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The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches Hardcover – July 8, 2014
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One of NPR's Best Cookbooks of 2014
“ 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 an author, teacher, and consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born in Vietman, she came to the United States at the age of six. She has written a number of acclaimed cookbooks, including Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Asian Dumplings, and The Banh Mi Handbook. Her food writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Cooking Light, Lucky Peach, Saveur, and Rodale’s Organic Life, where she is a contributing editor. Vist her at VietWorldKitchen.com.
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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!
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. To me they look amazing, and I'll be trying some of the sausages...but I'm probably the only one in the house who would love the pâté with chicken or pork, let alone the headcheese terrine. I'll probably make them anyway, at least once, since I'm the cook; if I'm lucky, my housemates will enjoy them too. People with more adventurous families or housemates may get more mileage out of them. (I slightly envy them.)
All in all, this is a cookbook I'm happy to have added to my collection, and I'm looking forward to adding its contents to my regular cooking rotation.
The book's production values are top notch also. I strongly prefer to use cookbooks that feature excellent photography and high-grade paper, and this one does not disappoint.
I have purchased extras of this volume to give to friends who also enjoy exploring new foods. What a homerun.