Luke Nguyen describes this popular Vietnamese street food as a "textural delight" and half the fun is extracting the hot cooked snails from their shells. While Luke uses rice paddy snails in this recipe, you can also use sea snails. He also uses young lemon leaves as they're more subtle and delicate in flavour than kaffir lime leaves. Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as an appetiser.
- 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and sliced into 4 cm lengths
- 6 young lemon leaves
- 2 chillis, bruised
- 1 knob ginger, pounded
- 300 g sea snails, washed in salted water 3 times
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 100 ml (½ cup) water
- 1 chilli, diced
- 1 tsp diced garlic
- 1 tsp sliced lemongrass
- 2 young lemon leaves, finely sliced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the dipping sauce, mix and combine ingredients well.
Place 500 ml (2 cups) water, the lemongrass, lemon leaves, chilli and ginger in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the snails, then cook, covered for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and serve with the dipping sauce.
Washing the sea snails in salty water three times before cooking removes any slime and grit. You should also discard any snails that float to the top when placed in a bowl of water as this is a sure sign that they are no longer alive.