This is a typical clear, light, Vietnamese-style soup with noodles, dumplings and some thinly sliced salad vegetables
For the soup
3.5 litres good quality chicken stock
8 garlic cloves, sliced 5cm piece root ginger, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
160g thin Asian-style noodles
1 medium-hot red chilli, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons lime juice
30g spring onions, sliced
125g fresh beansprouts
small handful of fresh mint
For the dumplings
240g lean minced pork
2g pinch of Thai shrimp paste
80g peeled raw prawns
Put the stock into a large pan with the garlic, ginger and fish sauce. Leave to simmer for 1 hour. Strain into a clean pan and continue to simmer until reduced to 1.2 litres. Keep hot.
To make the dumplings, put the minced pork into a food-processor with the shrimp paste, egg and ¼ teaspoon salt and process into a smooth paste. Slice the prawns lengthways, remove the black, thread-like vein, and then slice them across into small pieces. Transfer the minced pork paste to a bowl and stir in the chopped prawns. Shape 10–15g pieces of the mixture into small balls and place on an opened-out petal steamer.
Heat four deep soup bowls in a low oven. Fill a large shallow pan with water to a depth of 2cm and bring to the boil. Add the petal steamer of dumplings, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 4 minutes, or until cooked through.
Divide the noodles, chilli, lime juice, spring onions, beansprouts, mint and coriander leaves between the heated bowls and top with the dumplings. Bring the stock back to the boil, pour into each bowl and serve immediately.
My Kitchen Table: 100 Fish and Seafood Recipes, Rick Stein (£7.99), mykitchentable.co.uk