I discovered Vietnamese food only a few years ago and I wondered why I'd been depriving myself of such great food. There's a small restaurant called Pho Eden in my town and it's the only place I go for Vietnamese food. No dish is greasy or heavy. Besides the fried spring rolls, the meat is grilled or simmered. I don't ever feel guilty when I eat there.
The first dish I ever ordered from Pho Eden was a vermicelli noodle salad with grilled chicken and it's what I still order often. Though it's just plain noodles with a julienned vegetable salad, it's so fresh, clean, and simple that it tastes great. The marinaded and grilled chicken is also good, but sometimes I get spring rolls and those taste even better in the salad. But I think what really makes it delish is the sauce. I make sure I scoop up every last bit of it with a pile of noodles or veggies. Instead of buying bottles of sauce at the market, I thought I'd try making it at home.
Sweet Chilli Sauce [Makes 1+ cup]
Adapted from Closet Cooking
- 4 dried chilies
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice wine or white vinegar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
1. Place the chilies and garlic in a food processor and pulse or mince them by hand. My food processor did not even cut the chilies so I just minced.
2. In a saucepan, add the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, chilies and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer until the chilies and garlic are tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Mix together the cornstarch and the water, add it to the sauce and heat until the sauce thickens, about a minute.
4. Let cool and enjoy.
It turned out a lot thicker than I would have liked, but with a tablespoon of cornstarch, I should have known. Pho Eden's sauce has no cornstarch so I'll be leaving that out next time. It's definitely got the taste, but it's actually been a while since I ordered a dish that came with the sauce. I've been on a pho kick lately. I'll have to order the noodle salad next time for a better comparison.
This will be really great when I want to whip up a super quick meal or when I'm just craving Vietnamese food and I'm stuck in Virginia with no access to such a restaurant!