Adding rice paper to salads is a fairly new innovation that’s taken off over the last five years. The addition of rice paper to this tangy salad adds a wonderful textural element to the dish. It’s also great served with Vietnamese beer!
- 120 g (4 oz) round thin rice paper sheets (see note), cut into 5 cm (2 in) wide strips
- 1 green mango, shredded
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) dried baby shrimp
- 1 bunch Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
- 4 quail eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
Soy and shallot dressing
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) soy sauce
- pinch of five-spice powder
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
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.
1. To make the soy and shallot dressing, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 4–5 minutes, until soft and slightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. To make the fried shallots, heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan to 170ºC (340°F) on a kitchen thermometer. Place the shallot in the oil and cook, stirring continuously to break up the shallot, for 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shallot from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Using two forks, quickly separate and loosen the shallot - if it stays in a clump it will burn in the residual heat.
3. Place the rice paper strips, mango, dried baby shrimp, mint, eggs and fried shallots in a salad bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle some of the sauce over the salad and toss again. Keep adding the dressing and tossing the salad until the dressing is all used and the rice paper has softened. Top with the peanuts and serve immediately.
• Rice paper sheets come in different thicknesses. Ask at your local Asian supermarket for the thinnest variety.
Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99