Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide
Yellow Bean Sauce (Nuoc Tuong)
Grind all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and stir-fry the mixture until fragrant
Daikon Radish (Củ cải đường)
These icicle-shaped white radishes, which can grow up to twenty inches long and are available year-round, have a mild flavor and are often pickled, stir-fried, or grated into soups or salads.
Cardamom and Black Cardamom
These pods have a thin papery husk that encloses black seeds and are widely used in Indian and other Southeast Asian cooking. There are two varieties, green and black; green is more common
Tomato Sauce (Sot Ca Chua)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and stir-fry the garlic until golden brown and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, adding the stock or coconut juice.
Curry Leaves (Lá cà ri)
Widely used in the cooking of southern India, these highly fragrant leaves resemble bay leaves, though longer and thinner, and have an unmistakable aroma of curry.
Glossy, large, dark green banana leaves are used in Vietnam to wrap dumplings, fish, and meat before steaming or grilling and to line steamer baskets, preventing food from sticking.
Peanut Sauce (Sốt Đậu Phộng)
Peanut Sauce (Sốt Đậu Phộng) can be used for Fresh Spring Rolls, this is also a great robust sauce for dipping chicken and fish.
Vietnamese Sausage (Xúc xích)
These dried sausages, called lap cheong in Cantonese, are sold in links about six inches long. They are deep reddish brown and are typically made from a mixture of pork, pork fat, and sometimes pork liver.
Fresh Bamboo Shoots
Fresh bamboo shoots, called mang in Vietnamese, are much better than canned, but they are difficult to find in the States. They have a crisp texture and a clean flavor that is irresistible.
Dried Lily Buds
Lily buds can be found dried, packaged in cellophane, in most Asian grocery stores. They are the buds of tiger lilies - the flowers found in many backyards
Vietnamese Cinnamon (Quế khô)
Though related to “true” Ceylon cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon, which is also called cassia and Saigon cinnamon, comes from an entirely different plant.
These red seeds, harvested from the evergreen annatto tree, are commonly used to color foods, from Cheddar cheese to Mexican soups to chicken tandoori.