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In his eagerly awaited first cookbook, award-winning chef Charles Phan from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant introduces traditional Vietnamese cooking to home cooks by focusing on fundamental techniques and ingredients.
When Charles Phan opened his now-legendary restaurant, The Slanted Door, in 1995, he introduced American diners to a new world of Vietnamese food: robustly flavored, subtly nuanced, authentic yet influenced by local ingredients, and, ultimately, entirely approachable. In this same spirit of tradition and innovation, Phan presents a landmark collection based on the premise that with an understanding of its central techniques and fundamental ingredients, Vietnamese home cooking can be as attainable and understandable as American, French, or Italian.
With solid instruction and encouraging guidance, perfectly crispy imperial rolls, tender steamed dumplings, delicately flavored whole fish, and meaty lemongrass beef stew are all deliciously close at hand. Abundant photography detailing techniques and equipment, and vibrant shots taken on location in Vietnam, make for equal parts elucidation and inspiration. And with master recipes for stocks and sauces, a photographic guide to ingredients, and tips on choosing a wok and seasoning a clay pot, this definitive reference will finally secure Vietnamese food in the home cook’s repertoire.
Infused with the author’s stories and experiences, from his early days as a refugee to his current culinary success, Vietnamese Home Cooking is a personal and accessible guide to real Vietnamese cuisine from one of its leading voices.
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Featured Recipe: Sichuan Cucumber Pickles
These quick pickles need to sit in vinegar for only a few hours before you can eat them. They're great with fried items, since the inegar acts as a sort of palate cleanser. But the ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, and sambal oelek—a prepared red chile paste that is readily available at most grocery stores—make them different than the standard cucumber pickle.
In a bowl, toss together the cucumber slices and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander and let drain in the sink for 2 hours.
Rinse the cucumbers briefly under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to a bowl, add the ginger and fresh Thai chiles, and toss to mix. In a separate bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, sambal, and the remaining 2 tablespoons salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and toast for 10 seconds. Add the dried chiles and toast for 10 seconds longer, until the chiles darken slightly.
Pour the contents of the frying pan over the cucumbers, then add the vinegar solution and toss well. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles are ready to eat in 2 hours. They will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.About the Author:
Charles Phan is the executive chef and owner of The Slanted Door family of restaurants, and the author of IACP award-winning book, Vietnamese Home Cooking. He received the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004, and in 2011, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food in America. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.
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