Helen Le, author and creator of YouTube’s Helen’s Recipes! , presents 70 vegan versions of popular Vietnamese dishes. Her goal was to provide recipes that people could enjoy without realizing the recipes were vegan because they have the same flavor as the traditional version. The recipes come from all over Vietnam and provide dishes for most parts of a complete dinner from sauces and salads to main courses and desserts.

The culinary adventure of the book begins with a very valuable section on ingredients and techniques needed for Vietnamese cooking. Le describes the most common dried, refrigerated, and fresh ingredients used in her recipes and gives suggestions for purchasing and using them. You will learn about the different types of rice paper used in making spring rolls and how to soften them, how to make sticky rice on the stove-top or in a rice cooker, and how to substitute red and green cabbage for banana blossoms.

The recipes are divided into section based on their role in a meal and include:

Sauces, condiments and pickles

Salads, wraps and rolls

Braised, fried, stir-fried and grilled dishes

Soups and noodles

Rice and sticky rice dishes

Breads and dumplings

Desserts and snack

Each recipe has a brief introduction that gives information about the background of the recipes and its ingredients. The skill level, yield, and ingredient list are followed by step by step instructions presented in numbered form and are usually accompanied by a full page photograph of the completed dish. The photographs are beautiful and entice readers to attempt making the recipes. The clear mung bean dumplings, lotus stem and seaweed salad, and braised jackfruit with lemongrass and chile are especially appealing and hard to resist.

The book itself is very well done from its attractive cover and sturdy binding to its vibrant photographs and well written text. Le’s writing is clear and direct, and she includes tips and suggestions for making food preparation easier. The only problem with the recipes is that some of the ingredients will probably be hard to find unless you live in a big city. Even living in Los Angeles County, as I do, finding an Asian store conveniently nearby is problematic making online shopping the most practical option.

To buy Vegan Vietnamese from Amazon, click here.

By Karen