Vietnamese salad (Gỏi ) is a great addition to your diet, not only are they light and refreshing but they are fairly easy and full of flavor. This particular salad is made with cool cucumbers, spicy chilies, pork and fresh shrimp, prefect for an easy summer dinner.

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I  love the site Holy Basil, even though, Christine, is not publishing any longer.  I go back there weekly, to see if by some chance, she is back to cooking and blogging.  Christine, if you are reading this, please COME BACK!!  She enticed us with her weekly salads for a better part of 2008 and we were always so excited to see what was coming next … would it be French or Vietnamese, regardless of her choice, they were full of flavor and interesting.

Christine, claims this is a great salad for dieting and that she was able to take some extra poundage off by eating this weekly for 6 weeks.  Well, I can definitely drop a few of thoese extra Daring Bakers & Tuesday with Dorie pounds, so we are hitting the weekly, if not daily salads!

Recipe:  Goi Du’a Leo – Vietnamese Cucumber Salad with Shrimp – AKA The Salad that Shaved Serious Poundage Off My Bum

* adapted from Holy Basil – she includes pork, I left it out

2 large cucumbers, cut into very thin half moons
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb shrimp, poached with their shells on and then peeled once cooked
1 large carrot, finely grated
large handful of red skinned peanuts, roasted and crushed
1 tablespoon freshly toasted black white sesame seeds
large handful of Vietnamese coriander
or cilantro, roughly chopped

SAUCE/DRESSING FOR SALAD:

2 red chilies
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 large lime
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tabelspoon fish sauce
1/4 cup water

STEPS:

Make your dressing by smashing the chilies and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Add the sugar, lime, fish sauce and water. Mix thoroughly to dissolve all the sugar. Taste and add more sugar/fish sauce/lime according to your preference. Set aside.

Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and slice into thin half moons. Add them to a large bowl and toss with the salt and sugar. Allow to sit for at least 1/2 an hour. The salt will cause the cucumbers to weep their water.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients – the shrimp, carrot and garnishes (peanuts, sesame seeds and herbs). Drain the cucumbers and rinse well with water. Next, take a handful of the cucumbers and squeeze and ring out as much liquid as you can. (A potato ricer will also do a nice job of this step.) Mix all the drained and squeezed cucumbers with carrot, shrimp and herbs. Right before serving, toss with the dressing and garnish with the sesame seeds and peanuts. (Preparing the cucumbers this way wilts them but I find them a nice textural contrast to the crisp carrots and tender pork and shrimp and crunchy peanuts.)

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