What is it?
Referring to Hanoi specialties, a dish that cannot be left behind is the West Lake Battered Shrimp (Banh Tom Ho Tay). This combination of wheat, tapioca flour, shrimp, fish sauce and vegetables is a specialty of Co Ngu Village, an ancient village along the lakeside which has been in existence for thousands of years, that is also why the dish is named after the famous lake of Hanoi.
West Lake Battered Shrimp (Banh Tom Ho Tay)
How to make it?
Battered Shrimp recipe is not hard to do but requires extreme delicacy. A delicious Battered Shrimp requires successful implementation of two components of the dish: Crispy/salty fried batter and sweet & sour fish sauce.
For the fried batter part, duck eggs will be whisked and mixed with wheat and tapioca flour to make a relatively loose paste; this mixture should then be left to rest for about 30 minutes. In order to make the outside more brittle, sweet potatoes shredded into thin strands are mixed into the batter. But if you do not like sweet potatoes or hard to buy this ingredient, what you need to do is to mix a little thicker mixture.
For the next step, fresh shrimps are cleaned, legs trimmed and marinated with a small amount of salt and pepper before you “jump” them onto a hot boiling pan of oil with chopped onions and garlic, do not fry them too cooked, but just pick them off when their shells change to a red-orangey color. In the end, you scoop a palm-sized ladle of batter, put 1 or 2 shrimps on top and dip them all submerged in oil, fry until the batter becomes golden and crispy.
To complete the dish, a sweet & sour sauce dip is needed. Like the sauce for the Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls, The Battered Shrimp sauce dip is made of Vietnamese traditional fish sauce mixed with garlic, sugar, water, lime and hot chili. Ideally, if you are a beginner, adjust the spices little by little until you feel satisfied with the mixture. And when the dish is completed, you may serve it with raw lettuce, herbs as the final touches.
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