The Food of Vietnam is beautiful cookbook, crammed with the Nguyen family’s traditional Vietnamese recipes which they used to counter homesickness having fled the country.
This Vietnamese cooking set contains some of the key ingredients needed to create authentic Vietnamese flavours. The Vietnamese supreme XO fish sauce is one of the highest-quality fish sauces available. The umami-rich fish sauce is used throughout Thai cuisine, and is the main ingredient in ‘nuoc mam cham’ dipping sauce , as well as featuring in curry pastes, salad dressings and marinades.
Rice vinegar is another key flavour, used in dipping sauces and dressings. Shrimp paste provides a saltiness in Vietnamese dishes, and tamarind pulp is used for its intense sharp, fruity flavours – playing a starring role in Nguyen’s ‘tamarind and plum sauce’, and the ‘tamarind soup with water spinach’.
Vietnamese cuisine is known for its lightness – so it’s fitting that the side dish most often used to accompany meat and fish dishes is a delicate vermicelli salad. Rice vermicelli noodles are also used in dishes like Nguyen’s crab and tomato soup, the spicy beef and pork leg soup. Rice vermicelli is also used in summer rolls – with rice paper used wrap the ingredients, and hold everything together.
The final two key ingredients used in The Food of Vietnam cookbook is potato flour – referred to as potato starch – which is used as a natural thickener for sauces. And, of course, coconut milk which introduces a fragrant, light, creaminess to both savoury and sweet dishes.
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