Authentic Vietnamese Ingredients - Chap 6

 

 

 

Authentic Vietnamese Ingredients

 

 

Tapioca starch

Tapioca starch or tapioca flour is also
known as cassava flour. This starch
from the cassava root is used as a
thickening agent. Combined with rice
flour, it adds a translucent sheen and
chewiness to pastries. Available in
many Asian food markets. Cornstarch
may be used as a substit

ute.

 

Taro

Taro is a starchy tuber that looks like
and is used like a potato. It has a
brown and hairy outer skin that must
first be removed before cooking. Its
flesh may be white, pink or purplish
inside with the texture of a potato but a
unique taste and flavor. It is normally
boiled, baked, fried or steamed. There
are two kinds of taro—a larger one the
size of a baseball and a miniature taro
similar in size to a baby potato. Choose
taro that is firm and hairy, It may be
stored in a cool and dry place for up to
a week.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange tuber
from the same family as ginger and
galangal, with a more subtle flavor.
Turmeric is used often in curries and
as a coloring agent,

 

Water spinach


Water spinach is also referred to as
morning glory, water convolvulus or
kangkong. Water spinach, with its arrow-
head-shaped leaves and long, hollow
stems, has a soft and appealing crunchy
texture when cooked. Both the leaves
and a portion of the stems are eaten.
Young shoots may be eaten raw with a
dip. Fresh water spinach is widely
available in Asian food stores. Choose
water spinach that looks fresh and has
no yellowish leaves. Buy more than you
think you need, as it reduces to about
a quarter of its fresh volume when
cooked. It does not keep well; wrap in
damp newspaper or cloth and refriger-
ate for 1 to 2 days only. If not available,
use spinach or bok choy as a substitute.

 

Wild betel leaves

Wild betel leaves are the spicy and
highly nutritious leaves of a vine related
to the black pepper plant. In Vietnam,
the large, round and crinkled leaf is
used as a leafy green in soups, as an
outer wrapping for spring rolls and beef,
and as part of the standard garnish.
Grape leaves are a good substitute.

 

Wood ear fungus

Wood ear fungus is a favorite ingredi-
ent in Vietnamese cuisine. Having very
little flavor, they are added to dishes
for their crunchy texture and to make a
fine filling. Fresh or dried wood ear fun-
gus are available. Soak dried wood ear
fungus in water until soft before using.
Wash well and discard any hard patch
that may be growing in the center of
the mature fungus

 

Tofu

Tofu is a soft, protein-rich food also known as bean curd which is made by
curdling fresh soybean milk with a coagulant. It is available in various forms
and consistencies, depending on its water content. Pressed tofu (tau kwa or
tou gan) has been compressed to remove much of the moisture and forms
a dense and solid cake. It is normally deep-fried and holds up well in stir-
fried dishes or on the grill. Firm tofu is reasonably soft and sold in blocks,
immersed in water. It is generally used in soups and braised dishes. Fresh
tofu has a very short shelf life. Keep refrigerated immersed in water and
changing the water frequently, for up to 2 to 3 days

 

 

 

 

 



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