The Songs of Sapa: Stories and Recipes from Vietnam by Luke Nguyen

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Sauteed king prawns in coconut milk (Tôm kho nuóc dùa)

    • Delys77 on August 28, 2012

      Pg 325 Simple but very flavourful. The coconut milk lends the familiar flavour and texture that is common to SE Asain curries but since the other components of the sauce are restricted to fish sauce and some aromatics the experience is quite different. Umami, sweet, and rich, wihthout the heat one seems to be waiting for. Different in a very good way. I woudl suggest drecreasing the coconut milk a little since you aren't reducing it and the suggested amount yileds a little too much sauce.

  • Hoisin dipping sauce (Tuoʼng ngot)

    • Delys77 on April 15, 2012

      Pg. 330 I cut out the roasted nuts but added in a bit of crunchy peanut butter and it was fabulous.

    • joneshayley on March 22, 2019

      I was perturbed by the milk and hoisin combo but it worked beautifully! The nuts and chilli topping make this a very special sauce. As mentioned in the book this goes well with lemongrass beef.

  • Chicken cooked in ginger (Gà nâu gùʼng)

    • Delys77 on June 10, 2012

      Pg 257 This is great Asian comfort food! Perfect for a blustery winter night (despite the fact that I had it on a summer evening), or maybe when you have a cold (loads of ginger). The chicken is moist with a delicious hint of ginger and a just a bit of heat. The recipe also yields a nice broth so serving in a bowl with a bit of rice is ideal. The only draw back is that the recipe seems to indicate that you should eat the sliced ginger, which was a bit much for my palate. I would suggest tweaking the recipe a bit in the following ways: 1) double the pickled radish 2) decrease the ginger that is added to the stock in the second stage by about half and cut it into large enough chunks that you can remove it easily at the end 3) very slightly increase the chili 4) add an additional green onion. Otherwise this is a very good recipe.

    • joneshayley on March 23, 2019

      Another great chicken dish from this book! True comfort food, slightly spicy, warm and fresh. I halved the ginger in the second stage , which was plenty. Topped with chilli and spring onion this is great. The broth infused with the ginger is also fabulous over plain rice

  • Roasted pork spareribs (Suòʼn non quay)

    • Delys77 on June 17, 2013

      I didn't hack them into smaller pieces so they were a bit more challenging to eat, but the glaze/marinade is quite good. Cook on convection and watch very closely as mine weren't browning enough at the suggested heat on non convection setting. Also the ribs need to be moved around a bit as the larger ends of the rack were a little under done at 30 minutes.

  • Wok-tossed beef with winged beans (Bò xào dâu rông)

    • Delys77 on October 30, 2014

      Pg. 214 This was very good. I did double the the beef, garlic, shallot and onion, but went with the 300 grams of vegetables. I also couldn't find winged beans so I used a combination of snow peas and asparagus that worked very well. Lovely hit of umami with the savoury flavours of the all the allium.

  • Wok-tossed asparagus in garlic (Măng tây xào toi)

    • Delys77 on October 16, 2011

      pg 219 Overall this is a nice dish but I would suggest upping all the seasonings. Also if you are going to et with chopsticks slice the spears on a diagonal to make smaller pieces.

  • Stir-fried ginger chicken (Gà xào gùʼng)

    • Delys77 on October 16, 2011

      Pg 35 This is a great little stir fry. The relatively large amounts of fish sauce are very well balanced with the sweetness of the brown sugar. The ginger is mellowed by the cooking so don't worry about the amount. I did actually double the recipe to serve five as the amount he suggests would likely only serve 3.

    • Hellyloves2cook on April 15, 2012

      Made this prior to going to Vietnam. It was delicious! Doubled the amount to serve our family of 5. All the flavours were well balanced. Definitely one to do again!

    • KarinaFrancis on August 30, 2016

      A nice weeknight dish full of flavor. I also thought the ginger would be too much, but as Delys says, it mellows with the cooking. I got really lazy and stirred some noodles in rather than cook rice so it was a 1 wok dinner too. I'm planning on making this again and soon.

    • joneshayley on March 18, 2019

      Delicious chicken dish - the ginger mellows and the sauce is wonderful. I feared the fish sauce would be overpowering, but that proved untrue. Had as part of a Vietnamese feast, if making as a meal alone, it said this serves 2/3.

  • Hanoi chicken and vermicelli noodle soup (Bún thang Hà Nôi)

    • Delys77 on December 11, 2011

      This dish is savoury deliciousness. The shrimp paste and fish sauce give the broth a wonderful umami flavor that is not overpowering at all. I suggest you cut the herbs up in relatively small pieces and be careful to avoid the stems. Also the broth has to be piping hot as the rest of the ingredients are room temperature or cold. Served with a squeeze of lime as a final touch.

    • joneshayley on February 15, 2018

      Absolutely delightful. There are the light, delicate flavours of noodle, egg, chicken, bean sprouts, which are contrasted with the strong flavours of the herbs and chilli, and finally finished to a perfect balance with the umami rich broth.

  • Chargrilled lemongrass beef (Bò nuóʼng xa)

    • Delys77 on April 15, 2012

      Pg. 68 As is, this recipe is good but it could do with some more instruction and slight tweaking. Instruction-wise I would say you should broil closer to 7 minutes total and serve like a bahn mi with the meat in a baguette sandwich with the sauce and some pickled veggies. Tweaking-wise I would cut the fish sauce or shrimp paste by half, go with lemongrass paste and some cilantro as well as chili to up the flavour of the beef and cut back the disproportionate umami.

    • joneshayley on March 22, 2019

      We enjoyed these- though omitted the shrimp paste. The lemongrass and sesame flavours shone through and were complemented by the hoisin dipping sauce - served with toasted baguette and a bean sprout salad - the salad was heavy in herbs - coriander/ Thai basil/ mint which I think added to the overall flavour profile. Without that as a previous comment suggested the flavour might be unbalanced.

  • Chicken chargrilled with five-spice and turmeric (Gà nuóʼng ngũ vi huoʼng)

    • Delys77 on February 19, 2013

      Pg. 70 Very interesting but needs to be modified. Up the kaffir lime and the liquids a bit and add a bit of salt. Overall quite tasty and took about 5 minutes in the foreman.

  • Wok-tossed bean sprouts and garlic chives (Giá he xào)

    • Delys77 on November 20, 2011

      Pg 121 I suggest going with a bit more garlic Chive than suggested. Overall the flavour is simple but not bad. Ok as a side for a busy and flavourful meal but definitely not an outstanding dish.

  • Beef wok-tossed with betel leaves (Bò xào lá lôt)

    • Delys77 on November 08, 2011

      I must admit I tweaked this recipe a bit as I couldn't find betel. I used about 4 oz of Thai basil which is significantly less than the betel because the basil is more pungent. It was a great combo yielding great stir fry flavour. Unless you hve several other dishes this really just serves two but be careful about doubling though since your beef may boiled steam if it is too crowded. I would also suggest increasing the amount of sauce, but majored sure you retain the same alance as it is a nice little sauce.

  • Din Daeng fish cakes (Cha cá Din Daeng)

    • Delys77 on November 14, 2014

      Pg. 144 These were delicious. Made them with barramundi and the flavour combination worked a treat. You do have to make sure you really get those lime leaves super finely chopped, and perhaps go with no more than 4. They could easily be enjoyed on their own or in the lettuce wraps as stated. I would also add a touch of minced green onion greens to the lettuce wraps. Also, this preparation results in a very non fishy meal, which for us is always a plus since we are sensitive to strong fish flavours.

  • Chargrilled chicken in shrimp paste (Gà nuóʼng măm ruôc)

    • Delys77 on November 01, 2011

      I broiled for about 9 minutes and it could have done with another minute to get a better crust. Also I would cut the shrimp paste to 2 tsp and maybe add a little sriracha. Overall a nice dish with good flavour that comes together quite easily. Make sure you allow the time to marinate for at least two hours.

  • Tamarind beef and cucumber salad (Bò thâu me dua leo)

    • kmattingly on June 12, 2012

      Very easy to make, tasty and refreshing salad

  • Caramelised pork with sweet pineapple (Thit kho khóm)

    • KarinaFrancis on January 05, 2018

      I quite liked this and he doesn’t lie when he says the sauce is delicious, it really is. Makes a good weeknight dish too. It really only needs 30 mins to marinade because of all the sugar, I left it a few hours which might have been too long, I’d also add the pineapple in the last few minutes so they keep their acidity and brightness to contrast with the pork.

  • Cho Lon's lemongrass chilli chicken (Gà xào xa ót Cho Lóʼn)

    • KarinaFrancis on November 16, 2014

      A quick and easy dish, and very delicious. I love any of Luke's recipes using young coconut juice and this is no exception. The lemongrass flavour was subtle, next time I will use 2 stalks

    • joneshayley on March 23, 2019

      Beautiful recipe. The coconut water and lemongrass meld to create a subtle and delicious coating that infuses the chicken. Combined with being delicious, this is easy to make and quick. One of my favourites from this book.

  • Beef and kohlrabi salad (Goi bò su hào)

    • KarinaFrancis on November 16, 2019

      I’ve only just discovered kohlrabi and found this recipe (thanks EYB). It’s a delicious, crunchy, fresh salad. I didn't read the detail and didn’t have an hour to marinate the veg, but they still turned out beautifully with about 1/2 hr. A repeat recipe for sure but might be a bit much for a weeknight.

  • Choko stir-fried with school prawns (Trái su xào tép)

    • RogerP on July 22, 2021

      Choko = chayote, a summer squash

  • Chargrilled pork patties with vermicelli salad (Bún cha)

    • joneshayley on March 19, 2019

      Brilliant recipe. The contrast of the cold noodles and bean sprouts, hot patties and warm dipping sauce is perfect. The balance of both texture and flavour is perfect. Wonderful meal. As a stand-alone meal serves 3/4 ( makes about 18 patties)

  • Steamed rice noodles filled with pork and wood ear mushrooms (Bánh cuôn)

    • joneshayley on March 18, 2019

      The noodles aren’t easy, and I couldn’t get mine half as presentable as in the book- but they were delicious and full of complex balanced flavours. We loved them.

  • Happy Hue pancake (Bánh khoái)

    • Cattyb on November 17, 2015

      Made a weird but delicious fusion Okonomiyaki and Vietnamese pancake using 2 cups of rice flour, a tin of coconut milk, 6 eggs and some water to thin down the batter. Served these with a cabbage, green bean, eggplant, zucchini and capsicum stir fry with the addition of some left-over slow-cooked pork. Added soy sauce (gluten free) and a quarter of a chilli and some grated ginger. Keith and I added some quick just-fried mushrooms to ours. (Helen being on the Low Fodmap diet. Served with more soya, mayo and Vietnamese mint leaves. Delicious. Ring some changes? Add think sliced chilli to the pancake mix or grated turmeric or soaked wakame. Serve with chicken, rather than pork, or as a completely vegetarian meal. Serve with fresh beansprouts.

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  • ISBN 10 1741964652
  • ISBN 13 9781741964653
  • Published Oct 01 2009
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries Australia
  • Publisher Murdoch Books
  • Imprint Murdoch Books

Publishers Text

Luke Nguyen, of Secrets of the Red Lantern fame, is going home. Travelling on a personal and culinary tour through Vietnam, Luke visits his family and friends, and is invited into the homes of local Vietnamese food experts and cooks, to learn more about one of the richest, most diverse cuisines in the world. Be tempted by more than 100 regional and family recipes and vibrant, stunning photographs bursting with colour and texture, capturing the beauty of Vietnam, her people and their deep connection to food.

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