November 6, 2012
The inaugural What Chefs Eat event to celebrate Charles Phan’s new cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking was a huge success. The event took place at the stunning Sub Zero showroom in Burlingame, California. I was so honored to moderate the live interview with Charles. We all learned that Charles favorite go to meal after a long day is fried rice and that he loves bourbon. In fact, he is opening up a fried chicken and bourbon joint in the near future. He is absolutely charming and humble. I felt like we had so many things in common from having mothers that began their careers as seamstresses to assimilating in America while striving to pay homage to our Asian heritage especially in the kitchen. After the interview we were all treated to Charles’ amazing food and signature cocktails from his famed restaurant, The Slanted Door.
Here’s a recipe adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s Vietnamese home cooking at its finest — you can toss in whatever meat or seafood you like (a great way to make another meal out of the shrimp you grilled the night before) and same goes for the veggies. I used chicken breast and celery for this recipe. Like many Vietnamese dishes, it is super easy and cooks quickly. Just remember not to soak the rice noodles too long or they’ll become rubbery. I like to serve this mix and match noodle dish with some lime slices and Sriricha on the side.
16 ounces rice vermicelli or dried thin flat rice noodles (about 1/8 -inch)
2 teaspoons + 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
8 ounces chicken breast, bavette or flank steak, or boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3- by 1/2 – by 1/4-inch slices
3 teaspoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal