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The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches Hardcover – July 8, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“ Who better than Andrea Nguyen to unravel the mysteries of one of the great sandwiches of the world? Her book is deceptively simple on the outside but bursting with layers of flavor and complexity within—just like the best banh mi. As always, Andrea puts mastery within the reach of any curious cook smart enough to take her advice.”
—Joe Yonan, author of Eat Your Vegetables

“ Brimming with information, inspiration, and smart advice, this is much more than a sandwich book. Andrea Nguyen once again demonstrates her commendable talent for writing recipes that deliver great tasting food and teach you to become a better cook.” 
—Molly Stevens, author of All About Roasting   

“ Andrea perfectly tells the story of how Vietnamese food culture was influenced by French colonials. Her simple recipes elevate very humble ingredients to heights you would not expect. I can’t wait to incorporate some of these ideas into our sandwich menu.”
—Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market

“Through these recipes, Andrea tells her life story. From childhood lunches of silky sausage on toasted baguettes to postmodern banh mi smeared with curried edamame pâté, she sketches the transformation of a sandwich, born of French and Chinese colonization and Vietnamese ingenuity, into a global culinary phenomenon.”
—John T. Edge, author of The Truck Food Cookbook

"Lots of tasty riffs on the meaty, pickly, crunchy, saucy, spicy Vietnamese sandwich."
Cooking Light, July 2014

"The banh mi sandwich is itself the product of many miles traveled: the crusty bread brought to Vietnam by French colonists, filled with all the bright, hot, fresh, meaty, intensely tasty elements of the local cuisine. This delicious cultural collision is the subject of "The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches" by Andrea Nguyen.  . . .  it's a master course in banh mi construction, from the bread to the pickles and condiments to every imaginable filling, whether it's pork meatballs or fried oysters or a lipsmacking citrus-marinated grilled chicken you're hankering for."
Wall Street Journal, June 2014

About the Author

ANDREA NGUYEN is a celebrated food writer and teacher whose work appears in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Saveur, where she is also a contributing editor. Her previous books, including Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings, and Asian Tofu, were highly acclaimed and nominated for James Beard and IACP cookbook awards. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
Visit www.vietworldkitchen.com for more.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160774533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607745334
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Behrendt on July 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful cookbook! The writing, photos, and organization are top-notch. Overall, working with the "Handbook" is like having a friend teaching and helping out in the kitchen. As noted in the first review, the book is about way more than just sandwiches - some history, family stories, the hunt for perfect bahn mi bread, and best of all, new ways of thinking about food. Ms Nguyen breaks down the delicious bahn mi sandwich into simple elements - crunch of the crust, softness of the crumb, a bit of fat, a umami blast, unctuous fillings, cool and crisp veggie toppings - in a way that I was able to carry over into my other cooking. I was thinking of her meatball bahn mi as I tweaked my usual spaghetti with meatballs recipe for dinner last night - adding finely chopped cilantro stems to the meat, coating the meatballs with panko, and a dash of anchovy paste to the sauce. I bring this up to show how this is a little book that makes one's culinary imagination take flight, as a great cookbook should.

More down-to-earth, Ms Nguyen also gives myriad little kitchen hints that I found immediately useful - how to keep cilantro and how to cut it to stay fresh, squeeze quick pickles after salting to get them crisp, how to refresh bread. Not to mention how many of her recipes can be simply transposed onto a bed of rice noodles or lettuce for a delicious meal. If you love to cook, then don't pass up this book!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of the author, following her lovely and delicious blog for some time. This book follows through on what I love about her work -- it's accessible for a home cook, the photography is delightful, the writing is clear, and I'm eager to get in the kitchen and try things out for me and my family.

This book features recipes for omnivores, meat-eaters, and vegetarians. Also, because of the way the book is structured, one could easily turn many of these sandwich fillings into main dishes for a non-sandwich meal. In my family, we eat a lot of rice, and I'll definitely be serving things like Crispy Drunken Chicken, Shrimp in Caramel Sauce, and Maggi Steaks with or without bread.

But the bread! She includes a recipe for banh mi rolls, but I haven't got to try it yet. When the weather cools down, I'll give it a try. It's written for a heavy-duty stand mixer, which I do not have, but Notes include instructions on how to work it by hand. Probably it would be a bit imposing for someone without a mixer or some bread-making experience; it is not, however, more complicated-looking than recipes I've done before, and it requires no special equipment beyond a spray bottle.

There is also a recipe for bao-like buns, or steamed bread, in the "alternative banh mi" chapter. That chapter also features a recipe for lettuce wraps and a salad, perfect for warmer weather meals.

Also included is a section on condiments, such as homemade mayo in several variations and some other sauces, and quick pickle recipes. They are refrigerator pickles and as such do not require any special canning techniques.

The section which may see the least use in my house is the one on cold cuts; this is not because the recipes look bad, however.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
‘The Banh Mi Handbook’ prepared by Andrea Nguyen is a book which will introduce reader to exciting world of Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, providing recipes for both vegetarians and those who like to eat everything.

Full of beautiful pictures, a book goes beyond delicious diet providing information about Vietnam history, family stories, the times when French ruled and cuisine which emerged as a combination of cultures and culinary habits compound.

Handbook is divided into following chapters:
- Banh Mi 101
- Bread
- Mayonnaise, sauces and pickles
- Cold cuts
- Chicken
- Seafood
- Pork and beef
- Vegetarian
- Alternative Banh Mi

Where this book especially shines is the variety of recipes that will take a lot of time until you make the same recipe again and due to numerous tips and tricks it’s written in a style which more resembles to a friend who is helping you in the kitchen than the book of recipes.

Though the book is mainly focused on sandwich preparation, there is no problem to turn these sandwich fillings into main dishes, therefore this is certainly not a book only for those who like variety of sandwiches. Still, for me the best part of the book was one discussing the bread buying and making Banh Mi bread.

Overall, Andrea Nguyen with her handbook managed to create a book that will seamlessly fit into every household providing the opportunity to enrich the cuisine with new and extremely tasty dishes.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Micaela Langevin on August 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am a fanatic for all types of asian food in the summer. Living in Oklahoma means we have all sorts of hot weather (hot and humid, hot and dry, hot and breezy, etc) and I find the copious amounts of vegetables and chilled noodles to be a better lunch for me during the summer. Considering at the height of the summer the sun doesn’t go down till I go to bed, I also eat asian food for dinner. Eating out every day is not a great financial option so I cook lots of it at home. Having a Vietnamese Super Store (Think Wal-mart full of stuff you can’t read/pronounce) nearby certainly helps me get the ingredients I need. All this boils down to “The Banh Mi Handbook” becoming a staple in my cookbooks.

Banh Mi

The book is nicely organized, with different categories for how to make different fillings and assemble them. Then the book goes one step further to actually give you recipes for everything! Imagine a burger cookbook that gives you instructions on how to make ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayonaise, basically all the toppings as well as the bread. That is exactly what this book does. It gives you directions for the baguettes, for alternative options for breading (Banh Mi Buns) and even has a section on how to make the pickles, sauces, and other toppings that make up the banh mi sandwich.

The recipes themselves are varied and contain some variations I’ve never heard of, which is exciting to me! “Shrimp in Caramel Sauce”, “Star Anise and Lemongrass Sloppy Joe”, and “Crispy Drunken Chicken” are on the top of my meal plan to make now. There are suggestions about what pickled vegetables and sauces to pair the protein with in the sandwich, and even little anecdotes about the author growing up that displays some fun insight into Vietnamese culture.
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