Recipe for Green papaya salad



1 medium green papaya (about 2 pounds)
1/2 pound of loin end of pork (boneless)
1/2 pound of shelled, deveined shrimp
3 teaspoons of chopped coriander

3 tablespoons of chopped Asian basil
1/2 cup of chopped roasted peanuts
Fish sauce dip for dressing


Wash the shrimp with salted cold water. Drain and set aside. Boil water in a medium sauce pan. When the water begins to boil put the piece of pork in the sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes until cooked through. Drain and set aside. When it’s cool, julienne cut into long thin 2-inch strips. In another sauce pan, boil water. When the water is boiling, put the shrimp in and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the shrimp , split in half and set aside.

Remove the papaya skin, split, seeded and cut in very thinly julienne strips. Soak the shredded green papaya in a large bowl of cold water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes; then rinse and drain it well. Use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the water from the shredded papaya. Add pork, shrimp (save a few shrimp to decorate the top of salad), fish sauce dip, and toss.

Put the salad on a plate and arrange the cooked shrimp on top, sprinkle the top with coriander, basil and chopped peanuts. Guests can use shrimp crackers to scoop up the salad to eat.

Recipe for Peanut dipping sauce

submitted by Editor

3 tablebspoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of fermented soy bean sauce
smashed (or fermented soy bean paste)

4 tablespoons of water
1 fresh hot red chili pepper minced (optional)
3 tablespoons of roasted peanuts crushed


Mix all ingredients together. Bring to boil, taste it. If it’s salty add a little more sugar. It should be on the sweet side

Recipe for Dipping Fish Sauce


Nuoc Mam Cham is used on a wide variety of Vitnamese dishes. Rolls are dipped in it and it is drizzled on rice noodle (vermicelli) dishes.


1 cup of water
4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar

5 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of garlic, finely chopped
2 fresh small chili peppers


Boil water with vinegar and sugar; allow it to cool. Combine garlic, peppers, and add to mixture. Stir in the fish sauce.

Recipe for Banana cooked in coconut


A Southern Vietnam favorite. Serves about 8.

6 firm but ripe, peeled bananas
1 cup canned or fresh coconut milk
2 cups water
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup of small pearl tapioca (soak tapioca in water overnight)
1/2 cup of sweet potato or yucca root vermicelli (soak in water overnight)
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds


Soak in water the sweet potato or yucca root vermicelli for 1 hour or overnight. Combine sugar, coconut milk and water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then simmer for few minutes.

Drain the vermicelli and tapioca and add to the sauce pan, stir constantly until tapioca pearl are clear and the vermicelli is cooked.

Cut the bananas into 2-3 inch lengths, add banana pieces to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes. If the syrup is too thick add a little more water. Serve the dessert in individual bowls. Before serving, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top. This dessert can be served hot or cold.

Recipe for Tamarind Shrimp Soup


This soup is fairly sweet and it needs to be served immediately after making it.
submitted by Editor

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 lb of shrimp
1 lb of tomato (cut into wedges)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 cups of water
1/2 cup of pineapple
1/2 cup of taro stem or celery
2 cup of bean sprout
1/2 of straw mushroom

2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of rice paddy herb
1/4 cup of green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons of tamarind
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

In a sauce pan, heat oil and add garlic. Wait until garlic is brown, add tomato. Stir for a few minutes until tomato is softened. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

In a separate pan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Pour tomato sauce into the boiling water. Add pineapple, mushrooms, tamarind, salt, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring it to a boil, add shrimps, bean sprouts, and taro stems.
Bring it to a boil, then add green onions, mint, cilantro, and rice paddy herbs.

Recipe for Chicken Pho


Serves 4 to 6.

2 oz rice noodles
small peice of ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 spring onions, chopped
3 tbsps fish sauce
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
3 pts light chicken stock

4 oz raw chicken, sliced in strips
1 red chilli pepper, finely sliced
2 oz beansprouts, blanched in boiling water
1 oz ginkho nuts, crushed
2 tbsps fresh coriander, chopped
1 lime


Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for four minutes. Strain and set aside.

Saute the ginger on a low heat for 15 minutes. Cool and slice.

Add the ginger, garlic, spring onions, fish sauce and lemon grass to the stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and reserve.

Add the chicken peices to the strained stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Reheat the noodles by pouring over boiling water.Drain and divide the noodles between the soup bowls. Pour over the soup.

Garnish each bowl with some of the sliced chilli, beansprouts, nuts, coriander and a wedge of lime.

Lonely Planet World Food Vietnam

by Richard Sterling (2000)

As a food writer planning a trip to Vietnam (for personal, not food-related reasons), I found this book to be an excellent introduction to the culture and cuisine. I may never cook any of the recipes in it, but it’s helped me know what to look for when I go, and to anticipate my trip even more. I thought it was very well-written. Sterling’s sense of adventure and good living are apparent in the guide in an infectious, inviting way. He is judgemental about no one but the foreign young people who go to Vietnam to eat fake burgers and wiener schnitzel instead of the light, beautiful food. And the photographs are as compelling as the writing. Buy this book!

The Food of Vietnam: Authentic Recipes from the Heart of Indochina (Periplus World Cookbooks)

by Marcel Isaak & Thi Chi Trieu (1998)

This book belongs to one of many in a series of world cuisines and I have found all of them to be embellished with decorative and beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, the recipes that accompany them tend to be instructionally inexplicit and often poor interpretations of the recipes of these countries. If you’re interested in getting a crash course in a new cuisine this book is perfect, but pass on this book if you are a serious cook.

The Vietnamese Cookbook

by Diana My Tran & Diana Tran (2000)

One page of deliciousness after another is what you’ll find once you crack the cover of Diana My Tran’s The Vietnamese Cookbook. Tran has a couple of qualifications above and beyond her Vietnamese heritage as underpinnings to this book: She has two impatient children and a very busy career. Time, then, is of the essence. And yet, she wants to pass on to her children the food of their culture–while living in the U.S.

So from the many dishes of her own childhood in Saigon Diana My Tran has simplified technique while making use of the available foods in an American supermarket. The results are quickly prepared, flavorful renditions of Vietnamese classics that give the cook the sense of what Vietnamese cooking is all about. As Tran points out, part of what it’s all about is low-fat cooking with lots of vegetables–a veritable diet book.

Tran divides her book by rice, sauces, appetizers and salads, soups, main dishes, and desserts and beverages. She mixes lemon juice and lemon zest to create the Lemon Rice she serves with chicken and seafood. There’s also a recipe for sticky rice with peanuts. Her sauces include such standards as Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce and Sweet and Sour Soy Sauce. Among the appetizers you will find spring rolls, both fried and fresh. Also, Shrimp Mung Bean Rice Cakes. There’s a Papaya Shrimp Salad as well as a Lime Steak Salad. The wonderful Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo) is represented. Main dishes include Ginger Chicken, Honey Roasted Quail, Sesame Spareribs, Caramel Shrimp, Lemongrass Fish, and Vietnamese Crab Cakes.

The Vietnamese Cookbook is an easy way in to this wonderful culinary world. Let your palate be your guide. –Schuyler Ingle

Buy at Amazon Authentic Vietnamese Cooking

by Corinne Trang & Christopher Hirsheimer (1999)

Authentic Vietnamese Cooking offers remarkable insight into the history and details of this seemingly simple yet enchantingly sophisticated cuisine. Author Corinne Trang shares the story of her family, starting with her grandparents, who emigrated from Hunan, China, to Cambodia and then to Vietnam. Eventually, Trang herself made homes in Paris and New York, as well as Asia. The resulting blending of cultures and culinary traditions in her family is a common experience for Southeast Asians who, over the centuries, have had to flee from one place to the next to survive despotism, hunger, and war.

Trang clarifies the distinctions between dishes from the three regions of Vietnam. There is the Simple North, where stir-fries are common and the seven-course beef meal, Bo By Mon, originated. The Sophisticated Center features Chao Tom, shrimp paste grilled on lengths of sugar cane created to please the wealthy families of Hue. In the Spicy South, sea trade with India, plus Cambodian influences, led to the development of aromatic, golden curries. Today, the Vietnamese serve them with Banh Mi, the light, crusty Saigon baguette made with rice and wheat flour.

In addition to the four groups of condiments essential to Vietnamese cooking (sweet, pungent Nuoc Cham, vinegared vegetables, sate, and table salad), Trang gives recipes for rice-paper-wrapped Summer Rolls, filled with rice noodles, pork, and shrimp, and Mint Rice with Shredded Chicken. Requiring only rice, chicken stock, shallots, fresh mint, and cooked chicken, it has the clean and layered flavors typical of Vietnamese food. Western sensibilities may recoil at Trang’s brief, honest discussion of the exotic meats served in Vietnam, including dog, snake, and monkey, served mostly to demonstrate machismo or status (no recipes are given). Christopher Hirsheimer’s artistic black-and-white photos enhance the poetic simplicity of Trang’s deeply involving text. –Dana Jacobi

Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table

by Mai Pham (2001)

When Mai Pham–chef and owner of the renowned Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento, California–left her home and her grandmother in Saigon in 1975, just days before the city fell to communist rule, she never thought she’d see either again. Happily for her, she returned 20 years later to rediscover her roots and reconnect with her 100-year-old grandmother. Happily for us, she’s written Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, in which she shares that journey–and the vibrant cuisine of her homeland. She weaves a stirring tale of rediscovery; of visiting with cooks in market stalls and street cafés and home kitchens; and, perhaps most importantly, of rediscovering her “favorite food on earth,” pho, the noodle soup often referred to as the national dish of Vietnam.

Pham begins with a chapter on dipping sauces, condiments, and herbs, which, she explains, are the true backbone of Vietnamese cooking. She explores culinary variations: the “rice bowl” of the southern peninsula and the French- and Indian-inspired foods of Saigon; the more robust style of the cooler central region of Hue; and the straightforward style of the mountainous north. And she shares the simple, classic recipes that define Vietnamese food. Green Mango Salad with Grilled Beef is at once salty (from the ubiquitous fish sauce), sweet from the fruit, and tangy and spicy from Chili-Lime Sauce. Ginger Chicken is bright with the flavor of ginger and spicy with dried chilies; caramel sauce adds body and an intriguing sweet and smoky element to the dish. And of course, one can’t forget the beloved pho, which gets a whole chapter to itself. The traditional Hanoi-style Vietnamese “Pho” Rice Noodle Soup with Beef is fragrant with anise and ginger and thick with velvety noodles and delectably rare beef suspended in the hot broth.

Featured throughout the book are black-and-white photographs of the country and its people, stories of Pham’s childhood, and enchanting tales of the history and people of Vietnam that, taken together, highlight a rich and vibrant picture of the ancient cuisine of this complex country. Helpful guides to the Vietnamese pantry and cooking techniques, along with a glossary, menu suggestions, and a list of resources for the more exotic ingredients make the book extremely useful to even the uninitiated. –Robin Donovan