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Cooking with Tom Kime - Day 1 recipes



Makes 20 cakes

In the centre of Hanoi there are series of lakes, there are many ancient pagodas and monuments that are captivating at any time of the day. At five thirty in the morning the lakeshore is packed with Hanoi residents doing tai chi and other morning exercises. At the weekend the lakes are a popular destination with families who come to admire the pagodas at sunset and eat Banh tom. I counted about ten outside cafes selling exactly the same prawn cakes to the many passers by in the same way that a fair ground has lots of stalls that all sell toffee apples and candy floss. These crispy cakes are very tasty and they immediately transport me to the shore of the western lake in Hanoi watching the silhouetted pagodas against the setting sun.

Like many Vietnamese dishes this is quite simple but is served with the essential table salad. A selection of mixed fresh herbs, lettuce and crisp green vegetables are served along side the food, whether meal, or snack. Small pieces of meat or fish can be wrapped in a leaf and eaten from the hand or dipped with chopsticks into one of the many spectacular Vietnamese dipping Sauces. When the table salad accompanies amore substantial dish or a meal the diner can tear off some lettuce and fresh herbs and add the m to their bow of soup, rice or beef.

Vietnamese cuisine is often described as aromatic, perfumed or fragrant, and this is largely due to this tearing of fresh herbs by the individual diner. Herbs such as mint, coriander and Thai basil are used, rocket and watercress can be also be used because of their peppery qualities, shiso or parilla leaves are also used which give a lemony aromatic quality.

1. 250g of fresh prawns de veined and cut into 1 cm pieces
2. 150g of sweet potato peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
3. 3 x spring onion s cut into thin slices
4. Freshly ground black pepper
5. 120g plain flour sifted
6. 80g rice flour
7. 220ml of water
8. Half a teaspoon of baking powder
9. Half a teaspoon of salt
10. 1 teaspoon of sugar
11. vegetable oil for frying

1. Combine the two types of flour with the salt, baking powder, sugar and black pepper. Mix in the water until you have a smooth batter.
2. Leave to rest for ten minutes.
3. Mix in the sliced spring onions the sweet potato and the chopped raw prawns.
4. In a heavy bottomed pan heat 2-3 cm of oil until 350F 180 C. To test to see that the oil is hot enough drop a little of the mixture into the oil it should start to bubble and sizzle straight away.
5. This is an important test for the taste also.
6. If you are going to make a batch of something, which will be cooked. You must always taste one before you commence cooking the rest of the batch. You do not want to cook them all, to find that you have not seasoned the m correctly.
7. Taste the sample and adjust the seasoning
8. Place two heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto a metal spatula, pat the prawn batter into an irregular shape about 0.5cm 1cm thick
9. Press the mixture flat in the oil.
10. Cook in batches about 3 or 4 at a time
11. Fry the cakes turning them once until golden brown on all sides
12. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm in a warm oven if necessary.
13. To eat wrap the prawn cake in a combination of some of the fresh leaves and make a parcel with a piece of lettuce. The whole thing can be dipped into the accompanying sauce.

1. 1 x lime cut into quarters
2. Half a cucumber cut into thin slices
3. 1 x handful of washed bean sprouts
4. Quarter of a crisp lettuce such as iceberg washed and drained
5. 5 springs of each mint, coriander, Thai Basil
6. Some rocket or watercress

NUAC CHAM Dipping sauce

1. 3 x small Thai birds eye chillies finely sliced
2. 1 x clove of garlic finely chopped
3. 1 x tablespoon of sugar
4. 100ml of warm water
5. 2 limes juiced
6. 4 tablespoons of fish sauce

1. Cut the chilli into thin round slices
2. Reserve one third of the chillies for garnish
3. In a pestle and mortar crush the remaining chilli, garlic and sugar until a moth wet paste.
4. Add the warm water
5. Transfer to a bowl and add the lime juice and the fish sauce
6. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining chopped chillies to the dipping sauce.

Chopped ginger, fresh coriander, spring onions or thin slices of carrot can be also added to the dipping sauce as well as chopped roasted peanuts, so that it can accompany numerous types of dishes.


Surrounded by sea means there is a bounty of fish and seafood in the Korean diet. Sashimi is a common way of eating fresh fish such as sea bream or the highly acclaimed king fish. However the style of eating this freshest of fish is different from the Japanese method of eating fish of the same name. Korean food exists as sustenance as well as medicine, and so an on going balance of ingredients are sought to achieve the right harmony of the body and the taste buds. The fresh raw fish is given extra vitality in Korea by being seasoned with red chilli

1. 500g Sea Bream, Sea Bass or Kingfish.
2. 2 Teaspoons of Sunchang Gochujang (Korean spicy bean paste)
3. 1 clove of garlic
4. Pinch of salt
5. 1Teaspoon of sugar
6. 3 Tablespoons of Sesame oil
7. 2 Tablespoons of Light soy sauce
8. 1 lemon juiced
9. 3 spring onions finely sliced

1.) It is essential that the fish is very fresh. Get your fishmonger to pin bone the fish and then to skin it. Alternatively you can do this your self. To skin the fish dip you finger and thumb into some salt so that you can get a good grip of the tale end of the fish. The salt will work as an abrasive. With a thin sharp knife insert the blade down into the flesh near the tale end. Work your knife gently along so that the blade is horizontal to the skin pointing away from you. Increase the tension in your thumb and finger holding the tale. Run the knife in long smooth strokes from left to right away from you running along separating the skin from the flesh. At the same time pull the skin towards you at the same speed as the knife so that piece of fish is being worked into the path of knife in your other hand.

2.) Finely slice across the grain into thin complete Slice. If not using immediately then store in the fridge. Finely chop the spring onions.
Chop the garlic and then add a little salt and the sugar and work on the board with the back of the knife to make a smooth pulp.
Mix the crushed garlic with the hot red bean paste. Add the sesame oil, light soy and the lemon juice and mix together.

3.) When ready to serve gently lay the slices of fish on a serving platter. Season with black pepper and scatter with chopped spring onions
Pour over the spicy sesame dressing and serve.
There will be a fantastic combination of hot, salty and sour flavours, which will combine with the sweetness of the fresh fish.

Sunchang Gochujang is a Korean fiery red paste made from fermented beans and red chilli. It is deliciously addictive and is available from Asian grocers and food stores


1. 400g cleaned salmon fillet
2. 1 clove of garlic
3. 1 red chilli de seeded
4. ½ teaspoon of caster sugar
5. ½ teaspoon of salt
6. 3 tablespoons of orange juice
7. 3 tablespoons of limejuice
8. 1 X 3cm piece of peeled ginger grated
9. 1 stick of lemon grass, remove the outer leaves, and finely slice the centre
10. 2 spring onions finely sliced
11. 1/2 red chilli de seeded and finely diced
12. 3 lime leaves de-stemmed and finely sliced
13. 20 leaves of coriander finely shredded
14. 3 sticks of wild ginger peeled and finely shredded (if not available double the amount of ginger).
15. 2 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced

1. Pre-heat a griddle pan or frying pan.
2. Peel and slice the sweet potato, place in a bowl with a tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper. Mix together and grill for 1-2 minutes on each side.
3. Pound the garlic, chilli and salt and sugar until a smooth paste is formed.
4. Add the orange juice and limejuice to make the marinade.
5. Prepare all the other ingredients.
6. Peel and grate the ginger.
7. Slice the spring onions.
8. De-seed the chilli and finely dice.
9. Finely slice the lemon grass.
10. De stem the lime leaves roll tightly together and finely slice.
11. Skin the salmon and finely slice.

10 minutes before serving pour the marinade over the salmon. Season the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix in the remaining sliced ingredients except the fresh coriander leaves.

Arrange the grilled sweet potato on the bottom of the dish.

Scatter the coriander over the salmon and serve on top of the sweet potato.

This can be served as a canapé or a light pre-starter. This is a delicious way of serving any fish, because the citrus, chilli and ginger cure it. This is like a Royal Thai version of ceviche.


1. 10 cooked, peeled, de veined prawns
2. 10 leaves of mint chopped
3. 2 spring onions cut into thin slices
4. 10 leaves of coriander chopped
5. 2 table spoons of light soy sauce
6. 2 table spoons of fish sauce
7. 1 lime juiced
8. 1 x 2cm piece of ginger grated
9. 100g of dried rice vermicelli (thin rice noodles)
10. Rice paper wrappers

1. Rice paper wrappers can be bought in any Asian grocers and are used for making spring rolls.
2. Place the rice noodles in a bowl, and cover with boiling water.
3. Cook the prawns, de vein and finely slice.
4. Chop the herbs.
5. Grate the ginger.
6. Add limejuice, fish sauce, and light soy sauce.
7. Mix all ingredients.
8. Strain the water from the rice noodles. Cut the noodles into smaller pieces with scissors.
9. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Soak the rice paper wrappers in warm water about 5 at a time.
11. Place a clean damp tea towel on a board.
12. Lay out 4 or 5 sheets on the towel.
13. Place a tablespoon of mixture on each wrapper. About an inch from the bottom edge. And in the centre so there is about 1-2 inches on either side of the mixture.
14. The wrappers soften until they are like wet thin cloth.
15. Fold each side into the centre.
16. Fold the bottom inch over the top of the covered mixture like an envelope.
17. With firm pressure roll into a cigar shape.
18. Place on a tray covered with another wet cloth.
19. Repeat the process making two rolls per person or until the mixture has run out.
20. These rolls can be made with any filling and can be eaten raw or deep-fried


This is a delicious fish carpaccio. The fennel seeds are toasted and lightly crushed, fresh or dried red chilli, are finely chopped. Lemon zest, and lemon juice and good quality olive oil are mixed. The thin slithers of raw fish are first laid between slices of cling film and gently flattened so that they are wafer thin. The slices are then arranged on a large flat platter or a wooden board and scattered with the fennel seeds and the chopped chilli. There is a liberal seasoning with Maldon salt and freshly cracked black pepper and then the lemon and oil dressing is splashed over the top. The taste is amazing with every element of taste being represented for the tongue in its simplest form.

Serves 4-6

1. 750g Albacore Tuna as one large fillet
2. 1 x tablespoon fennel seeds
3. 2 red chillies de-seeded
4. Zest and juice of 1 lemon
5. 4 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
7. 3 sprigs of dill or chervil picked

1. Slice the tuna into as thin slices as you can. Lay out a large double thickness piece of cling film. Place the slices of fish on the cling film. Cover the fish with another double layer of cling film. With a rolling pin gently tap the slices of the fish to flatten them into thinner slices.

2. Lay the thin slithers of tuna on individual plates or on a large platter or board. In a dry frying pan gently toast the fennel seeds until fragrant and aromatic about 2 minutes. Place the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and roughly crush so that you still have some texture and they have released their aroma.

3. Take the halved red chillies and lay them on the board skin side down. This results in them being more easy to chop, because the inside flesh is softer. Finely slice into thin little half moon slithers
Mix the lemon juice with the extra virgin olive oil.

4. Scatter the toasted fennel seeds over the tuna slices. Repeat the same process with the red chilli slithers and the lemon Zest.
Season the fish with some salt and freshly ground black pepper,

When ready to serve spoon some of the oil and lemon dressing over the top the fish. And scatter over some of the fresh herbs.

This is delicious simple and visually very effective as a dish. Serve accompanied by some rocket leaves and some lovely bread.

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