80 g (23⁄4 oz/1⁄3 cup) dried shrimp
1½ tablespoons very finely chopped fresh galangal
50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) fresh grated or thawed frozen grated coconut (see below)
200 g (7 oz) dried rice vermicelli
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cooked medium king or tiger prawns (shrimp), shelled, deveined and tails left intact
6 red Asian shallots, very thinly sliced or ½ red onion, very thinly sliced
large handful of mint leaves, torn, to serve
coriander (cilantro) leaves to serve
1 tablespoon belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
5 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
6 medium red chillies, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
100 ml (3½ fl oz) lime juice
1½ tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1. For the dressing, wrap the belacan in foil. Heat a small, heavybased frying pan over medium heat, add the wrapped belacan then dry-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until fragrant. Cool and unwrap.
2. Transfer to a food processor with the chillies and garlic and process until a smooth paste forms. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
3. Combine in a small bowl with the remaining dressing ingredients and 2 tablespoons water and stir to combine well until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Finely grind the dried shrimp in an electric spice grinder until a coarse powder forms – process in batches if necessary.
5. Transfer to a frying pan over medium–low heat, add the galangal and coconut and dry-fry for 5–6 minutes or until fragrant and the coconut is light golden.
6. Put the rice vermicelli in a bowl, pour over cold water to cover then stand for 15 minutes or until softened. Drain well. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes or until softened, or cook according to the packet instructions.
7. In a large bowl combine the prawns with the coconut mixture, noodles, shallots and the dressing and toss to mix well.
8. Transfer to bowls or plates, scatter over the mint and coriander and serve.
Happy cooking 🙂