Interested in making Vietnamese food the right way? Here are some more tips.
Keeping tofu fresh for a long time
To extend the shelf life of tofu, esp. silken tofu, keep refrigerated in a bowl of water and change the water everyday. Her mom replaces the old water with boiling water each time she changes it.
Forming nice bundles of bun (thin rice noodles)
For dishes like bun cha Hanoi (grilled pork Hanoi style with herbs and
noodles), you have to display small, pre-portioned mounds of bun noodles
for people to conveniently pick up.
Use a pair of chopsticks and roll a portion of noodles into small attractive clumps which can be nicely displayed on a pretty dish. As they
say in Vietnamese, a trick like this one is a sign that a cook is “kheo”, that is, careful, measured and skilled.
Microwaving shrimp chips
Heating up the oil to fry shrimp chips sometimes seems to take forever. You stand there waiting for the oil, all the while fantasizing about eating the puffy, crispy chips. Instead, head for the microwave to make chips. Pretty nifty. (This works best with thinner chips, not the thick Indonesian krupuk variety.)
Transporting fish sauce bottles
When bringing home your bottle of fish sauce (or any other kind of condiment), avoid laying them down in the bag or in your car. The bottles are seldom packaged with tight seals and can leak.
Avoiding seeds when cutting limes and lemons
Seeds are hard to remove once a lime or lemon has been cut into wedges.
Viet cooks traditionally do not cut through the center of fruit, where most of the seeds congregate. Instead they efficiently cut off-center caps and discard the center core.