Cooking with Thai and Vietnamese flavors
Savory pad thai, brothy pho, delicate summer rolls… These delicious takeout dishes owe their distinctive taste to a few versatile ingredients—fish sauce, rice noodles, and aromatics—all of which fit easily into Slimming World’s flexible Food Optimizing eating plan. Here’s how:
Fish sauce: An essential ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cooking, this is found in many popular dishes like pho, pad thai and nuoc cham—a Vietnamese dipping sauce. Fish sauce is commonly made with anchovies, mackerel, or shad (a type of herring) mixed with salt and left to ferment, and it lends a briny, savory flavor to dishes. As well as adding it to homemade stir-fries, mix it with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and chilies for an umami-rich steak marinade.
Rice noodles: These versatile noodles cook quickly, making them great for weeknight dinners. Plus, they come in many varieties, from thin vermicelli-like strands that work well in stir-fries and lettuce wraps, to flat, fettucine-like noodles, perfect in soups or pad thai. If you’re serving your noodles immediately after boiling, strain and rinse with cold water to prevent your noodles from sticking together. If you’re adding them to stir-fry dishes, take care not to over-boil them, as they’ll carry on cooking further when you add them to the wok.
Aromatics: Basil, lemongrass, ginger, lime, and mint…just some of the ingredients that give your favorite Southeast Asian dishes their fresh flavor. Fresh ginger and lemongrass—a fragrant, reed-like grass with a lemony scent that is sold either in whole stalks, or as a more convenient paste in a tube—are generally used during cooking. Lime wedges, basil, and mint are served on the side as garnishes, like in this Vietnamese turkey noodle soup. And if you fancy experimenting with other flavorful speciality ingredients, then you could give spicy That chilies, aromatic lime leaves, and crunchy bean sprouts a try, too!