My hubby and I are a little bit obsessed with this Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Salad after having had it while on vacation Down Under. Australia seems to have the best South-east Asian food outside of the region. In fact, so you know that this is not just my opinion, Saveur Magazine (Jan/Feb 2012 issue) purports that Sydney has the best Thai food in the world outside of Thailand. The Vietnamese food available in Sydney is pretty killer too.
I also ate a similar salad with a grilled chicken paillard, savoy cabbage, pickled cucumbers and onions, mint, cilantro, toasted cashews, puffed rice with a ginger vinaigrette at SolBar in Calistoga recently and am working on re-creating that dish – primarily the vinaigrette. The manager of the restaurant told me what went in the dressing – sesame oil, champagne vinegar, soy, sesame oil, brown sugar and toasted cashew nut oil – and the task I now face is to figure out the proportions and replicate that amazing dish at home. Otherwise, I may have to drive back to Calistoga sometime soon. At least, it is closer than Australia.
The kiddo won’t go anywhere near this salad (or any salad for that matter) as her vegetables have to be cooked to “death”, before she will eat them. But, it isn’t always about her. Sometimes, it is about us. 🙂 And hopefully, she will eventually learn to love this salad as a result of watching us get all excited around it.
Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Salad
This is a very “Jamie Oliver” kind of recipe with minimal measurement (“handful” is not really a standard unit of measure) except for the vinaigrette. What makes this salad outstanding is the use of Vietnamese cilantro and Vietnamese mint, almost as you would use a lettuce. New Mei Wah Supermarket in the Mission often carries them. Otherwise use regular coriander and mint. To reduce the amount of chopping and make this dish more “everyday”, feel free to use pre-cut bagged veges.
- 1 lb shrimp
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- Peel and de-vein shrimp
- Marinate in garlic and oil for 15-20 min
- Season with salt and pepper and grill on bbq or grill pan. Should take less than 5 minutes
- Thinly sliced cabbage, julienned carrots, thinly sliced green papaya (optional), handful each of Vietnamese cilantro and mint. (Basil works too)
- Handful crushed roasted cashews
- Handful fried shallots (you can fry your own or buy them in jars from Asian grocery stores
- Toss to mix everything except cashews and fried shallots
- Cashews and shallots to be added at the last minute – after dressing the salad, so they retain their crunch
- 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of 2 limes (can use more or less depending on taste)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1-2 finely chopped Serrano chillies
- You can use 1-2 finely mined cloves of garlic – I don’t use garlic in mine
- Combine in a jar and shake (can be made in advance)
When ready to serve, plate a mound of dressed (dress to desired “wetness)” salad on a plate. Top with cashews and fried shallots. Arrange grilled shrimp on top and dig in! Enjoy with a crisp white wine.