Now repeat slowly after me: “Viet Na Mese Mango and Prawn Curry”

Bringing up children is a trial as well as a joy. Their lack of worldly experience gives them a razor-sharp clarity that fades with advancing years and is often gone by the time they’re 10. When our youngest was younger, she possessed this clarity and wielded it without mercy. Often in my wisdom, I told both her and her sister “There is no such thing as a stupid question. Only a stupid answer.” Once, in frustration, I responded to yet another “Are we there yet?” from the back seat of the car with “Don’t ask stupid questions.”


“But Dad, you said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers. Does that mean you are stupid?” came the chirpy reply. My eldest used to believe that handbags were ham-bags because one did not carry their hands around in a bag. She also had great difficulty pronouncing “hospital”. My efforts to help her get it right included holding a towel and saying “Hos Pit Towel”. Wasted energy. Also wasted has been my trying to get the younger to pronounce “Vietnamese”. The best she has managed to date has been more like “Fiat, Ma, Knees”. She is 20 now. If I can’t get her to say it, perhaps I can get her to eat it? That’s why I constructed a Vietnamese Mango and Prawn Curry with Thai Fragrant Rice.

Don’t. I repeat Don’t use shop bought curry powder. Make your own. It is well worth it. Here’s what you will need for the curry powder

Before concocting this, I read a number of different recipes in books and online. My mix is a rough approximation of what I had, what I thought might be right and, with the chili flakes, what I thought the Wife could stand. It worked really well. Simply put the lot into a dry pan and heat it over medium heat until the house smells like a Souk.

Fry those ingredients until you get a lovely heady aroma.

Take them off and let them cool. Then put them into the mortar and bash them with the pestle until the bay leaves have all but vanished.

To remember which is which, think of the student.They put the mortar on their head. It works for me…

For the rest of it, you will need

I think I got everything into this shot but check the list if you want to be sure.

There is a fair bit of chopping involved in this. Chop the mango into cubes about the same size as your prawns.

Everything in the above shot bar the prawns and these mangos.

Chop the carrot into strips about the length of said prawns. Chop the chili, spring onion, garlic and lemongrass up pretty small. Roughly chop the coriander just before adding it. Here’s the best one of the chopping shots:

I used a wok for this. Any pot will do as long as it is big enough. First add some oil to the hot wok. Add the carrots and stir until about half done. Add the chopped garlic, lemongrass and chili. Stir until the aromas hurt your eyes.

No caption needed. The mixture speaks for itself.

Then add the curry. Stir and coat everything with that powder.

Stir it even though your eyes are burning. It’s worth it.

Add the fish sauce and coconut milk. Bring this to the boil then add the prawns and mango.

Don’t over-cook the prawns. You will remember this advice and you will regret it if you do.

When these are heated through and the mixture is just about boiling, the prawns should be cooked. Don’t over-cook them. They will shrink and turn hard and only be fit to make earrings. Serve it with the rice that you have made without me having to tell you to.

I can’t relate in words the difference making your own curry powder makes. Just do it.

She may not be able to pronounce it but, she appreciated it. She is going off to spend a few weeks in Thailand in a couple of months. When she gets back, I’ll bet she’ll be able to pronounce ‘Vietmanese’, damn, ‘Veatmanese’, damn, damn it, you know what I mean. “Viet na mese”.

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Latest comments
  • Great recipe.

  • I love when my house smells like a souk. I’ve yet to make a good curry. I leave that to my fella Niall who has that curry knack that I find so frustratingly elusive. Mine are usually watery and bland, sad bowls that hint at their possible greatness! This recipe looks fairly foolproof so perhaps I should give it a go? Or is that a stupid question? 🙂

    • Give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?…

  • Some craicin’ photos 🙂

  • As usual, LOVE your photos. 🙂

  • I’ve never made Viet Na Mese yet, but this looks like something I’d like! Should try to make this and agree with Jessica on the photos!

  • Looks delicious! Its great that you make your own spice blend! I have to try it 🙂

  • Love this post…beautiful and instructive! (P.S. My son is five…oh do I ever recognize that razor sharpness of little ones tongues!

  • Going to try and make my own curry…I love curry, this recipe looks yummy but I’m allergic to prawns :(. Great post!!!

  • Thank you for the homemade curry powder recipe. I plan to try it and posted it on Pinterest.

    • The quantities can be varied by quite a bit to suit your own tastes. That is the joy of it as a ‘recipe’. Thanks for the pin.

  • Looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Ciao Conor,
    I loved your post from yesterday and I want to apologize that I did not schedule my post correctly and that my MG Epilogue was supposed to post today and not on the same day as yours. I regret this and hope you will forgive my error as your post really deserved a full 24 hours.
    Now, let’s start talking about Ireland! We want to spend at least 3-4 weeks in your world next year and it is never too early to begin the process 🙂

    • Thanks Michael, It was a bit of fun to write. Most of my posts get a full week to degrade, perhaps too long between posts. I really would love the time to post more frequently but, what with the day job, family and life in general, I will be sticking to once a week with occasional extras.If you are spending some time in Ireland, I will have to get my thinking cap on. It’s kind of easy to do the obvious but there is more fun in the road less travelled. I will get thinking.
      Welcome back,

      • We should talk for sure, and once again, this was a technical error on my blog and I was a bit blindsided by the second post.

        • Thanks for the kind thoughts Michael. Really, I was just happy to write something that did not have a recipe hanging off it. I even got to share it with some (less web connected) Italian friends by calling in to their home and reading it to them. They enjoyed it too.

          • That is super cool! Our plan is to perhaps rent a flat in Dublin perhaps for a month and while I will work most days we will weekend out to the country and other things to see.

          • That sounds like a great plan. I will get to helping you with some suggestions.

  • Very nice blend of spices for the powder!

  • Looks really good!

  • I wonder if there is such a thing as a stupid comment. Hmmm…………….. lol

  • Love the color of your curry. It must taste delicious with your combined spices, coconut milk, mango and shrimp.

    • Thanks Karen, it was pretty tasty, if I say so myself.

  • Just happen to come across your blog and this recipe reminds me of my moms Guyanese mango curry shrimp :)…looks delish!!

    • Thanks Lorin. Anything with mango is a winner in my book.

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