Did anyone see the Top Gear Vietnam special the other night? I am in absolutely no way a motor-head (have forgotten what car I own on more than one occasion) and my usual pacifist stance crumbles when confronted with Jeremy Clarkson’s oh-so-punchable face. Top Gear, therefore, is not something I’d go out of my way to watch. But this one was taking place in Vietnam and Vietnam (along with California, Costa Rica, Tuscany and India) is one of my dream places to visit. So I put aside my disinterest in noisy engines and my extreme aversion to the gobby one and watched the programme. And it was great. Very beautiful, very interesting and very, very funny.
I’ve always been intrigued by Vietnam as a country to visit but it was Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey who first got me interested in Vietnamese food. Have you been to her blog? It’s stunning and full of the most delicious food and the author is a real sweetie. So when Anh recommended this cookbook, I didn’t hesitate in buying it. Terribly glad I did too as we’ve been eating the following dish weekly ever since.
Vietnamese Rice Bowl (adapted from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen)
4 chicken thighs ( skin, de-boned & cut into chunks) marinated in 1/2 tspn cornflour, 1/2 tblspn fish sauce, 1/2 tblspn soy sauce, 1 tblspn sugar & a pinch of pepper
1 onion sliced
Ground nut oil
- Fry the onion in oil over a medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan then add the chicken (in two batches if it doesn’t fit in one layer). Fry until golden brown. Add the onion back to the pan and mix well.
- Serve in a bowl along with:
A bowl of beansprouts
2 pakchoi, sliced
1 medium carrot, ribboned
A handful of chopped herbs, e.g. basil, coriander & mint
A handful of chopped nuts (I like pistachio)
2 cups of cooked brown rice
Vietnamese dipping sauce – Juice of 1 lime, 1 tspn sugar, 2 tblspn fish sauce, 1 tspn white vinegar, 1 clove garlic (crushed) & a dash of water all mixed together