Cooking Vietnamese comfort food

Eric and Sophie Banh make it easy to cook great Vietnamese dishes at home

Successful stir-frying tips
Photo by Thomas J. Story

Successful stir-frying tips

The Banhs excel at stir-fries, a tradition they picked up from their Chinese father’s family and from growing up in Vietnam.

  • Prep ahead. Have everything ready next to your pan before you start, since the cooking goes fast.
  • Avoid nonstick. Nonstick pans don’t encourage browning and are easily damaged by scraping and high heat. You don’t need a pricey wok or skillet, either; even a cheap steel pan will develop its own nonstick coating with age.
  • Get it dry. Make sure your ingredients are very dry, so they brown rather than steam.
  • Preheat. To avoid soggy food, heat your empty pan over high heat before adding ingredients.
  • Keep it moving. At this heat, food will burn if it sits still too long. Shake the pan, or use two large spoons, forks, or tongs to toss the ingredients—like a salad.
  • Serve quickly. Stir-fries should be served right away, before they lose their fresh flavor and crisp snap.

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