Snails cooked in lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves & basil

Snails cooked in lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves & basil

Escargots à la citronnelle, avec gingembre, feuilles de citron vert et basilic

By
From
Luke Nguyen's France
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Alan Benson

I’ve always wondered if the Vietnamese got the idea of eating snails from the French, or was it the French that got the idea from the Vietnamese? I say the Vietnamese started eating snails first, as they eat anything and everything! Be sure to sip the aromatic broth as you’re eating the snails.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g fresh snails, in their shells, if you can’t obtain these, tinned ones are fine
2 lemongrass stems
4cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled
2 long red chillies
6 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
handful thai basil

Dipping sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped lemongrass, white part only
2 lemon leaves, or kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

Method

  1. If using fresh snails, leave them to soak in salted water for 10 minutes, before rinsing under fresh cold water. Repeat this process three times, then set aside. (You won’t need to do this if using tinned snails.)
  2. Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add 125 ml water and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  3. Pound the lemongrass stems using a pestle, to help release their flavour. Chop into 4 cm lengths and place in a saucepan. Give the ginger and chillies a bit of a pounding, then add to the saucepan with the lime leaves. Pour in 500 ml water and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the snails to the pan, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the snails are tender.
  5. Transfer the snails to a serving bowl and garnish with Thai basil leaves. Serve with the dipping sauce, and with toothpicks to pick the snails out of their shells.
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