Techniques Vietnamese Ingredients Guide Published Apr 15, 2008 8:00 AM Techniques Christopher Hirsheimer SHARE 1. Fish sauce (nuoc mam) A thin brown sauce of fermented anchovies. Christopher Hirsheimer 2. Kaffir lime leaves Available fresh, frozen, and dried, they add a lemony flavor to broths. Christopher Hirsheimer 3. Thai chiles Tiny hot red and green peppers used for spice. Christopher Hirsheimer 4. Dried rice paper (banh trang) Available in various sizes, round or triangular; used for spring and summer rolls. Christopher Hirsheimer 5. Bean threads (bun tau) Also called cellophane noodles; add texture to soups and fillings. Christopher Hirsheimer 6. Rice stick noodles (banh pho) Flat, thin noodles made from rice flour and water, available in three widths; the medium is most popular for pho. Christopher Hirsheimer 7. Rice vermicelli (bun) Thin, brittle, white rice noodles, used in soups and salads, and as an essential side dish. Christopher Hirsheimer 8. Coconut milk (nuoc dua) Used in sweets and curries, and available canned or frozen. Christopher Hirsheimer 9. Rice flour (bot gao) Made from long-grain rice; used for making sizzling pancakes. Christopher Hirsheimer 10. Tamarind (me chua) The pulp of this sour-tasting fruit, sold in soft blocks, must be soaked and strained. Christopher Hirsheimer 11. Wood ear mushrooms (nam meo) To add texture; when soaked in water, they expand to four times their size. Christopher Hirsheimer 12. Lemongrass (xa) An aromatic tropical grass. Tough outer leaves are removed, the inner stalk crushed and chopped. Christopher Hirsheimer 13. Dried lemongrass Shredded and dried, to be reconstituted. Christopher Hirsheimer 14. Holy basil (rau que) Purple and green, with an intense anise flavor. Christopher Hirsheimer Food MORE TO READ RELATED The Saxelby Cheesecake Plums, vanilla bean, and fresh chèvre sparkle in Caroline Schiff’s sweet tribute to the legend of American-made cheese. READ NOW RELATED Kosher Cachopa Michael Twitty’s take on Cape Verde’s iconic, hearty stew honors the island nation’s Jewish roots. RELATED Quick-Pickled Beets This stress-free method will have you snacking on nature's candy without the post-canning cleanup.