About the land reclamation process of the Southern Region, writer Son Nam wrote, “Our country’s land reclamation process by inelegant farmers is very special: slow and gentle.” Therefore, their way of living is also tolerant like the immense rivers there. A native of the Mekong Delta, Chef Tran Minh Dung creates Black Tiger Prawns Wrapped in Pork Belly, a dish bearing the special feature of the Southern Delta Region: the prawns are taken out of the shrimp pond, peeled, marinated with some garlic and red pepper, wrapped in long, thin pieces of pork belly and grilled over red hot coals. When the fat is rendered out and the wraps are golden-brown around the edges, wrap the “banh hoi” round the sauté pork belly and prawn, then dip into the sour, sweet, and salty dipping sauce; with this you will have an emotional experience like hearing a lullaby echoing over the river.
BLACK TIGER PRAWNS WRAPPED IN PORK BELLYPrint This
- MAIN INGREDIENTS
- 200g smoked pork belly
- 300g raw black tiger prawns (25-30 prawn/kg)
- 10g shallots
- 10g garlic
- 5g sugar
- 0.5g ground black pepper
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- 30ml fish sauce
- 20ml boiled water set to cool
- 20g sugar
- 4ml lime extract
- 10g minced garlic
- 2g minced red chili
- ACCOMPANYING INGREDIENTS
- Bánh hỏi: 200g
Preparation: Peel the black tiger prawns, leaving the last tail segment on for looks; de-vein by making a shallow slit down the middle of the back to expose the black intestine.
Lift out the black vein with the point of a paring knife and thoroughly clean them then drain them in a colander. Mince the shallot and garlic. Halve the pork belly horizontally.
Processing: Marinate the prawns with minced shallot and garlic, 5g of sugar, 0.5g of ground pepper, and let them soak in the spices. Put a prawn on a slice of pork belly and wrap it up. Continue to wrap until the last one. Warm the frying pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Sauté each of the wraps until all of them are golden brown.
Make the dipping sauce: In a large bowl, pour 30ml fish sauce, 20ml boiled water set to cool, add 20g sugar, and stir constantly, then stir in the minced garlic, chili and 4ml lime extract.
Put the prawns on a plate, serve with “banh hoi” and sweet-and-sour fish sauce.
The pork belly is crispy and golden-brown, the prawn meat is chewy; the dish is aromatic with the salty taste of the smoked pork belly in harmony with the naturally sweet taste of the prawns.
Prawn wraps may be roasted over coals, and served as an appetizer with mayonnaise.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish is good for those who have asthenic body syndrome, a weakened immune system, nervous system problems, anemia, fatigue, lack of energy, irregular periods, postpartum women who are unable to produce enough breast milk, children with loss of appetite, underweight children, men with erectile dysfunction, backache, and osteoporosis.
TRAN MINH DUNG Song Tra Hotel (Dong Thap Province) Runner-up in the Southern regional semifinal round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013