Spicy Thai Basil & Lime Jumbo Shrimp Vietnamese Salad

“I found this recipe in Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This recipe adapted from the Asian Grill by Corinne Trang, is a traditional Vietnamese "tableside salad" which, true to its name, is assembled at the table. It is based on rice vermicelli, an extemely thin rice noodle, and dressed with nuoc cham, the sweet, sour spicy fish sauce dressing that is Vietnam's condiment of choice. For a milder dish, remove the seeds from the chilies and crush the garlic. Tiger shrimp are prefered because they're "meaty, sweet, and firm". NOTE: Recipe for nuoc cham is posted separately”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 14 cup fish sauce
  • 14 cup fresh lime juice (lemon juice can be subsituted)
  • 1 cup palm sugar (granulated sugar can be subsituted)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • 14 cup packed fresh Thai basil, minced (Mint or Cilantro can be subsituted)
  • 1 -2 red Thai red chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 24 jumbo shrimp, preferably tiger shrimp, deviened (about 10 per pound)
  • 1 (12 ounce) packagedried rice vermicelli
  • 14 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 scallions, trimmed an thinly sliced into rounds (white and green parts)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 2 heads lettuce (boston or bibb)
  • 2 unripe carambolas, sliced paper-thin crosswise (star fruit) (optional)
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced pape-thin crosswise
  • 1 bunch fresh mint sprig
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts


  1. Prepare the shrimp:.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, lime or lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the oil, garlic, basil and chili. If you wish, pour the marinade into a blender and pulse until smooth.
  3. Place the shrimp and marinade into a resealable gallon plastic bag. Squeeze out the air; and seal the bag. Hold onto the two ends, shake the bag to coat the pieces evenly. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning the bag every 30 minutes or so to redistribute the marinade.
  4. Put the rice vermicelli into a large bowl with water to cover. Let soak until pliable, about 30 minutes. In a large pot of boinling water, cook the vermicelli for no more than 5 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a dish, cover with plastic wrap and wet aside.
  5. In a small sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the scallions until fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Toss the rice vermicelli with the scallion oil ( including the scallions) and transfer to a serving platter.
  6. On a serving platter, arrange, in individual piles the carrots, lettuce leaves, carambolas ( if using), cucmber and mint sprigs. Put the peanuts in a separte bowl.
  7. Cook the shrimp:.
  8. Just before you are ready to serve, prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high (500F). Remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the shrimp, turning them frequently to prevent burning, for 2 to 3 minutes, until evenly pink and golden on both sides.
  9. To Serve:.
  10. Instruct your guests to take some vericelli, carrots, cucumbers, carambolas, lettus leaves (freshly torn), mint leaves (pinching off the sems and freshly torn), and toss in their individual dishes ( a large soup bowl or deep plate is best) until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Place the grilled shrimp on top, sprinkle with peanuts and drizzle with the nauc cham. Serves 6 to 8.
  11. Wine Recommendations: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, or chilled Morgon from Beaujoliais.

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