Grilled chicken (Gà nướng mọi)

Grilling and Roasting in Vietnamese cuisine

In Vietnamese language, nướng is a cooking technique that involves cooking food on direct fire. This method is sometimes synonymous with grilling, but it can be done with or without a grill, and never with a frying pan. If the food is roasted using a frying pan, the technique is called rang, and if it’s cooked by rotating on a spit or rotisserie, the method is called quay.

Varitions of nướng technique includes:

Nướng vỉ: a form of cooking on direct fire using a grill, especially a gridiron. So it’s grilling or gridironing in its purest sense. If the grill is a barbecue grill, it’s called nướng BBQ.

Nướng mọi: a form of cooking on direct fire without seasoning or marinating. For example, you put fresh shrimps on a grill and cook them without any seasoning. The dish will be prepared later with a dipping sauce or condiment.

Nướng trui: is like charbroiling or chargrilling, a form of cooking on direct fire until the is slightly charred in texture. This method is similar to the above nướng mọi technique in which the food is not grilled with any seasoning. In Vietnam, chargrilling is often done with snakehead fish.

Charbroiled snakehead fish (Cá lóc nướng trui)

Nướng lu: a form of cooking on direct fire using a (bottomless) large jar. Usually a large earthenware jar (Vietnamese: cái lu) is used to contain water or things, but its bottom is removed. The meat is hung around the brim of the jar and cooked with the heat at the center of the jar. In Vietnam, this method is often done with chickens, rabbits and even paddy mice.

Nướng lụi: a form of cooking on direct fire using a rod or a stick that pierces the center of the food. A rod can be a steel rod, a bamboo stick, or even a lemongrass or sugarcane stick. Ground or minced meat can be grilled by wrapping around a rod and cooked on a grill.

Nướng ống tre: a form of cooking on direct fire using a bamboo tube. A bamboo tube acts as a pot and also an ingredient because it also adds some flavors to the food. The food is stuffed inside a bamboo tube and get cooked on a open fire.

Nướng giấy bạc: grilling using aluminum foils. This method is often done with fish and vegetables. There are also some particular clams that require cooking with aluminum foils to retain the umami juice.

Nướng lò (or đút lò or bỏ lò): roasting in an (electric) oven. This modern method can be done with any type of food.

Quay: roasting using a spit or rotisserie. Sometimes this method is still called nướng, making it difficult for cooks to replicate the technique. This method is often used to cook pigs, chickens and ducks.

Thui: a form of preparing food in which the food is slightly cooked on the outside (usually the skin) using direct heat. The purpose of this method is to burn the leftover hair on the skin and boost the smell of the roasted skin. The primitive way includes buring rice straws as the heat source (Vietnamese: thui rơm). If the method is done by using a blowtorch, it’s also called khò or khò lửa. Cattle and gamey foods often require this method.

Spices used in grilling also form a method of cooking. For example, nướng muối ớt (grilling with salt and chillis), nướng mật ong (grilling with honey), nướng mỡ hành (grilling with sautéed spring onion and lard or oil), nướng phô mai (grilling with cheese), nướng lá chuối (grilling with food wrapped in banana leaves), nướng lá lốt (grilling with food wrapped in lá lốt leaves), nướng ngũ vị (grilling after marinating with five-spice seasonings), nướng sả ớt (grilling with garlic and chillis), nướng sa tế (grilling with chili oil sauce),…

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