Vietnamese is fast becoming one of the UK’s favourite cuisines thanks to its fresh flavours and healthy, low fat ingredients.
Here we asked Juliette and Stephen Wall, the entrepreneurial couple behind Pho, London’s original Vietnamese street food restaurant (www.phocafe.co.uk), to share some of their most popular recipes for you to cook at home.
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients as most can be found in large supermarkets or at one of the many Asian stores now open in the UK.
Here are recipes for two of our favourite dishes that are great eaten together. We have also included the recipes for nuoc cham dipping sauce and carrot and mooli pickle – two key accompaniments to Vietnamese food – but these can also be bought if you don’t fancy making them yourself.
Vietnamese prawn papaya salad
Ingredients – serves 4
− 400g green papaya
− 60g carrot and mooli pickle (see below)
− 40g cucumber
− 60g celery
− 60g yellow pepper
− 60g red pepper
− 16 large prawns – cooked, peeled, sliced through leaving very end of tail attached
− Roasted peanuts, crushed (optional)
− Fried garlic (bought from Oriental supermarket)
− Vietnamese herbs – rauram, tia to (perilla), coriander, mint – 2 leaves of each torn into pieces
− Nuoc cham dipping sauce (see below)
− Prawn crackers to serve
- Finely chop all the fruit and vegetables. If you have a mandolin use this to save time.
- Mix the prawns with half the herbs and three teaspoons of nuoc cham. Coat well.
- Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and add a further three teaspoons of the nuoc cham or to taste.
- Turn carefully with a spoon about three times to coat the salad.
- Add remaining herbs on last turn. Do not over mix or over dress.
- Place the salad in a high pile and top with roasted peanuts and fried garlic.
Enjoy with a few prawn crackers on the side.
Fresh summer rolls
Ingredients - Serves 4 as a side dish
− 40g lettuce, finely shredded
− 4 large leaves of mint
− 12g chopped herbs such as coriander and perilla
− 20g carrot and mooli pickle (see below)
− 30g vermicelli noodle
− 2 x 22cm rice paper
− 4 cooked tiger prawns sliced lengthways or 2 slices of chicken breast if you prefer
− Nuoc cham dipping sauce
- Dip rice paper in warm water to soften then place on a clean damp tea towel to roll.
- Place mint leaves in a line across the lower third of the paper.
- Lay prawns across entire width of rice paper leaving sufficient at end to fold in
- Add in remaining ingredients and roll away from you.
- Store chilled under a damp tea towel.
- Serve whole or sliced in two with nuoc cham dipping sauce.
Carrot and mooli pickle
− 230g carrot
− 230g mooli (white radish)
−½ teaspoon salt
−60ml rice vinegar
−2 tbsp white sugar
- Place the rice vinegar, sugar and water into a pan and bring to the boil. As soon as boils allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Julienne the carrot and the mooli to matchstick thickness. Place together in a sieve and mix.
- Sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes. This will draw some of the liquid out of the vegetables.
- Rinse the vegetables under cold water to remove the salt and squeeze dry in a clean towel.
- Place in a clean bowl and pour over the vinegar solution and allow to stand for at least one hour before serving.
- To serve remove pickled vegetables from the vinegar.
Any extra can be left in the liquid and stored in a sealed container in the fridge for around three days.
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
− 4 tbsp fish sauce
− 6 tbsp rice vinegar
− 4 tbsp sugar
− 8 tbsp water
− 2 cloves crushed garlic
− 2 red chillies thinly sliced (or to taste)
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.
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