Chargrilled prawns and green mango rice paper rolls

Chargrilled prawns and green mango rice paper rolls

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

I went to visit two old ladies who have been hand-making thin vermicelli noodles in Quy Nhon for the last 40 years. They are in their 90s, but still strong and still working hard. They soak the rice overnight, then grind it in a stone mill to make a batter. They then cook the batter in a wok over low heat until it becomes a thick dough. The dough is then kneaded until their arms get tired, then pressed through a noodle-cutter, creating extremely thin strands. The noodles are then layered onto bamboo mats and steamed. After watching how much work goes into making these noodles, I have never wasted a strand.


Quantity Ingredient
12 bamboo skewers
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic chives, thinly sliced
12 raw king prawns, unpeeled, heads and tails attached
1 teaspoon fish sauce
12 fresh thin thread vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
12 dried round rice paper sheets, about 22 cm in diameter
1 green mango, peeled and julienned
1 green banana, halved and thinly sliced lengthways
1 lebanese cucumber, halved and thinly sliced lengthways
6 iceberg lettuce leaves
* nuoc mam cham dipping sauce [rid:8084]


  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes to prevent scorching.
  2. Bring the oil and garlic chives to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir, then remove from the heat. Transfer the garlic chive oil to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Thread one prawn onto each skewer. Brush with the fish sauce, then chargrill over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, place the vermicelli noodles in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute on high. Now coat the noodles with the garlic chive oil and sprinkle with the peanuts.
  5. Working with one sheet at a time, rehydrate the rice paper sheets in warm water. Place on a clean work surface, then top with a noodle, an unpeeled prawn, some mango, banana, cucumber and lettuce. Roll from the bottom up, folding the sides in to form a tight roll.
  6. Repeat this process and serve with nuoc mam cham for dipping.
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