Bill Granger recipes: Our chef shares the Vietnamese dishes that always make him smile

Vietnamese cuisine combines the most vibrant aromas with the zingiest flavours

No combination of flavours can create a party in your mouth the way a Vietnamese meal can: just the anticipation of those contrasting textures and vibrant aromas brings a smile to my face.

Although the ingredients used are often similar to those you find in Thai cooking, Vietnamese food seems to have a cleaner, fresher flavour that really speaks to me. Indeed, I have so many favourites that I couldn't quite decide what to make for this week. So I've taken the easy route and passed on the problem to you…

Anyone who loves Vietnamese food should have at least one great salad in their repertoire, so I've included my zingy version with green mango, the citrus fruit pomelo and pork belly.

The other recipe I really want to share is the dill-and-turmeric cod with noodles. It's one of those DIY dishes that can really bring an evening to life. Take the fish, noodles, herbs, peanuts and nuoc cham chilli dressing to the table then it's every man and his chopsticks for himself.

Either of these dishes would make a great main. Serve the one that speaks to you the most with the lemon-grass-and-chilli salt prawns as a starter and perhaps big wedges of chilled watermelon for dessert and enjoy!

Nuoc cham

Each of these recipes uses this sauce. You can use it as a dipping sauce or a dressing and your dish will immediately have that zingy Vietnamese kick. Addictive.

1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Prawns with lemon-grass-and-chilli salt

This is a foolproof dish that requires minimum effort. I've never been one for sit-down starters, instead preferring to let friends get their hands dirty with "interactive" nibbles while I finish the main. Just make sure there are plenty of napkins handy.

Serves 4

1 lemon-grass stalk, chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
Grated zest 1 lime
3 tbsp sea salt
1kg raw king prawns
2 tbsp light-flavoured oil
Nuoc cham (see recipe above)
Limes, to serve

Pound the lemon grass, chilli, lime zest and sea salt with a pestle and mortar, until finely ground. Place in a small bowl and set aside. k

Toss the prawns and oil in a large bowl to coat. Pre-heat a barbecue or a large griddle to high. Cook the prawns for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with the lemon-grass-and-chilli salt, nuoc cham dipping sauce, and some limes, then leave everyone to peel their own prawns and add their preferred flavours.

Cod, turmeric and dill noodles

Cha ca Hanoi is one of the most fragrant dishes you'll ever come across. Don't be shy about it: pile on the dill – it's meant to be abundant and for me it's what really makes the recipe.

Serves 4

3 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm ginger, grated
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp crushed dried chillies
600g skinned cod, cut into chunks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large bunch dill, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
½ lemon
250g rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
3 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed
Nuoc cham (see recipe above)
Mint and basil sprigs, to serve

Heap on the dill - it's what really makes this fragrant cod dish Heap on the dill - it's what really makes this fragrant cod dish (Laura Edwards)
In a bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, fish sauce, sugar and crushed chillies. Stir in the fish, cover and marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Season the fish with white pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Pour in 2 tbsp of water and bring to a simmer. Gently fold through the dill and spring onions. Once wilted, remove from the heat and add a squeeze of the lemon. Check the seasoning, adding salt if needed.

Serve with the noodles, peanuts, nuoc cham and extra herbs in separate bowls for everyone to help themselves.

Crispy pork, pomelo and green mango salad

Asian stores should be able to get green mangos for you (green papaya would also work). To prepare it, peel it as you would a potato, then tap the flesh repeatedly with the blade of a large kitchen knife to score it before slicing.

Serves 4

1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp light-flavoured oil
1kg boned pork belly, rind scored
1 pomelo, peeled, cut into segments
1 green mango, peeled and julienned
Handful mint leaves
Handful basil leaves
Handful coriander leaves
2 spring onions, shredded
Nuoc cham (see recipe above)
2 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed
1 tbsp fried shallots (available from Asian stores)
1 red chilli, sliced

Bill's zingy crispy pork, pomelo and green-mango salad Bill's zingy crispy pork, pomelo and green-mango salad (Laura Edwards)
For the pork, combine the sugar, fish sauce, garlic and oil in a shallow dish. Add the pork. Turn well in the marinade, cover and chill for 30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Lift the pork on to a roasting tray and season the rind with salt. Roast, skin-side up, for 30 minutes, or until the rind is crackled. Reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas4 and roast for a further 1 hour 40 minutes, or until very tender. Set aside to cool then shred into small pieces.

In a large platter, gently toss together the pomelo, mango, herbs, spring onion, shredded pork and nuoc cham. Scatter with peanuts, fried shallots and sliced chilli and serve.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill_granger

Food preparation: Marina Filippelli; Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

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