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Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a…

Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a Family Table

by Corinne Trang

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I borrowed this book from my local library, hoping to find a good recipe for oxtail broth and found so much more than just a good recipe for soup.

The author is very clear and concise in her explanation of cooking techniques and ingredients, and livens each recipe with a bit of personal flair -- detailing how the food is presented, her memories of it, or special information about the ingredients used. Each recipe fits on one or two pages and is easy to understand. I have tried several thus far and have been very pleased with all of them.

My one complaint about the book is the lack of pictures -- there are a few pictures of ingredients and a handful of the dishes, but all are in black and white. It would be nice to see more colour images, providing insight in how to best plate the foods and present them as part of a full meal. ( )
  refashionista | Feb 18, 2009 |
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To my father,

Nhu Minh Trang,

and my mother,

Marie-Jean “Minou” Trang,

for giving me the best of both worlds

To my husband,

Michael McDonough,

who has as much passion for discovery as I do, and who

offers patience, support, and love each day
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Cooking has always been my private passion, a part of my world I never thought I would share until I began this book—something reserved for holidays, for family gatherings, for rites of passage and other celebrations.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684864444, Hardcover)

Authentic Vietnamese Cooking offers remarkable insight into the history and details of this seemingly simple yet enchantingly sophisticated cuisine. Author Corinne Trang shares the story of her family, starting with her grandparents, who emigrated from Hunan, China, to Cambodia and then to Vietnam. Eventually, Trang herself made homes in Paris and New York, as well as Asia. The resulting blending of cultures and culinary traditions in her family is a common experience for Southeast Asians who, over the centuries, have had to flee from one place to the next to survive despotism, hunger, and war.

Trang clarifies the distinctions between dishes from the three regions of Vietnam. There is the Simple North, where stir-fries are common and the seven-course beef meal, Bo By Mon, originated. The Sophisticated Center features Chao Tom, shrimp paste grilled on lengths of sugar cane created to please the wealthy families of Hue. In the Spicy South, sea trade with India, plus Cambodian influences, led to the development of aromatic, golden curries. Today, the Vietnamese serve them with Banh Mi, the light, crusty Saigon baguette made with rice and wheat flour.

In addition to the four groups of condiments essential to Vietnamese cooking (sweet, pungent Nuoc Cham, vinegared vegetables, sate, and table salad), Trang gives recipes for rice-paper-wrapped Summer Rolls, filled with rice noodles, pork, and shrimp, and Mint Rice with Shredded Chicken. Requiring only rice, chicken stock, shallots, fresh mint, and cooked chicken, it has the clean and layered flavors typical of Vietnamese food. Western sensibilities may recoil at Trang's brief, honest discussion of the exotic meats served in Vietnam, including dog, snake, and monkey, served mostly to demonstrate machismo or status (no recipes are given). Christopher Hirsheimer's artistic black-and-white photos enhance the poetic simplicity of Trang's deeply involving text. --Dana Jacobi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -0400)

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