Our long-lost family restaurant, The Mekong in Pimlico (disclaimer: I snorted when I first went and now claim it as my own) closed perhaps a year ago with what seemed like no warning. Mostly we’d go on special occasions, the most notable being the Westminster Cathedral Christmas carol service.
It was the scene of pregnancy announcements, quick takeaways and family gatherings, recipe requests and stories of the businesses that occupied the same space. I emailed them recently asking for a few recipes, I’m determined to recreate them for Bee, but this one was a stab in the dark.
So don’t take this as anything but an attempt at recreating a memory. The oil needed to be hotter, the pancakes needed to be less filled and many other things. This is a guide for me to work on. Essentially, though, it’s pretty close.
For the dipping sauce (nuoc cham)
Juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp palm sugar
Some chopped coriander
For the summer rolls
8 rice paper sheets
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 long red chilli, sliced
16 coriander leaves
16 cooked prawns
Loads of iceberg lettuce and mint leaves to serve
1l rapeseed oil
Make the dipping sauce by heating the lime juice and sugar until it dissolves. Leave to cool then add the fish sauce. You may need more, so taste until it is balanced between sweet, sour and salty. Add the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
Wet one rice paper sheet at a time with cold water and leave for ten seconds to soften.
Add a mint leaf and top with a pinch of each ingredient finishing with a couple of prawns.
Fold over at the bottom, in at the sides, then roll up into a parcel and give a final wash all over with water to seal, then set aside.
Continue until all are finished.
Heat a wok or deep fat fryer half full with rapeseed oil until it reaches 190c.
Using a slotted spoon, lower one roll at a time until you have about four or five in the pan.
Turn them over when golden on the underside then drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat until all are cooked and serve with the dipping sauce, extra mint leaves and Iceberg lettuce.