Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cookbook Thursday: 'Vietnamese Cuisine in New Orleans'

            So many great cookbooks have come out recently discussing the diverse ethnic landscape of New Orleans, for instance “New Orleans con Sabor Latino:The History and Passion of Latino Cooking” by Zella Palmer Cuadra and “New Orleans’ Best Ethnic Restaurants” by Ann Benoit, both excellent books. Now, Suzanne Pfefferle showcases the Crescent City’s Vietnamese community in “Vietnamese Cuisine in New Orleans,” published by Pelican Publishing. In addition to spotlighting Vietnamese dishes, restaurants, festivals and culinary traditions, Pfefferle includes recipes by New Orleans chefs Emeril Lagasse and John Besh.

Gi Ga Tom (Shredded Chicken or Shrimp Salad)
By Pho Tau Bay
Fish Sauce
1/2 cup water                   
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/8 cup fish sauce           
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded, or 1 1/2
pounds boiled shrimp, cut in half
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup rau ram leaves (Vietnamese cilantro)
1/3 cup sweet pickled carrots
1/2 ounce sesame oil
4 ounces crushed roasted peanuts
4 ounces fried shallots
1 sprig cilantro
            Directions: For sauce, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Add lime juice and chilis to taste, if desired. For salad, place cabbage, chicken or shrimp, onion, cilantro leaves, and carrots in a large mixing bowl, and toss together. Add oil and fish sauce, and distribute evenly. Top with peanuts, shallots, and sprig of cilantro. Serves 3-4.

Cheré Coen is a Lafayette freelance travel and food writer. She is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana,” both from The History Press.