mately a cookbook.
The book is divided into chapters devoted to main ingredients, and the recipes are wellwritten and easy to follow. This is, however, not your typical Vietnamese cookbook. It’s a chef’s cookbook, which means that Chinn has given his interpretations of Vietnamese dishes, and tweaked some fusion dishes, too. Not all the recipes are simple, as some involve chef’s techniques and advance planning.
Alongside simple Vietnamese salads are recipes for Red Wine Braised lamb Shanks with Apple Risotto and Oyster Brulee. There are also non-Vietnamese recipes such as the Moroccan Beetroot Salad with Hazelnutcrusted Goat’s Cheese.
I tried the easier recipes from the book. One was the Banana Blossom Salad With Chicken. In his recipe, the banana blossom is eaten raw but I blanched it. I also used chicken meat from the thigh, rather than breast fillets. It’s similar to Thai and Perankan kerabu, but not as intense.
The other recipe I tried was BC’s Grilled Chicken Wings, mostly because I like the story of the grumpy hawker who leaves the wooden skewers for the chicken at the side of a lamp post. Chinn was disapproving of her hygiene standards until he was told they were the best grilled chicken he’d ever eat in his life. He tried them, and was immediately on a mission to figure out the recipe for the sauce. All his attempts met with failure, until the lady made some right in front of him when she ran out of sauce late one night.
The recipe is simple, made with ingredients most of us have in our kitchen, and it’s real tasty, too.
I’ll probably never get around to trying the harder recipes, but this grilled chicken wings recipe is a keeper.
I also love the photographs in the book, especially those of the streets and stalls. I only The team of Hungry Caterpillar, Marty and Veggie Chick (whose cookery column appears in on the first Monday of every month) reviews cookbooks in this regular series. To give readers an idea of what the books are about, they also test recipes from the publications. wish there were less of Chinn’s portraits ... and yes, I am aware it’s a celebrity chef’s cookbook.
n Hungry Caterpillar blogs at hungryc.com