Editor's Note: Also see Vietnamese Condiments.
Some of these herbs are hard to get unless you live near a Southeast Asian food market. Mint and cilantro, however, are available in most markets, lessening the problem of not finding the more exotic herbs. Italian basil is not a substitute for holy, or Thai, basil, as its flavor is much different. This traditional herb garnish is used in soups or served alongside the "table salad" to complement grilled or fried meats and seafood dishes.
Serves 4 to 6
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch mint
1 bunch holy (Thai) basil
1 bunch saw leaf (ngo gai)
Keeping the stems and leaves intact, clean the cilantro, mint, holy basil, and saw leaves thoroughly, drain on paper towels, and arrange on a plate in individual piles.
Authentic Vietnamese Cooking
Food from a Family Table
By Corinne Trang
Simon & Schuster, December 1999
256 pages, more then 50 black & white photographs
Glossary of ingredients
Recipe reprinted by permission.
Visit the Global Gourmet's Vietnam page.
Modified August 2007
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