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Apr 6, 2012 10:35 AM

White Sauce in Vietnamese cooking

I recently was given several Viet recipes and on a couple "white sauce" is listed as an ingredient.

Is this calling for bechamel or do the Vietnamese refer to something different as white sauce? I'm guessing the former given the French influence.

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  1. You could use a bechamel sauce, but I believe Vietnamese white sauce is made with white miso.

    1. What are the recipes for?

      1. Milk is not often used in Vietnamese food, many Asians are lactose intolerant, it's not bechamel.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jaykayen

          There are recipes in the Vietnamese repertoire that use dairy products, no doubt a legacy left from the colonial days.

          1. re: chefj

            I'm interested. Can you give me an example?

            1. re: jaykayen

              There are the obvious ones like condensed milk in sweet drinks and flan. Many Upscale restaurant finish savory sauces with butter like Shaking Beef(Thịt Bò Lúc Lắc).
              Lesser know dishes in the west,
              Deed fried butter corn(Ngô Chiên Bơ), cooked corn mixed with eggs and milk (or
              custard powder) and starch fried and drizzled with butter.
              Coconut Snails with butter(ốc dừa xào bơ)
              Squid cooked in milk (Mực om sữa)
              Milk Braised Snakefish (Cá om sữa)
              The consumption of milk products and milk has been steadily rising in Vietnam especially in the north. Combine that with exposure to western recipes and the French colonial heritage(and culinary training in private homes and hotels) has resulted in dairy being part of the cuisine.

              1. re: chefj

                I see. The idea of muc cooked in sua does not sound appetizing.

                1. re: jaykayen

                  Never had it but there is a whole repertoire of dishes "cooked in milk"

              2. re: jaykayen

                Oh and in baked and bakery goods, breads and pastry

          2. Can't tell without seeing what the recipes are for, but one possibility is a cornstarch-based Chinese white sauce.

            1. I glanced through a couple small Vietnamese cookbooks, and didn't see anything that looked like 'white sauce', either in the recipes or pictures. No miso either. Some dishes use coconut milk. There was a rice porridge (congee like), and couple with a yogurt based dipping sauce.