before emigrating to the United States, Mai has often returned to her native land to learn the secrets of authentic Vietnamese cooking, from family, friends, home cooks, street vendors, and master chefs. Traveling from region to region, she has gathered the simple, classic recipes that define Vietnamese food today: Green Mango Salad with Grilled Beef, Stir-Fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chilies, Caramelized Garlic Shrimp, and especially pho, the country's beloved beef-and-noodle soup. With more than 100 recipes in all, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table offers home cooks the chance to create and savor the traditional flavors of Vietnam in their own kitchen. Filled with enchanting stories and stirring black-and-white photos of life in Vietnam, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table provides a captivating taste of an enduring culture and its irresistible cuisine.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- 7.37(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.89(d)
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Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table
Serves 4 as an Appetizer
A land of vibrant cultures and vivid contrasts, Vietnam is also home to some of the most delicious and intriguing food in the world.Chef and restaurateur Mai Pham brings to life this diverse and exciting cusine.Ingredients
1/4 cup minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground chili paste
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound medium raw shrimp peeled and deveined
4 (10-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained.
What can be more enticing than the aroma of sweet, plump, shrimp with lemongrass on the grill?It's a fragrance I often encounter at the market stalls in Vietnam, and it's always hard to walk by without surrendering to a plateful.Fortunately, this delicious dish is easily prepared at home and gets rave reviews from everyone, including children.Just make sure that the shrimp is of high quality and the lemongrass is really fresh.Serve this as an appetizer or as a main dish with the shrimp as the topping for Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs.Instructions:
- Combine the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, salt, sugar, and oil in a bowl.Add the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes.Thread the shrimp on the skewers and set them aside.
- Start a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to moderate heat.Just before serving, grill the shrimp, turning the skewers, until just done,about 2 or 3 minutes total, depending on the size.If you don't have a grill, trim the skewers and cook in a pan with a little oil on the stovetop.
(bo nuong la lot)
La lot (pepper leaf) is used extensively in Vitetnam, as an aromatic leaf in stir-fries and soups and as a wrapper. A member of the wild betel family, it has shiny, dark green heart-shaped leaves. In the United States, these leaves have been showing up more frequently at Asian markets. If you can't find them, substitute red perilla or shiso or grape leaves.
This dish is part of bo bay mon (Beef in Seven Ways), a popular special meal, featuring multiple beef courses. To enjoy this dish, serve it as an appetizer or as a topping for Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs.
These rolls are typically grilled over hot coals. However, I prefer to cook them in a pan because the la lot leaves available in the United States are too mature and burn more easily when cooked on a grill.Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oilInstructions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
3 tablespoons chopped Roasted Peanuts
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound coarsely ground beef
30 large la lot (pepper leaves) or red perilla or grape leaves
4 (6- or 8-inch) bamboo skewers
Table Salad for serving
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce for serving
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and onion and stir until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the lemongrass, peanuts, turmeric, sugar, fish sauce, salt and ground beef. Mix with a fork until well blended and sticky, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- To make the rolls, place 1 heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of a pepper leaf. Using your fingers, shape the meat into a cylinder about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Wrap the leaf around the meat but leave the sides open. (If necessary, use 2 leaves.) When done, place the roll seam side down. Make the remaining rolls in the same way.
- Thread 5 rolls onto each bamboo skewer, positioning the rolls so they touch one another at the seams. Set aside until ready to cook.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick frying pan over low heat. (Make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate the skewers. If not, shorten the skewers.) Add the beef rolls and cook until the meat is done, about 5 to 7 minutes total. Do not overcrowd the pan. Reduce the heat as necessary to keep the leaves from charring.
- Transfer the skewers to a platter. Remove the skewers and serve the rolls with Table Salad and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.
Meet the Author
Mai Pham was born in Vietnam and raised in both Vietnam and Thailand. Now chef and owner of the acclaimed Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento, California, Mai is a food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and a regular guest chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. She is also an owner of the popular La Bou Bakery and Cafe group in Northern California. Her first book, The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking, was published in 1996.
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This book includes recipes from Vietnamese vendors and homecooks, so they are easy to duplicate at home. I'm Vietnamese, and I'm glad Mai Pham has written this book because I need to know how to cook authentic Vietnamese foods. This book has lots of wonderful background information on Vietnamese culture and stories about the many Vietnamese cooks Mai Pham met on her visits to Vietnam. It's not just a cookbook, it's Mai Pham sharing with us her favorite recipes, her family stories, and her take on Vietnamese culture. Even though it has no pictures of the food, it is still a gorgeous book that you will use over and over again. I also recommend Nicole Routhier's 'The Foods of Vietnam', which has mouth-watering pictures of the foods.
I have looked for 6 - 12 months to find a Vietnamese cookbook to buy. When I found this, I knew that I had to get it. There is an introduction to each recipe that makes you want to try it, and the recipes are tested, so they work. She writes with great enthusiasm for both the food and the country, managing to link the two so the food is not just a series of isolated recipes. The book is also a personal journey of her discovery of her homeland, and the reunion with her grandmother is quite moving. So, not just a cookbook, but a Vietnamese experience.
Simply the best cookbook i've ever seen in my life. The color flew from the pages as each one was turned. So excited to actually get a taste of this wonderful culture that i am delightfully reading about. I hope everyone picks up a copy of this book and see for themselves what a amazing chef and writer Mai Pham is.