Thursday, 21 July 2011

A good whack of Thailand in a bottle

You'll probably need to visit your local Asian or Speciality food store for this, but I can promise you it's worth it. It's a thick chunky paste of chilli, onion, garlic, vegetable oil, dried shrimp, sugar, salt and tamarind. It literally gives life to anything on a plate and I am a big fan. If you're cooking any meat, just before it's done, spread a good dollop of paste on both sides, and give it another 30 seconds on the heat.

My fresh spring rolls with Thai coconut sauce:


  • a good few sheets of rice paper

  • 1 tin of coconut milk

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, each cut in half

  • 8 lime leaves, torn

  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce

  • 3 tsp above chilli paste

  • 2 tsp palm sugar

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced length ways

  • 2 carrots, julienned

  • half a cucumber, julienned

  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves

  • 2 handfulls fresh mint leaves

  • 400g cooked pork or shrimp or both

  • 100g rice vermicelli

  • Method:

  • bring the coconut milk to the boil, add lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli paste, fish sauce and palm sugar, then reduce at least by half to a sauce like consistency

  • cook vermicelli according to packet instructions

  • present all the ingredients on a platter and put the coconut sauce in a bowl

  • soak individual rice paper sheets in water for around 30 seconds, then leave to rest on a clean towel for a minute

  • put a paper sheet on your plate, add whatever ingredients you want to form a line on one side of the circle, fold the paper over on each side of this line, and across it from the closest side, then roll tightly all the way to the side

  • dip in the sauce and enjoy

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