Thursday, April 19, 2007

V is for...

V is for Vietnamese Food.
Who: Vietnamese Food

What: Vietnamese Food, featuring rice, noodles, fish sauce, and aromatics such as lemongrass and lime leaves. Pho (basically noodle soup) may be the most well known Vietnamese dish.

Where: Well, Vietnamese Food originated in ... Vietnam!

When: Vietnam was at one time an independant county, but was colonized by France in the 1800's. French influences on the food can be seen in dishes such as Vietnamese sandwiches (served on baguette) and their hot and cold coffee drinks (made with condensed milk).

Why: Why ask why. It's tasty, isn't that enough for you? Geez.

Salad Rolls

Salad rolls are basically some combination of noodles, veggies (like lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts) and meat or seafood (shrimp) rolled up in rice wrappers. Traditionally they are served with hoisin sauce on the side.

Ours had rice noodles, shredded lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrot flavored with rice vinegar and sugar, and chicken.

Soak your rice paper wrappers in hot water until soft. Then flop them on a paper towel to get off most of the water. Plonk on your fillings, fold in the sides and roll up.


Iced Coffee is an occasional treat for me; the caffeine and all that sugar are too much for me so I only have these once or twice a year. You can make them at home if you want that kick more often.

Traditional Vietnamese Iced Coffee is (at least where we go) brought to your table in 2 parts: a tall glass full of ice, and a metal coffee filter over a cup. The coffee slowly drips through into the cup which has a layer of sweetened condensed milk on the bottom. When the coffee is ready, you stir together the coffee and milk and pour over the ice. I don't have any filters like the restaurants do, so here's our method.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

2 Tb sweetened condensed milk
6 oz very stong hot coffee
tall glass filled with ice

Spoon the milk into the bottom of a glass (not the one filled with ice) or a mug. Pour the coffee slowly over top, trying to keep the 2 layers separate. Let sit for a few minutes to heat up the milk. Stir together the coffee and milk, then pour over the ice. Stir to bring down the temperature, then drink.


Vietnamese BBQ-d Chicken Thighs

These chicken thighs are marinated with flavors of Vietnam, then cooked on the barbecue to add a smoky flavor. If you don't like chicken thighs use drumsticks or breasts, but thighs really are the best.

8 bone in chicken thighs, skin off or on
zest of one lemon
5 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
5 shallots peeled and cut in half
1 jalapeno or other hot chile seeded and cut in half
1 tb brown sugar
1 tb fish sauce OR soy sauce

Dipping Sauce:
2 Tb red wine vinegar
2 Tb soy sauce
juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
1 jalapeno or other hot chile seeded and cut in half
2 tb brown sugar

Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Place in a large plastic bag or dish. Place the lemon zest thru fish sauce in a blender or food processor and blend to a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken. Cover the dish and let the chicken sit for 2 hours.

Preheat your barbecue and cook the chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Remove to a plate and let sit while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whiz until smooth. Pour into a bowl and serve on the side.

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver
K is for Kaffir Lime Leaves
L is for Lobster
M is for Mushroom
N is for Noodle
O is for Onion
P is for Pub Food
Q is for Quinoa
R is for Rice
S is for Sushi
T is for Taco
U is for Upside Down Desserts


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Our son was just in Vietnam and said the food and the people are spectacular! I never had a desire to go until he talked about his experiences there.
Yes I love that coffee. Your dished look delish!

Annie said...

I love your idea of using the letters of the alphabet. Very cute. The food looks good too!

Lis said...

Mmm that coffee looks amazing! I don't think I've ever had vietnamese food, but now you have made me want to! I'm interested in that lil salad roll.. looks yummy =)


gilly said...

Hi Sara - Mmmm... love those spring rolls - and the iced coffee sounds spectacular! I will definately try it when the weather gets warmer...

...yes, Mother Nature, that IS your cue...

Brilynn said...

I will never get tired of vietnemese food, I love the combination of flavours.
I also love your use of the word 'plonk'.

peasantwench said...

I had Veitnamese for lunch on Thursday - and again for dinner. It's the one thing I can never seem to have to much of.

foodiechickie said...

Love love Vietnamese food. Mmmm!

Chef Jules said...

Fab Vietnamese recipes and a fun A-Z format you have here!

Sara said...

Tanna -I'd love to go there one day.

Annie - thank you very much!

Lis - you've never had vietnamese?! come visit me and we'll try it all!

Gilly - thanks!

Brilynn - what, doesn't everyone plonk from time to time?

PW - lucky!

FC - me too. I wish I could recreate my favorite soup from one place here. it's totally amazing.

Chef Jules - thank you very much!

Mike and said...

Serious Eats has a post with a link to 52 Vietnamese food videos.

Mike (the lemon guy)