Monthly Archives: February 2013

Vietnamese Style Noodle and Prawn Soup

Vietnamese Noodle Prawn SoupI think it is safe to say that most of us enjoy a warm comforting bowl of soup and with the addition of noodles making it a complete meal… it’s guaranteed to be a winner! Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines, lots of clean flavours with recipes using spices, lots of fresh herbs and vegetables! Carefully balanced broths, stocks and sauces are of great importance, transforming the taste of the simplest dish! Just like the Vietnamese Salad,  Vietnamese Style Noodle and Prawn Soup is quick and easy to prepare for family meals and could also be served as part of an Asian style menu when entertaining!

Rice stick noodles are perfect to use in soups made with a light aromatic stock and people who suffer from gluten and wheat intolerance’s get to enjoy them as well! Rice noodles are best soaked in boiling water and not boiled in a saucepan which can easily turn them to mush! Either way, make sure your noodles are al dente, just like pasta!Dried Rice Noodles, Lime Leaves

The stock has been infused with lime leaves (not Kaffir lime leaf) taken from our lime tree growing in the garden! Unfortunately no limes yet… apparently the tree is still young… at least the lemon tree is starting to bud once again! 🙂  These small lime leaves are very fragrant when torn and it’s such a waste not to put their intoxicating perfume to some culinary use!  As the tree has not been sprayed with any chemical pesticides I am quite happy to use the lime leaves in my cooking!

Using the shell of the prawns when making the stock adds a delicate flavour and the stock only needs a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, with no salt added! Fish sauce and lime juice are the seasonings for this stock so use this recipe as a guide, balancing both according to your taste buds!Vietnamese Prawn Noodle Soup

I thought this was a nice idea and another way to serve Vietnamese soups (Pho), seen over at JungleFrog Cooking blog… putting the garnishes into individual bowls on the table, each person can choose and add what they like to their own bowl of soup! To add more flavour and spice things up a little, leave a bottle of chilli oil on the table to drizzle over the soup!  Use chop sticks to pick up the noodles and prawns when eating and afterwards pick the bowl up with your hands and slurp the delicious and light flavoursome soup from the bowl! Now if that sounds like bad table manners… head for the cutlery drawer!

Vietnamese Style Noodle and Prawn Soup


  • 400g uncooked medium-sized prawns, heads removed and discarded, prawns peeled and deveined, reserve the shells
  • 200g dried (2mm wide) rice stick noodles

for stock

  • 1.5 liters of  water
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, discard tough outer leaves, chop finely
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander root
  • 10 whole black pepper corns
  • 6 lime leaves (optional)

for seasoning

  • 2 limes juiced (approximately)
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce (approximately)

for garnish

  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 spring onions, green part, slice thinly, diagonally
  • 2 to 3 small chilli, slice thinly, diagonally
  • chilli oil to drizzle (optional)

How to make: Rinse the prawn shells and add together with the water, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander root, black pepper corns and torn lime leaves into a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stock uncovered for 20 minutes! Strain the stock and return to a cleaned saucepan!

Meanwhile place the rice noodles into a large heat-proof bowl or dish and pour over boiling water to cover completely. After about a minute move the rice noodles around so they do not stick together, check again after another minute! Leave noodles to soak for about 8 to 10 minutes, checking that they are not turning mushy and still have a slight bite to them! Once cooked drain and refresh with cold water. Set aside until needed.

Add the prawns to the stock and simmer for a minute or until prawns have changed colour! Add the lime juice and fish sauce gradually, check seasoning, adding more if required.

Divide the noodles into the bowls, ladle over the stock and divide the prawns. Garnish each bowl with some coriander, mint, spring onion and chilli. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Chocolate Martini

Chocolate Martini

Make hosting a special dinner party for a couple of friends special by serving pre dinner Chocolate Martini’s! Having a slight sip pre-dinner whets the appetite and gets the taste buds going and personally I think pre dinner martini drinks are best served in small 3oz-4oz martini glasses! A line quoted from Shakespeare’s Henry IV play sums that up…

Falstaff said… “Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot tarry dinner.”

Crème de Cacao is a cacao (chocolate bean) flavoured liqueur with hints of vanilla and comes in clear or dark varieties, both taste the same! This is not the same as a chocolate liqueur which is much sweeter and more syrupy! Rimming the glass with a touch of honey and chopped chocolate adds a touch of sweetness and a richer chocolate taste which counters the bitter taste of alcohol! You could also try using the clear crème de cacao and rim the glass with chopped white chocolate!

Chocolate Martini


  • honey, for rimming the glasses
  • finely chopped dark chocolate, for rimming the glasses
  • 1oz vodka
  • 3oz dark crème de cacao
  • a few ice cubes

How to make: Take two small plates and spread a light layer of honey on one and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the other plate. Lightly stamp the rim of each martini glass into the honey and then into the chocolate, making sure the rim of the glass is coated with chocolate. Pour the vodka and crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes and shake vigorously for a few seconds. Strain the drink into prepared glasses and serve immediately. Serves  2.

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