You know those really old Asian cookery books with the ancient faded photographs that make every recipe look unappetising? Well this recipe is form on of those. I know those pictures can be really off putting, but I often find that old recipe books are the best for fool proof flavoursome dishes and this one is no different. There is something nostalgic about an old recipe book. I often wonder who’s cooked from it and how long it’s been around. But, hopefully my photograph looks a little more appetising.
I made this dish yonks ago with my fiend Emily and I’ve been pestering her for the recipe ever since because it was so delicious and simple. Emily is also a keen cook, so we love nothing more than a midweek get together for cooking up a tasty meal, obviously washed down with a nice wine or, in this case, Thai beer.
This delicately light noodle soup would make the perfect Thai starter or lunch, although we made it for dinner; it’s actually more filling than you might imagine. It’s a myriad of flavours, from the sour element of lime leaves and oyster sauce to the hot of the chilli and fish sauce; it really packs a punch. The soup has a wonderful aroma when cooking; sure to make everyone hungry and the six chillies certainly give it a spicy edge, which I love. It would make for brilliant diet food as it’s ridiculously low in calories but packed with flavour, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
1tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 shallots, grated
2.5cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
4-5 small red chillies, finely chopped
1.5 litres chicken stock
3 kaffier lime leaves, sliced
10cm piece of lemon grass, chopped
225g rice vermicelli noodles
20 large peeled prawns
6 tbsp fish sauce
6 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp palm or brown sugar
16 mushrooms, sliced
Coriander leaves, to garnish
Heat the oil in a saucepan, then stir-fry the garlic, shallots, ginger and chilli for about 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock, add the lime leaves and lemon grass and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the rice vermicelli for 3 minutes, rinse, drain and divide equally among four bowls. Add the prawns, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and mushrooms to the soup, and then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the soup into the bowls and sprinkle with coriander leaves. Serve immediately.