Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese summer rolls)

Raw vietnamese rolls with shrimp and dip

Appetisers, Fish, Main Course | October 11, 2015 | By

Gỏi Cuốn (pronounced “goy coo-an”) is a delicious, traditional Vietnamese dish. The name translates to “salad rolls” and they are often referred to in English as “summer rolls”. As with any traditional dish, the filling of the roll varies but this recipe uses prawns. The rolls are wrapped with rice paper (bánh tráng) and are served at room temperature or slightly chilled with a dipping sauce. In this case we’ll be making Nước mắm pha which is a popular fish sauce based dip.

These rolls taste amazing and they are really very versatile. They keep very well so they can be made in advance. They can also be made in different sizes so they can be used as an appetiser or a light main course. They are also quite low in fat.

Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese summer rolls)
Delicious, light Vietnamese summer rolls filled with raw veggies and prawns with a hot, sour dipping sauce.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
For the filling
  1. 200g rice noodles
  2. 100g prawns (cooked)
  3. 2 baby gem lettuce
  4. 2 carrots
  5. 6 spring onions
  6. 2 limes
  7. Fresh mint, coriander and basil (Thai basil if available)
To wrap
  1. Rice paper (see tip at end)
For the sauce
  1. 180ml fish sauce
  2. 4 tbsp caster sugar
  3. 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 2 chillies
To prepare
  1. Prepare the rice noodles as per the instructions on the packet. (Usually by soaking in boiling water for a few minutes then rinsing.) Once cooled, chop roughly.
  2. Chop everything - the prawns, lettuce, carrots, spring onions, chillies and herbs.
  3. Juice the two limes.
Make the sauce
  1. Put the fish sauce into a bowl and add the sugar and rice vinegar. Stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the chopped chillies, one third of the spring onions, the garlic and about 4-5 tbsp each of the chopped coriander and mint.
  3. Mix well again and set aside.
Make the filling
  1. Put the chopped noodles in a large bowl. Add the prawns, lettuce and the remaining spring onion and mix well.
  2. Add about 4tbsp each of the chopped basil, mint and coriander. Next, add the lime juice and 2 tbsp of the dipping sauce. Mix well again.
Finish the rolls
  1. To finish the rolls you'll need to rehydrate the rice paper. Again this varies depending on the brand so check the instructions on the packet. Usually it'll involved soaking in either warm or cold water for a minute or two. One prepare one rice paper at a time! Ensure the work surface that you plan to make the roll on is also wet to avoid it sticking.
  2. Place a spoon or two of the filling on the wrap, just off centre. Start rolling then close in the ends and finish rolling. Once the paper dries a little it will hold.
How much rice paper?
  1. This depends on what you're making! If you use small pieces of rice paper you'll need 20 - 30 sheets to use all the mixture. These are ideal as appetisers. If you would prefer something a bit more substantial use larger pieces of rice paper - you'll probably need 10 - 12 sheets.
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Prawn Satay

Delicious Homemade King Prawn Satay Recipe

Fish, Main Course | July 2, 2015 | By

Satay is a delicious, easy sauce to make. It’s also quite light making it ideal for summer. It’s about 39ºC here in Frankfurt at the minute so, in one sense it’s amazing I can even think about food at all! Nevertheless, we have to eat to survive so we might as well make it enjoyable eh? 

Satay Sauce with King Prawns
Serves 2
A light satay sauce with juicy prawns, an easy, quick, healthy alternative to a takeaway!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
For the sauce
  1. 300g raw king prawn, shelled and deveined (see tip at end)
  2. 200ml veg or fish stock
  3. 400ml coconut milk
  4. 1 red pepper
  5. 1 chilli
  6. 2 garlic cloves crushed
  7. 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  8. 1 onion
  9. 2 spring onions
  10. 1/2 tin of bamboo shoots
  11. 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  12. 2 tbsp honey
  13. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  14. 1/4 tsp turmeric
  15. 1/2 a lime
  16. Glug of vegetable oil or wok oil
To Serve
  1. 150g Basmati rice
You will also need
  1. A blender or stick blender
To Prepare
  1. Finely chop the chilli, onion and pepper.
  2. Boil the kettle and make the stock.
  3. Set a salted pot of water on the hob to boil.
  4. Combine the peanut butter, turmeric, soy sauce, stock and lime juice and blend until smooth.
Start the rice
  1. Once the water is boiling add the rice and set a timer for 10 minutes (adjusting as per the instructions on the packet).
Make the satay sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and the pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peanut mix you prepared earlier to the pan as well as the coconut milk. Stir well to combine.
  4. Finally add the prawns, spring onion and bamboo shoots. Simmer for about 3 minutes then remove from the heat.
  5. The rice should now be ready, drain it.
To serve
  1. Fluff the rice with a fork then divide evenly between the two bowls.
  2. Using a ladle scoop a generous amount of prawn satay into each bowl.
  3. Enjoy immediately!
Prawn panic
  1. Prawns are tricky. The best way to get them is raw, deshelled and deveined. Most often these will be frozen and will require thawing before cooking. You can of course use fresh, precooked prawns but be warned that these never get as juicy as they don't absorb the sauce. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can get fresh prawns, don't forget to add some extra preparation for skinning and deveining them!
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Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry Recipe

Chicken, Main Course | April 1, 2015 | By

Thai green curry is my favourite curry to make. The coconut milk combined with the heat of the spices make for a delicious treat. Serve with some sticky basmati rice and you’ll never go back to ordering takeaway again! (Unless it’s a hungover Sunday!) 

Thai Green Curry
Serves 2
Thai green curry is a delicious aromatic and spicy curry with a coconut milk base.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
For the dish
  1. Green curry paste (I use about 1/2 a jar of Blue Dragon paste)
  2. 1 onion
  3. 3 cloves of garlic
  4. 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  5. 1 tbsp fish sauce
  6. 1 tbsp sugar
  7. 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  8. Tin of coconut milk (400g usually)
  9. Bunch of fresh coriander
  10. 2 chicken fillets
  11. 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
To serve
  1. 150g rice (ideally basmati)
You will also need
  1. Large wok or frying pan
  2. Large bowl
To prepare
  1. Finely chop the onions, garlic and coriander, reserving some coriander for garnish.
  2. Boil a kettle of water for the rice.
  3. Chop the chicken fillets into small chunks.
Make the curry
  1. Put the chicken in a large bowl. Pour in 1tbsp of dark soy sauce and mix well. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well to coat.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium high heat (mark 4). Add the curry paste and heat for about a minute or until aromatic. Add the onions and garlic. Mix well and fry until the veg become soft. Add more oil if required.
  3. Add the chicken to the pan. Stir well and fry until the chicken is sealed on all sides.
  4. Add the coconut milk to the pan and stir well. Add the coriander, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir well. Turn the heat down to low (mark 2) and simmer without a lid for at least half an hour stirring on occasion.
Make the rice
  1. When the curry has been simmering for about 15 mins or so, put the rice in a pan of boiling salted water. Check the instructions on the rice but it usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the brand and type.
To serve
  1. Serve the rice and curry immediately with some coriander to garnish.
Change the heat of this dish
  1. Reduce the amount of curry paste for a creamier taste and increase the amount of curry paste and garlic to increase the heat. The heat of the paste depends on the brand so make sure to read the usage instructions on the jar!
Add some veg
  1. This dish works very well with mangetout and peas. Simple add for the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking, about the same time you put on the rice.
Make it healthier
  1. Swap the white rice for wholegrain rice and use low-fat coconut milk. Use a spoon of honey instead of sugar. Be warned that brown rice takes longer (about 40 mins usually) so will need to be put on at the same time as the curry!
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Asian Marinated Duck Breast with Noodles

Crispy Asian Duck

Duck | January 18, 2015 | By

I was always afraid to cook duck. Firstly, I wasn’t even sure I liked it as I had only previously had it in takeaways. Secondly, once I had decided to try it, I came across so many articles telling me what I could do wrong! Duck isn’t as difficult to cook as you think and, with the help of a timer, you can get it consistently right with this recipe. Be warned however that the timings are particularly important in this recipe.

Asian Duck Breast with Noodles
Serves 2
Crispy duck breast marinated in an Asian sauce served on a bed of noodles.
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Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
For the Duck
  1. 2 Duck Breasts, skin on
For the Marinade
  1. 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  2. 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  3. 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  4. 1 tbsp Honey
  5. 1 tbsp Peanut Oil
  6. 1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice (or Thai 7 spice)
  7. 1 tbsp chilli flakes
To serve
  1. Noodles of your choice
To Prepare
  1. Put all the marinade ingredients into a jar and mix well. Transfer to a small dish so you can marinade your duck in it.
  2. Cut some criss-cross slits into the duck fat, being careful not to pierce or cut the flesh. Add to the marinade and turn well to coat. Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour. Take out of the fridge 30 mins before cooking to allow to get to room temperature. Also preheat the oven to 180ªC.
Cooking the duck
  1. Reserve the marinade in a saucepan and place the duck skin-side down into a cold, dry frying pan. Place over a medium heat. After about 9 minutes the skin will be crispy. Keep an eye on the duck as it's very easy to burn it at this stage.
  2. Remove the fillets from the pan and drain away the majority of the fat that has collected in the pan. Return the duck to the pan flesh side down and cook for 3 more minutes.
  3. Place the duck skin flesh side down on a rack and place either in the oven for 14 minutes.
  4. Remove the duck from the oven and cover with foil and allow to stand for about 8 minutes.
Sauce and Noodles
  1. Put the marinade on the hob and bring to the boil. Lower the temperature and allow to simmer. It will get a syrup-like consistency.
  2. Cook noodles according to the packet instructions. For extra flavour stir fry the noodles for one minute with a spoon of the duck fat from earlier.
To Serve
  1. Slice the duck and serve on a bed of noodles topped with the marinade sauce.
Worried about the marinade?
  1. Seriously, I've made this recipe 5 times and I've never gotten sick! The sauce is boiled and then simmered, killing off any potential bacteria in it. So don't worry!
How well done?
  1. Following this recipe exactly will give you duck cooked medium. For rare reduce the time in the oven by 2 minutes and for well done, increase it by 2 minutes.
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