Thursday 13 January 2011

Vietnamese style prawn salad recipe

We got back from our holiday yesterday, and today I lacked the inspiration to do a full supermarket shop, so instead went to my favourite local asian green-grocer and stocked up on a huge load of fresh fruit & veg with a couple of little extras thrown in.  I grabbed a bag of frozen prawns (cooked, tails on) while I was there as well, and thus ensues tonight's delicious dinner!  We love vietnamese style food - it is so fresh, crisp, clean and bursting with flavour. 

 (Credit to Simon for the photo)

1 bag frozen cooked prawns, tails on - leave in the fridge overnight to thaw, or as long as possible, then rinse in cold water to complete the thaw if need be
mung bean sprouts
about 3" of telegraph cucumber
yellow capsicum
1 spring onion
fresh mint (about 6 leaves)
2 serves vermicilli noodles
dash peanut oil

juice of 5 small yellow limes (from Dad's tree)
fish sauce to taste (I'd guess I used between 1 and 2 T - but seriously, do taste!)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
generous handful coriander leaves & stalks
1 small but potent red chilli
1/4 t minced garlic (normally I'd crush my own fresh garlic, but I had none)

First, make the sauce.  Very finely chop the whole chilli (seeds & all), roughly chop the coriander then mix all ingredients - adding the fish sauce a bit at a time and tasting to check the balance of flavours.  Set aside to allow the garlic & chilli to infuse while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Finely chop the rocket (I know, rocket is a little odd for vietnamese, but if you like it and have it, use it, otherwise substitute).
Finely slice the spring onion & capsicum.
Peel & deseed the cucumber, slice thinly on the diagonal.
Place the vermicilli in a bowl and cover with boiling water (from the kettle).  Leave for 5-7 minutes.  Rinse in cold water, drain well then divide between 2 bowls.  I had no peanuts, so at this point I added a dash of peanut oil to the vermicilli.  Ordinarily, I'd finish the dish with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. 
Top the vermicilli with the prepared salad ingredients, plus the mung beans & prawns, leaving the diner to mix their own salad.
Finally, divide the sauce into 2 bowls, serve.

To eat - toss the salad and sauce, enjoy!

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