It is not, strictly speaking, a Vietnamese dish. I must say though that this shrimp and watermelon salad was inspired by the popular Vietnamese pomelo salad which can be prepared with shrimp or chicken. And the dressing we used is as Vietnamese as Vietnamese can be. Mixed fish sauce.
After attending a cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City where we learned to make Vietnamese mixed fish sauce properly, we were literally using the mixture in ways far beyond dipping cooked food in.
I had braised lamb shanks in it before (amazing results!), but using it as a salad dressing has always been among our favorite ways to enjoy it. For example:
Although the title of this recipe says it’s a salad with shrimps, bean sprouts and watermelon, those three aren’t the only components of the salad. Romaine lettuce, mandarin orange segments and cubes of feta complete the mix.
Shrimps, bean sprouts and watermelon salad
- 20 medium shrimps peeled and deveined
- 6 cups seedless watermelon cubes
- 1 cup mandarin orange segments (available in jars and cans)
- 4 generous handfuls mung bean sprouts rinsed and drained well
- 1 small head Romaine lettuce torn into bite-zise pieces, rinsed and passed through the salad spinner
- 1 cup cubed feta
For the dressing
- ¼ cup mixed fish sauce
Cook the shrimps
- In a frying pan, boil enough water to reach a depth of one inch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Spread the shrimps in the boiling water and cook for two to two and a half minutes per side.
- Scoop out the shrimps and dry on a bed of paper towels. Cool.
Toss the fruits and vegetables
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the watermelon cubes, mandarin orange segments, bean sprouts, lettuce and feta.
- Add the shrimps. Toss to distribute.
- Drizzle in the mixed fish sauce and toss a few more times.
- Serve immediately.