Tag Archives: Andrea Nguyen recipe

Summer’s Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork

Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.
Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.

Times were when I’d make a special trip to the grocery store at the drop of a hat just to get the precise -sized tomatoes needed for this recipe.

These are not those times, obviously.

Which is why you see this mismatch of tomatoes in this dish instead.

But I’m happy to report that like many things in life, well, size doesn’t matter so much.

Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they'll do in a pinch.
Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they’ll do in a pinch.

“Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork” will work out perfectly well, no matter if you have all the same-sized tomatoes or not.

This fun recipe is from “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press, 2019), the best-selling cookbook by my friend Andrea Nguyen.

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What To Cook With Half A Pound of Ground Lamb …

Better than takeout: Ma po tofu, made with ground lamb instead.
Better than takeout: Ma po tofu, made with ground lamb instead.

As cookbook writer Andrea Nguyen learned on a trip to Chengdu, there is no one way to make the classic dish of ma po tofu.

As she writes in her seminal cookbook, “Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home” (Ten Speed Press, 2012), this home-style, saucy dish is sometimes made with ground beef; other times, ground pork. And sometimes chile bean sauce; or other times, a heap of Sichuan peppercorns.

So hopefully, she won’t consider it sacrilege that I actually made it with ground lamb instead.

But when I had a half a pound of ground lamb left over from another recipe, and was looking for a home for it, I found it ideally in this recipe of hers.

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Andrea Nguyen’s Pho Of A Different Sort

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

 

There is pho. And then there is pho pancake.

Yes, my friends, get ready for something all together different and delicious.

Leave it to my friend and cookbook author extraordinaire Andrea Nguyen to come up with this novel version of everyone’s favorite soup noodles.

“Pan Fried Pho Noodles” is from her newest tome, “The Pho Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), which already went into its second printing before it was even officially released in February.

You may have enjoyed steaming huge bowls of brothy noodles countless times at neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants. But with this book, you’ll learn how to make your own — from preparing the broth from scratch to choosing noodles and assembling garnishes and toppings.

PhoCookbook

Depending upon how labor-intensive you’re feeling, you can choose among quick versions of pho (which calls for doctoring purchased low-sodium broth or buying a rotisserie chicken) to pressure-cooker recipes that speed up the process to non-traditional riffs such as seafood pho.

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Build A Better Banh Mi

Banh mi fixiings: Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken (foreground) and Citrusy Red Cabbage Pickles (back).

Banh mi fixiings: Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken (foreground) and Citrusy Red Cabbage Pickles (back).

 

Banh Mi has been a touchstone in my life.

It all started years ago when I was part of a team of reporters at the San Jose Mercury News covering race and demographics. As part of our — ahem — research of various cultures and communities, we naturally tried to hit up as many ethnic restaurants at lunch time as possible. After all, what better way to learn about a culture than to immerse one’s self in its cuisine?

The first time I encountered the ubiquitous Vietnamese sandwich otherwise known as banh mi, I admit I was dubious. A fresh, satisfying sandwich for under $4? How could that be?

My low expectations matched the low price.

Of course, one bite was all it took to prove me wrong.

The sandwich was miraculous. A fresh baguette filled with lemongrass chicken, smooth pate, hot chiles, fresh herbs and the most deliriously wonderful slivers of pickled carrots and daikon. It was savory, fragrant, tangy and bright. It wasn’t a ginormous sandwich by American standards, but it was full of so much flavor and texture that it left you completely satiated.

What a bargain, too. In fact, my colleagues and I were so amazed at the bang for the buck that we jokingly started using the banh mi as our own personal form of currency.

The cost for the city of San Jose to add resources to its gang prevention efforts? That would be $3 million. Or as we liked to think of it: nearly 1 million Viet sandwiches.

Building the BART extension to San Jose? Politicians might call it $3.2 billion. We likened it to about 1 billion Viet shredded pork sammies.

Yeah, that’s how we rolled.

BanhiMiHandbook

My friend Andrea Nguyen’s newest cookbook, “The Banh Mi Handbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a copy, brought back all those zany and delicious memories.

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