Chefs' Recipes

David Thompson's prawns baked with vermicelli

"Baked prawns with vermicelli are found mostly in Chinatown in Bangkok, but it deserves to be eaten everywhere," says Long Chim and Nahm David Thompson.

By David Thompson
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 4 - 6
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David Thompson's prawns baked with vermicelli
"This dish is found mostly in Chinatown in Bangkok, but it deserves to be eaten everywhere," says Long Chim and Nahm chef David Thompson. "The noodles are dry and that's why they really do benefit from a good marinade. Toss and turn the noodles often to ensure an even distribution of the sauce. I love it when the noodles are overcooked and almost burnt on the edges. Take them that far when you cook them and you'll see what I mean." This recipe can be started a day ahead to marinate the noodles.


  • 2 tbsp melted lard or white sesame oil
  • 240 gm (about 6) large prawns, heads and tails intact, whiskers and legs trimmed, digestive tracts removed (see note)
  • Coriander (about 2 tbsp), to serve
Marinated noodles
  • 180 gm dried glass noodles (mung bean noodles)
  • 4½ spring onions, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths
  • 4½ garlic cloves, bruised
  • 15 gm unpeeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 small coriander roots with some stalk
  • 120 ml oyster sauce
  • 60 ml lard, melted (¼ cup)
  • 60 ml dark Chinese wine (see note) (¼ cup)
  • 1½ tbsp roasted sesame oil
  • ¾ tsp white sugar
  • Two pinches of coarsely ground white peppercorns
  • Two pinches of coarsely ground black peppercorns
  • Two pinches of coarsely ground dry-roasted coriander seeds (see note)
  • Large pinch of ground dry-roasted Sichuan peppercorns (see note)
  • Large pinch of Chinese five-spice
  • Large pinch of ground star anise
  • Large pinch of ground ginger
  • Large pinch of ground galangal (see note)


  • 1
    For marinated noodles, soak noodles in a bowl of cold water until just softened (about 1 hour). Drain well, then cut with scissors into manageable lengths, about 10cm or so, and set aside in a colander. Lightly bruise spring onions, garlic, ginger and coriander root, then combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients and noodles. Turn to coat and combine well, then refrigerate tomarinate (6 hours or overnight).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 250C. Warm a 1.5 litre Chinese claypot or 1.5 litre flameproof casserole (see note) for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, reincorporate the marinade into the noodles by turning with your hands. Melt lard in claypot then add a piece or two of ginger and some spring onions from the marinade and stir until coloured (2-3 minutes). Add half the noodle mixture, followed by prawns, then add remaining noodles, stir, then cook without stirring, until sizzling and coloured (2-3 minutes). Cover with a lid and bake in oven, without lifting the lid, until prawns are pink and cooked (12-15 minutes).
  • 3
    Turn and stir the noodles; don't worry if they have stuck to the pot – these crunchy, charred bits are the best part. The finished dish should be quite dry and the prawns should be cooked through and tempting. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.


To remove a prawn's digestive tract, bend the head downwards and ease it out through the gap between the head and body with a wooden skewer. Dark Chinese wine is available from Chinese grocers; if it's unavailable use Shaoxing wine. Dry-roast whole seeds, then grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Ground galangal is available from select large Asian supermarkets. If you use a casserole, the cooking time may vary.
Drink Suggestion: GranMonte Verdehlo or Collector Lamp Lit Marsanne. Drink suggestion by Greg Plowes