Vietnamese food is one of my favourite types of Asian cuisine. I adore coriander and all the other fresh herbs that are used in abundance in Vietnamese cooking and I love the French influences that are the remnants of colonisation. One of my most loved Vietnamese street snacks are the banh mi – the crispy baguettes stuffed with fresh herbs, pickled carrots and usually a pate (or in my case, I would ask for omelet). I have taken some of the elements and flavours of banh mi and turned it into a cleaner and lighter meal in the form of a salad. This is prefect fare for when it is too hot to cook and the base for the salad works equally well with fish, shredded barbecued chicken breast, sliced beef or even stir fried tofu. Another alternative is keeping it completely vegetarian and adding in some lightly cooked Asian greens and some roasted nuts or sesame seeds. Noodles are also optional.
Banh Mi Salad with Blackened Salmon
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 daikon radish, julienned
1/2 kohlrabi, julienned
1 bunch coriander, leaves only
1/2 bunch mint, leave only
1/2 bunch Thai basil, leaves only
1/2 bunch Vietnamese mint, leaves only
2 tbspn toasted sesame seeds
a big handful of cooked brown rice noodles
1/2 tspn castor sugar
a big pinch of salt
3 tbspn brown rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 tspn chilli sauce or sriracha
1 tbspn balsamic vinegar
1 tbspn tamari
2 fillets of salmon
1 tspn finely grated ginger
1 tspn ground turmeric
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
1 tspn Chinese 5 spice
1 tbspn rice bran oil
1 tspn honey
pinch of salt
For the salad
Mix together the ingredients for the pickling marinade.
Place the carrot, daikon and kohlrabi in a bowl. Pour over the pickling marinade and allow to sit for 10 minutes then drain.
Add the remaining salad ingredients.
For the fish
Preheat the oven to 180C
Mix together all the ingredients except for the salmon. Place the salmon skin side down on a plate and brush the flesh side with the marinade.
Heat a non stick, oven safe baking dish or fry pan over high heat. Sear the salmon flesh side down for 2-3 minutes or until blackened.
Place the fry pan or baking dish with the salmon in the oven for 10 minute or until cooked to your liking.
Take out of the oven and remove the skin.
Place all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake to combine. Taste and adjust if necessary.
Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
Flake pieces of the salmon over the salad and drizzle with extra dressing.