Vietnamese Salad

21 Oct

Although I’ve not travelled to Vietnam (yet), I am strangely attracted to this mysterious land and its cuisine. Whenever I think of Vietnamese food the word that springs to mind is always “fresh”. Vietnamese dishes are generally punctuated with fresh ingredients and flavours, such as mint, cilantro, chili, lemongrass, and ginger.

Last night my girlfriends and I got together to embrace Vietnamese cuisine with our Gourmet Night. We feasted on pho (of course!), salad rolls, Vietnamese coffee, tropical cocktails, and Vietnamese chicken salad, which was the dish that I made. The salad was really quite easy to make and tasted…well…fresh! I used a recipe from a cookbook that I have at home, “The Essential Asian Cookbook“, which is a really handy guide to a lot of popular dishes from all over Asia.

After making the dish for Gourmet Night, I realized that it needed some tweaking and as I had all the ingredients in my fridge, I made it again tonight but with some small changes. Firstly, I made it without the chicken as I didn’t think that it was necessary to complete the dish. I also found that the original dressing recipe was far too sweet, which is not surprising considering the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of caster sugar. Therefore, I made sure to cut the amount of sugar in half. Next, I added some fresh lemongrass to the dressing, and I also added in some different salad vegetables to what the original recipe called for. And finally, I didn’t bother making the topping as the recipe instructed, I just crumbled some crushed peanuts over the top of the salad for a little added crunch, and finished with a squeeze of lime.

I am definitely biased but I felt that the salad tasted better tonight with those changes. It was less sweet and more tangy, which seemed better balanced. I’ve detailed the original dressing recipe from the “The Essential Asian Cookbook” but have shown the changes that I made.

Vietnamese Salad – Serves 4

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup of finely shredded cabbage
3 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely shredded
A large handful of bean sprouts
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Handful of peanuts, crushed


3 tablespoons of caster sugar (I changed to 1.5 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
White flesh of lemongrass, thinly sliced (optional)

Combine carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, coriander leaves, mint, bean sprouts, and green onions in a bowl. Drizzle vegetables with the juice of 1/2 a lime and toss gently.

To make dressing: place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and ingredients are well combined.

Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss to combine. Plate and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.


One Response to “Vietnamese Salad”

  1. Anna October 22, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    Looks delicious!

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