Vietnamese prawn salad


  • Serves 4 people

  • 16 medium green prawns
  • 125 gm rice vermicelli
  • 1 bunch snake beans, trimmed, cut into 5cm lengths
  • 1 small red chilli, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm palm sugar, coarsely chopped
  • 30 ml fish sauce
  • 30 ml lime juice
  • 30 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 40 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally, placed in iced water until curled
  • 1½ cups each (loosely packed) Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, coriander sprigs
  • To serve: fried shallots (see note)
01   Peel and clean prawns (intestinal tract removed, tails intact) and set aside.
02   Place vermicelli in a heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water and stand until soft (4-5 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold running water, then cut into shorter lengths using kitchen scissors and set aside.
03   Blanch snake beans in boiling salted water until just tender (2-3 minutes), drain, refresh in iced water and drain again. Add to vermicelli and set aside.
04   Pound chilli, garlic and palm sugar with a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and vinegar and adjust to taste (the dressing should be a balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet). Set aside.
05   Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add prawns and cook, turning once, until opaque and just cooked through (2-3 minutes), then add to noodles.
06   Drain green onions well, add to prawn mixture with herbs. Drizzle over dressing, toss to combine and serve immediately scattered with fried shallots.
Note Fried shallots are available from Asian grocers and the Asian section of select supermarkets.



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