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Quick & Easy Vietnamese: 75 Everyday Recipes Paperback – November 10, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This snappy workhorse of a cookbook reveals the blend of tropical ingredients, delicate seasonings and French colonial influences that distinguish Vietnamese cooking and offers recipes easy enough to integrate into one's standard recipe roster. McDermott (Quick & Easy Thai) begins with a primer on elements of Vietnamese cuisine: "Contrasts prevail," "soup is a mainstay" and "[m]eat often stands alone, minimally seasoned." She then reviews the cuisine's central herbs (Asian basil, cilantro), starches (rice noodles, rice paper wrappers) and other foundations (chili-garlic sauce, coconut milk). Throughout, McDermott delivers the history and food information with a sureness indicative of the years she has spent in southeast Asia. Among the book's many notable dishes are Shaking Beef with Purple Onions and Watercress; Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce; Cha Ca Fish with Fresh Dill, Hanoi Style; and, for dessert, Sweet Coconut Ribbons, and Crème Caramel, which, McDermott explains, was adopted by the Vietnamese, who had long enjoyed their own version of steamed custard before the French arrived. Stunning color photographs by Caren Alpert illustrate the distinctiveness of Vietnamese cuisine. (Jan.)
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Review

"This snappy workhorse of a cookbook reveals the blend of tropical ingredients, delicate seasonings and French colonial influences that distinguish Vietnamese cooking and offers recipes easy enough to integrate into one's standard recipe roster. McDermott (Quick & Easy Thai ) begins with a primer on elements of Vietnamese cuisine: "Contrasts prevail," "soup is a mainstay" and "[m]eat often stands alone, minimally seasoned." She then revieweds the cuisine's central herbs (Asian basil, cilantro), starches (rice noodles, rice paper wrappers) and other foundations (chili-garlic sauce, coconut milk). Throughout, McDermott delivers the history and food information with a sureness indicative of the years she has spent in southeast Asia. Among the book's many notable dishes are Shaking Beef with Purple Onions and Watercress; Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce; Cha Ca Fish with Fresh Dill, Hanoi Style; and, for dessert, Sweet Coconut Ribbons, and Crme Caramel, which, McDermott explains, was adopted by the Vietnamese, who had long enjoyed their own version of steamed custard before the French arrived. Stunning color photographs by Caren Alpert illustrate the distinctiveness of Vietnamese cuisine. " -Publisher's Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (November 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081184434X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811844345
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathy Khuu on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though I grew up in the states, my family is of Vietnamese descent and I travelled (and ate) my way through Vietnam, especially Hanoi. This book was my first attempt at making Vietnamese food at home and boy am I impressed at how AUTHENTIC it is to what I ate in Vietnam and in local Vietnamese restaurants. I'll think twice about eating out now that I know how easy it is to make at home.
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Format: Paperback
I love Vietnamese cuisine, and this book allows me to easily incorporate it into my everyday diet. The ingredients are easy to find in chain grocery stores and I can use ingredients I buy in multiple recipes, making the book economical. I recommend preparing your own chicken stock (have it on hand in freezer). It improves the taste of the recipes. I grow my own Vietnamese herbs in the summer, and the book will give me lots of opportunity to use them on the fly. I have also lost a little weight cooking from this book because the dishes are flavorful (be sure to use the Everyday Dipping Sauce) and healthy, and replaced microwaved and canned meals. Many books may be more in-depth, and not every dish is absolutely fantastic, but if you need something for the busy weekdays, this is a good choice.
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Let me first say that the bar was set very high: McDermott's Quick and Easy Thai is a masterpiece.

These recipes are also delicious, and the ones I've tried have been easy. However, they're not nearly as quick and easy as the ones in the Thai book.

What makes them not so quick? In a word, ingredients. Most recipe has lots of them, so there's a lot of measuring/chopping going on before you cook.

Also, if you're a European American like me, you don't have these ingredients lying around, so a trip to an Asian market is a necessity, at least to stock up in the beginning.

But don't let this deter you! Make fish sauce and lemon grass part of your standard staples, and McDermott does have an excellent section on ingredients, how to find them, and which are most important.

The recipes also have notes on what to do if you can't find something: suggestions for substitutions or just leaving things out (though again, not as many as the Thai book.) These recipes are delicious and have complex flavors, so even if you leave something out it'll still be good.

So to sum up, this is a great cookbook, but if you want to enter the world of SE Asian cooking, go with McDermott's Quick and Easy Thai first.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a working mom who wants to eat better, cook more, and lose some weight. My husband and I spend way too much money dining out, and we don't really know what we're eating. I wanted to find some cookbooks that could help us cook at home more often without sacrificing flavor. We love Asian food, but I've always been intimidated by the idea of cooking it, and a lot of the ready made mixes taste more 'American' than Asian.

I researched this book pretty heavily through user reviews, and using Amazon's Look Inside feature to really verify whether I'd be likely to actually cook the dishes. The recipes are pretty simple! As long as you have access to things like lemongrass and fish oil, which near me in California is sold at every major grocery store, anyone could make these recipes. They only have a few ingredients, and don't require difficult technique. You may not have all the ingredients in your fridge, but once you acquire the right supplies these are easy recipes.

Tip: At several supermarkets near me you can buy tubes of lemongrass paste (sort of like pre-chopped garlic) in the herbs section. For those of us who don't know a lot about preparing or selecting lemongrass, this is an easy cheat that can help make these dishes even more approachable!
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The Good:
I use this cookbook all the time, and every dish I've made from it has turned out great. Several have become family favorites: "Big, Cool Noodle Bowl with Roast Chicken, Cucumbers, and Fresh Mint" (p. 133), "Shrimp Fried Rice" (p. 122), and "Crab and Asparagus Soup" (p. 50) to name a few.
The recipes are clear and easy to follow.
The photographs are plentiful and accurately portray the dishes.
It's a small thing, but the flaps on the front and back covers are very helpful since I usually make more than one dish from this cookbook at a time, and it saves me flipping back and forth.

The Bad:
There are a few recipes I haven't been able to try yet because I can't find the ingredients. Note: this is my own fault--I'm an American living in Germany and I just haven't taken the time & effort to translate the names of the ingredients and go to a local Asian grocery.

The Verdict:
I like this cookbook so much I got one for my adult children, who also use it.
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By Najah on April 29, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This recipes are very easy to follow, especially for beginners. Some of the ingredients are not something that I could find in my local grocery store, so you may have to go to an Asian market. Spring rolls are easy to make and very delicious. This book made making food from other cultures less intimidating and more enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great fundamental vietnamese food cookbook. I received this as a present because I love to eat Vietnamese food but never took the time to learn how to cook it from my mom.
Now that I no longer live in an area with a big vietnamese community, I'm finding it more and more necessary to cook the food myself so that I get my fix.
What I love about this cookbook:
nancie mcdermott keeps things very simple
the flavors are right on
simple cooking techniques
short ingredient lists
pictures! (you need to know what it's supposed to look like, right?)

Basically, I have three beefs with cookbooks: 1) extremely long or hard to find ingredient lists, which is overwhelming, 2) the outcome that, in spite of buying all the ingredients and putting in the effort, the food still tastes bad, and 3) food that uses a lot of obscure techniques or a lot of pots and pans.

Nancie Mcdermott rocks for realizing all of this and honestly, yes, the recipes are pretty good! You can tell she has eaten a lot of vietnamese food, and a lot of the recipes are one pot meals, healthy, and also list ways to use leftovers, so that you don't buy something for one dish and then have no idea what to do with it afterwards (another pet peeve of mine). You can tell she has run many a kitchen and is creative with leftovers.

oh yeah, another reason this cookbook is great - she really tries to help you figure out the vietnamese name of what you're cooking, and the index has a list of dishes by the letter it starts with in vietnamese as well as t in english. just in case you want to test your cooking against a restaurant's (trust me, your stir-fry, with nancie's help, is probably fresher)

Until I get to eat my mom's vietnamese, I am sticking with nancie mcdermott.
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