This coleslaw is possibly Vietnam’s most famous salad. I tried making this salad on MasterChef but didn’t do it justice as the real one is much more than just a simple salad. It is fresh, punchy, vibrant in colour and full of different textures. It is perfect for summer when you want something light and refreshing and also great as a side salad at barbecues.
1 small roast chicken, or steamed chicken, roast of boiled pork belly, roast duck, (any type of meat you feel like)
6 large king prawns, cooked and peeled (optional)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small daikon, peeled and julienned
2 cups fresh mixed herbs including mint or shiso, Vietnamese mint and coriander
2 tbsp crisp-fried shallots, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp crushed, unsalted roasted peanuts, plus extra to serve
Nuoc Mam Dressing
65ml fish sauce
60ml rice vinegar
1tbsp of crushed or finely diced garlic
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
200ml rice vinegar
To make the pickle liquid, add to a pot the rice vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil making sure the sugar has dissolved.
Once pickle liquid has boiled, take off the heat and pour over the julienned carrots and daikon in a bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes, allowing it to pickle.
To make the nuoc mam dressing, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar, rice vinegar and fish sauce.
Once it has cooled down, add the rest of the ingredients and blitz or carefully crush in a mortar and pestle.
Prepare your meat, and cut into small pieces or strips for the salad. Remove the pickled carrots and daikon from the pickling liquid. Place meat and prawn (if using prawn) in a mixing bowl with the carrots, daikon, fresh herbs, shallots and peanuts drizzle over the dressing, and mix well.
Finish off with an extra sprinkle of shallots and peanuts and serve.
Kha Nguyen was a contestant in the 2015 Australian Masterchef, and now works as a chef at the world famous Tokyo Tina restaurant in Melbourne.