Prawns in young green rice

Prawns in young green rice

Tôm cốm xanh

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

What makes this dish special is the wonderful contrast of textures, with the crisp green-rice covering the soft-fleshed prawns. The little orange prawn tails poking through the green on the outside also make the dish look very attractive.

Green rice can be used to crumb other foods, such as chicken or tofu, and is a great alternative to breadcrumbs for people who are gluten intolerant.


Quantity Ingredient
400g snapper fillets, skin and bones removed, cut into rough chunks
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 large prawns
rice flour, for dusting
200g young green rice
Classic dipping sauce, to serve


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound or process the fish and garlic until the mixture forms a paste. Add the fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and further pound or process to incorporate the ingredients. Transfer to a bowl, then cover and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Carefully remove the shells from the bodies of the prawns, leaving the head and tail intact. Using a sharp knife, and making sure not to cut too deep, run the blade along the back of each prawn and remove the intestinal tract.
  3. Lightly dust the prawns in the rice flour, shaking o any excess.
  4. Divide the fish paste into 12 portions. Working with one portion at a time, and using lightly oiled fingers, flatten the paste in the palm of your hand. Place a prawn into the centre, then mould the paste around the peeled part of the prawn. Press firmly to seal. Lightly press the green rice into the moulded prawns.
  5. Heat about 13 cm of oil in a wok. To test the oil, place the tip of a wooden chopstick into the oil - when bubbles slowly rise to the surface, the oil is hot enough to use.
  6. Fry the prawns for 5–6 minutes, until they are cooked through and the rice has puffed slightly. Drain well on paper towel.
  7. Serve hot, with the dipping sauce.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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