• Lemongrass-stuffed snails (Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam)

A farm to table dish, Luke collects the snails in the rice fields and vegie patches to prepare a dish much-loved by the Dalat people. You can source your snails from a local snail farmer.

Serves
4

Preparation

45min

Cooking

25min

Skill level

Mid
By
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Ingredients

  • 500 g snails, soaked in rice water for 1 hour, drained, discarding any that float to the top (see note)
  • 10 g ginger, sliced
  • 3 lemon leaves
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, cut into 15 cm lengths, each layer separated
  • steamed rice, to serve

Pork paste

  • 50 g pork mince
  • 10 g ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 red Asian shallot, finely chopped
  • 10 g dried wood-ear mushroom, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and finely diced
  • 1 lemon leaf, finely sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch white pepper, freshly ground

Ginger fish sauce

  • 15 g ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon leaf, finely sliced
  • 1 bird's eye chilli, sliced
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced

Garnish

  • 6 stalks coriander
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 10 g ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon leaf, finely sliced

Cook's notes

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.

Instructions

Soaking time: 1 hour

1. Place the snails in a saucepan with the sliced ginger, lemon leaves and 100 ml water. Cover with a lid and place over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. The snails will release their own juices. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside to cool.

2. Using a toothpick, remove the snails from their shells. Reserve the shells and finely dice the meat.

3. For the pork paste, place all the ingredients in a bowl, add the snail meat and combine well until a paste forms.

4. To stuff the snails, fold one separated lemongrass leaf in half, then place it into a snail shell. Stuff about 1 teaspoon of pork paste into the shell, placing it on top of the folded lemongrass. Repeat with the remaining lemongrass, shells and pork paste.

5. To cook the stuffed snails, place in a large steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, for the ginger fish sauce, place the ginger, lemon leaf and chilli in a mortar and pound with a pestle until a fine paste forms. Add the remaining ingredients and 1 tablespoon water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter with the garnishes.

7. Serve the hot stuffed snails with the ginger fish dipping sauce and steamed rice on the side.

 

Note
• Luke recommends soaking the snails in the water used to wash the serving rice. If you're not serving rice, just use plain water instead.

 

Catch Luke Nguyen on the tracks dishing up Vietnamese fare in the brand-new series, Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam.