Traditional Vietnamese Cooking Methods


Vietnamese food that contains a wide selection of tastes and textures is actually rather simple to cook. The whole meal is easily prepared using just one sauté pan or a wok. While the preparation process were regarded as extremely time-consuming in the past. Modern conveniences like a food processor make the preparation process easier and much faster.

The age old saying “the fresher the ingredients the better” is particularly true when it comes to Vietnamese cooking. The wide selection of lettuces and herbs are generally served raw and the salads are in no way overdressed, to ensure the maximum flavors are always present. Fish and vegetables make up the majority of a Vietnamese diet. The food is always lightly seasoned and always cooked in a gentle manner. These cooking methods allow the flavors of each dish to come through.

The essential and ubiquitous fish sauce known as nuoc mam is now readily available just about everywhere. In addition, there are a number of other key ingredients that all require significant preparation. Ingredients like ginger, garlic, roasted peanuts, shallots, lemongrass, and chili were first traditionally prepared using a mortar-and-pestle. Today these preparation techniques are much easier with the help of a blender or food processor. However, the most effective results are achieved when you use an incredibly sharp knife.

Ingredients such as the Asian shallots are generally deep-fried and then used with a garnish. French shallots are typically sliced extremely thin, sprinkled with salt and then pressed using a towel before the frying process.

Monosodium glutamate better known as MSG is present in nearly all Vietnamese food. Today, due to a number of health concerns surrounding MSG’s, fried shallots, sugar, pepper, garlic, Nuoc mam and salt are used in place of MSG to compensate for the flavors.

When preparing a salad, the lettuce should always be dry, clean and fresh. The salad should only receive a light dressing just prior to serving. Dried out, rice-paper wrappers are utilized to wrap numerous rolls and are available in most Asian food stores or markets. In order to prepare fresh wrappers, many of the modern chefs or cooks improvise the traditional method by using a taut and fine cloth over a large pot of steaming hot water. The mixture of salt, water, and rice flour is spooned over this surface and smoothed out into a round shape. After steaming for a couple of minutes, the pancake can be lifted using a utensil with a soft edge. This pancake can be set aside for later use.

Rice noodles can be prepared using a large pot. The water should be almost to the top and bought to the boil. The dry noodles are then put into a very large sieve and then submerged into the rapidly boiling water until they turn soft.

Typically, once all the ingredients are prepared, they will be arranged on a platter or into individual bowls. Then as you start to cook the ingredients are available for an easier method of cooking.

The most common methods used for Vietnamese cooking include grilling, deep-frying and stir-frying. The recipes that include stir frying involve cooking the food in a large wok with pork fat or oil over an extremely hot flame for a very short time. Sautéing is an alternative method using a skillet. When stir-frying the oil or pork fat must be added to the wok to heat up before the ingredients hit the pan. Vietnamese cooking methods, in general, will only take a few short minutes to ensure the food does not have a chance to absorb excess oil. Long chopsticks or a curved traditional spatula are used to handle the hot food.

Deep frying methods can also be conducted in the wok or a deep saucepan and peanut oil is preferable. The optimal temperature is around 10 to 200 degrees Celsius. For best results food should be cooked in smaller amounts in very hot oil. The oil should not smoke.

Grilling is also considered a popular modern and traditional way of cooking Vietnamese food. The barbecue is one of the simplest methods in this regard. Grilling using an open flame imparts essential and distinctive flavors that many of these recipes depend on.

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

In Vietnam, it is customary to enjoy a delicious bowl of beef noodle soup for breakfast. This Vietnamese specialty is called Pho (say “phir”). It is the result of the successful combination of French and Chinese culinary techniques and traditions. It is commonly believed that Pho is a variation on the French beef stew known as “pot au feu“, which literally means “pot on fire”.

When Pho was first conceived in Vietnam, it was a very basic dish made of boiled beef and noodles in beef broth. As time has passed, it has become a hot, spicy, flavorful dish that is marvelous for your health. There are a number of variations on the dish; however, most can springboard from this basic recipe.


Prepare The Broth

* 1 ounce of duong phen (rock sugar) or 1 tablespoon of white sugar

* 5 pounds of beef soup bones cut into 2 or 3 inch sections

* 1 pound of flank steak in small (bite-sized) pieces

* One pound (3 medium-sized) yellow onions

* 3 inches of cinnamon stick

* 3 heaping teaspoons of salt

* 2 ounces of hot chili sauce

* 2 tablespoons of fish sauce

* 4 ounces of fresh ginger

* 5 pieces of star anise

* 6 whole cloves

* Fresh ground pepper to taste

Ingredients For The Serving Bowls

* 28 ounces of small banh pho noodles (fresh or dried)

* 2 or 3 whole scallions (tops & bulb) sliced thin

* Half a pound of round steak or sirloin steak

* 2 Thai Dragon chili peppers sliced thin

* 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro

* 2 cups of bean sprouts

* 2 limes cut into wedges

* A bundle of fresh mint

* A bundle of fresh basil

Prepare The Broth

Using an open flame or a broiler, char the fresh ginger and two of the yellow onions. You will want to save one yellow onion for use in the soup bowl. You don’t have to blacken the onions and ginger, just char them long enough to release their essential oils and soften them. Allow to cool slightly for easier handling. Remove the blackened skin from the ginger and the onions. Remove stems from the onions. Set the charred spices aside.

Put the soup bones in cold water in a large pot over high heat. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Discard the water, and rinse the bones in cold water. Clean the pot and then return the bones to it with 6 quarts of pure, filtered water. Bring the pot to a boil again and then turn down the heat to simmer. Put in:

* Diced Flank Steak

* Cinnamon Stick

* Rock Sugar

* Star Anise

* Fish Sauce

* Ginger

* Salt

Allow the pot to simmer for about 90 minutes, then remove the meat from the pot. Put the meat into a pot of cold water in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and moist while you finish cooking the soup. Simmer the pot for another 3 hours. Check periodically and skim fat and scum from the surface. Stir the bones occasionally.

At the end of 3 hours, place 2 layers of cheesecloth in a colander and strain the broth. Throw out the bones and the cheesecloth and refrigerate the broth. When it is completely chilled, you can remove the solidified fat from the surface.

Prepare Your Serving Bowls and Best Colander

Place the pure, clear broth in a pot over medium heat and bring it to a low boil.

Put your round steak or sirloin steak in the freezer for a little while to firm it up. It should not be rock-hard, but you want to be able to slice it very thinly against the grain. You should also slice the boiled flank steak very thinly.

If you are using fresh noodles, you need only untangle them and rinse them in fresh, cold water. If you are using dry noodles bring 3 or 4 quarts of fresh water to a boil and blanch your noodles for about half a minute. Remove the noodles from the pot with a strainer and serve them directly into your waiting bowls.

You will also need to blanch your bean sprouts for a few seconds. You can use this same water for that purpose. They should just be wilted, but they should remain crunchy.

Fill each of your serving bowls about a quarter full of noodles. Top the noodles with a combination of cooked flank steak and raw round or sirloin steak. Top the meat with thinly sliced scallions and onion and some chopped cilantro.

Now you are ready to ladle piping hot broth into each bowl. You want the broth to be boiling when you serve it because it must cook the raw meat. Top the dish off with fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

Enjoy A Wide Variety Of Garnishes

It is traditional to serve a garnish plate so that diners can help themselves to:

* Tasty, nutritious bean sprouts

* Fresh basil and mint leaves

* Thinly sliced hot pepper

* Tart lime wedges

* Green chilies

Most American diners enjoy a mix-and-match approach to condiments and garnish. In Vietnam, Pho is more complex and includes more garnishes in the south. In the north, it is a simpler dish with few (if any) accompaniments.

Vietnamese beef noodle soup is an excellent addition to any diet. Developing the habit of eating it for breakfast instead of popular high calorie, sugar and fat laden choices could make a huge difference to your overall health and well-being. Even if you don’t make Pho a part of your everyday diet, do be sure to try this recipe at least once to enjoy a delightful culinary adventure.

Please check out our social pages to find the best colander for 2016 to use for this recipe. If you are unsure of what to buy either colander vs a strainer you can also check out our social pages for that.

Popular Vietnamese Dishes

In the expanding global society, the universal need for a good meal unites all humans, if only during meal times. With the dawn of widespread immigration and mass communication, each country is slowly but steadily becoming more interested in the cuisines of their neighbors and foreign lands thousands of miles away in equal turn. While this has been done for centuries, particularly in lands where multiple cultures have crossed paths over the years, only with the rise of mass immigration and electronic communication has humanity’s ability to learn about other cultures been so great. One particular interest is good food. And, like all lands, the nation of Vietnam has contributed its share to the global culinary experience, sometimes in ways that will surprise westerners, others that will seem incredibly familiar.

The most popular Vietnamese dishes are diverse. One particular meal, of which there are seemingly thousands of varieties of everywhere inside Vietnam’s borders, are noodle soups. Vietnamese noodles themselves are quite diverse. Some noodles are made from rice flour, others from tapioca flour and still others from wheat flour. Sometimes different flours are combined into one strain of noodle, such as Banh can, while Banh da do is a noodle combined with crab. Most of these noodle soups are served with a rich, thick meat broth though there is likewise great diversity in the exact meats used. Pho, a quintessential Vietnamese noodle soup, in particular, is made from a broth created by a long boiling of meat and spices, usually beef or chicken, served with semi-cooked beef or beef meatballs and spring onions. In some regions, bean sprouts and herbs are added for additional flavor. Other meats find plenty of use as well. Mi Vit Tiem is a yellow noodle soup served with roasted duck, another staple meat of Vietnam, and Chinese broccoli while hu tieu is made with various types of noodles, usually egg or rice noodles, but the soup’s base is always derived from pork bones. Other types of soups are also found inside Vietnamese cuisine. Sour soups, in particular, are popular across Vietnam, from lau (sometimes called a Vietnamese hot pot due to the sheer amount of varied ingredients that goes into each service) to Canh Chua, which fuses pineapples, tomatoes, bean sprouts, and fish, among other ingredients.

Rice, as it is in many Asia countries, is a staple food in Vietnam. Rice dishes are many and varied across the country. Some originated in China, such as com Chien Duong Chau, a fried rice dish that is named after the Yangzhou region of China and is fairly well known in Vietnamese cuisine. Others are more locally grown; the popular yet inexpensive com hen dish originated in the city of Hue and remains popular there even now. Xoi, a sticky rice served with coconut milk, is served in many varieties across the country.

While most of the influences of Vietnamese cuisine come from the nearby regions of China and Cambodia, the French occupation of the country also left its mark on its dietary habits. Banh mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread, but elsewhere in the world, it is synonymous with a regional variant of the French baguette. Usually, banh mi is airier and has a thinner crust than a French baguette. From this type of bread, Vietnamese cuisine as produced the a dizzying variety of sandwiches by combining ingredients from native Vietnamese cuisine with French ingredients such as pate, jalapeno and mayonnaise. Banh mi thit nguoi is a sort of Vietnamese cold cut, usually made of sliced pork or pork bellies, lua (a type of pork sausage) and head cheese, usually with liver pate and vegetables like carrots and cucumbers. Vietnamese sandwiches are an amazingly popular street food in the land’s urban areas.

With a high Buddhist population, many restaurants in Vietnam serve a “chay” or a vegetarian counterpart to their usual meat dishes. Nearly every soup, sandwich and street food have a vegetarian equivalent that is oftentimes around half the price of a dish that uses meat. Most of these dishes substitute tofu for the meat product, be it pork, beef or chicken. However, chat eateries are mostly frequented by religious citizens of the country and are seldom found in areas that cater to tourists.

How To Make A Great Vietnamese Soup

As the world grows ever smaller and closer together, one thing that hasn’t changed is humanity’s love of a good meal. From the beginnings to agricultural to the modern science of artificial flavoring, there are few humans in any land who don’t appreciate good food. And yet, as the world becomes a more global society, people from all lands are looking to other cultures for ideas about what to put on the table. This has been going on for some millennia now, and the history of some of western society’s most mundane meals are actually the result of centuries of international trade, cross-cultural pollination and early experiments in agricultural sciences, which forms a fascinating tapestry if you examine it long enough. One particular land that’s been opening up to western gourmands is the nation of Vietnam. Though the conflicts the land has suffered still scar it and hinder relations with the world, immigrants from the land and their children continue to bring the land’s cuisine to locations around the world.

An easy Vietnamese soup recipe is Vietnamese noodle soup, a staple of Vietnamese cuisine brought over by immigrants from Southeast Asia. To make it, you’ll need:

a package of rice noodles
lean beef sirloin, with the fat, trimmed off
salt and fresh ground pepper
half a large onion
half a piece of a four-inch ginger unpeeled
low sodium beef broth
star anise pods
a stick of cinnamon
some jalapeno peppers
half a cup of cilantro
fish sauce
a cup of bean sprouts
The process begins with the rice noodles. Rice noodles should be cooked according to the label of the package you got them out of, generally requiring that they are boiled in water so as to soften up and be edible. Elsewhere in the kitchen, you’ll want to set up a large pot over high head. After tenderizing and seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, sear the meat until it’s charred but still fairly rare, a few minutes per side at most. Don’t worry if you detest rare meat, you’ll cook it further later in the process. Once the meat’s ready to go, toss the ginger and onion to the pot and cook the whole thing for four minutes. Ginger, in particular, has been a part of the region’s cuisine for some centuries, introduced to Vietnam from southern China long before the Romans had ever heard of the plant.

Then add the broth and three cups of water, along with the star anise and cinnamon. Star anise is actually native to northern Vietnam and has been a part of its cuisine since before recorded history. Cinnamon was imported to Vietnam most likely from nearby Myanmar, again for some centuries before the spice ever graced the cooking pots of the Romans. Once the whole pot is filled, reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty minutes. While the pot simmers, thinly slice up the scallions and jalapenos. Then tear the cilantro and thinly slice up the meat, ideally against the grain before draining the noodles. Scallions, also known by the misleading name of the Welsh onion, is actually native to China, where it too was imported to Vietnam for many centuries. On the other hand, jalapenos, though an important part of many Asian nations’ cuisines, was actually introduced by Aztec traders, who introduced it to the Spanish who then spread it across the world. Cilantro is another flavoring agent that has been grown and used in Vietnam for some centuries.

When that’s done, add fish sauce to the broth and boil it for five minutes. Fish sauce, made from fermenting fish and adding a fix of salt to preserve it for a while, has long been a part of southeast Asian cuisines, and a similar sauce was known in Roman-era Europe. Once the broth is good and boiled, discard the ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Remove and slice the onion. Then top the rice noodles with beef, broth, scallions, cilantro, jalapenos, onion and bean sprouts. Once it’s all together, you have yourself a complete Vietnamese noodle soup, ready for eating. Low in calories and high in protein, it’s no wonder this dish has been gaining fame across the world.

How to Make Authentic Quick Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese beef pho is an easy soup to fall in love with. That savory broth, the tender slices of beef, those chewy noodles- all those crunchy, spicy, herbal garnishes we get to toss on top. On a cold evening, after a rough day at work, on a lazy weekend afternoon, when we are sick- a bowl of piping hot pho is pretty much always a good idea.

Beef pho feels like a restaurant staple, but it is not actually hard to make a quick authentic version at home. The recipe for Vietnamese pho will walk you through the steps on how to make it step by step.

As much as we love the chewy rice noodles and the tender bites of meat, Vietnamese pho is usually about the broth. The best pho is a long simmered affair, combining beef and chicken with aromatics, for instance, ginger as well as onions to make a savory and deeply rich broth. making the best broth is a process that can take hours and sometimes days.

While this kind of slowly cooked pho is absolutely priceless, a quicker version of pho can also be made utilizing store-bought beef stock. the quick pho does not have the same home-cooked flavor, but whenever the pho craving hits on a random weeknight and you just need a bowl of tasty noodle, it gets the job done.

You can achieve the flavors of the real pho broth by just utilizing some time to infuse your broth wit some aromatics. simmered for up to thirty minutes along with some ginger, onions slices, dash of fish sauce as well as soy sauce. It is also good to add some carrots on the broth, it is not traditional but it tastes sweet.

The best beef for pho is sirloin steak, London broil or round eye. All these are quick cooking pieces of beef that will make you chew for a long time. the best option among this is the round eye since it is leaner than sirloin and has a beefy flavor.

To construct the best bowl of pho, you will need to do them individually. Having the tender rice noodles at the bottom that has a thick layer of sliced ray beef at the top. Then the piping hot broth gets ladled over the top, cooking the beef. to make sure that the beef gets cooked through, make sure you cut them into thin slices and arrange them in the single layer over the noodles when you need to build the bowl. slices that are stacked or crumbled together will not cook all the way to the center.

While serving make sure in the middle of the table, there is a plate of fresh herbs, sliced scallions, chili peppers, bean sprouts, wedges of lime as well as other fresh garnishes the cook feels like providing. each and every dinner gets their own bowl of pho and can garnish it however they like it. some people like it with lots of lime, torn bits of basil, bean sprouts and a great squeeze of sriracha to finish it off.

The following are some of the ingredients required:

Two large onions, 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, 2 whole star anise, 3 whole cloves, 6 cups low sodium beef broth, 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, 3 carrots peeled and roughly chopped., a tablespoon of soy sauce. a tablespoon fish sauce and 2 ( three inches )whole cinnamon sticks.

Equipment required includes; Togs, Baking sheet, Chef’s knife, second saucepan for cooking the noodles, food strainer and finally 2-quart saucepan.

You will be required to prepare the onions and ginger, char the onions and ginger, dry roast the spices, combine the broth ingredients, cover and simmer the broth, freeze the beef for fifteen minutes, slice the beef into thin slice, cook the rice noodles, prepare the rest of pho toppings, strain the broth, prepare the pho bowls, ladle the hot broth over top and finally serve the broth with the toppings.

For vegetarian pho, you can utilize vegetable stock or simply eliminate fish sauce. instead, if the beef slices, top up wit tofu, mushrooms, seitan, broccoli, bok Choy among other vegetables