Authentic Vietnamese Ingredients - Chap 4

 

 

 

Authentic Vietnamese Ingredients

 

 

pho

bun

mien

Various types of noodles are used in Vietnamese cook-
ing, both fresh and dried. Glass noodles or cellophane
noodles (mien in the north and bun tao in the south) are
dried, translucent noodles made from mung bean starch, which
are reconstituted by pouring hot water over them. Fresh, white
rice stick noodles (banh pho) are the wide rice noodles used in
Vietnam’s classic breakfast dish, pho. Bun noodles (fresh or dried)
are string-like rice noodles that double their size, turning very white
when cooked. Fine rice vermicelli noodles (banh hoi) are similar to


bun noodles, but thinner. Mi, dried or fresh Chinese yellow egg noodles
are made from wheat and used in soups and stir-fries.

 

Mint leaves

Mint leaves, one of the most common
Vietnamese herbs, are indispensable
in salads. Mint grown in Southeast Asia
has a very intense flavor, the closest
equivalent elsewhere being spearmint
although regular mint leaves may also
be used.

 

Mustard greens

Mustard greens, also known as
Chinese mustard cabbage, comes in
two basic varieties that are commonly
available in Asian markets: one is much
more slender and does not foriti a
tightly wrapped head which is usually
eaten fresh or occasionally stir-fried or
braised, while the other is so bitter that
it is most often salted and sold as a
moist pickle known as Chinese salted
mustard greens. Usually available vacuum-packed, this pickle is used spar-
ingly in soups and some braised or stirfried dishes.

 

 

Palm sugar

Palm sugar is a type of sugar made by
boiling down the sweet sap harvested
from cut flower buds of sugar or coconut
palm trees. Palm sugar varies in color,
consistency and sweetness from the
soft, gooey and creamy beige type which
is sold in plastic jars to the crystallized
hard and dark brown palm sugar sold
in round disks or blocks wrapped in
clear plastic or paper wrappers. The
dark brown palm sugar is generally
sweeter and more fragrant than the
others. All can be used. If you cannot
find it, substitute dark brown sugar or
maple syrup for palm sugar. Hard
palm sugar should be shaved or grat-
ed into small chunks or melted in the
microwave oven to measure before
using. Store palm sugar in the same
way as normal sugar.

 

Polygonum

Polygonum or Vietnamese mint (rau
ram) is an important Vietnamese herb
known as laksa leaf in Singapore,
Malaysia and Australia. It is served with
nearly every meal in Vietnam. Highly
aromatic, it has a pink stem and point-
ed, purplish leaves, commonly used as
a garnish. A combination of mint and
coriander leaves (cilantro) makes a
good substitute.

 

Pomelo

Pomelo, the Vietnamese equivalent of
grapefruit, is drier and sweeter, and has
a much thicker and tougher rind. It is
usually eaten dipped in a chili mix, or
crumbled and served in salads. It is
increasingly available in the West.
Grapefruit may be used as a substitute.

 

 

 

 

 



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