Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan introduces us to the bold, spicy, and fresh flavors of traditional Vietnamese food. The book’s Pinterest board captures some of the energy and inspiration behind the book, but one ingredient that is essential to Vietnamese cuisine is lemongrass. In the Vietnamese Home Cooking book trailer (see above), Charles Phan, also the chef/owner of San Francisco’s Slanted Door restaurant, says lemongrass adds wonderful fragrance and texture to dishes like his Lemongrass Pork and Caramelized Lemongrass Shrimp.
Vietnamese Home Cooking Pinterest Board
When shopping for lemongrass, Charles explains:
“One of the defining flavors of Vietnamese cooking, lemongrass has an intense lemony smell and taste. The woody, fibrous brown stalks are sold fresh, in bundles, at Asian grocery stores and in many supermarkets. Choose stalks that are about ½ inch in diameter and bend easily; avoid those that seem dry, an indication that they are old. Avoid dried lemongrass, which is flavorless.”
Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi from Vietnamese Home Cooking
For tips on chopping lemongrass, the recipe for Lemongrass Pork, and suggestions for assembling the perfect Banh Mi sandwich (pictured above), see the excerpt below: