Traditionally served on special occasions, such as birthdays and death anniversaries, this Vietnamese salad is tasty, fresh and healthy. Combining pork, prawns, herbs and vegetables with a well-balanced dressing, it’s delicious enough to be eaten year round.
- 200 g pork spare ribs
- 2 large carrots, julienned
- 100 g pickled lotus rootlets (see Note), julienned
- 1 long red chilli, seeded, julienned
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 celery stalks, cut diagonal
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 125 ml palm vinegar (see Note)
- 250 ml water
- ½ bunch Thai basil (see Note) leaves
- ½ cup hot (Vietnamese) mint (see Note) leaves
- 200 g cooked tiger prawns, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp palm vinegar
- handful of fried Asian eschalots (see Note)
- handful of chopped roasted peanuts
- coriander sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 30 minutes
Cook the pork spare ribs in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 20 minutes. Drain, thinly slice and cool.
Place the carrots, pickled lotus rootlets and red chilli into a bowl. Add the red onion and celery.
Combine the white sugar, palm vinegar and water. Pour over vegetable mixture and set aside for 30 minutes.
Add the Thai basil leaves, mint leaves, pork and tiger prawns.
To make the dressing, combine the fish sauce, water, white sugar and palm vinegar, and drizzle over the salad. Scatter over the eschalots, roasted peanuts and coriander sprigs.
Serve salad on prawn crackers.
• Available from Asian food shops.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.
Photography by Katie Kaars.