Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli and Nuoc Cham

5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut lengthwise into 12 strips in all
1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lime juice (from about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound vermicelli
1 cup bean sprouts 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin slices
2/3 cup fresh mint, basil, or cilantro leaves, or any combination of the three
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Heat the broiler or light the grill. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 cloves of the garlic, and the oil. Add the chicken, toss, and then thread each strip onto a wooden skewer. Broil or grill the chicken until just done, about 2 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 clove garlic with the red-pepper flakes, vinegar, lime juice, and water. Set this nuoc cham aside.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the vermicelli until just done, about 9 minutes. Add the bean sprouts during the last minute of cooking. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.

Put the pasta and bean sprouts on a platter and top with the cucumber, herbs, and chicken skewers. Pour the nuoc cham over all and sprinkle with the peanuts.

Caramel Chicken

For the caramel
8 ounces (235g) palm sugar
2/3 cup (160ml) fish sauce
2 Thai chiles, sliced lengthwise
For the chicken
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds (700g) boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 inch (5cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
3 medium shallots (about 2 ounces, total, 60g) shallots, peeled and sliced into rings
fresh cilantro, for garnish

To make the caramel, melt the palm sugar over low heat in a medium-to-large saucepan or skillet, stirring frequently (and breaking it up) to encourage it to melt. It’ll take about 10 minutes to liquefy completely. Similarly, you can place the palm sugar in a large glass heatproof measuring cup or bowl and melt the palm sugar in a microwave oven, which will take about 20 to 30 seconds.

When the sugar is melted and bubbling, remove from heat and stir the fish sauce into the liquefied palm sugar. (If you have a hood fan, you may wish to turn it on before adding the fish sauce.) It may also bubble up a bit, so be careful. Add the chiles and set aside.

To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a medium-to-large sauté or wide braising pan, or regular-sized Dutch oven. Add the ginger and shallots and cook until they start to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and the caramel, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the sauce is just simmering. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. (The original recipe said to cook the chicken for 20 minutes, but mine was done sooner.)

Serving: Serve the chicken with rice.

Storage: The chicken is best eaten right after it’s made. The sauce can be made up to one month ahead, and refrigerated. Rewarm until liquified before using.

Cold Rice Noodles with Chicken and Nuoc Cham

1 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 2)
Kosher salt
1 large shallot, thinly sliced crosswise, separated into rings
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, with seeds, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 baby white turnips, trimmed, thinly sliced into rounds
4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves, divided

Prepare grill for medium heat. Season chicken with salt and grill, turning often and moving away from direct heat if needed, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165°, 20–25 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly, then shred meat, discarding skin and bones. Set aside.

Cook shallot in oil in a small sauce- pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until shallot is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes (reserve shallot oil and use to make vinaigrettes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallot rings to a paper towel–lined plate and season with salt. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let noodles soak until tender but not mushy, 5–10 minutes; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Mix chile, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar in a large bowl to combine. Add noodles, turnips, radishes, half of basil, and reserved shredded chicken, and toss to combine. Top with reserved fried shallot rings and remaining basil.

DO AHEAD: Shallot rings can be fried 3 days in advance. Store airtight at room temperature. Dressing can be made 2 days ahead.

Cold Rice Noodles with Lemongrass Shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails intact, deveined
1/2 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile, with seeds, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
Vegetable oil (for grilling)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Thai basil, mint, and/or cilantro sprigs, and pickled shallots for serving
Nuoc Cham for serving

Toss shrimp, lemongrass, chile, garlic, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Using tongs or a spider, transfer noodles to a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking; set aside.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat; oil grill grate. Grill shrimp until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Top noodles with shrimp, cucumber, carrot, peanuts, herbs, and Pickled Whole Shallots, and serve with Nuoc Cham.

DO AHEAD: Shrimp can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Cold Bean Thread Noodles with Quick Pickles

6 ounces wide bean thread noodles
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large daikon (Japanese white radish; about 1 pound), julienned
1 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup torn fresh cilantro, divided
3/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, divided

Place noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let noodles soak until tender but not mushy, 15–20 minutes; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and pepper in another large bowl. Add daikon, cucumber, and carrots; toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.

Add noodles, oil, half of cilantro, and half of peanuts to bowl; toss to combine. Top salad with remaining cilantro and peanuts.

DO AHEAD: Vegetables can be pickled 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Vietnamese Slow Cooked Pork

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1/2 bone-in pork shoulder, skin and fat removed, approximately 5 pounds
12 to 16 flour tortillas, warmed

1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like peanut or grapeseed
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, or to taste
1 small green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and sliced into julienne
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced into julienne
1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and sliced into julienne
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped

Prepare the pork: Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. After a minute or so, swirl in the sesame oil and then the onions, stirring to combine. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are soft and becoming translucent. Turn off the heat, stir in the ginger and set aside.

Add the hoisin sauce and the fish sauce to the pan, and stir to combine, loosening the mixture with a little less than half a cup of water. Add sriracha sauce to taste.

Put a few spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker, then nestle the pork on top of it. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, make the slaw: Put the vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, neutral oil and sriracha sauce in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, cucumbers, carrots and Asian pear and toss to combine.

Shred the pork with a pair of forks. Discard bones. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the juices. Serve with the slaw and warmed tortillas, with the cilantro on the side.

Grilled Pork with Nuoc Cham

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro stems, plus leaves for serving
2 1-inch-thick boneless pork shoulder steaks (about 1 pound each)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Whisk lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in garlic and cilantro stems; set nuoc cham aside.

Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil and turn pork to coat. Grill, turning often and moving around on grill to prevent flare-ups, until lightly charred all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 140° for medium), 12–15 minutes. Transfer meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Spoon some of nuoc cham over pork and top with cilantro leaves. Serve remaining sauce alongside.

Ginger Soy Marinated Flank Steak

1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly grnd black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add all the marinade ingredients to a heavy duty zip-top plastic bag. Close bag and shake very well to combine. Add steak to bag and let marinate at least four hours or overnight.

Preheat your oven broiler. Drain steak, reserving marinade, and place on a rack fitted inside a rimmed baking sheet. Cook steak under broiler 5 to 7 minutes, until nicely browned on top. Turn and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes, for a medium rare doneness. Remove from oven cover steak loosely with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes at a vigorous boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for five more minutes—juices will reduce a bit.

Slice the steak on a diagonal (against the grain) and arrange on a platter. Pour the reduced juices over the steak slices and scatter sliced scallions over top to serve.

Note: If it’s grilling season, then by all means this can also be cooked on a preheated gas grill or prepared charcoal grill!

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops and Cold Noodle Salad

For the Marinated Pork:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 pounds (680g) thin-cut pork chops, preferably from the blade end, or boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1/4-inch strips (see note)
3 stalks lemongrass, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 ounce; 30g after trimming)
3 tablespoons shallot (from 1 large shallot), roughly chopped (about 5 ounces; 130g)
4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 3/4 ounce; 20g)
1/3 cup palm or light brown sugar (about 3 ounces; 85g)
1/3 cup (80ml) Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
1 teaspoon (2g) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil

For Serving:
1 (14-ounce) package rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water, drained, and chilled (according to package directions)
1/4 cup (6g) coarsely chopped fresh mint and/or perilla (shiso) leaves
1/4 cup (6g) cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 cup thinly sliced Persian cucumbers (about 4 cucumbers; 100g)
Pickled daikon and carrots
1/2 cup (3 ounces) crushed unsalted peanuts
Nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce)
Lime wedges

For the Marinated Pork: In a large zipper-lock bag, combine baking soda with 1/2 cup (120ml) water and swish until baking soda is dissolved. Add pork, press out air, and seal bag. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Drain pork, rinse under cold running water, and pat dry. Rinse zipper-lock bag and reserve.

Meanwhile, if using a mortar and pestle, crush lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and palm sugar to form a rough paste. If using a food processor, combine lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and palm sugar and pulse, scraping down sides, to form a rough paste.

Transfer paste to a bowl and whisk in fish sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, and vegetable oil. Add pork, tossing to coat. Transfer pork to reserved zipper-lock bag, press out air, and seal. Marinate at room temperature, turning pork once or twice, for 30 minutes. Alternatively, refrigerate up to 12 hours.

If using a charcoal grill, light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

Grill pork directly over high heat, turning frequently and shifting to cooler side of grill if there are excessive flare-ups, until pork is charred and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Fill serving bowls with chilled noodles, then top with pork, herbs, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, and peanuts. Drizzle everything with nuoc cham and serve with lime wedges.

Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Quick Pickle

1 large carrot, peeled, cut into strips 1/8th-inch square and 3 inches long (about 2 cups)
1 medium daikon radish, peeled, cut into strips 1/8th-inch square and 3 inches long (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Combine carrots, radish, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using fingertips, massage salt and sugar into vegetables until dissolved.

Add water and rice vinegar.

Pack vegetables into a quart-sized mason jar.

Pickles can be used immediately, or for best results, seal jar and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 1 week.

Crispy Caramel Chicken Skewers

For the Marinated Chicken:
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

For the Caramel Glaze:
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, minced

To Grill and Garnish:
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced on a bias

For the Marinated Chicken: In a large zipper-lock bag, combine chicken, fish sauce, brown sugar, and orange juice. Shake well to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

For the Caramel Glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, and honey over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add garlic, shallots, and ginger and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until glaze becomes thick and sticky and easily coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

To Grill and Garnish: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set all the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Scatter white and black sesame seeds and almonds evenly all over a rimmed baking sheet.

Thread the chicken on 6 bamboo skewers. Transfer to the grill and cook over direct heat, turning and brushing with the glaze every 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and crisp, about 8 minutes. When skewers are nearly done, brush chicken liberally one last time with glaze and roll the skewers in the sesame-almond mixture to coat. Return to grill and cook, turning, until almonds are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with scallions, and serve.

Vietnamese Steak au Poivre

2 tablespoons unsalted butter?
1 large onion, thinly sliced?
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced?
One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick ?
1 star anise?
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce?
1 tablespoon light brown sugar?
2 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth ?
1/2 cup heavy cream?
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed?
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds small heads of broccoli, cauliflower ?and/or Romanesco ?
3 tablespoons canola oil?
1 cup mayonnaise?
1/4 cup yellow mustard?
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar?
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco?
1/2 medium red onion, ?thinly sliced (1 cup)?
2 tablespoons roasted unsalted sunflower seeds?
Four 6-ounce center-cut beef tenderloin steaks?

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, ?until softened, about 8 minutes. ?Add the cinnamon stick and ?star anise and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Add ?the cream and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes ?longer. Strain the sauce through ?a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl; discard the solids. Return the sauce to the saucepan and stir in the crushed peppercorns. Season with salt and keep warm.?

Heat a large cast-iron skillet. In a large bowl, toss the ?broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco with 1 tablespoon of ?the oil. Working in batches, cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over and crisp-?tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool. Cut into bite-size pieces and wipe out the bowl. In the bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the mustard, vinegar and hot sauce until smooth. Fold in the charred vegetables, the red onion and sunflower seeds and season the salad with salt. Wipe out the skillet.?

In the skillet, heat the remaining ?2 tablespoons of oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook over ?moderate heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted ?in the thickest part registers 125° for medium-rare, 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for ?5 minutes. Serve with the peppercorn sauce and the charred-vegetable salad.?

Vietnamese Curry Powder

4 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 star anise
1 teaspoon annatto powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground turmeric

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Toast whole spices for 30-45 seconds by placing them in the hot pan and occasionally shake the pan or stir the spices with a wooden spoon or chopsticks to prevent them from burning.
Place whole spices in an electric spice/coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Add the powdered spices to the grinder and pulse for a few seconds to mix well.

Store in airtight container away from direct sunlight.

Pressure Cooked Pho Ga

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, split in half
1 small hand of ginger, roughly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro
3 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
6 to 8 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons rock sugar or raw sugar, plus more to taste
To Serve:
4 servings pho noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 cups mixed herbs (cilantro, basil, and mint)
2 cups trimmed bean sprouts
Thinly sliced Thai chilis
2 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
Hoisin sauce and Sriracha

Heat oil in a pressure cooker over high heat until smoking. Add halved onions and ginger, cut side down. Cook without moving, reducing heat if smoking excessively, until onion and ginger are well charred, about 5 minutes.

Add cilantro, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, coriander, and chicken to the pot. Add 2 quarts of water, the fish sauce, and the sugar to the pot. Seal the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then shock under cold running water in the sink (or release pressure valve if using an electric pressure cooker).

Open pressure cooker. Transfer chicken legs to a plate. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot and discard solids. Skim any scum off the surface of the broth using a ladle, but leave the small bubbles of fat intact. Season broth to taste with more fish sauce and sugar if desired.

To serve, place re-hydrated pho noodles in individual noodle bowls. Top with chicken legs, sliced onions, and scallions. Pour hot broth over chicken and noodles. Serve immediately, allowing guests to add herbs, bean sprouts, chilis, lime, and sauces as they wish.


2 3-inch pieces ginger, cut in half lengthwise
2 onions, peeled
5 pounds beef marrow or knuckle bones
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 pieces
2 scallions, cut into 4-inch lengths
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 1/2 ounces rock sugar, or 2½ tablespoons granulated sugar
8 star anise
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pod (optional)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound dried pho noodles
1/3 pound beef sirloin, slightly frozen, then sliced paper-thin against the grain

Sliced chili
Thinly sliced onion
Chopped scallion
Mung bean sprouts
Thai basil
Lime wedges

Start by charring your ginger and onions. One at a time, use tongs to hold the ginger and onions (one at a time) over an open flame, or place it directly on an electric burner. Turn until they’re lightly blackened and fragrant about 3 minutes. Rinse away all the blackened skins and set aside.

Place the bones and beef chuck in large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and thoroughly clean the stockpot. This process will give you a much cleaner broth.

Add 5 quarts fresh water back to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Transfer the bones and meat back to the pot, along with the charred/cleaned ginger and onions. Add the scallions, fish sauce and sugar. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beef chuck is tender, about 40 minutes. Skim the surface often to remove any foam and fat.

Remove one piece of the chuck and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Transfer the beef to a container and refrigerate. Leave the other piece of chuck in the pot.

Now toast the spices (star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds) in a dry pan over medium low heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Use kitchen string to tie up the spices in a piece of cheesecloth, and add it to the broth.

Continue simmering for another 4 hours. Add the salt and continue to simmer, skimming as necessary, until you’re ready to assemble the rest of the dish. Taste broth and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, sugar, and/or fish sauce as needed.

To serve, boil the noodles according to package instructions. Add to a bowl. Place a few slices of the beef chuck and the raw sirloin on the noodles. Bring the broth to a rolling boil and ladle it into each bowl. The hot broth will cook the beef. Garnish with your toppings, and be sure to squeeze a lot of fresh lime juice over the top!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Onion Pickle

For the red onion pickle and the chicken salad:

1 chicken (preferably whole corn fed free range/organic)
1 red onion
5 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 pinch each salt and pepper
400 grams sugar snap peas (can also be carrot, kohlrabi, daikon, zucchini, mange-tout, or a combination of these)
10 hot mint sprigs, plus more for garnishing
Small handful cilantro, plus more for garnishing
5 tablespoons crushed peanuts, cashews, or pistachios

For the dipping sauce:

2 bird’s eye chiles (de-seeded and finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely chopped)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 tablespoons premium-quality fish sauce
Prawn crackers and/or steamed chicken rice, to serve

Bring 3 liters of boiling water to a boil in a pot with a lid. Season with salt, add the whole chicken, and cook for about 60 to 70 minutes, until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion as thinly as you can and add it to a bowl with 3 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let sit as you prepare the rest of the meal, mixing occasionally.

Thinly slice the sugar snap peas lengthways and place in a large salad bowl. Chop the herbs and add them to the bowl as well.

Prepare and mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a separate bowl, tasting for the balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spice. Serve in dipping bowls.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and leave to cool. (Save the stock: You can use it to make a delicious chicken rice.) De-bone and tear off the meat along the grain. Season with salt and pepper. Add this to the bowl of salad with the pickled onion (add the pickling liquid, too).

When ready to serve, toss the salad together. Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro and mint and a sprinkle of nuts. Serve with the dipping sauce, prawn crackers, and chicken rice. (Alternatively, you can also use the dipping sauce to dress the salad.)

Perfect Soy-Grilled Steak

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey, molasses or hoisin sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 16- to 24-ounce boneless steak (rib-eye, skirt or strip), or one 24- to 32-ounce bone-in steak (rib-eye or T-bone)

Start a charcoal or wood fire or heat a gas grill; the fire should be hot and the rack no more than 4 inches from the heat source. Mix together the first 6 ingredients; taste and add more of anything you like. Turn the steak in the sauce once or twice, then let sit in the sauce until the grill is hot.

Turn the steak one more time, then place on the grill; spoon any remaining sauce over it. For rare meat, grill about 3 minutes a side for steaks less than an inch thick. For larger or more done steak, increase the time slightly.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork

For the nuoc cham sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 red chili, de-seeded and sliced (or substitute 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Sriracha)
1/2 cup cold water

For the pork chops and noodles:
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
4 bone-in pork chops
vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon flour
12 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 small cucumber, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup cilantro, mint, and/or thai basil leaves

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In a shallow dish, make the pork chop marinade by adding the soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, and wine. Marinate the pork chops for 20 minutes.

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet. Toss the sliced onions in the flour and fry in the oil until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. In the same oil, sear the pork chops on both sides until cooked through. Set the pork chops aside to rest.

Add the noodles, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, and herbs to a bowl. Top with the pork chops and crispy onions, and serve with the nuoc cham sauce.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

10 to 12 ounces frozen pandan leaves, thawed
1/3 cup coconut milk
8 ounces cake flour, or 7 ounces all-purpose bleached flour plus 1 ounce cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
10 1/2 ounces sugar
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F degrees. Have an ungreased round tube cake pan handy.

Use scissors to cut the pandan leaves into short pieces, no more than 1 inch long. In 2 batches, blend the cut leaves with the coconut milk (use half of the milk at a time) in a food processor until it looks like bits of grass. Pause and push it down as needed. Transfer to a thin cloth, such as a piece of muslin.

Firmly squeeze to render the opaque green liquid into a measuring cup. Discard the solids. When done with both batches, you should have about 14 tablespoons total. Add extra water, if needed to get that quantity. Or, remove some of the liquid if you have too much.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and all but 1/4 cup of the sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the pandan-and-coconut liquid, egg yolks, and oil. Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients until well blended and smooth. Taste the batter, and if you like, add the vanilla. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the egg whites for about 15 seconds to break them up and get them a bit frothy. Then sprinkle in the cream of tartar as the machine runs. Increase the speed to medium, then gradually add the sugar.

When the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks start to form. Stop the machine to check.

Take about 1/4 of the egg whites, and swiftly stir with a spatula to blend and lighten the batter a bit. Now scoop the remaining egg whites onto the batter. Use cut-and-fold motions to combine the ingredients. A few thin streaks of white in the batter are okay.

Pour the batter into the pan and shake it a bit to smooth out the top. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a rack for 5 minutes. Meanwhile find two bowls or jars that can be used to support the can pan in an upside down position. They have to be at least as tall as the part of the tube pan that extends beyond the rim!

Without much hesitation take the pan and invert it, positioning the rim on the bowls or jars so that the pan is elevated. Let the cake cool for 1 hour, before running an icing spatula around the edges (inner and outer) and unmolding. Slice and serve.

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Wok-seared “Shaking” Beef (Thit Bo Luc Lac)

1 1/4 pound tri-tip (bottom sirloin/culotte) steaks

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce, or 2 teaspoons light (regular) and 1 teaspoon dark (thick) soy sauce

1 shallot, thinly sliced (1/4 cup total)
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 or 2 pinches salt
3 to 5 cracks black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water

4 cups watercress, use only the tender leafy parts
2 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

Trim excess fat from the steaks and then cut each into 3/4-inch cubes. In a bowl, combine the pepper, sugar, garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. Add the beef and toss well to coat. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

For the dressing, put the shallot in a mesh strainer and rinse under water for about 10 seconds to reduce some of the harshness. In large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the shallot. Put the watercress on top but hold off on tossing.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and spread it out in one layer. Cook in batches, if necessary. Let the beef sear for about 1 minute, before shaking the wok or skillet to sear another side. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and shake. Cook the beef this way for about 4 minutes total, until nicely browned and medium rare.

In between shakes, toss the watercress and transfer onto a platter or serving dish. When the beef is done, pile the beef on top of the watercress and serve immediately with lots of rice.

Use both the light and dark soy sauces if you want a little extra deep color. Feel free to dress up the final platter with some tomato wedges. If serving without the watercress, opt to present the beef with a side of salt, pepper, lime dipping sauce (muoi tieu chanh) for guests to dip the cubes in.