Simply Pho Cookbook Review

Simply Pho Cookbook Review

Title: Simply Pho: A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home
Author: Helen Le
Published: October 3, 2017, Race Point Publishing
No. of Pages: 288
Cover Price: $25.00 Hardcover, $11.99 Kindle

I have a favorite pho restaurant in Honolulu, and always assumed that I couldn’t duplicate the food served there. I was wrong. With Simply Pho: A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home by Helen Le, I can actually prepare my favorite dishes from that restaurant at home. This excellent cookbook has recipes for dozens of well-known Vietnamese specialties, as well as several new ones to try.

A favorite Vietnamese dish that isn’t available in many restaurants is bánh xèo, which is a crisp lacy crepe made with coconut milk and filled with shrimp, scallions, and bean sprouts. The recipe in this cookbook is right on, and includes the dipping sauce along with greens and herbs that are served with it. There is a trick to making these crepes, and a bit of practice is necessary, but the end result is worth it; when I finally got them to be pretty as well as tasty, I felt it was a worthwhile accomplishment. My homemade ones are delicious and I don’t have to go to Honolulu to eat them.

Other favorites from this cookbook include Pho, of course, with all the accompaniments, the famous Bánh mi (which is a Vietnamese baguette, but is the term given to a sandwich – usually pork - served on that baguette), and phở xíu, which is an incredible salad made with beef and pho noodles. The book includes condiments, appetizers, salads, soups, and even desserts.

One of the best things about this book, besides the recipes, is that it explains how to eat and serve the dishes, which is very different from what most of us are used to. The first time in my favorite restaurant I had to ask about the protocol for eating each item that I ordered. Had I owned this book at the time, I wouldn’t have had to feel stupid because I didn’t know the proper way to eat these Vietnamese specialties.

Simply Pho: A Complete Course in Preparing Authentic Vietnamese Meals at Home is a must have cookbook for anyone who wants to prepare Vietnamese dishes at home. The only negative to the book is that there aren’t pictures of every dish. However, the pictures that are included are excellent and certainly make it difficult to choose which dish to make. Highly recommended.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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