Last weekend I made Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Pork and Vegetables). Of course this meant I also needed to make Nuoc cham because that is the dressing for this room temperature dish. I am still a beginner at cooking Asian food of all kinds so I do a lot of research before I buy my ingredients and get down to business.
I don’t like to rely on any one site or source for my recipes. Instead I look at 3-5 different recipes, the majority of which I search for by using the terms of whatever culture created the dish. Blogs are often the best source for the most authentic recipes that have each step illustrated with photos.
In the case of Bun Thit Nuong I started my search with a few English words: Vietnamese, vermicelli, pork. This time I got lucky and the Vietnamese name for the dish showed up in the first page of results. That doesn’t always happen.
I’ll read one or two recipes from the first page of results, then search the Vietnamese name. If I need to I filter the results by selecting “Recipes” in the left sidebar of the search results page.
For this search I felt the results were better without using any filters. Use the filter if you’re not getting the results you want. If you do use the recipe filter the ingredients filter will appear. I rarely use the ingredients filter as it excludes too many things and you end up with a very short list.
At this point I’ve read four or five recipes, picked up some tips, and homed in on the ingredients that I want to use. After all, when you are searching for recipes you have a certain flavor and texture in mind and you can almost always find a recipe variation that you like or you can modify to fit your taste.
Last steps: check the pantry for ingredients that you already have, and the refrigerator for leftovers that can be used. Make shopping list (which includes enough of ingredients to have leftovers for kids’/husband’s lunch the next day). Shop. Cook. Eat. Yum!