In Vietnamese, Uyen Luu demonstrates that Vietnamese food is just as easy to whip up as a bowl of pasta—all you need is a good bottle of fish sauce and a little enthusiasm! She shares 80 of her tastiest recipes—some traditional, some with a modern twist—using ingredients that are available at your local supermarket.
Recipes include noodle soups, salads, family-style sharing plates, one-pot wonders and dinner-party showstoppers, which are all easy to prepare, adapt and enjoy. The recipes are impressive yet simple: try the Caramelized pork belly with coconut milk and cavolo nero, Seabass, tomato & dill soup or Avocado tossed ramen with sweetcorn and tinned tuna in sweet soy sauce & mint and Crème Caramel.
Vietnamese is filled with fuss-free, delicious recipes that are quick to prepare, and will have you eating Vietnamese meals on a regular basis.
BÁNH KEM CARAMEL
This French dish has become the most Vietnamese of all Vietnamese desserts. The secret here is using condensed milk, which is a storecupboard essential.
You’ll need a 25-cm (10-in) pie dish, as well as a deep baking tray for a bain-marie for this recipe. You can also use individual ramekins and steam the custard instead.
For the crème
2 egg yolks
120 ml (4 fl oz) double (heavy) cream
200 g (7 oz) condensed milk
250 ml (8 fl oz) milk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
For the caramel
110 g (3¾ oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F/gas 4).
Beat the egg yolks and eggs together in a large mixing bowl, then add the rest of the crème ingredients and stir to combine.
To make the caramel, sprinkle the sugar evenly into the bottom of a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water over a low heat and leave it to sit without stirring. After about 5 minutes, the sides will start to turn into liquid and bubble but leave it to sit and resist the urge to stir.
After about 12 minutes a quarter of the sugar will start to brown, so shake and swivel the pan and wait a further few minutes until it is mostly liquid and golden. Turn off the heat and continue to swivel until all the sugar has caramelized and turned a rich golden colour. Quickly pour a thin layer of caramel into the pie dish, just enough to cover the bottom and swirl very quickly (as it will harden) to cover all the edges and some along the sides and leave a few minutes to set. Tap it with a spoon to check for hardness.
Place the pie dish into a deep roasting tin, pour the crème mixture into the dish then fill the tray halfway with boiling water to form a bain-marie.
Bake for 25–30 minutes. To check if it is cooked, gently jiggle the dish – it should wobble tightly and evenly. Once it’s set, leave to cool and refrigerate.
To serve, loosen the custard with a thin knife around the sides, place a serving plate over the dish, turn the dish upside down, tap out or shake once for the baked crème caramel to shift onto the plate. The caramel should drizzle down the sides.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.