With warmer weather right around the corner, we’ve started to crave snacks that are lighter and healthier. On a visit to The Nam Hai, we joined chef Vinh in the kitchen for an insightful cooking class and whipped up a memorable three-course meal. Gourmands will appreciate the bounty of fresh herbs, vegetables and seafood on offer, as well as the opportunity to sample local Vietnamese flavours. Here’s a sneak peek at the hotel’s famous fresh spring rolls with prawns, or goi cuon tom.
Fresh Spring Rolls with Prawns
16 medium sized poached prawns
16 dried rice paper sheets
1 large packet of dried vermicelli noodles
1 medium sized cucumber, remove the seeds and cut into thin strips
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 cup roasted peanuts
16 large lettuce leaves
1 cup fresh sprigs of herbs – mint, basil and coriander
1 bunch spring onion, chopped into 4cm pieces
10g fried shallot
2 tbsp shallot oil
Soak the dried vermicelli noodles in hot tap water for 10 minutes until softened. Drain the noodles in a colander. Peel, wash and devein the poached prawns and remove the head. Reserve the prawns for later usage. Mix all the vermicelli noodles, cucumber, carrots, herbs, shallot oil, fried shallot and peanuts together. Take a rice paper sheet and make it damp with a little warm water, so that it softens and becomes pliable. Repeat with a second rice paper sheet and place it half over the first rice paper sheet. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Place the lettuce onto the rice paper sheets, arrange the mixed ingredients and poached prawns evenly on the lettuce and roll into a tight spring roll. Cut the spring roll in half and serve with sweet and sour fish sauce on the side.
Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp chili sauce
1 tsp red chili, finely chopped
Cook fish sauce and sugar together on a low heat for 5 minutes, then put aside until cooled. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix all together and then blend.
Chef Vinh teaching trade secrets in The Nam Hai kitchen
Photography: Edgar Tapan