7 Recipes Adding Vietnamese Flavors to Your Meals

It’s not just street food or iced coffee that have come to the U.S. from Vietnam. Chefs and home cooks have taken cues from the country’s cuisine to put a Vietnamese spin on recipes. The next time you want a mouthwatering dish that incorporates spices, vegetables, and offers a break from your go-to recipes, make one of these seven Vietnamese-styled dishes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Want a really crisp, crunchy salad? Then you must make Cooking Light‘s Vietnamese chicken salad. Flavored with herbs and fish sauce, the ingredients in the salad could easily reinvent leftover roasted or grilled chicken. It serves six.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1½ cups chopped green onions, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrot
  • ¾ cup (3 x ⅛-inch) julienne-cut red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup (3 x ⅛-inch) julienne-cut yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Place chicken and ½ cup green onions in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain and discard green onions. Place chicken on a work surface or cutting board, and shred chicken with 2 forks.

Combine juice, sugar, and garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave at high for 20 seconds or until sugar melts. Cool to room temperature; stir in fish sauce.

Combine remaining 1 cup onions, chicken, cabbage, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with juice mixture; toss well to coat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

2. Banh Mi Burgers

You might be familiar with bahn mi, a popular Vietnamese sandwich, but have you ever had it in burger form? Fine Cooking has a recipe that turns the pork sandwich into a burger that serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1½ tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • ½ tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Canola or vegetable oil for brushing
  • 4 crusty rolls, such as French baguettes, split
  • ¼ medium English cucumber, cut into 16 (⅛-inch) slices
  • 1 medium jalapeño, cut into 16 thin slices
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 4 thin slices of ham
  • Mayonnaise

Directions: Put the carrots in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1½ teaspoon of the sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, toss the carrots in the salt and sugar to begin expelling the water from them, about 3 minutes. They will soften and liquid will begin to pool in the bottom of the bowl. The carrots are ready when they can bend easily without snapping in half and they have lost about a third of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Gently press down on the carrots to push out any additional water.

In the same bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the vinegar, and ¼ cup of lukewarm water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrots to the pickling liquid (the liquid should be covering the carrots) and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the pork, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and the remaining 1½ teaspoon sugar. Shape into four 4-inch wide, ½-inch-thick patties and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill or a grill pan at medium-high heat. Brush and oil the grates. Make a thumbprint in the center of each of the burgers and then place on the grill. Grill the first side until grill marks form, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, about 3 minutes more.

Remove the burgers from the grill and let rest on a plate. Place the buns on the grill and toast until grill marks form on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on the upper and lower halves of the buns. Lay a burger on the lower bun and top with a quarter of the carrot pickle, 4 cucumber slices, 4 jalapeño slices, a few cilantro leaves, a slice of ham, and the top half of the bun. Repeat with the other three burgers and serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Summer Rolls

The dipping sauce for Bon Appétit‘s summer rolls can be made a day in advance and stored covered in the fridge. The rolls can also be prepared slightly ahead of time. After filling and rolling, but before cutting, you can store them in fridge covered with a damp kitchen towel, if desired.

Ingredients:

Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles or 1 red jalapeño or Fresno chile, thinly sliced

Summer Rolls

  • 4 ounces bean thread noodles (cellophane or transparent noodles)
  • 12 (8- to 9-inch) rice paper rounds
  • 18 cooked medium shrimp (about 10 ounces), peeled, deveined, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh basil leavest
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves plus 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup daikon sprouts, optional
  • 1 cup English hothouse cucumber, cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 12 small green or red lettuce leaves

Directions: To make the sauce, mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.

For the summer rolls, put noodles in a large bowl. Pour enough hot water over to cover; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool; drain and set aside.

Fill a pie plate with warm water. Working with 1 rice paper round at a time, soak rice paper in water, turning occasionally, until just pliable but not limp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a work surface. Arrange 3 shrimp halves across center of round. Top with some leaves of each herb, then daikon sprouts (if using), cucumber, and carrot. Arrange a small handful of noodles over. Place 1 lettuce leaf over, torn or folded to fit. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling, then fold in ends and roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a platter. Repeat to make 11 more rolls.

To serve, cut rolls in half on diagonal. Add chopped cilantro to dipping sauce.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

4. Jasmine Rice with Carrot Relish

Nuoc cham, a Vietnamese sauce, tops off the jasmine rice in Food & Wine‘s side dish recipe. The sauce is a great way to add extra flavor to the rice and carrots, and will prevent your side from being dry. It yields four servings.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ Thai chile, minced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded

Directions: In a small saucepan, combine the rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 12 minutes. Quickly remove the lid and wipe off any water that clings to it. Immediately recover the rice and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and cover.

In a bowl, combine the lime juice with the vegetable oil, fish sauce, honey, mint, garlic and chile. Add the carrots and toss to coat with the nuoc cham sauce. Serve the carrot relish on the rice.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Bun Cha

CNN says that although pho is the most recognizable dish in Vietnam, when it comes to lunch in Hanoi, no dish is second to bun cha. To make this pork and noodle salad, follow Saveur‘s recipe which yields four servings.

Ingredients:

Pork

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large shallot, minced as small as possible
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon minced or grated garlic
  • 1 red Thai chile, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green papaya, cut into small, thin slices, about ¼ inch (optional)

Serving

  • 1 pound thin rice noodles
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 2 cups, loosely packed, of a selection of Asian herbs, including any of the following: cilantro, perilla, mint, sawtooth coriander, ngo herb

Directions: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 3 tablespoons water and cook over high heat until a dark brown caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons cold water, swirling the pot. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, shallot, fish sauce, caramel sauce, and pepper, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1½ hours.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a large mixing bowl. When the pork is through marinating, remove from the refrigerator and shape into small patties, about 15 to 20 in all. Heat a charcoal grill or a broiler to high. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the directions on their package. Drain, then rinse under cold water to halt the cooking process.

Meanwhile, grill or broil the pork patties until fully cooked and slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Spoon the sauce into four bowls, then place the pork patties over the sauce. Place the herbs and lettuce in one large communal bowl and the noodles into another large communal bowl. To eat, dip some of the noodles into the sauce and eat with the patties and herbs.

China Photos/Getty Images

China Photos/Getty Images

6. Vietnamese Noodle Soup

This Food Network recipe is pho made easy. If you’ve never tried making a Vietnamese dish, or noodle soup before, this is the perfect starting point. It will introduce you to basic ingredients and make enough soup for four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 12 ounces lean beef sirloin, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 4 -inch piece ginger, unpeeled, halved
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, preferably red and green
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

Directions: Prepare the rice noodles as the label directs. Meanwhile, place a large pot over high heat. Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until charred but still rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate. Add the onion and ginger to the pot; cook about 4 minutes. Add the broth, 3 cups water, the star anise and cinnamon, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions and jalapeños (remove seeds for less heat) and tear the cilantro. Thinly slice the meat against the grain. Drain the noodles.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and boil 5 minutes. Discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Remove and slice the onion. Divide the noodles among four bowls; top with the broth, beef, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeños and onion.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 

7. Frozen Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Like banh mi, Vietnamese iced coffee might already be familiar to you. For something a little different, try Martha Stewart‘s frozen take on the sweet beverage. Serve the granita-style coffee as dessert or enjoy it on a hot afternoon. It yields eight servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups hot brewed French roast coffee, or other best-quality coffee
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Directions: Stir together sugar and coffee until sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Freeze at least 3 hours or up to 8. Before dinner, scrape frozen coffee into shavings using a fork and return to freezer. When ready to serve, spoon coffee shavings into serving dishes. Serve with condensed milk for drizzling on top.

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