Tilapia fish salad

Tilapia fish salad

By
From
Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Serves
4
Photographer
Stuart Scott

My parents were looking forward to Chau Doc, as they’d heard of a special local medicinal leaf called ‘rau dang’. These leaves are quite difficult to come across anywhere else in Vietnam, but their bitter astringency goes perfectly with this sweet and sour tamarind dressing. Look for bitter herb in your local Asian market, or simply leave it out. You’ll also find dried tilapia at Asian markets.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 dried tilapia ­fish, about 100 g each
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, then seeded and ­finely sliced
2 red asian shallots, finely sliced
1/2 carrot, julienned
100g pork belly, cooked and ­finely sliced
1 bunch rau dang, leaves plucked
1 handful mixed mint, vietnamese mint and basil leaves
1 teaspoon crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon fried garlic, (see note)
1 teaspoon fried red asian shallots, (see note)
1 red chilli, sliced

Sweet and sour tamarind dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons tamarind water, (see note)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
60g shaved palm sugar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced

Method

  1. Combine the sweet and sour tamarind dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Heat a barbecue chargrill or chargrill pan to medium. Chargrill the fish over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Allow to cool, then tear the flesh off the bones, discarding the bones. Place the fish in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cucumber in a bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Squeeze the juice out of the cucumber, then add to the fish, along with the shallot, carrot, pork belly, rau dang and mixed herb leaves. Spoon over 1 tablespoon of the sweet and sour tamarind dressing and toss.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a serving platter. Drizzle with another tablespoon of the dressing. Garnish with the peanuts, fried garlic, fried shallots and chilli and serve immediately.

Note

  • To make fried garlic and garlic oil, pour 250 ml vegetable oil into a wok and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add 6 finely chopped garlic cloves and fry until golden — be careful not to overcook the garlic, as it will keep cooking once it is removed from the heat. Strain the garlic through a metal sieve and place on paper towels to dry. Store the fried garlic in an airtight container for up to 4 days; this recipe makes about 2 tablespoons. Reserve the garlic-flavoured oil to use in salads; it will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in a cool place.

Note

  • Fried red Asian shallots are widely available at Asian markets. To make your own, ‘finely slice 200g red Asian shallots and wash under cold water. Dry the shallot with a cloth, then set aside on paper towels until completely dry. Heat 1 litre vegetable oil in a wok to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Fry the shallots in small batches until they turn golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. They are best eaten freshly fried, but will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container. The oil they were cooked in can also be re-used.

Note

  • To make tamarind water, soak 100 g tamarind pulp in 400 ml boiling water. Break it up a little with a whisk, then leave until cool enough to handle. Using your hands, break the mixture into a thick paste. Pass the mixture through a sieve; you should get about 375 ml tamarind water.
Tags:
Greater
Mekong
Luke
Nguyen
Red
Lantern
Vietnam
Vietnamese
Asian
Asia
South
East
Southeast
South-east
SBS
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