When it comes to food variations you aren’t going to find many places that come close to Vietnamese food, let alone beat it. From the more modern day dishes to the traditional native flavours from the past, the food in this part of the world really does provide an insight into the climate, and trade that has helped to inspire and guide Vietnamese cuisines.
Rice itself plays a main staple to the diet of Vietnamese people but because of the seacoast and routes inland, there is also a rich tradition of fresh fish that has helped influence stir fries and noodle dishes in the area.
In today’s post we wanted to look a little more closely at the main types of food you can experience in Vietnam, but foods that you can also try your hand at even if you don’t live in the country. Just like we make fresh pizzas in the UK or US, which are Italian based dishes, we can also experiment with Vietnamese cuisines right from our kitchens.
Duck is known as an expensive meat but you would be surprised at just how cheap it can be when sourced properly. In this recipe, we use duck, noodles and other inspirational Vietnamese ingredients to whip up a tasty and colourful lunchtime snack that can be prepared anywhere in the World.
The first thing you need to do is set your ovens to about 220C, so it is nicely preheated ready for the duck leg. Grab some five-spice and rub this all over the duck leg to season it and then place that onto a baking tray ready to roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Once the duck leg is in we can prepare the salad part of the dish. To do this take about 150g of rice noodles, and cook them in a boiling saucepan for a few minutes, drain them and then let the cool down. Sometimes running them under cold water does the trick, as you don’t want to be adding cold carrot and celery to hot rice noodles.
Once cooled down thrown in your celery, carrot, spring onions and cucumber to the noodles.
At this point your duck leg should be cooked so you will need to remove the duck meat from the bone and shred it. Place the salad onto a plate and then add the duck meat to the top of the salad.
No Vietnamese dish is complete without a nice dressing for the top and one of the most authentic dressings consist of hoisin sauce and soy sauce, mixed with roughly 2 tablespoons of water. That is all you need for a great dressing, and this can be drizzled evenly over the top of the duck meat and salad, ready to be served.
Our next dish to get your taste buds tingling is a soup that combines chillies, ginger, limes and mint into an exquisite recipe.
If you are looking for a quick lunchtime snack then this is your best bet. Take some coriander seeds and ginger and add them to a saucepan. Pour in some stock and bring the ingredients to a boil, and then let them simmer for 5 minutes before you take it off the heat and leave it to stand.
While this is left to stand cook some rice noodles in a separate saucepan for a few minutes, then drain them, but make sure you keep them warm.
Add some fish sauce, chilli and garlic to the stock saucepan and put that back onto the heat so it starts to boil. Once it hits boiling point reduce the heat and again let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Now you can add the fish to the saucepan, so place some prawns and salmon to the saucepan and let these cook until they are firm (usually takes around another 5 minutes on a gentle cook).
The final step to the soup is to add the spring onions, herbs and lime juice to the mixture which will give it that sour taste, that will combine so well with the hot chillies and garlic that we added to the saucepan earlier on.
Take the warm noodles and put them into a bowl, at the bottom, and then use a slotted spoon (with holes or slats in) to take out the prawns and salmon which you can lay across the top of the thin rice noodles. Pour the rest of the stock over the top of the bowl and then you will have these ready to serve up to your guests, or for you to eat.
If you want to add a little something else to the dish then spring rolls are the perfect accompaniment to the hot and sour soup.