Vietnamese Food Any Day | Andrea Nguyen | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] ANDREA NGUYEN: Thank you so much SCOT GIAMBASTINI: Welcome, great to have you [APPLAUSE] ANDREA NGUYEN: It’s always really great to be back on the Google campuses and working in the teaching kitchen and working with my friends, like Dede Sampson and Laura Braley and also, new friends, like Nick Madden here And so what we’re going to do is march through some really great recipes and ideas and techniques that I want you to keep in your back pocket, essentially It’s fun, because this is the Google Cloud campus, right? I saw a lot of cloud stuff So, like I want you to keep these ideas in the cloud of your mind, because I think that the thing about the name of the book, “Vietnamese Food Any Day,” is that I want to provide you– equipped you with information and ideas that allow you to make Vietnamese food any time you want The book is not called “Vietnamese Food Every Day.” That’s a lie I do not eat Vietnamese food every day But I want to be able to show you how you can make it any time you want So the deal with this book is that you can make great Vietnamese food from ingredients that are easily accessible within your fingertips at your regular grocery store at Farmer’s Market You don’t need to go to an Asian market, unless you want to But sometimes with busy lives, it’s sort of a pain in the butt to, like, negotiate the aisles and all the different kinds of brands and different labeling and everything and even different languages And so when my family came here in 1975, there was no fish sauce, no rice paper, no rice noodles in our American supermarkets But now there is So it allows me– I’ve been waiting to write this book for a number of years to make this food And also, Vietnamese food is extremely popular in America these days for good reasons, because it is extremely easy to prepare And so the first thing we’re going to do– and I want you to keep this in your back pocket– is this pickle I call it the Viet any day pickle, because this is the go-to pickle that you would use to make, say, Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches I keep this stuff in my pantry, because it can turn any dish into a Viet-ish dish, because it has, like, the colors, the textures, and the flavors You’re going to be able to, like, put it into a sandwich if you’d like So what I’m going to do is, typically, traditionally, it was made with a daikon and a carrot If you like daikon radish, and when you’re shopping at Farmer’s Market or a regular market– any kind of market for them– you want one that is approximately the average size and length of a woman’s forearm, OK? And you want it kind of smooth and soft And the reason being is that that is a sign that the daikon has not struggled too much So when you cut into it, it’s not going to be bitter You want a little bit of that funk I know a lot of Vietnamese sandwich shops have this pickle made with carrot only But it’s just not as exciting And if you can’t get the daikon, because sometimes it can be difficult. You can use a watermelon radish, like this one And in the recipe in the book, you’ll also see that I say, you can use a regular radish if you want And then for some reason, you don’t like the radish funk, then you can go ahead and use all carrots But the carrot just isn’t as exciting You want that little kind of like, mm and heat that comes with radish So go ahead and peel them And you want like a couple of them And I’m just going to show you, the beauty of this radish is that it’s a Chinese radish And it has this beautiful coloration on the inside And here at Google, they have all this awesome produce And this is the season It’s like a cold weather thing So in the spring, you’re going to find these at your regular supermarkets and farmers markets And the beauty of this particular radish is that it will turn the pickle into like, a fuchsia orange color And it still has that funk All right, so– it’s just some basic knife skills When you’re chopping anything that’s kind of round, make sure you cut a cheek off so that you can keep it down so they can tell it who’s boss None of this, like, I’m going to– well, because people think that manipulating food is like, you’re letting the food manipulate you No, you are manipulating food So you’re cutting pieces that are roughly

the size of an average chopstick I don’t use the word julienne It’s a French word We’re Americans We know what matchsticks are, more or less We know what the size of a bean sprout is I grew up not knowing what terms, like julienne were And I did just fine And so in a lot of Asian cooking, matchsticks are the term that you’ll see But unfortunately nowadays, you don’t see matchsticks very often But I use the term, because I think that it allows you to imagine what something should look like and the size So you’re going to cut these pieces like so And when you get to the carrot part, you want the carrot to be a little bit smaller than the radish The reason being is that the carrot– you don’t have as much of it It’s like a one to two ratio of carrot to radish So you want something that is a little bit smaller so that the ingredients will go ahead, and they will commingle nicely And it’s a textural to color thing That’s what a lot of the food is about And so once that you remember that, it allows you to really understand sort of like a mnemonic– kind of I get a one pound icon Then I’m just going to– once I trim all that, I want a carrot that’s a little bit small, like half that size visually And then I’m going to cut it smaller so that you’ll get the combination of colors and textures that you want So then, like, the other thing that I do is, you’ll see in the recipe that I add a little bit of sugar and salt And then I ask you to massage it And the reason for massaging it is you want to take some of the moisture out of the vegetable When you pickle, you want to remove some of that moisture so then it’s sort of then a little sponge And you’re going to hit it with your brine And once you hit it with your brine, then you’re going to allow the vegetable to suck it up When you eat a pickle, and it’s kind of like, it’s just not picking up the flavor of the brine, it just tastes like a vegetable that’s been marinated, then they haven’t really removed the moisture from the vegetable And that’s why you’ll see, like traditional pickling recipes, you’ll see that like, cucumbers and other kind of– you make, like a cucumber pickle or even kimchi You’re like, throwing salt on it And I use salt and sugar, because sugar allows the vegetable to retain a certain level of crispness So while I’m talking to you right now, this massaging thing has allowed the vegetables to get very wet So they’re kind of like, weeping and like, releasing their natural liquids And when I’m making a huge amount of the pickle, which I’ve done in previous engagements, I just let it sit there, because I’m not going to massage, like, say, 10 times this quantity I’m just going to hit it with my ingredients and my salt and my sugar And then I’m just going to walk away I’m basically cooking while I’m sleeping or something like that or texting or whatever else And in the recipe, it’ll say, you can either massage this for three minutes, or you can just let it sit for 20 And then once that it gets to a certain point where you can take a piece of daikon or carrot and bend it This is my little test for you So a lot of my recipes I’m going to show you little tiny cues– visual tactile flavor of cues that you know when you’re done Because once you go into your kitchen and cook up any recipe, it will be completely different than the experience of the actual recipe tester or recipe writer experience I try to cram in as much information as possible so that you’ll have a sense of how to be a good cook And I also know that people change recipes too I don’t expect people to follow recipes I don’t always follow my own recipe And my husband calls me on it But first time out, remember to follow the recipe and then see how you like it and then tweak it So I just put a little water in here, so pretend that you just are still at your sink And then we’ll just pour this through You want to retain some of the flavor of the vegetables and give it a little pressing

Depending on your strainer, yeah, you really want to put as much of the water out of there as possible This will seem like a strangely small quantity But for the magic of television or YouTubing, we’re just going to do a small quantity so that you get a sense of what’s going to happen, because, essentially, it’s sort of like the difference between pants and shorts You’re just going to do it a little bit It just takes a little bit more time and fabric to create a pair of pants than a pair of shorts Similarly a small batch like this, you can imagine what it would be like if I were to do a full batch And so with the brine, it’s merely combining sugar, water, and distilled white vinegar I don’t use fancy vinegars, because fancy vinegars, like champagne vinegars are not what Vietnamese cooks use And rice vinegars is a little pricey And the flavor is not often as bright as distilled white And so there’s about like, half a cup of sugar And then here’s the vinegar And then here’s the water And sometimes you can combine all of these things and simply stir them together if your water is warm And it’ll just dilute everything And if you’re in a hurry, you can put it in a pan and then kind of bring it to a simmer just so that you’re heating up all of the ingredients to allow them to dilute So when I use distilled vinegar, I use Heinz And I’m not like, plugging them and not like, being sponsored by them or anything But it just has a really brighter and slightly more acidic flavor than other distilled vinegars So when you are making this food at home, taste the brine is what you want to do Taste anything that you haven’t put, like raw meat into I mean, that’s what I do when I’m formulating my recipes I taste my marinades before I throw my raw ingredients in there And we don’t always tell people that in recipe writing or cookbook writing or just like, just taste it, because, again, your ingredients are going to be a little bit different than mine And when you are making this pickle in advance, can keep it in the fridge for like a whole month And then you can pull it out and drain it to make your dishes with And so once that we get there, we just pour it over Sometimes you may have extra pickling brine And then you can use it for another batch The result– and this was made– Dede, how long was this made? Maybe like– DEDE SAMPSON: Monday ANDREA NGUYEN: Monday? So you’re seeing what has happened in, say, like, 18 hours So the color has changed And it will continue to become a rosier pink color And it’s very, very pretty If you use a red radish, you don’t have to peel the radish itself You can just kind of slicing You’ll see my instructions in there And it’s like bright future See how I create, like these gorgeous, gorgeous colors and textures and flavors for your food So once you have that, and you keeping your fridge, it gets kind of funky over time So when you open up the jar, it sometimes has a very kind of like, oh, I’m daikon, and I’m kind of stinky Just open it up and walk away and let it release itself [LAUGHS] Let it express itself And then you can go ahead and then use it and drain it I say these things, cause like, my recipe testers– I’ve got kind of complaint Oh, god, can they eat that? Because what if it’s gone bad? Don’t worry about it Just open up It’s just a vegetable SCOTT GIAMBASTINI: Quick question on the daikon or on the radish Do you need to peel them? Is that a personal preference? ANDREA NGUYEN: Yeah I like to peel them I like to peel them, because the skin is a different texture Some people don’t like to peel them And that’s fine by me I’ve had recipe testers, just like, I don’t want to peel it for like, no waste cooking issues which is fine If you decide to not peel, scrub, I use a really great, like, harsh vegetable brush, cause you want to like, kind of– you want to get the stuff– the crud out And then also, I think for me, it kind of scrapes the skin a little bit So it allows flavors to come in And then after you have pickle ready, that’s awesome And then I think we’re going to have a little bit of time to– well, you know what– let’s do this Let’s make the foundational nuoc cham dipping sauce,

because with that pickle and with the dipping sauce, you’ve got two things in your back pocket that allows you to make Vietnamese food, like turn anything [? Viet-glitchish. ?] So what we have going on there– and I know a lot of recipes that have been written in English tell you to just throw everything into a container, like into a jar, and then just like, go to town with it, and it’s over The problem with that is twofold Number one– if any of you have ever made margaritas– and how many of you like to drink margaritas, you know that limes differ in terms of flavor Sometimes they’re extremely bitter And so if I were to just tell you to like, go ahead and throw your lime juice and your sugar and water together and fish sauce and hope for the best? Oh, my goodness And what if it tastes awful? I was kind of made to prepare sauces for my family since I was really young And so I was always, like judged by, like six other people who are older, because I was like the youngest in my family, right? So my mom was like, hey, there’s the kid– just let her do, like, the hard stuff And there’s not, like cooking involved with the stirring and like your taste buds So what I just did right now is, I just leaned on the lines and gave it a little rub So it’s crushing the insides The other thing that what you want to do when you’re buying limes, and Dede and her team is really great– buy ones that have smooth skin– like my husband’s bald head or Kojak No, I mean, this is like a positive thing, because if the limes have like a really thick skin, it’s going to be dry on the inside So really, you want juicy ones, because guess what– it costs the same as one that is not so juicy So you can use a citrus reamer– a wooden one You can use a press, or you can also just grab a fork and go ahead and juice your limes in here And what the beauty of using a fork or a citrus reamer, which is one of those wooden things that are pointy and have, like a lot of textures is that you get pulp And the pulp adds body to the sauce If you’re using a press, like what you would see a bartender using a lot of times, then you’re going to get a little bit stronger of a flavor in the finish, because you’re getting more juice and not as much pulp when you’re measuring your ingredients This is what happens when you’re trying to squeeze lime into a small jar– just like don’t do it, because I thought I was trying to be, like really cute here You want to do it into– cause I was like, oh, DeDe set up this really beautiful jar for me Do it into a little cup or a bowl [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: It’s already that ANDREA NGUYEN: It’s all right That’s all right Thank you Thank you very much [COUGHS] I give up This is what happens you’re not cooking your home kitchen But it’s just food I mess up so many times And I’m always cooking in different kitchens I’m cooking on different stoves And so even, like when I’ve been to different parts of the country– I was in Minneapolis where the limes are literally, like 2 and 1/2 times this size And I went to the grocery store And I said, what is up with your limes, because they were like the size of small oranges And they said, oh, well, this is all we get We get them from wherever And like, we choose the bigger ones And I said, that totally screws up like my visual thing when I’m doing videos and stuff And they’re like, well, that’s all we have And I chose like the smallest ones possible But anyway, so here, you’ve got your lime juice And you’re looking about three tablespoons there– two, three tablespoons And then you’re going to add your sugar If you don’t want to eat sugar, use maple syrup, which is what I have in the recipe And it’s a really, really nice way a to avoid refined sugar So I can use this And I need about half a cup of water And what I’m doing first is, I am creating a limeade And when you’re measuring liquids, make sure that you’re measuring it, so like there is this part that goes down like this

This is called the meniscus that that meniscus is where you want to measure So it’s not so important in this But it is important when you are, say, making doughs and stuff So the reason why I’m making a limeade first is, this is where I’m going to test my lime juice, OK And so because, again, lime juice differs And if I’ve got a bitter one today, or somehow, there’s just like that little bit of edge, I’m going to round it out And I’m going to fix it with, strangely, unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar I just named off three things for you unseasoned– Japanese rice vinegar Unseasoned so not the stuff that’s like, got salt in it that they say, oh, you can like, boost your sushi rice prowess if you use this stuff Why, like use something that is already seasoned, because you cannot control the flavor of it? Use unseasoned Use Japanese rice vinegar, because it just has a beautiful flavor compared to other rice vinegars And then rice vinegar instead of distilled or champagne– whatever else– because it really, like, has this round tartness So kind of gives this a taste [CHEWING] Let’s see– going to add a little bit of this– a little bit more water, cause I was talking And so my lime juice got out of hand And some people also just like tart And so I’m going to just keep tasting this until I get that limeade that I like Some people can also use honey [CHEWING] OK, that’s good And if you are a vegetarian, in the book, “Vietnamese Food Any Day” has a vegetarian option too where you’re going to use brown sugar, lime juice, water, sea salt, and a hint of soy sauce You can’t swap out soy sauce with fish sauce, because soy sauce is dark And you’ll end up with a very dark sauce that will not say, I’m nuoc cham, but I’m vegetarian It’ll just say, I’m a dark diluted soy sauce [LAUGHS] And part making foods like this is to say that it’s visually replicating something for you And then after you’re satisfied with your limeade, you’re going to add the fish sauce And the amount of fish sauce that you use depends on the brand and your taste and what’s going on that day So, for example, this is a very common and popular fish sauce brand, Three Crabs It’s saltier than other brands So if you’re using one that is a little less in sodium– so this is coming in at, like 1,540 If you’ve got a brand that’s coming in at like, 13 or something milligrams of sodium, then you may need a little bit less There was a time when this stuff came in at 1,800 milligrams of sodium They just, like reformulated it And they’re always reformulating the fish sauce So you’re not going to know that because it’s not you is what I’m saying It is the fish sauce And you’re looking for a color that is almost like an amberish color, like an amber honey color Dede, is this the brand that you guys like using? DEDE SAMPSON: It’s a little easier There’s another brand they also use at home ANDREA NGUYEN: Yeah, a lot of people like Red Boat DEDE SAMPSON: Yeah, it’s the one ANDREA NGUYEN: Yeah And so this has a little bit of sugar in it So they’ve got anchovy extract, which is a fish sauce, salt water, fructose There’s your sweet hint on hydrolyzed vegetable protein So the flavors of umami are inherently salty, sweet And so the fructose in there is going to give you that sweet savory hit so that you can understand how the flavors come together That’s really good– ha, ha But I’ve been making this for like, decades But you can always– sometimes I’m off too on certain days And that just happens But you just have to practice And you’re looking for a particular finish And if you like this a lot, then, what you can do is, you can make, like a base of vinegar and water and sugar, keep that in your fridge And then when you’re about to make fish sauce, you just add your lime juice and your nuoc mam, your fish sauce And then you’re ready to go And that base can sit in the fridge for months until you’re ready to use it So check that for that in the recipe itself Are any of you vegetarians in here? Oh, all right

No, it’s OK So now you know that there is a vegetarian option for the dipping sauce And I wonder if we have time to make the tofu before we go into the chicken Yes? OK, awesome So for– not just for vegetarians I came up with this recipe for omnivores, cause that’s what I am And it’s this sriracha tofu So tofu comes in many guises And most of the time when you’re dealing with tofu, you’re dealing with a block that is sold in a tub of water And so this is like an extra firm block of tofu And sometimes too, tofu is sold as a block in a vacuum-sealed package So the stuff is in a vacuum-sealed package is super firm And super firm tofu is like as hard as if you make a fist And you go like this And you press on it And it’s like, it’s not going anywhere I can throw it It’s like a brick But there are good things about that You can grate that tofu You can also use it to make this little sriracha tofu And if you don’t have access to that kind of tofu, you can use just a regular block of extra firm So extra firm is where I’m not clenching my fist as hard, and I can press down a little bit more And then firm, relax a little bit more And then medium soft And then you’ve got silky So when you’re buying tofu, buy it where you know that there is a high turnover Well, just like what you were watching me do there– so I hold my hand against here to just control where my knife blade goes And this is a motion that I’ve done over decades And I’ve seen other people do too And this just allows you to kind of control the block a little bit more So we’re going to make a half batch, because it’s going to be done in a smaller pan So I’m going to now just cut these slabs And I want 1/2-inch slabs Please notice that I have not done anything to drain that tofu I haven’t pressed it or anything We just let it sit there And you can even just open up the tub, start cutting up the tofu And guess what– it just starts like crying and leaching out its water, because you’re cutting the membranes of the block of tofu Very seldom do Asian cooks take time to press tofu the way that a lot of recipes say That is sort of like a strange Western myth So we don’t take a block of tofu and like, put weights on it and like, go walking away And I know this, because I researched and wrote a book about Asian tofu We don’t have time to do that We don’t have space to do that We just cut the tofu And then we start prepping it And as soon as you cut tofu, it starts leeching its water But even so, for this recipe, you don’t even really need to worry about that, because you put the ingredients in the pan So we’ve got regular sriracha This is the go-to brand, the rooster brand There are when you go shopping for sriracha these days– hot sauces that are made in Vietnam And they don’t taste like this They actually taste more like the stuff made in Vietnam that you would get there as a hot sauce Like, one of the brands that I like is called Fix And it’s just like, readily available at health food stores And then this is Bragg Liquid Aminos So how many of you are familiar with Maggi? OK So Maggi is our Maggi as we call it– the Vietnamese people call it It is a soy sauce-like condiment that the French introduced The Swiss invented it in 1880 And it’s like the go-to condiment for making bahn mi sandwiches But it’s also fabulous for making this dish, because it combines beautifully with sriracha to give it kind of like this meaty flavor So you’re just can combine that And then I’m going to put my tofu in here If you’re using the super firm tofu– the one that I told you that you could like, throw at somebody like a football– you’d have to add a little bit of water But with this because the tofu has liquid in it, you don’t have to do that as much And so you’re just going to turn the tofu pieces And then, it’s simply a matter of turning the heat on this Using a new stove is always extra adventurous for me So if something happens, please be patient

So because this is induction too So you’re not seeing the flames leap up as much So all that I’m doing is, I just coated the tofu in the seasonings So when I’m doing this, the beauty of it is that you have a lot more surface area of your ingredient being exposed to the seasonings So the seasonings will coat the tofu and imbue it with more flavor And the tofu would suck it up If I were to cook just the entire block in the seasonings, I wouldn’t get the flavors to go inside the tofu as much, just because it’s just like superficial on a superficially level But this– we’re just going to let it sit there and do its thing And then once the seasonings have coated the tofu nicely, I’ll add a little oil to the pan And then I’ll fry it up so that it gets like this little crust on the outside And so while all of that is happening– so you got your pickle going on Let’s say you made your pickle a while ago And then you’re like, hey, you want to make a really great noodle salad bowl And so you can drag that pickle out And then you can add it to basically a noodle salad bowl to create this really easy, easy Vietnamese dish So how many of you have gone to Vietnamese restaurants and ordered the bún bowls come out more than that? Yeah, it’s oftentimes labeled rice vermicelli, right? So the noodles that we use are these dried rice noodles right here And they are actually not vermicelli They’re really more like a capellini Sometimes they can have, like, very, very fine vermicelli, capellini And then it can graduate to spaghetti size So there are different gradations– and what you use depends on the dish So for this dish, the bún rice noodle bowls And bún is B-U-N It looks like bún But there’s a little accent mark over the u So actually if you’re looking at this way, like, it’s going that way So that means you’re going to say, boon So it’s B-O-O-N. So can you say that for me– Boon? AUDIENCE: Boon ANDREA NGUYEN: Right So next time you go to the restaurant, say, I would like a bowl of boon please And will go, well, how’d you learn that? [LAUGHS] But anyway, it’s called bún and boon The noodles can be used in rice paper rolls The noodles can be used in our noodle soups They can also be used to make little like, lettuce wraps And then we can also just throw it into a bowl and make a salad with it And that particular style, which is, we’re going to make the cover recipe of the book, that’s a Southern Vietnamese style So you’ll see these boon bowls done Southern style and Northern style And the Northerners are like, we’re not going to throw everything just unceremoniously into a whole bowl and let people kind of like, scarf at it like this We’re going to make smaller bowls with like, grilled pork And the bowls are made in like, small like, rice bowl size And we’ll sit there and have conversation and make like, bowl after bowl until all the ingredients are spent But the Southerners are like, we don’t have time for that We like them big, like, because Southern Vietnamese people– we’re talking about Saigon versus Hanoi– like to live large And they just like to have a lot of things in the bowl And it’s colorful And it’s exciting And it’s also very convenient So those are like, just right there, you’re getting a sense of the regional differences in Vietnamese cooking and Vietnamese culture So as the tofu has gotten a little kind of crusty there, I just flip it Use a nonstick skillet for this and don’t go cast iron on me, unless your cast iron is like, super well-seasoned because it will stick So already, you’re seeing the sriracha pick up some coloring there So these noodles– I do not read the noodle cooking instructions There are a lot of recipes that say, please cook the pasta according to the instructions I don’t do that I go rogue And I always am just like boiling the noodles to whenever that they’re ready And sometimes the instructions tell you to soak them– no bueno If you just soak these noodles, they will end up tasting like fiber optics They will not taste like any– because they never

soften enough Their starches don’t soften enough to pick up the flavors of the sauce and the other ingredients No one tells you that And the soaking is good for different– but the very, very tiny size, like, truly hair-like vermicelli-size noodles And then maybe you’ll throw them in a stir fry or something But for Vietnamese food, man, we are not soakers– we are boilers OK, so just please remember that and go rogue for me because that’s what I do So once that we get to this spot in the tofu where things are looking dry, I’m going to add a little oil We’re half batching today So that’s why you see me not use everything that’s been measured And so, I’ll just let that guy go These noodles can be boiled, like up to three days ahead And then when you’re ready to use them, microwave them Don’t put them back into the water, because they will break Rice breaks in water So I’ve seen people go, oh, I don’t want to microwave I just want to like– cause I think the microwave is evil And I keep mine in the garage OK, just want you to know it– use it very often But for certain times when I’m like, really trying to just prep ahead, those noodles just get zapped very lightly after you sprinkle a little water on them for moisture And if you don’t want to do that, then you can put them in a bowl and pour hot water over them and then let them just rehydrate that way very slowly But no, like, pot of boiling water business because they will break And then they end up looking very sad and just like little sticks So with this tofu, just kind of let us do its number And so we’re getting that crustiness there This is a tofu that I make and keep in the fridge And then I can use this for rice noodle bowls I can use this for banh mi I can slice it up for sam– for rice paper rolls as well I can just throw some into my husband’s lunch when I’m feeling kind of lazy And it’s just a very, very convenient thing to keep on hand And it is really great And you see, what happens is, the tofu had been sitting on the plate here in the shallow bowl here for a while So it had like, release some water If you just, like, cut that tofu from the tub, took out of the tub, cut it up, there would have been more liquid released in this pan here All right, so that will be done in a little bit Then once it’s done, then we’re just going to put it onto a rack and let it cool I like to put it on the rack to let it cool, because then you are allowing the flavors to stick to the tofu And the tofu isn’t just sitting there and frankly sweating And a lot of cooking is about controlling hydration, heat, and then seasoning So when you’re done with the tofu, put it on a rack and let it cool And that is really like taking, dealing with the seasonings and taking all those things into consideration So because I am doing multiple things with you, I’m just going to turn the heat off And I’m going to let it sit there And it’s going to finish And once the seasoning’s done I would then pull it and put it on a rack That is called cooking on residual heat– maybe a little lazy cooking but as well But those are the little kinds of things that I do in my kitchen when I’m just trying to like, do multiple things at a time All right So you got the noodles They’ve been boil in advance And then what we’re going to do is, we’re going to make the marinade for the chicken Yeah This marinade that you’ll see in the rice noodle salad bowl recipe can be used with three different kinds of proteins– chicken thigh, boneless pork shoulder, or a steak I created it so that I know a lot of people like to have options, right? If sometimes you don’t feel like eating chicken, you want to go pork And you can certainly do that And it’s great with beef too So this is what we’re looking at

So this kind of crustiness– that’s what you’re going for, cause that’s all of like the sriracha heat and the like, Bragg umami savoriness Like, just kind of like, [GNAWING],, getting right in there on the tofu Thank you Sometimes I’ll make like, two batches of this And I just let it sit in the fridge And we eat it during the rest of the week So I’m going to land this right here SCOTT GIAMBASTINI: Pick it up? ANDREA NGUYEN: Yes, thank you very much All right, so this is a really great marinade, because you can make it all in a food processor And if you don’t have a food processor, then you can go ahead and just pound away at it with a mortar and pestle And so we’ve got shallot Shallot is the onion in Vietnam And we just need about 1/2 a cup And you don’t need like, super duper knife skills You just need to kind of chop it into largest pieces And the machine will do the rest If you don’t have a shallot, then you can, by all means, use a regular yellow onion In Vietnam, the shallows are really small too They’re like the size of boiling onions Oh, my goodness Peeling those– not my kind of work So here in America where everything is bigger, we have, like the luxury of like, having big ones like that And then some peeled garlic I peel a bunch of garlic, like one or two heads at a time, keep them in my fridge and then use them I’m not really good with, like pre-peeled garlic, because you have to buy so many of them And sometimes they turn kind of slimy and gross So I would rather just peel my own So when I do that, I take out the heads I trim the root ends off I then separate the cloves And then I soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes to loosen the papery skins And then I peel them And then they’re ready to go into a little container and use one that has a really tight-fitting lid Otherwise, you’re kind of garlicky for the rest of the week whenever you open up the fridge door– just something that my husband reminds me of All right, so the rest of it is just a matter of putting things into a food processor So we’ve got the shallot and the garlic We’ve got a little black pepper– Chinese five spice So a lot of people assume that Vietnamese cuisine is heavily influenced by the French The French were there for a total of– like, they governed us for about 75 years But our neighbors are the Chinese And the Chinese had considered Vietnam a colonial protectorate on and off for 1,000 years There’s a lot of activity and exchange of ideas over the years is what I’m saying So do not forget the Chinese influence and also, the South Asian influence through trade that happened too So that’s why you’ll see, like curry powder used in Vietnamese cooking as well So today, we’re going to use about 1/2 a teaspoon of this stuff of Chinese five-spice And when you’re buying Chinese five-spice powder, choose one that has a lot of like, fennel and star anise Do not go for like that kind of stuff that you would use home at the holiday season So then we got sugar, then fish sauce, soy sauce, molasses The molasses imparts a nice color and oil And then the oil enriches Now, we are simply going to do it, right? And then we turn this thing on And we’ll see how well this works The problem with these machines is that– thank you AUDIENCE: Safety ANDREA NGUYEN: I know I’m not like a safety person– there [GRINDING] And when you’re at home, you can use a small mini food processor, because who else but at Google,

unless you bring it into work and like, have it done here and like, take it home in a jar The other thing too is, you can always make marinades three days in advance No one tells you that, but you can and then use it when you’re ready So you want, like a rough texture, a little bit finer than this But this is what you’re looking at and then empty it out onto your bowl And then we’ve got our chicken And you’re going to have chicken thighs today I just want you to see something very, very quickly when I’m talking about skewering, because once that you have this stuff skewered– and also, the other thing is, if you’ve got a chicken thigh that is kind of thick, you can cut these gashes that allow you to make the chicken thigh a lot bigger And if you’re not into the fat, then, by all means, trim it off But you know fat is flavor And fat is pleasure so do not like, skimp on it, because it wasn’t that much fat, otherwise So toss your protein in the marinade And then when you go to skewer, I just want you to see in the instructions when I tell you to skewer the pieces on that you are going to cover the skewer and keep the meat really tight And it looks weird, I know, because everyone thinks that the meat has to undulate like that and look pretty, like in a photo No– do this and then give it a little squeeze so that you have a column of meat That way, it would mean succulent And you can grill it really easily And then it can sit there for a while And they can grill it off And then we’ll assemble the bowls So we’ll be assembling the bowls over here for you guys And we’ve only got five minutes left So I wanted to ask if there are any questions AUDIENCE: Yeah So what is your must-have ingredient to cook Vietnamese food? ANDREA NGUYEN: My must-have ingredients for cooking Vietnamese food– rice and a bottle of fish sauce Really, I mean, if I were to boil it down to two things that are really embody and are crucial for making Vietnamese food, those are the two things If you have those two items, you can manipulate so many other ingredients If I were on an island, that’s what I would get stuck with, because, then, I would be foraging for everything else I know that I could still make Vietnamese flavors Yes AUDIENCE: Do you still boil in minerals, even if you’re going to use it in a hot dish? ANDREA NGUYEN: Yes, most definitely So this thing about soaking noodles is just hogwash, because in a hot dish– you mean like in a noodle soup or something like that? AUDIENCE: Soup or– yeah ANDREA NGUYEN: Yeah, so for a noodle soup, the reason why you would boil them still is that there are starches left on the noodle So if you throw them into broth, the noodles will release their starch And they would cloud up the broth So if I soaked them ahead of time, like in my pho recipes– in the pho cookbook, I soak the noodles And then I dunk them in hot water And then I throw them into the bowl And then I dressed them For these noodles, I would boil them first And then if they’re still warm, that’s great Otherwise, I would nuke them briefly And then I would go ahead and cook them off But just so that while you’re still here– so when you guys are over there assembling, you’re going to put down– you’re essentially going to make a salad of lettuce and then some herbs So mint and cilantro are all you need And then you want something that’s kind of crunchy– cucumber and then some noodle These noodles naturally stick That is their nature If you’re doing like a buffet for brunch, portion the noodles out to little nest that look kind of like this on a platter so that your friends can grab them easily

So once that you’ve got that down, then we’ve got the chicken And all of this– I’m going to use this surface right here, because this is a clean area of my cutting board, OK And this is cooked protein You can use that marinade on whole thighs And you don’t have to skewer them if you don’t want to for like a large crowd and then add your chicken to the top And then you can finish it with some peanuts And if you’re allergic to peanuts, use cashews– beautiful Even if you have fried shallots around, add some shallots And then you’re to finish everything off– you would have your nuoc cham dipping sauce And you can put also, that little pickle that we made earlier We’ll do this– gives it some really beautiful color And then we’ll finish it with the sauce And if you want chili in here, that’s awesome If your guests are not into chili heat, leave the chilis on the side If you want fresh chili, then use chili garlic sauce– the rooster brand It says, tuong ot toi Vietnam, which is chili garlic sauce Vietnam [LAUGHTER] And that’s really formulated for the Vietnamese palate, whereas Sambal Oelek is really for, like Malaysian-Indonesian flavor But you can use them interchangeably It’s OK Fresh chilies are great If you’ve got Thai basil or regular basil, that’s awesome too But this is what you’ll be creating over on the side there And so that is how we march through all these things And if you’re using tofu, goodness gracious– all right, so if you got the tofu going on, what I would do is, I would slice the tofu like so And what happens is, this allows the tofu to sit really beautifully, like the chicken would in your bowl If you just slab of that tofu on there, how are you going to attack it with your chopsticks? It’s just not going to be as beautiful And it won’t commingle as well with the other ingredients So this is like the finished product of our efforts [APPLAUSE] SCOTT GIAMBASTINI: Nice job [APPLAUSE] Who’s hungry? Everybody hungry? Huge round of applause Thank you, Chef Andrea– ANDREA NGUYEN: Thank you SCOTT GIAMBASTINI: Thanks for coming Thanks for playing [APPLAUSE]