Mr Anonymous, my better other half, just came back from a trip from Bangkok, Thailand (otherwise known as the culinary capital of the world).
Mr. Anonymous walked in the door, quickly exchanged hello and then promptly showed me a picture on his Blackberry of something he had eaten while on his trip to Thailand. He asked, “Can Bam’s Kitchen make this?”
In his other hand he had a huge bundle of Fresh Thai Basil, herbs and delicious macaroon cookies from our dear friends, at the Le Vendome Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
Actually there are many wonderful Thai restaurants in Bangkok, but Le Vendome restaurant is French, and is truly unique. From the moment you walk in to the door, it is a very special experience. The cuisine at Le Vendome restaurant uses only the very freshest ingredients and very traditional French cooking techniques.
Every dish I have ever ordered at the Le Vendome has been wonderful, the staff are courteous and helpful, the environment is relaxed and comforting. The wait staff are very attentive and pay attention to the smallest details and this is the “special effect”.
How about a pan seared fresh Rougie Duck Foie Gras Caramelized Peach and Balsamic Reduction and Green Salad? Or maybe a Light Lobster Bisque with a Crispy Pastilla of Blue Prawn and Sweet Basil from the Le Vendome? Or maybe a Pan Seared Spanish Red Gurnard Fish with Fava Bean Ragout and Parmesan Foam Emulsion sounds lovely. From first hand experience, and much personal QA testing and overindulgence, their macaroon cookies and anything on the menu with truffles in it, is to die for. If you are ever visiting Bangkok, please make it a point to make reservations for a relaxing and special evening at the Le Vendome.
Khob Khun Ka, Khun Ma, for all of the special treats! Greatly appreciated.
Please visit their website for further details. http://www.levendomerestaurant.com/
Now back to Mr. Anonymous’s request… All I have to go on, is a really bad picture taken on my husbands blackberry phone of an appetizer he had eaten in a restaurant while visiting in Bangkok. It looked like a huge jumbo shrimp with the tail still on wrapped in a wonton and deep-fried. Hmmm…
I started to brain storm on some ideas as I really wanted to be able to use some of the fresh Thai basil in this dish. In addition, I wanted the Thai contrasting flavors of sweet, salty, spicy and sour to enhance the flavors of this appetizer. So the experimentation began and I was off to the wet market to purchase some live large shrimp.
These little shrimp appetizers were a really bit hit with the family. They were super crispy little tied up bundles of golden goodness wrapped up around succulent Thai spice infused shrimp. Plunged into a bath of spicy, sweet, sour and salty Thai basil dipping sauce, shrimp bundles with Thai basil dipping sauce will even please the most pickiest teenage eaters.
Shrimp Bundles with Thai Basil Dipping Sauce
Makes 12 shrimp bundles (or just enough for one hungry teenager)
- 12 large raw shrimp, heads removed, cleaned, deveined but keep tails on
A little trick I have learned from the locals is that if you place your shrimp/fish on a little ice before cleaning them it stuns them and makes them go to sleep.
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 bird chili (or more to your level of heat)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 5 Thai basil leaves chiffonade
- 1/2 key lime juiced
- dash of fish sauce
- 12 spring roll wrappers
- 1 beaten egg
- bean vermicelli threads pre-soaked in water for 30 minutes until softened
- oil for deep-frying
Thai Basil dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- few dashes of fish sauce
- 1 crushed garlic
- 2 bird chilli finely chopped
- 1/2 key lime juiced
- 2 packet of sweet and low (sugar or sugar alternative)
Fried Basil Garnish
- 6-8 whole basil leaves
- oil for frying
- salt to taste
Step 1: Marinate the shrimp- In a medium bowl combine the cleaned shrimp, garlic, chilies, olive oil, Thai basil, lime juice and fish sauce. Combine well and let marinate for at least 1/2 to 1 hour.
Step 2: Make the Thai Basil Dipping Sauce- Mix together rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, crushed garlic, bird chilies, lime and sweetener. Set aside
Step 3: Wrap and bundle the shrimp- Take out one spring roll wrapper and lay it out flat on the counter and paint egg wash on all four sides to help seal.
Place one shrimp on the spring roll wrapper diagonally with the tail left outside.
Roll shrimp up once with wrapper lengthwise and then fold in side of spring roll wrapper and continue to roll horizontally.
You will end up with a long triangle shape.
Reapply egg wash to the triangle end to help seal and finish rolling up the shrimp tightly, leaving the tail on the outside of the wrap.
Step 4: Take 1-2 bean vermicelli noodles and wrap and tie around the shrimp to help secure the wonton wrapper and it also add a nice little crunch to the dish. (optional)
Step 5: Place oil in small pan and bring to temperature (If you put the ends of your chopsticks in the oil it should make small bubbles and then you will know that your temperature is ready for frying) Drop in carefully as they will pop your clean and dry Thai basil leaves and fry for about 30 seconds until turns a bright green and looks like stained glass windows. Carefully remove the delicate fried basil leaves from the oil and place on a dish with a towel to dry. Salt to taste and set aside.
Step 6: Gently lower the shrimp bundles, just a few at a time into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Gently remove the shrimp bundles and dry on a plate with a towel.
Step 7: Serve Shrimp bundles with Thai basil dipping sauce garnished with fried Thai basil leaves. Quickly make sure the cook gets at least one or two of these tasty little appetizers before the teenage boys inhale them. You may want to double this recipe…