Andrea Nguyen
Andrea Nguyen

Andrea Nguyen

A bank examiner gone astray, Andrea Nguyen is living her dream of writing impactful cookbooks and teaching others how to cook well. She recently won a James Beard Award for The Pho Cookbook. Her new book, Vietnamese Food Any Day, empowers you to make Viet food whenever you want; no Asian markets required.
Sweetened condensed milk lends its rich, creamy magic to everything from crispy carnitas to homemade yogurt.
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This microwave eggplant recipe from Andrea Nguyen requires none of the usual fuss of salting and straining the nightshade beforehand. Cooking a whole eggplant in the microwave effortlessly, evenly, and quickly cooks its flesh to soft, silky tenderness while preserving its antioxidant-rich skin. Cut into thick slices and drizzled with generous spoonfuls of flavorful sauce, microwave eggplant is an easy and delicious side dish that comes together in 20 minutes flat. Just be sure to poke holes all over the eggplant before microwaving it to prevent it from exploding. 
Inspired by a dish from 2018 F&W Best New Chef Kevin Tien, cookbook author Andrea Nguyen's sensational grilled shrimp are brushed with a garlicky, basil-infused butter during grilling. The shrimp get an extra punch of flavor from the dipping sauce, which is spiked with Thai green chiles and tempered with sweetened condensed milk, which lends a beguiling, creamy roundness that tames the feisty, fiery condiment.
Perfect for entertaining, these grab-and-go sliders star tender carnitas topped with a creamy tomatillo-avocado sauce sandwiched between pillowy homemade rolls.
A cross between Chinese milk bread and Portuguese and Hawaiian sweet bread, these tender rolls are easy to make and are perfectly sized for sliders. Sweetened condensed milk pulls double duty in this recipe, adding a subtle sweetness to the rolls and a rich, glossy sheen to their tops.
Cookbook author Andrea Nguyen first sampled Vietnamese yogurt coffee in Hanoi years ago. To make it, Vietnamese-Style Homemade Yogurt is swirled with coffee and sweetened condensed milk to make a drink that's creamy, tangy, and bittersweet with a caffeinated boost. This refreshing drink is best presented in a tall, slender glass. The yogurt starts out floating on top; when stirred, there's a beautiful marbled effect. Employ inky, robust coffee made from a dark or medium-dark roast for Viet flair. For a more generous serving, simply double the recipe.
One of the best things I ate recently was Rachel Yang’s nori fried rice at her restaurant, Joule, in Seattle. I was so bowled over by its richness and piscine umami-ness, I went home to Santa Cruz, California, and worked up a version of my own. You don’t need anything fancy for the nori dust. Just whirl up sheets of sushi nori with a small amount of coarse salt in a blender. Then deploy the nori dust to add vegetal savoriness and visual flair; it’s a nimble seasoning and handsome garnish. To ensure the rice grains take on flavors and fry up to a delicate deliciousness, use dry-ish rice. Long-grain and medium-grain are my go-tos, but feel free to try this with basmati or even leftover takeout rice. Fry it in two batches to ensure the grains cook fast and evenly.
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With China being right next door to Vietnam, there are many Sino-Viet dishes that have worked their way into the Vietnamese repertoire and become favorites. Satisfying roast duck–egg noodle soup, called mi vit tiem (“mee veet team”) in Vietnamese, is one of them. It’s super popular in Saigon (my birthplace, aka Ho Chi Minh City), but it’s also time-consuming to make from scratch (you have to roast a duck).To work the hearty noodle soup into my regular rotation, I developed an easygoing roast chicken iteration for my book, Vietnamese Food Any Day. All the ingredients come from the regular supermarket.Then I got to thinking about leftover Thanksgiving turkey and came up with this recipe, which uses an Instant Pot for the broth to extract maximum flavor fast. People often make turkey soup with the holiday bird’s uneaten parts and bits, so why not cook up an Asian noodle soup?The trick is to help the American Thanksgiving turkey take a turn toward the East. It’s achievable with a hefty amount of ginger and aromatics like star anise and Chinese five spice, plus soy sauce and sesame oil. Chinese rock sugar typically adds a slight sweet roundness to the broth to create an umami-rich finish, but I’ve found that Fuji apple can achieve that result, too.Dried shiitake mushrooms lend savory, earthy depth. Thin, delicate ones from the regular supermarket soften in about 15 minutes. (If you use fancy, thick mushrooms from an Asian market, expect a longer soaking time.) When dried mushrooms are unavailable, use fresh shiitake or cremini mushroom, and add ¾ cup water to the Instant Pot before cooking.For the turkey parts, simply use the backbone, add a wing or two and maybe the neck and gizzard if they’re available. You can combine raw and roasted parts, if you like. This is a great recipe for whether you’re roasting a traditional whole bird, using a spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey, or the separate parts.Once the broth is done, you can hold it in the fridge for days. Over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, serve up bowls of roast turkey–egg noodle soup, which I’d call mi ga tay (“mee ga tey”), which literally means egg noodle soup with Western chicken.
I’m a cook who loves to hover over a pot and observe the transformation of ingredients, but let’s face it, most people just want to get into the eating action. That’s where modern, time-saving appliances like pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot come in. They can’t do everything well, but they’re fabulous for certain things, like dishes that normally require long simmering and slow cooking.This Vietnamese beef stew (bo kho, pronounced “baw caw”) from my book, Vietnamese Food Any Day, is the perfect example. It appeared in the February issue of Food & Wine prepared in a Dutch Oven with a three-hour cook time. This French-inspired stew is a dream simmering on your stovetop with the aromas of lemongrass and star anise wafting through your home. But you can still enjoy the same flavor in about half the time with a little help from your Instant Pot.I quickly discovered that adapting traditional recipes for the pressure cooker isn’t as simple as cutting regular cooking time. Appliances require you to adjust to their functionalities. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes I made to the recipe and why. And don’t worry if you don’t own an Instant Pot; you can get the original Dutch oven version of the recipe here.Pressure cookers extract and meld flavors fast. But there’s a lot of hedging and guessing because once the lid is locked in place, you can’t see what’s going on inside the pot. Cooking happens as pressure builds, during actual pressure cooking, and while the pot depressurizes. From past experiences with pressure cookers, I guesstimated that the beef would require about 40 percent of the normal cook time (1 hour and 15 minutes) for the beef to become tender-chewy. That’s why in the recipe below, the beef is cooked at high pressure for 10 minutes and naturally depressurized for 18 minutes; also factored in is a little cooking time at the front end as the pressure builds.There’s a difference between a regular stovetop pressure cooker that ventilates and whistles while it works and an electric multicooker like the Instant Pot that operates in silence. Whereas some evaporation happens in stovetop models, there’s little to no moisture loss in machines like the Instant Pot. To compensate, I cook with less liquid in a multicooker than in a regular pressure cooker.During the last step, when you’re simmering the beef with the carrots, that’s when things start to slide back into comforting and familiar. The lid is off while things bubble away—you can the verify the meat’s tenderness and witness the cooking first-hand. At the end of the day, the Instant Pot recipe conversion was a success. My home still smelled wonderful—and I had an entire extra hour all to myself. Combining old-school recipe with a modern appliance turned this weekend project into a deliciously doable weeknight ditty.
One of the best things I ate recently was Rachel Yang’s nori fried rice at her restaurant, Joule, in Seattle. I was so bowled over by its richness and piscine umami-ness, I went home to Santa Cruz, California, and worked up a version of my own. You don’t need anything fancy for the nori dust. Just whirl up sheets of sushi nori with a small amount of coarse salt in a blender. Then deploy the nori dust to add vegetal savoriness and visual flair; it’s a nimble seasoning and handsome garnish. To ensure the rice grains take on flavors and fry up to a delicate deliciousness, use dry-ish rice. Long-grain and medium-grain are my go-tos, but feel free to try this with basmati or even leftover takeout rice. Fry it in two batches to ensure the grains cook fast and evenly.
With China being right next door to Vietnam, there are many Sino-Viet dishes that have worked their way into the Vietnamese repertoire and become favorites. Satisfying roast duck–egg noodle soup, called mi vit tiem (“mee veet team”) in Vietnamese, is one of them. It’s super popular in Saigon (my birthplace, aka Ho Chi Minh City), but it’s also time-consuming to make from scratch (you have to roast a duck).To work the hearty noodle soup into my regular rotation, I developed an easygoing roast chicken iteration for my book, Vietnamese Food Any Day. All the ingredients come from the regular supermarket.Then I got to thinking about leftover Thanksgiving turkey and came up with this recipe, which uses an Instant Pot for the broth to extract maximum flavor fast. People often make turkey soup with the holiday bird’s uneaten parts and bits, so why not cook up an Asian noodle soup?The trick is to help the American Thanksgiving turkey take a turn toward the East. It’s achievable with a hefty amount of ginger and aromatics like star anise and Chinese five spice, plus soy sauce and sesame oil. Chinese rock sugar typically adds a slight sweet roundness to the broth to create an umami-rich finish, but I’ve found that Fuji apple can achieve that result, too.Dried shiitake mushrooms lend savory, earthy depth. Thin, delicate ones from the regular supermarket soften in about 15 minutes. (If you use fancy, thick mushrooms from an Asian market, expect a longer soaking time.) When dried mushrooms are unavailable, use fresh shiitake or cremini mushroom, and add ¾ cup water to the Instant Pot before cooking.For the turkey parts, simply use the backbone, add a wing or two and maybe the neck and gizzard if they’re available. You can combine raw and roasted parts, if you like. This is a great recipe for whether you’re roasting a traditional whole bird, using a spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey, or the separate parts.Once the broth is done, you can hold it in the fridge for days. Over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, serve up bowls of roast turkey–egg noodle soup, which I’d call mi ga tay (“mee ga tey”), which literally means egg noodle soup with Western chicken.
I’m a cook who loves to hover over a pot and observe the transformation of ingredients, but let’s face it, most people just want to get into the eating action. That’s where modern, time-saving appliances like pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot come in. They can’t do everything well, but they’re fabulous for certain things, like dishes that normally require long simmering and slow cooking.This Vietnamese beef stew (bo kho, pronounced “baw caw”) from my book, Vietnamese Food Any Day, is the perfect example. It appeared in the February issue of Food & Wine prepared in a Dutch Oven with a three-hour cook time. This French-inspired stew is a dream simmering on your stovetop with the aromas of lemongrass and star anise wafting through your home. But you can still enjoy the same flavor in about half the time with a little help from your Instant Pot.I quickly discovered that adapting traditional recipes for the pressure cooker isn’t as simple as cutting regular cooking time. Appliances require you to adjust to their functionalities. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes I made to the recipe and why. And don’t worry if you don’t own an Instant Pot; you can get the original Dutch oven version of the recipe here.Pressure cookers extract and meld flavors fast. But there’s a lot of hedging and guessing because once the lid is locked in place, you can’t see what’s going on inside the pot. Cooking happens as pressure builds, during actual pressure cooking, and while the pot depressurizes. From past experiences with pressure cookers, I guesstimated that the beef would require about 40 percent of the normal cook time (1 hour and 15 minutes) for the beef to become tender-chewy. That’s why in the recipe below, the beef is cooked at high pressure for 10 minutes and naturally depressurized for 18 minutes; also factored in is a little cooking time at the front end as the pressure builds.There’s a difference between a regular stovetop pressure cooker that ventilates and whistles while it works and an electric multicooker like the Instant Pot that operates in silence. Whereas some evaporation happens in stovetop models, there’s little to no moisture loss in machines like the Instant Pot. To compensate, I cook with less liquid in a multicooker than in a regular pressure cooker.During the last step, when you’re simmering the beef with the carrots, that’s when things start to slide back into comforting and familiar. The lid is off while things bubble away—you can the verify the meat’s tenderness and witness the cooking first-hand. At the end of the day, the Instant Pot recipe conversion was a success. My home still smelled wonderful—and I had an entire extra hour all to myself. Combining old-school recipe with a modern appliance turned this weekend project into a deliciously doable weeknight ditty.
Shaking Tofu
Rating: Unrated
3
To be honest, I'm still a little starstruck that my Shaking Beef graced the cover of the February 2019 issue of Food & Wine. But today, I'm here to lobby for its meatless sister—Shaking Tofu. Named for the quick back-and-forth shaking of the pan that takes place during cooking, this stir-fry is a quick-fix crowd-pleaser no matter which protein you choose. After a lightning-fast sizzle in your wok or skillet, the crispy tofu gets enrobed in a savory-sweet sesame-scented sauce, which gets tossed with a fresh salad of watercress, thinly sliced onion, and herbs. The result is bite after beautiful bite of peppery, just-wilted greens, fragrant herbs, and of course, irresistibly crispy-chewy tofu. One taste and you'll understand why I'm such a big fan of this dish. I grew up with tofu, but for people who are new to it, the white blocks can seem alien and challenging. This shaking tofu recipe from my book Vietnamese Food Any Day is a terrific way to explore an amazing ingredient.Tofu originated in China and spread from there to other parts of Asia, to wherever soybeans could grow. It's simply a plant-based cheese, the pressed curds of coagulated soy milk—dried soybeans that have been soaked, ground with water, then filtered and cooked. A staple that's made daily and sold like fresh bread by artisans and commercial ventures alike, tofu can be enjoyed plain (it's a satisfying, ready-to-eat protein) or rendered into savory or sweet dishes.In Vietnam—a country that's roughly the same size as California with a population of over 95 million people—Buddhism is popular, and meat is precious, and so naturally, tofu is part of everyone's diet. At markets and neighborhood shops, tofu is commonly sold as unadorned creamy blocks as well as in fried golden pieces. Rich, chewy-crisp, and sturdy, fried tofu lends handsome, tasty pizzazz to dishes like this Shaking Tofu. But you don't have to go to an Asian market or specialty store for fried tofu because it's easy to make at home.Head to the supermarket, natural grocer, or specialty retailer like Trader Joe's, and look in the produce department or near the dairy case for tofu. For frying, select extra-firm tofu sold in water-packed tubs. Super-firm "high-protein" tofu sold in vacuum packaging is way too dense for this recipe. Whenever you buy tofu, check the best-by date to determine freshness.Once you cut a block of tofu into pieces that you'll cook up later, they start releasing liquid and draining. I rarely press or weight down an entire block of tofu because that takes too much time. Just pour out the water from the tub and cut up the tofu block to start your prep. For this recipe, lightly salting the tofu helps it brown beautifully and imparts extra umami.(Also, Insider tip: you can actually fry the tofu in hours in advance and warm it up with the sauce right before bringing all the components together.) 
Ginger Dipping Sauce
Rating: Unrated
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The tangy heat of this sauce cuts richness and enlivens whatever it touches. Try it with grilled, poached, or fried chicken or seafood. Employ it to amp up a slaw.
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Garlic Vinegar
Rating: Unrated
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When a dish needs a vibrant, last-minute flavor lift, reach for this Hanoi-style condiment. At the table, sprinkle it into noodle soup, pan-fried and stir-fried noodles, and fried rice. At the stove, splash it into sautéed or stir-fried greens.
Zesty Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Rating: Unrated
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This dressing straddles East and West, just like Vietnamese cooking. Its zippy, fresh flavor is great for a wide range of salads, from mixed lettuces to grated beets and carrots.
Baguette and bo kho are great friends, but you also can serve the stew over pasta — try it over boiled egg noodles or rice noodles (select pappardelle-size noodles, such as A Taste of Thai brand). Add a green salad for a complete meal.
Viet Rice Paper Rolls
Rating: Unrated
New!
Practically any ingredient can fill a rice paper roll so long as it’s soft or thinly cut so it can be easily manipulated and contained. Use this recipe as a road map for quantities of ingredients and assembly instructions. Once you learn the basics of rolling, swap the shrimp for pork, chicken, or tofu, or the fresh carrots and cucumbers for sautéed shiitake mushroom caps. The key is preparing the chosen ingredients then gathering them near where the rice paper sheets will be moistened, filled, and rolled.
Stir-frying happens quickly, so line up prepped ingredients to gracefully and easily glide through the cooking process. You don’t need a giant wok for all the greens, which will collapse into a creamy, earthy side dish. Use a wide pot or pan that can take big heat. This recipe is my supermarket take on stir-fried water spinach, a go-to vegetable for everyday Viet meals. Prewashed greens don’t release much liquid, which can dilute flavors and turn a stir-fry sizzle into a fizzle.
Like rice paper rolls and banh mi sandwiches, rice-noodle salad bowls—often categorized at restaurants as rice vermicelli bowls or bun (“boon”, the name of the noodles in Vietnamese)—can feature many wonderful things, like grilled lemongrass chicken skewers. To make Vietnamese rice-noodle salad bowls, simply layer the ingredients in a bowl and let diners dress and mix up their own at the table. The vegetables provide refreshing crunch and herbal pungency, the noodles carry flavor, and the main feature and toppings are up to you. Grilled chicken skewers are the highlight here. Nuoc cham unites things with its Viet imprint.
Nuoc Cham
Rating: Unrated
New!
Sauces are key in Viet cooking; keep the most versatile sauces in your back pocket. Deploy them for traditional dishes, or use them to add a Viet imprint to anything from breakfast scrambles to DIY fusion tacos. Each Viet cook has a take on this ubiquitous sauce. Pronounced “nook chum,” nuoc cham literally means “dipping sauce,” but is also used to dress noodle bowls and can be sprinkled onto rice. Its lightness enhances other ingredients instead of taking over the entire dish.
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The flavors of Vietnamese cooking are ones we could eat every day, all year round. Here, James Beard Award–winning cookbook author Andrea Nguyen explains how to bring the tenets of this bright, brilliant cuisine home.
Shaking Beef
Rating: Unrated
1
Meat is precious and Buddhist traditions are strong in Vietnam, which is why dishes of beef are considered a luxury. Clever cooks cut tender, marbled cuts into small pieces so they soak up flavor, then cook them quickly and serve them hot with aromatic herbs. Here, the peppery, salty-sweet, juicy beef mingles with the light salad dressing to create a great sauce that pools on the platter, perfect for drizzling over rice. Watercress leaves warm and wilt under the Shaking Beef (so named for the back-and-forth shaking of the pan), while their stems remain crunchy. In the summer, sub cherry tomatoes for the radicchio. For a stunning appetizer, serve the sautéed beef with some fresh herbs and toothpicks for easy sharing.
Spinach-and-Pork Wontons
Rating: Unrated
1
For a taste of: AsiaTry this book: Asian DumplingsIn her pan-Asian cookbook, food writer Andrea Nguyen recommends homemade wonton wrappers but says store-bought are fine: "Just look for ones labeled 'thin' or 'Hong Kong–style.'