Matt Pre­ston

In his lat­est book, Yummy Easy Quick Around the World, Matt Pre­ston cel­e­brates speedy in­ter­na­tional cook­ing – in­clud­ing the clas­sic Viet­namese dishes on these pages.

delicious - - CONTENTS - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MARK ROPER

En­joy quick and tasty Viet­namese eats from Matt’s lat­est cook­book.

THE FIRST Yummy Easy Quick book was all about su­per-tasty and su­per-sim­ple recipes for din­ner that min­imised the amount of time you spent in the kitchen. This book takes the same ap­proach but whisks you around the world.

This is not some dull, cheffy tome loaded with te­dious, time-con­sum­ing and dusty tech­niques dat­ing back to a time when your nonna’s nonna had to spend all day in the kitchen to make din­ner, but a book that shows you how to fake unique flavours from around the world, so you can knock up a tasty and thor­oughly convincing pad thai or a samosa pie in less time than it takes to find the lo­cal take­away menu or scroll through your choice of take­away app.

Au­then­tic and au­thor­i­ta­tive this book is not. Re­ally, the ti­tle of this book should be ‘Fak­ing it’, be­cause you’ll soon re­alise that by com­bin­ing cer­tain key in­gre­di­ents, a dish quickly starts to take on the unique feel of one or an­other cor­ner of the world… so when fam­ily or friends ask what’s for din­ner, you can pro­claim Chi­nese, In­dian, French, Ital­ian, Mex­i­can or… Viet­namese.

This is an edited ex­tract from Yummy Easy Quick Around the World by Matt Pre­ston (Plum, RRP $39.99). Avail­able from Oc­to­ber 30.

“WEL­COME TO HANOI’S BUN CHA – LIT­TLE BURG­ERS WRAPPED IN LET­TUCE WITH RICE NOO­DLES.”

BUN CHA SERVES 4

500g pork mince 2 gar­lic cloves, crushed 2 lemon­grass stalks (white part only),

fifinely chopped 3 tsp fi­fish sauce 1 egg, lightly whisked 1 bunch co­rian­der, leaves picked,

stalks fifinely chopped 3 spring onions (white and dark-green

parts only), thinly sliced into ‘coins’ 1 tbs peanut or veg­etable oil 200g rice ver­mi­celli noo­dles 1 ice­berg let­tuce, leaves sep­a­rated 1 bunch mint (use Viet­namese mint if you

can get it), leaves picked 100g bean shoots Nuoc cham (see Viet­namese crispy

pan­cake recipe, p 107), to serve

Pre­heat oven to 140°C (120°C fan-forced).

Com­bine the pork, gar­lic, lemon­grass, fi­fish sauce, egg and 1 tbs of the co­rian­der stalks in a bowl. Fi­nally, add the spring onion (you add this last as you want the coins to be crunchy lit­tle sur­prises in the pat­ties). Shape into wal­nut-sized balls, then gen­tly flflat­ten into 2cm-thick pat­ties. Place on a tray and chill for 15 min­utes to fi­firm.

Heat the oil in a large fry­pan over medium-high heat. Take care not to over­crowd the pan so the oil stays hot. Add about 6 pat­ties at a time and cook, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, for 3 min­utes or un­til golden and cooked through. Don’t over­cook them, as they will con­tinue to cook in the resid­ual heat – we’re not af­ter saw­dust here. Place the cooked pat­ties in a bak­ing dish and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest.

Mean­while, cook the noo­dles fol­low­ing the packet di­rec­tions. Drain and rinse un­der cold run­ning wa­ter. Drain well.

To serve, di­vide noo­dles among serv­ing bowls. Top each bowl with a few pat­ties. Serve the re­main­ing pat­ties in the mid­dle of the ta­ble, along with piles of let­tuce, mint, bean shoots and the co­rian­der leaves.

To eat, take a let­tuce leaf and add some mint, co­rian­der, bean shoots and noo­dles. Top with a patty. Wrap and dunk in the nuoc cham dip­ping sauce.

“THE FILL­ING VARI­A­TIONS FOR THIS DISH ARE END­LESS. I HAVE CHO­SEN THE VIR­TU­OUS ROAD.”

BANH MI MAKES 4

In all my long life I’ve never been ban­hed from a pub, but casi­nos are an­other mat­ter en­tirely. Sadly, they didn’t banh mi as a young lad for count­ing cards or be­ing a part of some sexy

Ocean’s 11- type syn­di­cate – I’ ll have Ju­lia Roberts’ role please – but be­cause we snuck into an ac­count­ing firm’s func­tion and ate all their sushi.

Note for Ed: We also flirted out­ra­geously with all the women, helped our­selves to bot­tles of Cham­pagne, and were gen­er­ally hot­ter and more fun than the ac­coun­tant part­ners – those were the days! Look­ing back, I think the car­di­nal sin we com­mit­ted was the last one… but let’s not put any of that in this in­tro­duc­tion.

Ed: Very wise, Matt. Delet­ing as we speak.

4 long white bread rolls 11/ 2 tbs good-qual­ity whole-egg

may­on­naise 80g store-bought chicken liver pâté Ground white pep­per 400g bar­be­cue pork, thinly sliced 2 Le­banese cu­cum­bers, thinly sliced di­ag­o­nally 2/ 3 cup (90g) pick­led car­rot and daikon (see be­low) 4 bird’s eye chill­ies (if you like it hot, or long red if you pre­fer it milder), sliced 1/ 2 white onion, thinly sliced 1/ 2 bunch co­rian­der, sprigs picked Juice of 1/4 lime or le­mon A few drops of Maggi sea­son­ing

PICK­LED CAR­ROT AND DAIKON (MAKES 400G)

2 large (about 350g) car­rots,

cut into 5- to 6cm-long match­sticks 1 small (about 350g) daikon radish,

cut into 5- to 6cm-long match­sticks 3 tsp sea salt 80g caster su­gar

1/ 2 cup (125ml) rice wine vine­gar

For the pick­led car­rot and daikon, place car­rot and daikon in a large bowl, add half the salt and toss to com­bine. Set aside for 30 min­utes to soften. Rinse and pat dry with pa­per towel. Com­bine su­gar, 1/3 cup (80ml) boil­ing wa­ter and re­main­ing 11/ 2 tsp salt in a bowl and stir un­til the su­gar and salt have dis­solved. Stir in the vine­gar.

Pack the car­rot and daikon into ster­ilised jars and pour over the pick­ling liq­uid. Set aside for 1-2 hours, then they are ready to eat. The pick­les will keep in the fridge for sev­eral weeks.

To make the banh mi rolls, split the bread rolls in half length­ways, but don’t cut them all the way through. Spread a heaped tea­spoon of mayo on 1 cut side of each roll and pâté on the other. Sea­son with white pep­per. Di­vide all re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents among the rolls, lay­er­ing and stuff­ing, un­til they are brim­ming with in­gre­di­ents, then eat!

VIET­NAMESE CRISPY PAN­CAKES (BANH XEO) MAKES 6 PAN­CAKES

1 cup (200g) rice flour 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp caster su­gar

1/ 2 tsp sea salt 1 x 400ml can co­conut cream 1 cup (250ml) soda wa­ter 8 spring onions, white part very finely

chopped, dark-green part thinly sliced 3 x 250g chicken breast fil­lets 3 tsp veg­etable or co­conut oil 2 hand­fuls bean shoots 2 Le­banese cu­cum­bers, cut into thin

5cm-long ba­tons 2 long red chill­ies, thinly sliced 150g pick­led car­rot and daikon (see Banh mi recipe) 1/ 2 bunch each co­rian­der, Viet­namese mint, Thai basil, mint and shiso

NUOC CHAM

1 red bird’s eye chilli, (more if you like it hot, or use a de­seeded long red chilli if you don’t), chopped 1 small gar­lic clove, finely chopped 1/ 3 cup (80ml) fish sauce, plus ex­tra if needed

1/ 3 cup (70g) caster su­gar 1 tbs lime juice, plus ex­tra if needed 1 tbs le­mon juice

Com­bine rice flour, turmeric, su­gar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the co­conut cream, then stir through the soda wa­ter and the white part of the spring onion un­til com­bined. Place the bat­ter in the fridge for 30 min­utes to thicken slightly.

Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Bring a large saucepan of wa­ter to the boil. Add the chicken and bring wa­ter back to the boil. Cover with a tight-fit­ting lid, then re­move from the heat and set aside for 11 min­utes or un­til poached through. Trans­fer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Rest for at least 10 min­utes, then shred the chicken.

For the nuoc cham, place the chilli and gar­lic in a mor­tar and pound with a pes­tle to form a paste. Trans­fer to a bowl, add the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and 2 tbs wa­ter, and stir un­til the su­gar has dis­solved. Sea­son with more fish sauce or lime juice un­til it hits that sweet spot – which varies from per­son to per­son. Set aside.

To make the pan­cakes, swirl 1/2 tsp of the oil around the base of a 26cm fry­pan and heat un­til the pan is su­per hot. Don’t be tempted to add more oil, oth­er­wise the bat­ter won’t ad­here to the side of the pan and crisp up. Wipe out any ex­cess oil.

Work­ing quickly, place 1 la­dle of bat­ter (about 2/3 cup [165ml]) in the pan and swirl pan so the bat­ter goes a lit­tle way up the side (the edge of the pan­cake will be thin­ner than the mid­dle) Cook for about 3 min­utes, then use a spat­ula to work around the edge and slide the pan­cake gen­tly onto a bak­ing tray, tak­ing care not to break it. Place in the oven to keep warm and re­peat with re­main­ing oil and bat­ter.

Ar­range the chicken, dark green part of the spring onion, bean shoots, cu­cum­ber, chilli, pick­led car­rot and daikon, and herbs on a serv­ing plat­ter. Serve with pan­cakes and nuoc cham.

SALT & PEP­PER SQUID SERVES 4-6 AS A STARTER

1 heaped tbs sea salt flakes 1 tsp freshly ground white or

black pep­per 1.2kg (about 6 medium) squid with

ten­ta­cles, cleaned Veg­etable or rice bran oil, for deep-fry­ing 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour 3-4 long red chill­ies, thinly sliced

1/4 bunch co­rian­der, leaves picked 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Lightly grind the salt so you don’t get big flakes on the squid, which will make it too salty. Place in a bowl with the pep­per and mix to com­bine. Set aside

Cut the squid hoods in half length­ways and ten­ta­cle into pairs. Cut any su­per-long ten­ta­cles in half. Pat dry with pa­per towel. Use a sharp knife to score the in­side of the hoods in a small criss­cross pat­tern with­out cut­ting all the way through, then cut each hood into 4cm tiles.

Fill a wok or deep-fryer with 8cm oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (a cube of bread will turn golden in 90 sec­onds when the oil is hot enough).

Tip the flour into a bowl or zip-lock bag. Add the squid and toss to coat, shak­ing off the ex­cess. Add the squid to the oil in batches and cook for 1 minute or un­til crisp and golden. Use a slot­ted spoon to trans­fer to a plate lined with pa­per towel. Sprin­kle with the salt and pep­per mix­ture.

Ar­range the cooked squid on a serv­ing plate, tum­ble over the chilli and co­rian­der, and take to the ta­ble im­me­di­ately. Fin­ish with a squeeze of le­mon juice and serve with the re­main­ing wedges on the side.

RICE PA­PER ROLLS MAKES 8

50g rice ver­mi­celli noo­dles 2 tsp sun­flower oil 8 x 22cm round rice pa­per wrap­pers (from se­lected su­per­mar­kets and Asian food shops) 8 small per­illa or shiso leaves (leave out

or re­place with co­rian­der) 16 Thai basil leaves 15 Viet­namese mint leaves

(use mint if you can’t find this) 2 ice­berg let­tuce leaves, finely shred­ded

into lengths no longer than 5cm 1 Le­banese cu­cum­ber,

cut into match­sticks 1 small car­rot, cut into match­sticks 12 medium cooked peeled prawns, sliced in half length­ways (or chopped into 1.5cm pieces if that’s too fid­dly)

HOISIN DIP­PING SAUCE

1/3 cup (80ml) hoisin sauce 1 tbs peanut but­ter 2 tsp rice wine vine­gar 1 tbs mirin, warmed, or hot wa­ter 1 tbs salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

(op­tional) 1 long red chilli, de­seeded, finely

chopped

Cook noo­dles fol­low­ing packet di­rec­tions. Drain and rinse un­der cold run­ning wa­ter. Place the noo­dles in a large bowl, then use scis­sors to snip long strands a few times. Driz­zle with the oil and toss to coat lightly.

For the hoisin dip­ping sauce, com­bine the hoisin and peanut but­ter in a bowl. Add rice wine vine­gar and mirin or wa­ter, and stir un­til the vis­cos­ity of thick­ened cream. Add a lit­tle more wa­ter if needed. Spoon into a small serv­ing bowl and sprin­kle with peanuts (if us­ing) and chilli.

The jeop­ardy comes in the rice pa­per rolling. If you soak the rice pa­per too much, it will be tricky to han­dle and the rolls could burst; if you don’t soak it enough, it could tear and will be tough to eat. Don’t worry, I will walk you through it.

Dunk 1 wrap­per in a bowl of cold wa­ter for about 10 sec­onds to soften slightly, then lay on a clean sur­face or a sheet of bak­ing pa­per. Place a line of herbs along the top one-third of the wrap­per. Don’t take the fill­ing right to the edge of the rice pa­per or you won’t be able to en­close it prop­erly. Build a small bank of noo­dles along the bot­tom one-third of the wrap­per, then top with a line of let­tuce, cu­cum­ber, car­rot and prawns.

Care­fully roll the wrap­per over the noo­dles to en­case the fill­ing. Fold in the out­side edges and roll up firmly to en­close. Re­peat to make 8 rolls. Serve with the hoisin dip­ping sauce.

TURMERIC CHICKEN THIGHS SERVES 4

8 chicken thigh fil­lets, ex­cess fat trimmed 1 tsp sea salt Co­rian­der leaves, to serve 2 red bird’s eye chill­ies (if you like it hot, or long red if you pre­fer it milder), thinly sliced 1 lime, cut into wedges

MARI­NADE

1 tsp black pep­per­corns 60g palm su­gar 5 gar­lic cloves, coarsely chopped 5cm each knob of turmeric and gin­ger,

peeled, finely grated 4 kaf­fir lime leaves, finely shred­ded 21/ 2 tbs finely chopped lemon­grass

(white part only) 1 heaped tbs finely grated galan­gal 2 tbs peanut oil 1 tbs each fish sauce and light soy sauce

For the mari­nade, place the pep­per­corns in a mor­tar and use a pes­tle to pound un­til crushed. Add palm su­gar, gar­lic, turmeric, gin­ger, kaf­fir lime, lemon­grass and galan­gal, and pound un­til a paste. Stir in the oil, fish sauce and soy sauce un­til well com­bined.

Tip the mari­nade into a large zip-lock bag, tray or bowl. Add the chicken and mas­sage to coat. Use gloves or coat your hands in oil to pre­vent your hands from be­ing stained yel­low from the turmeric. Cover and set aside to mar­i­nate for 1 hour. Pre­heat oven 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Place the chicken and mari­nade in a bak­ing dish and spread out in a sin­gle layer.

Sprin­kle with the salt and bake for 30-35 min­utes or un­til cooked through. The chicken will be tinged with gold from the turmeric and the edges should be a lit­tle charred. Scat­ter over the co­rian­der and red chilli. Serve with lime wedges.

Salt & pep­per squid. OP­PO­SITE: rice pa­per rolls (recipes p 108).

@mattscra­vat Banh mi and (left) pick­led car­rot and daikon (recipe p 107). Join Matt in Syd­ney on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 30 at Three Blue Ducks Rose­bery for a de­li­cious. Icon Series din­ner cel­e­brat­ing his new book. Head to three­blue­ducks.floktu.com for tick­ets and more in­for­ma­tion.

Viet­namese crispy pan­cakes ( banh xeo)

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