Lemongrass is the classic seasoning for Vietnamese-style grilled pork or chicken, but chef Charles Phan likes to use fragrant Chinese five-spice powder instead. If you have fermented red bean curd, use it instead of miso for a funkier flavor. Slideshow: Southeast Asian Recipes
Although Charles Phan says you can use any leafy green in this spicy main-course salad, he suggests watercress because it adds another subtle, peppery layer of heat to the dish. He also says it's fine to partially cook the shallots ahead of time (even the night before) until they are golden, then let them cool; when you refry them before serving, they'll become extra crispy. Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips
Charles Phan uses this unbelievably simple, three-ingredient sauce in almost every stir-fry. Its key ingredient is a fish sauce that lends a faintly nutty, richly pungent and quintessentially Vietnamese character to the dish.
Charles Phan has firm opinions about the right and wrong way to stir-fry. "A wok isn't like a salad bowl with a flame under it. You don't want to throw everything in at once and toss. You need to layer flavors by adding ingredients in the right order." That's why he stir-fries the chicken here by itself until it is deeply golden and juicy before he transfers it to a plate; after he finishes cooking the other ingredients, he returns the chicken to the wok so all the flavors meld. Quick Chicken Recipes
At school in Vietnam, Charles Phan and his classmates would buy these chewy rice-paper rolls, filled with crunchy jicama and sweet shrimp, from enterprising street vendors who set up their stalls in the playground at dismissal time. Phan loves the neatness of including the sauce in the roll rather than serving it alongside, but he often makes extra for those who insist on dipping.Plus: More Seafood Recipes
Charles Phan recalls eating numerous versions of this slightly sweet and pleasantly tangy fish soup while growing up in Vietnam. Some included only chopped tomato while others were made with a colorful mix of vegetables. Here, he adds freshly squeezed lime juice for a hit of sourness instead of the more traditional tamarind pulp. He adds bean sprouts to the soup for a refreshing crunch.Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips