The Lunar New Year, called Tet in Vietnam, begins on February 1. As for what to prepare, consider thit kho trung (extra special caramelized pork) or lil banh chung (rice cakes filled with pork, mung beans and shallots) from “The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook”, which includes a chapter on the holiday . There are many more satisfying but less elaborate recipes in this book from the founder of the excellent Red Boat fish sauce company, Cuong Pham – written with a food writer and chef – including quick Red Boat bacon, shrimp and green beans; broccolini with garlic sauce; and chicken soup with cellophane noodles. Some dishes diverge from Vietnam, such as pasta marinara, to showcase the versatility of fish sauce. (Party chicken wings crisped with a tapioca starch veneer can strengthen during half-time.) There’s also a full list of homemade nuoc cham dipping sauces and a guide to ingredients. The story of mr. Pham, his family and his essential seasoning is woven throughout.
“The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook” by Cuong Pham with Tien Nguyen and Diep Tran (harvest, $25).
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