Vietnamese Cucumber Salad with Shrimp, known as Goi D’a Leo is a great recipe to add to your healthy eating options. Not only is this recipe light as well as refreshing but it is fairly easy to make, and full of flavor.
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 off some extra weight off by eating this weekly for 6 weeks. I can definitely afford to drop a few of those extra Daring Bakers & Tuesday pounds, so I will be including these weekly, if not daily salads for the next month.
Recipe: Goi Du’a Leo – Vietnamese Cucumber Salad with Shrimp
* 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 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 cup water
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.)