Superwoman by E J Catering

Last Thursday was Chinese New Year.  I decided to mark the occasion by eating a Thai glass noodle salad with sautéed scallops and king prawns followed by local belly pork with bok choi and bang bang sauce at a dinner I helped host.   It wasn’t directly in celebration but any excuse is a good excuse.
In January 1994 I travelled to Vietnam and arrived on the first day of the New Year celebrations, except I was not aware of it!  As I remember the celebrations lasted three days and it was basically open house.  Everyone invited me in, never had I been to such a friendly country and met such friendly people.  They gave me food, sweets, beer and flowers.   I went to a family house for supper of fresh white fish with a gorgeous sweet and sour red sauce, sticky rice and simple steamed greens.  I played with the children out on the street, pushing single bike wheels with a stick and running after them under candle lit lanterns and every now and then a string of fire crackers would be set off to everyone’s excitement.  If you’re not used to the noise it’s extremely alarming and you feel like you should run and duck for cover.

I have lots of amazing visual memories of Vietnam;  of markets, bus and train trips with stunning scenery streaming by,  gracefully dressed women and whole families of six or eight on one moped!  My favourite place was Ha Long Bay.  It is not surprisingly  a Unesco world heritage site and is in my personal seven wonders of the world.  The bay is filled with thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes, heights and sizes.  It is ethereal and dreamy, you could float and look for hours, days, weeks or maybe forever.

In a small bay I ate the following dish and the local host gave me this recipe.  It is fresh, quick and easy.

Seared king prawns with mint and yoghurt
Serves 4
16 large raw prawns, peeled
Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
A large handful of fresh mint
1 green chill – deseeded
Teaspoon of roasted and ground cumin
Teaspoon of sugar or palm sugar
A good inch of fresh ginger
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
A handful of mangetout
Half a cucumber
Lots of fresh coriander
Sea salt and black pepper

Marinade the raw prawns in half the lemon juice, sea salt and oil.
In a blender or good heavy pestle and mortar combine the mint, chilli, cumin, sugar, ginger and yoghurt to make a sauce or paste.  Season to taste.
Halve the cucumber and remove the seeds, cut into thick chunks, halve the mangetout and cut through the coriander
Heat a pan and quickly fry the prawns on both sides, add the mangetout for just a second, turn off the heat and add all the other ingredients to the sauce pan and combine.  Serve immediately over steamed white rice and add a view of Ha Long Bay ( Google it!)

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One Response to “Superwoman by E J Catering”

  1. anhhh Says:

    Thanks for yr post SW. I share the same idea with you that Halong is an amazing destination. I remember thousands of limestone island and massive grottoes. overnight on Halong bay junk is marvelous. I had great time there.

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