vietnamese

A reader recently tipped me off about the idea of pan-frying rice papers (bánh tráng) to make a quick snack. Not only was it a great idea, it served as a unique way of making a quick serving “dish”; in fact, they acted not unlike tostadas in that sense. So to keep with the theme of rice papers, I decided to make some deconstructed spring roll “tostadas” as a quick and easy meal.

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Since most spring and egg rolls are made with wheat-based wrappers, Vietnamese spring rolls end up being one of the only spring rolls that are compatible with our wheat-free diet. Luckily, these spring rolls are nice and tasty.

The traditional recipe calls for cellophane noodles, which are usually made with bean starch (although which bean is sometimes hard to decipher). I decided to circumvent the whole problem by using glass noodles made with sweet potato starch, which you can find in many Korean markets for relatively cheap.

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant and not headed straight to the pho section of the menu, you may have tried lemongrass pork, which is a sweet/savory grilled pork dish. I decided to incorporate these unique flavors into thick-cut pork chops (because face it, there’s only so many ways to cook pork chops) and I added a citrusy pan sauce on top for good measure.

Brining is an essential part of juicy pork chops (even the traditional Vietnamese recipe calls for marinating overnight), so be sure to start this recipe well in advance of dinnertime.

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