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If your New Year's resolution involved being more adventurous in the kitchen, hold on to your toques - Charles Phan is opening up his highly anticipated first cookbook, "Vietnamese Home Cooking," for you courageous, budding culinarians.
Phan is the acclaimed chef and owner of The Slanted Door, a modern Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, California.
"These dishes all have memories for me and my family and have become favorites for one reason or another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cuisines at home, these are all very easy to make, " Phan said. "Go a step further with our wine or cocktail suggestions and everyone will think you’re a professional and might not want to leave."
Five Vietnamese Recipes to Try At Home: Charles Phan
Editor's Note: The wine pairings are by Chaylee Priete, the Wine Director of The Slanted Door Group. And, the cocktail suggestions are by Erik Adkins, the Bar Director of The Slanted Door Group.
1. Fried wontons with spicy sauce
"I grew up eating wontons either with soup or as snacks like this one. They are crunchy, yet delicate. They are great for guests of all ages. I added spicy sauce as a kick, and those who like spiciness can ask for more."
Wine pairing suggestion: Jakoby Pur 2010 Riesling Kabinett (Mosel, Germany)
This is purity (no pun intended) incarnate. The length, zip and minerality of the wine doesn’t overpower the wontons while the small amount of residual sugar cleans the palate and urges you to eat more. A father and son team (Pure Jakoby) making crystalline Rieslings.
Cocktail suggestion: French 75 (Cognac or gin, lemon, sugar and sparkling wine)
This cocktail is essentially a Collins lengthened with sparkling wine rather than soda water. The acidity and the bubbles really cut through fried food. There is a hint of sweetness that will take some of the heat off from the spicy sauce.
2. Spring rolls
"My mom's creation of homemade mayo makes them moist and irresistible. It fills up better if your guests are super hungry. Of course, don't forget the peanut sauce."
Wine pairing suggestion: Dr. Nagler Sekt Brut NV (Rheingau, Germany)
The spring rolls are bright fresh, crunchy and full of zippy mint. Choose a wine that matches all that freshness. This sparkling wine composed 100% of Riesling is the perfect aperitif and match. It's dry and minerally with a great liveliness to refresh the palate, but it doesn't overpower the summertime freshness of the rolls.
Cocktail suggestion: Bumble Bee (Jamaican rum, lime, honey, egg white)
This frothy, funky and honeyed cocktail can handle the enormous flavor of the spring roll's peanut sauce.
3. Shrimp and sweet potato fritters
"This is the best of both worlds. You have fried yam (an American favorite - think French fries!) and fried shrimp (an Asian favorite - think tempura!)."
Wine pairing suggestion: Wind Gap Pinot Gris 2010 (Sonoma, California)
Unlike many skin-fermented wines, this is soft and lush and without any harsh tannins. A gorgeous rose color with notes of unripened nectarine, it perfectly complements the natural sweetness of the yams.
Cocktail suggestion: Hotel Nacional Special
This is a lush Daiquiri variation from the National Hotel in Havana. We use a fruity Haitian rum, pineapple syrup and apricot brandy. This cocktail pairs well with the sweet shrimp and yams.
4. Hue dumplings
"These dumplings are like mung beans gummy bears. The texture and the sweetness of mung beans with the sauce make this snack my family's favorite. Serve them warm by putting one on each soup spoon with flavored soy sauce."
Wine pairing suggestion: Bermejos Malvasia Seco 2011 (Canary Islands, Spain)
My favorite part about these dumplings is the delicacy of their texture - silky and slightly chewy in contrast with the surprisingly sweet mung bean interior. The Bermejos Malvasia from the Canary Island of Lanzarotte is rife with minerality, a touch of carbon dioxide and a bit of implied sweetness that you would get from a just picked pineapple or guava.
Cocktail suggestion: Blanc and Blue Martini
This is a classic martini with four parts gin to 1 part dry vermouth and 1 part blanc vermouth, orange bitters and lemon oil. Blanc vermouth is a sweet white vermouth that adds body to the cocktail while the dry vermouth adds a nutty quality. This is a subtle and delicate drink that pairs well with the slippery and chewy texture of the hue dumplings.
5. Mama's meatballs
"If meats are essential for your party, you will be very popular with this dish. I like to hand chop the meat because great texture is essential for this dish. You can roll them into small, bite sizes to serve alongside crunchy bread or baguettes."
Wine pairing suggestion: Leitz 2010 Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese (Rheingau, Germany)
The lush texture of this wine - fall golden apples, wet stone and citrus blossom - cuts right through the richness of the pork and the density of the spice, finishing with Johannes Leitz's signature acidity.
Cocktail suggestion: Carter Beats the Devil (Reposado tequila, mezcal, lime, agave, bird’s eye chili tincture)
This drink is named after Carter the Great, a notable 1920s era, Oakland-based illusionist. His greatest trick was Carter Beats the Devil. This drink is bright, smoky and spicy. The smoke and spice compliment the rich, fatty texture of the meatballs and the acidity keeps the palate primed for more food.
Hoi An Wontons with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serves 8 to 10 as a snack or appetizer
For the tomato sauce
For the wontons
Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls
Makes 10 rolls, enough to serve 10 people as an appetizer
Makes about 2 cups
Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters
Makes 18 fritters; serves 6 as a snack
Flavored Fish Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Hue Rice Dumplings
Makes about 80 bite-size dumplings; serves 6 to 10
as a snack or appetizer
For the filling
For the dough
For the flavored soy sauce
Makes about 48 2-inch meatballs
For the sauce
For the meatballs
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
Mr. Phan's best recipe I have made is found on the "Food and Wine" website.
Don't forget to click the link for his Vietnamese stir fry sauce. Yummy IMHO.
Forget the food, I'm heading to the coffee shop and eating the lon
If you like Viet cooking, google "viet world kitchen".
eh, would rather see recipes for thit kho and cang chua... but I might have to try the mung bean thing.
I am not Vietnamese, but I am married to one and I am pretty sure he and my mother in law (a woman who can cook any Vietnamese dish) would consider these fancier dishes. He pairs these dishes with wine. I have never seen my husband nor his family ever drink wine, beer it is so it seems these listed are party foods.
I WOULDN'T REALLY CONSIDER THIS VIETNAMESE HOME COOKING. SUCH A MISLEADING TITLE.
I am Vietnamese and am so happy to see Vietnamese cuisine being showcased on CNN's Eatocracy.
So many commenters state that this is not real Vietnamese food and I used to be such a purist. I think it is important to first make the recipes above, try the dish, and then come to a reasonable conclusion as to whether the food is "real Vietnamese." When reviewing the spring rolls recipe, it is identical to the way my mother and I make spring rolls except that we do not add mayo. I'm sure that Vietnamese purists would turn their nose up at the knowledge mayo is added but I can readily acknowledge that my mother and I utilize peanut butter in our peanut dipping sauce (roasting and crushing peanuts has become too much of a hassle). Does this make my family's dish "not real Vietnamese food"? I think not.
Vietnamese people in America, overseas, and in Vietnam itself continue to alter their "real Vietnamese" dishes due to increased globalization, importation of new spices and foods, the learning of new cooking techniques, and the trying of different flavors from different cuisines. I travel back to Vietnam every other year to visit distant relatives and originally was shocked by the Western spices or condiments they utilized. But I realize now "real" Vietnamese (or any ethnic) food does not necessarily adhere to the snapshot image of how it was or should be made. Rather, it can be "real" even if it does change through time.
I agree with you, it is very good to see Vietnamese cooking. I have family members who are Vietnemese and I was spoiled by their home cooking. When I lived close to them in Phoenix, we made at our homes and/or dined out on the cuisine. I was never healthier for years. Gosh I miss them so much.
Well said, đúng!
Nod dog? I'm disappointed.
Charles, your recipes are a not Vietnamese food. Call it asian fusion or whatever you want but these are not Vietnamese dishes. If people want to taste real Vietnamese food, Slanted Door is not where you find it. Go south to San Jose or further south in Orange County.
It is Vietnamese alright.. the dude is Viet and this is his alternate version of a Vietnamse cusine catered to American in general. I can turn Japanese hamachi sashimi into Vietnamese dish by adding perilla, mint, ginger juice, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and peanut sauce ... take your head out off your butt and think out side of the box There are many versions springroll, meatballs, and tapioca dumpling NOT RICE DUMPLING btw. There is a saying " one man's shit is another mans food"....
How did that make it past the modbots?
This is not Vietnamese food. Please stop doing a disservice to Vietnamese people and post authentic food. CNN ....do your homework. Seriously! It is 2013. This is crap I'd expect from news outlets in 1980 when no one knew what Vietnamese food was and called all Asians Chinese. I know.....I lived it.
@actually vietnamese, out of curiosity what recipes would you like displayed? I mean, the shrimp spring rolls with rice noodles and lime leaves are actually a 'thing' that is probably better defined as vietnamese than anything else... My best friend growing up was vietnamese and his family would cook some of these things, but his mom would make the best mi and wonton soup and homemade pho ever, all kinds of fantastic foods where the way she made them, even if they were chinese in origin I wouldnt exactly call them that.. I learned to like fish sauce with everything for sure. They may not be what you consider vietnamese cuisine and everyone's family eats different, not intending any offense.
I like to see authentic recipes for bun bo hue, thit kho, com tam..etc..
These are Americanized versions,"Takes" ,on traditional Vietnamese foods. I am used to eating traditional Vietnamese food and think it would be culinary fun to try these. Pass the vineagar and Nam Pla !
This is for people clearly not comfortable eating traditional Asian foods. Me? I just had Cháo Lòng for the first time on Sunday and LOVED it! Slightly brothier than the Chinese congee I'm used to, but the flavors (especially the meat) were phenomenal!
Any native Vietnamese recognize theses are crappy recipes!! Not worth wasting time and money trying them out, folks!! How the heck this guy expects to make any profit from his book once people ( most like Non Vietnamese) actually try them. We don't eat fritters dipped into straight fish sauce. It has to be diluted with water, sugar, line and garlic. No mayo in spring rolls. And hello, wonton is a Chinese word. Just glimpsed as recipes and caught these.
Right on.... remember, Americans are VERY good at being taught WHAT to think (cook) instead of HOW to think (cook). The result is, they eat (compost) and think it's WONDERFUL! [You can tell who they are... they wear funny looking hats.....]
Maybe they eat this in Hanoi but NOT in the South! Go yo youtube for some REAL vietnamese food.
Hmm yummy, will definitely try!
This is Americanized/Chinese style. Vietnamese food don't have wonton! I'm Vietnamese and never eat mayonnaise with spring rolls ! They're horrible recipes.
On the meatballs:
3/4 cup oil in the sauce? Yuck.
Frying minced garlic for a total of nearly 8 minutes? Burned.
Annatto seeds? What?
Stir-fry sauce and ketchup? I thought we were cooking here.
This is not a valid recipe.
Valid points, except the garlic is there for 2 minutes, but then with shallots and onions. Those, that are sixteen times the amount of the garlic, will sweat enough to keep the garlic from buring. And it's only at medium heat. *However* two mintues + 30 seconds is still too long. 30+30 makes more sense.
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