Vietnamese prawn salad with soy-lime dressing
Refreshing, spicy Vietnamese prawn and vermicelli noodle salad with an aromatic, flavorful dressing of lime juice and soy sauce.
We’re starting this week off healthy even though I am not making any promises it will stay that way. After all, I have a devilishly good cake I’ll be sharing with you later this week. But at least, our initial intentions are pure and that’s all that matters, right?
I first made this recipe for my second cookbook but have made it numerous times since because honestly, it is one of the most intensely delicious recipes I’ve ever created and you guys. It is SO simple. The actual salad itself consists of a handful of ingredients and even though the salad dressing requires a few more, it’s stuff that you should have in your pantry already. And if you don’t I suggest you get your hands on them asap because they will make such a difference to the quality of your cooking. The only ingredient I don’t have on hand at all times is the palm sugar but soft brown sugar or honey will both make great substitutes. You really only want something sweet to balance the salty, tangy and spicy flavours of the rest of the ingredients. It is this balance of flavours that makes Asian (and especially Thai and Vietnamese) cooking so incredibly delectable. It’s the only cuisines I know of that can be described as moreish, indulgent and refreshing all at the same time.
I love making this salad for lunch because of that freshness and the zingy, punch dressing ties everything together beautifully plus it can be knocked together in mere minutes. I like to use vermicelli noodles but you could use egg noodles or even angel hair pasta as substitutes. I also make a version with shredded poached chicken (because prawns are a big luxury for us) and often leave out the protein completely to create a stunning vegetarian salad. I then add julienned carrots, cucumber and radishes to add crunch and more substance. This salad is great for lunch, as I mentioned but is also great for dinner (especially on hot nights) and the leftovers are spectacular the next day when the noodles have had even more chance to suck up all the dressing.
- 500g prawns, deveined and shelled
- 400g vermicelli noodles, cooked
- handful each fresh coriander, mint and basil
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar (soft brown sugar or honey can be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
- Poach the prawns in fish/vegetable stock until they are pink and opaque.
- Remove from the stock and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
- To make the salad, combine all the ingredients then pour over the dressing and toss well.
- Serve topped with extra coriander and sliced chillies (optional).