After developing and putting together the recipes for my Home-style Vietnamese cooking class (April 21) on the weekend, the sun was belting down and the palm sugar and lemon grass punch was flowing. I realized that the best way to keep cool during these hotter days is to surround yourself with clean, cool foods. Vietnamese cooking or shall I say non-cooking is as refreshing as it gets, with luscious salads, splashes of lime, bites of chilli and loads of crispy fresh vegetables.
Here is my summer buster salad that fits for lunch or dinner with full crunch. Substitute whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. A tip for the kitchen, see if you can pick up a vegetable shedder from any good kitchen shop. This will ensure that your vegetables are all finely cut so that you have this amazing collection of colour, texture and flavor.
Vietnamese poached cod and noodle salad with Asian flavours
Poaching the fish
- 300g Blue eye Travalla or Blue eye Cod fillets
- ½ cup brown onion, sliced
- 2 tsp ginger, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon grass, crushed
- 4 tbsp coriander roots
- 3 cups fish or chicken stock just to cover the fish
For the salad
- 200g rice noodles soaked in hot water until softened and drained
- 1 cup red capsicum thinly sliced
- 1 long red chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
- ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cucumber, thinly shredded
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- 1 cups white cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup carrot, sliced in match sticks or grated
- ½ cup coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
- ½ cup picked Vietnamese mint
For the dressing
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp of ginger, minced
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ tsp sugar (optional)
- Place all the poaching ingredients except the fish into a fry pan and pour in enough stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and place the fish in the liquid, the liquid must cover the fish, poach the fish for 10 – 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the fish can pull the flesh apart.
- Remove the fish from the liquid and allow to cool slightly.
- Drain the vegetables out of the liquid reserving the liquid and bring it back to the boil to cook the noodles.
- Cook the noodles as per directed on the packet , drain and rinse in cold water, toss with a few drops of oil and set aside. The cooking liquid can be frozen and kept as a stock for a seafood soup.
For the dressing
- Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and set aside.
- Place all the prepared vegetables into a large salad bowl, toss through the noodles and pour over a little of the dressing, flake in the barramundi and toss over the sesame seeds. Divide the salad into individual bowls and drizzle over a little more dressing.