Recipes & Photos for 'Indochine' Vietnamese Dinner

by Celeste Heiter, Jun 27, 2005 | Destinations: Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh City

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup nuoc mam (nam pla) Asian fish sauce
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 small fresh chili pepper, finely diced, seeds and membranes removed

Mix all ingredients together and allow to stand for 1 hour (or overnight in the refrigerator) to marry flavors.

Crab Filled Summer Rolls

1 cup lump crabmeat
1 carrot, matchstick julienne
1 cucumber, peel & julienne
24 mint leaves, finely cut
18 baby lettuce leaves
6 large rice paper wrappers

Divide the shrimp, carrots, cucumbers and mint into six equal portions.

Fill a large shallow dish with about ½ inch of lukewarm water and soak the rice paper wrappers one at a time until they are soft and flexible. Gently lift the wrapper out of the water, and hold it over the dish to drain off excess water.

Lay the wrapper on a clean plate. Place three baby lettuce leaves horizontally across the center. Distribute and arrange one portion of the crab, carrots, cucumbers and mint horizontally on top of the lettuce. Fold the wrapper upwards to cover the filling. Fold the left and right sides inward toward the center, and snugly roll the wrapper and filling toward the upper edge. The rice paper wrapper will stick to itself to form a sealed roll. Try to roll as tightly as possible, taking care not to tear the wrapper.

Repeat the process for the other wrappers. With a sharp knife, cut each roll in half at a diagonal angle. Arrange on an attractive serving dish, garnish with mint leaves and serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce.

Beef Skewers with Lime Dipping Sauce

2 pounds tender beef (tri-tip,sirloin, filet mignon) cut into bite-sized pieces
12 bamboo skewers


1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Lime Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Mix marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add beef and marinate for 1 hour. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and allow to stand for 1 hour to marry flavors. Thread the beef chunks onto the bamboo skewers. (Once assembled, I like to cut each each skewer in half with garden shears for more attractive and manageable portions.) Grill to desired doneness, about 2-3 minutes per side. Beef skewers may also be roasted on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Check for desired doneness. Serve with Lime Dipping Sauce.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails intact
1/4 cup butter, melted
12 bamboo skewers

Wash, peel and devein shrimp. Thread onto bamboo skewers. (Once assembled, I like to cut each each skewer in half with garden shears for more manageable and attractive portions.) Brush with melted butter and grill until shrimp turns pink, translucent and tender, about 2-3 minutes per side. Shrimp may also be sauteed or baked in the oven. Serve with Lime Dipping Sauce.

Vietnamese Salt Pickles

3 tbsp coarse salt
2 carrots, cut into 1/4" half-round pieces
1 3" piece daikon radish, cut into 1/4" half-round pieces
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4" half-round pieces
1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Wash and trim carrots, daikon, and cucumber. Halve cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut all vegetables into 1/4" half-round slices and place in a colander over a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss gently and allow to stand for about 1 hour, until tender. Rinse away all salt, drain thoroughly and place in a container with tight-fitting lid. Add rice vinegar, and sugar. Shake to coat and blend. Allow vegetables to marinate overnight, shaking the container occasionally to ensure that all vegetables are uniformly marinated. When ready to serve, strain off the liquid and place in an attractive serving dish.

Lemongrass Chicken Soup

8 cups water
1 large chicken breast, skin & bones intact
1 stalk celery, cut into large pieces
1 carrot, cut into large pieces
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into large pieces and lightly crushed
1 chili pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 cup jasmine rice
1 lime

Place all ingredients except rice and lime in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour. Remove chicken breast and allow to cool. Strain all vegetables from the pot, leaving a clear broth. Add rice and simmer for 1 hour. Remove skin from chicken breast, remove meat from the bones and shread into small pieces. Add shredded chicken to broth and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Golden Fish Nugget Salad with Mango Salsa


1 package mixed baby greens, or one head leafy lettuce, washed, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces. Toss with Sesame Vinaigrette immediately before serving.

Sesame Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously and allow to stand for 1 hour to marry flavors.

Mango Salsa

2 ripe mangos, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small chili pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly and allow to stand in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Golden Fish Nuggets

8 ounces firm white fish filet, cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp turmeric
½ cup flour
Cooking oil
2 limes, cut into wedges

Thoroughly mix the flour and turmeric and place in a plastic bag or small lidded container. Add the cubes of fish and shake gently to coat. Fill the bottom of a small sauté pan with about ¼" of cooking oil. Heat the oil over medium heat and fry the coated fish cubes until lightly golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil and set aside to cool.

To compose the salad, toss the greens in salad dressing and arrange in a ring around the outer edge of a large dinner plate. Place a mound of mango salsa in the center and top with the fish nuggets. Serve with lime wedges.

Stuffed Crabs

1 cup lump crabmeat
2 cups french bread cut into cubes
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 limes, cut into wedges
4 cleaned crab shells or individual baking dishes

Place the oil in a small pan and lightly stir-fry the diced onion, peppers and garlic until just tender. Allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, sauteed vegetables, crab meat, salt and egg. Gently toss to blend. If the stuffing mix seems too dry, add a little water a teaspoon at a time until it feels moist but not soggy. Divide stuffing into four equal portions and fill the crab shells or baking dishes. Be careful not to pack them too tightly. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Noodles with Shrimp

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
2 scallions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, finely grated
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
4 portions thin wheat noodles (ramen, angel hair, etc.), boiled and drained

Heat the sesame oil in a wok, add garlic, ginger, scallion and shrimp, and stir-fry until shrimp is pink, translucent and tender. Add noodles and nuoc mam. Toss to coat and continue stir-frying until noodles are heated, taking care not to overcook. Serve immediately.

Asian Stir Fry Medley

3 baby bok choy, root end removed and separated into individual leaves
1 carrot, julienne
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
8 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup each red and green bell peppers, coarsly chopped
3 tablespoons nam pla (Asian fish sauce)
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Place the prepared vegetables in a steamer kettle and steam for 3-5 minutes until almost done, but still slightly crisp. Uncover and transfer to a cool wok, toss with nam pla and sesame oil and set aside. Just before serving, finish cooking the vegetables over high heat for about 2 minutes, until just tender.

Coconut Creme Caramel


3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 can unsweetened coconut milk

Whisk together eggs and sugar. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth. Set aside until time to assemble custard cups.

Sugar Glaze

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over a medium flame, swirling the pan gently every few minutes until the mixture becomes a clear, bubbly syrup. DO NOT STIR. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and boil the syrup for two minutes. Remove the lid and continuing boiling, swirling the mixture every few minutes until it becomes golden brown. Sugar can go from boiling to burning very quickly, so be careful not to overcook the syrup.

When the syrup is the desired color, pour a little into each 4 ounce custard cup, swirling immediately to fully coat the bottom of the cup before it hardens. Fill each cup to just below the rim with the custard mixture. Custard needs to bake in a water bath to keep it from overcooking or setting too quickly, so the custard cups should be placed in a large baking dish with about 1" of water. Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes, or until custard is lightly set.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the water bath. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, fill a shallow bowl with about an inch of hot water and soak each custard cup for one minute to help release the sugar glaze from the bottom. Carefully run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen the custard and carefully turn the custard onto a serving dish. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately.