Recently I’ve been trying very hard to improve my photography and emulating the minimalist look – so the photo above shows minimalist by having nothing except for a couple of coriander leaves and a claypot of the most delicious prawn vermicelli sitting on a blue napkin. I’ve not mastered the look yet but I’m learning a lot on creating props, food styling, lighting and shooting still life. Not easy I can say… but I have faith and as any other photographer will advise, “Keep practicing”.
I was excited to try this recipe because it’s not only easy to make, it was very very delicious – greatly inspired by tastes of Thailand. As a working mother, I love any recipes that will save me time especially the ones that I can just dump everything into a pot and leave it to cook – good for weekday dinner or lazy weekend meal.
As you know, vermicelli is tasteless by itself. So, marrying it with other ingredients and sauces makes it really delicious. The key ingredient here is the coriander roots, when cooked, it releases a deep and intense flavour that is so aromatic. Coriander roots are essential in Thai curry pastes or stir fries. I am lucky to be able to buy this wonderful herb from the local grocery store. If you can’t find this near your place, you can grow them in your own backyard – just follow the instructions which I found on this wonderful blog.
Cooking in the claypot is good because it preserves the flavour and equalise the heat all around.
Prawn Vermicelli (adapted from Chef and Sommelier)
8 large banana prawns, de-veined with shells and heads on
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
4 slices ginger
4 pcs coriander roots (soaked in warm water for 5 mins, then wash over running water until clean)
200g dry vermicelli (soaked in warm water for 5 mins or until soft, drain)
3 pcs bacon, sliced thinly
200ml chicken broth
2 tbsp cooking oil
3-4 drizzles of sesame oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Chinese wine
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp sugar
3 tsp dark soya sauce
1. Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a claypot on medium fire.
2. Turn the fire down, add slices of bacon to the hot oil and saute for 2 minutes or until slightly browned.
3. Then mix in the garlic, ginger and coriander roots. Increase the heat to medium high and stir fry until fragrant.
4. Spread the fried ingredient evenly all over the base. Top with vermicelli and then pour the sauce mixture all around the vermicelli. Mix well with a spatula until the vermicelli is evenly coated. Pour in the broth and cover for 1-2 minutes.
5. Uncover the pot and lay the prawns on top of the vermicelli. Top with coriander. Then drizzle some sesame oil and cover. Cook at medium heat until prawn and vermicelli are cooked. Stir once a while to avoid burning at the bottom. If the liquid dries up, add extra broth or hot water. Continue to keep watch on the vermicelli so it does not overcook (or turn too soft). I like it to be al-dente.
6. By now, the sauce would be absorbed by the vermicelli and you can taste the flavours in the vermicelli. Remove from the heat and serve in the claypot itself.