King of the grill Ross Dobson shares this seafood recipe inspired by his travels in Vietnam.

This recipe has Vietnam written all over it. Simple, fresh flavours, with lemongrass of course. I have an indelible memory of lemongrass, which I use here as a skewer. Tinned sugarcane, split or cut into thinner pieces, is also an effective and exotic skewer.

Serves 6

5 large red chillies, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 spring onions (scallions), chopped

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon shrimp paste

2 tablespoons tamarind purée

2 makrut (kaffir lime) leaves,
finely shredded

1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass, white part only

2 tablespoons rice bran oil

3 tablespoons coconut cream

2 tablespoons brown sugar

400 g raw prawn (shrimp) meat

400 g white fish fillet

6 lemongrass stalks, cut in 15 cm (6 in) lengths, to make 12 skewers

coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to serve


Put the chilli, garlic, spring onions, turmeric, ground coriander, shrimp paste, tamarind purée, lime leaves, lemongrass, rice bran oil, coconut cream and brown sugar in a food processor. Process until finely chopped and then scrape the mixture into a bowl.

Put the prawn meat and fish in the food processor and process to a mince. Scrape into the bowl with the spice mix and stir well to combine.

Using wet hands, take a generous 3 tablespoons of the mixture and form into a log around a length of lemongrass. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Preheat the barbecue hotplate to high. Cook the skewers for 5 minutes. Carefully turn over and then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with the coriander sprigs.

Recipe from King of the Grill by Ross Dobson (Murdoch Books £20). Photographs: Nicky Ryan & Brett Stephens.