I learnt how to make this soup at the fabulous cooking class in Hoi An Mrs Vy’s Cooking Class (my review).
This is my version which features a prawn and carrot filling, fish balls and puffed tofu.
It is a light but filling meal and very healthy.
Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 10-12 green prawns shelled, I used frozen prawns
- 1 carrot (3/4 grated and the rest cut into thin discs)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 red chillies
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 1/4 bunch of coriander
- 2 tablespoons fish suace
- 1/2 savoy cabbage
- 1/2 bunch of spring onions
- 10 Pre-made small vietnamese fish balls – available in most Asian supermarkets.
- fried tofu puffs
- 2 litres chicken stock (homemade if you have)
1. Cut the core of the cabbage out being careful not to break leaves.
2. Carefully “peel” the cabbage leaves off one by one keeping them as intact as possible. Trim the leaves, removing the tough stalk and so the leaves are of as equal size as you can. Save the trimmings for your broth.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil and then submerge the cabbage leaves in the water, bringing the water off the boil so the leaves gently simmer until soft but still intact. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and douse the leaves in iced water, then allow to drain.
4. Cut the spring onions just above the white part, and then put the left over green stalks intact into the cabbage boiling water until they soften. Drain and allow to cool.
5. Chop up the prawns finely.
6. Mash up the garlic, white part of the lemongrass (about 2 teaspoons worth), chillies and some of the coriander leaves in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. I add a bit of salt to help this process. You can whizz in a small blender if you like.
7. Finely grate 3/4 of the carrot. Thinly slice the leftover white part of the spring onions.
8. in a bowl mix the prawns, garlic chilli paste and 1 tbspoons of fish sauce — mix vigorously – I use gloves – to mush together the prawns and the paste, then add sliced spring onions, grated carrot judging the quantity to have about 2/3 carrot to prawn in the mixture.
9. Add the leftover lemongrass, coriander stalks, leftover grated carrot, cabbage trimmings to the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes while you make the cabbage rolls. This adds sweetness and nutrients from your leftover vegees into the stock.
10. Dollop a teaspoon or two of prawn mixture on a cabbage leaf and , bring in the edges first, then roll to close into a secure neat parcel using the green spring onion stalks to tie them together.
11. Strain the chicken stock and put back into the pot, bring to a simmer again, add the other tablespoon of fish sauce, then add carrot discs and cabbage rolls, simmer for 5 minutes, then add fish balls, simmer for another 5-8 minutes and then finally add tofu puffs, additional coriander leaves to garnish, Taste the broth to see if additional salt is needed.
12. Serve in soup bowls and add fresh chopped chilli to spice it up if you like.