In every town, city and village in Vietnam, food vendors display irresistible street food. Why not bring a piece of Vietnam to your kitchen? Here are two great Vietnamese appetizers to start your East Asian cooking adventures.
Spicy Stuffed Crackers (serves about 20 guests)
Ingredients Spicy Stuffed Crackers
Freshly ground black pepper
Three quarters of a teaspoon of sugar
Three teaspoons of fish sauce
Two tablespoons of chopped coriander
A splash of Vietnamese mint
Half a cup of chopped roasted peanuts
100g of lean pork, prawn or mince meats
Two cloves of garlic (be sure you know the difference between a bulb and a clove!)
Twenty dried tapioca crackers
Cooking instructions Spicy Stuffed Crackers
- Warm a some of the peanut oil in a wok and add the tapioca dried crackers. Heat them until they start to grow and puff up. Eventually they will grow crisp around the edges after sixty seconds. Pull the tapioca dried crackers out of the wok and place onto a paper towel to absorb the excess oil left on them.
- Clean the pan and add another splash of oil (around 100ml). This time you’ll be frying the garlic cloves and shallots until they are brown and crispy. Again, drain them on a paper towel just like you did with the dried crackers.
- Clean the pan again and re-apply some oil before adding your choice of meat. You can use pork, prawn or mince depending on your preference, the only difference really is the variation in cooking time between the different meat types. Fry the meat over a high heat, but be sure to stir constantly until the meat is brown on the outside and cooked in the center.
- Add peanuts and herbs to the wok towards the end of the cook to mix in with the meat. The fish sauce and Vietnamese mint can be added too, along with sugar and black pepper to taste. The garlic and shallots should be added last as they are most pungent.
- Remove the heat but keep the food in the wok and serve straight from the wok onto the crackers.
Golden Prawn Toast Recipe
The Vietnamese word for Golden Prawn Toast is ‘Banh mi chien tom’, if you happen to be in Ho Chi Minh and fancy this for breakfast. If you are a little closer to home, try making it yourself!
Ingredients Golden Prawn Toast (serves 20)
Oil for frying (peanut oil)
Two baguettes sliced in half
Two teaspoons of fish sauce or Vietnamese cooking sauce
Two egg whites
Large spring onions sliced very finely
60g pork sliced into small cubes
400g green shrimp meat diced
Cooking Instructions Golden Shrimp Toast
- Like a lot of Vietnamese appetizer recipes, this uses a food processor to grind together the prawn meat and pork. Blitz for a few minutes until a smooth…but rather yucky paste. Throw in an egg white and spring onion, along with the white pepper, fish sauce and two tablespoons of water. Bring this mixture together in the food processor for another minute or so, until smooth.
- Grab your baguettes and slice them open if you haven’t already. Use a cake mixture spreader to lather the mixture onto the top of the bread.
- Heat a wok with peanut oil over a medium heat and cook the toast baguettes with the filling of the toast facing towards the pan. Heat until the bread is golden brown, varying the sides the bread is cooked on at times. When you think it’s golden enough, remove from the wok to a paper towel to drain the oil and serve with sour sauce or Vietnamese traditional cooking sauce. Decorate with one shrimp.
Kari is a worldwide travel blogger who writes for www.solimartravel.com. Vietnam is one of her favorite places to visit and take kitchen influences from!